Le Fournil Restaurant Bonnieux Provence France

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Bonnieux Provence Le Fournil

Le Fournil is one of our very favourite restaurants and we have been coming here for many years. It is to be found in Place Carnot, a very small square in Bonnieux blessed with an outside terrace set around a fountain. As Jane Austen would have said of the restaurant – ‘it is happily situated’. The interior of the restaurant is actually cut into the rock face on which the higher part of town and the church at the top of the hill are located. This is always a busy restaurant because of its location and the simple fact that the food and service are extremely fine. The basis of the cooking and menu here is French classical food of the south done simply and using the freshest of local ingredients. My type of place. For me I would always reserve a table on the terrace rather than inside when dining in fine weather. There is nothing that contributes to a feeling of well-being than a long French lunch on the terrace accompanied by a chilled local wine. This is a restaurant and location that provides that feeling as good as anywhere you may find in France. There is such a lovely contented hum about the place on a warm summer day with the happy diners being served effortlessly by the easy going waiters and owners. On the day of writing this the lunch menu is :

Roast quail, port jus, celeriac and sweet onions

Fish of the day

Ox cheeks braised in red wine, slow roast vegetables

This gives you a flavour of how the local produce is used as per the season. The simplicity of the cooking, nothing fancy, ensures that your plate is not presented as confused by the chef being too clever with too many extra ingredients. On our last visit Niamh had a beautiful piece of cod roasted to perfection with leeks and very smooth buttery, cheesy mash potatoes. I had the very tenderest and flavoursome cut of pork tenderloin with sage sauce and petit pois. The deserts were chocolate and raspberry with local ice cream. A sublime lunch.

We had a bottle of rosé wine from a winery called Chateau La Canorgue, a maker that the label on the bottle indicated was a local domain. The waiter explained that it was just off the Route Pont Julian going back down the hill towards the old Roman bridge.

Being in a lovely chilled world of my own coming to the end of the long relaxing lunch I had not picked up on something that in retrospect was actually quite obvious. The charming attentive waiter was giving far more attention to me than to Niamh. She finally pointed it out to me and I just laughed it off saying that I was not THAT attractive. We ordered coffee and he brought Niamh’s and set it down without fuss but serving mine he just slightly spilled some coffee into the saucer. His apologies are just a little too profuse than necessary but I said it was: “OK, pas un problème monsieur”. No, he absolutely insisted that the cup must be changed and he was all over me like a rash. He went off to the bar to bring a fresh cup and Niamh just laughed. My eyes had been opened and I just hoped he would not slip me a note with his number on it on returning as I really wanted to spend the rest of the day with Niamh and not have to let him down gently. Mmm, quite a French lunch. Anyway, flattered as I was, Niamh and I left together after gushing farewells and headed off down the hill to find Chateau La Conorgue. This turned out to be the chateau where ‘A Good Year’ starring Russell Crowe was filmed and we had an excellent visit to round off another memorable lunch at Le Fournil, a location that also appears in that movie.

Published by Neal Atherton

My passion is writing about travel and particularly French travel. I have traveled extensively in France and wine and food has always featured on my travels and now in my books. My friends always await our return from France with the latest new finds from the vineyards and I was more than happy to keep sampling. I am from Lancashire in the north of England but have now relocated to Somerset (nearer to France) and able to enjoy devoting my time to writing and new discoveries. France came late to me as a destination, in fact so conservative was my travel upbringing that it was a long time before I even ventured to Cornwall. I have more than made up for the slow start and have enjoyed helping many others with their travel plans to France and especially to Paris and Provence. I have written a series of four books on France - Three are now on Amazon:THE FIRST TIME WE SAW PARIS about our first steps in French Travel, THYME FOR PROVENCE our discovery of that glorious region and the people and places we met and discovered, A DREAM OF PARIS a personal memoir of our times in Paris with friends. France has been fun, we have been burgled on our very first arrival, we discovered the best cafe that changed our travel lives on the very next day, we learnt about French wine, we escaped from the most horrendous gite, we found the best of gites, B & B's and people, we laughed and cried with dear friends in Paris, I was hosed down by a crazy owner to cool me down in Provence, our breakfast in a remote village was served by the French army, we stepped totally out of our comfort zone and discovered the best of French culture. The experiences are varied and many and please come with me as I retell the stories and my footsteps are there to follow. I am also writing about ancestry and genealogy and my first book about our incredible family story themed around war and the military is now on Amazon - A BULLET FOR LIFE. I love the English game of cricket, golf, soccer, photography, walking and cooking. Oh, and travel of course.

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