Couscouserie de l’horloge

The Joint

2 rue de Mons
Face à la Mairie
84000 Avignon

Reservations: 04 90 85 84 86
website link


As we were strolling around the Place du Palais du Papes, I saw a little Middle Eastern joint offering merguez and couscous together — two things I love! I’d previously only had merguez in crepes at Mr. Crepes in Boston (formerly located on Davis Sq – R.I.P. Mr. Crepes!). Sarah ordered a traditional lamb couscous dish. Our meals arrived as two different large bowls. One of them was a large dish containing Sarah’s lamb chops and my merguez on skewers sunning themselves on a couscous beach, and the other one was full of vegetable broth with big chunks of carrots and onions and others. It was fantastic! You’d think couscous, having absorbed water in the cooking process, wouldn’t be able to soak up more broth, but in fact, it did just fine. It turned out to be way more food than it looked (that’s how couscous works). I couldn’t let the last two links of my sausage get chucked though, so I managed to find room for them.

This place is a “can’t miss” if you like North African food and want to eat on the main drag in downtown Avignon for less than 20 EUR per head.


After we made it into the city walls, we decided to wander around and look for something to eat. Because we were absolutely not going to stay at the misery that was the Best Western all evening. We wandered up the main drag of the Avignon tourist restaurants and Cliff spied this little gem tucked into the corner of a building. We passed it the first time (my fault – I wanted to keep looking around), but eventually returned. We’re both avid fans of middle eastern cuisine (and north African food shares many of its traits), but we didn’t realize the extent of the treat we were in for.

My lamb (two good-sized chops) literally fell off the bone and was deliciously seasoned to work with the vegetable broth and couscous. Cliff’s merguez was very intensely flavored and presented an interesting contrast to the rest of the meal. The two gentlemen that served us were charming and helpful. If you’re in Avignon and you need a short reprieve from rich French cuisine, seek this place out as a thoroughly enjoyable palate-cleanser.

Best Western Hotel du Lavarin

The Joint

1715 Chemin Du Lavarin Sud
Avignon, FR-84000, France


Forget how this hotel looks at the link above — it’s not accurate (trust me). Doesn’t the following point say it all?

A-1 Steak Sauce smells belong in a kitchen or more likely a dining room, not permanently embedded in your hotel hallway.

Other than the smell, it was OK, I guess. But really, the room and the building were so ugly that it put a damper on the rest of the stay. Oh, and getting a twin room when we specifically asked for a double was annoying too.

Parking seemed problematic, too. When we got back from the Couscouserie shortly before eleven o’clock, the lot was overflowing. I had to park the rental in a non-space (which naturally made me nervous — deductibles and such). We got an unplanned wake-up call from the front desk bright and early the next morning (shortly after 7) asking us to move the Beemer as it was blocking the tour bus (which had been taking up multiple spots in the too-small lot). They weren’t rude about it or anything, but still…poor facilities planning also contributes to a lackluster experience.


I got Comfort Inn confused with Best Western. Comfort Inns have a reputation for trying to assimilate into the prevailing culture of the place in which they’re opening an establishment. From our experience in Avignon, I would have to assume that BW doesn’t share this philosophy. The place we stayed was depressing like a community college annex. The service was friendly and accomodating, but that didn’t make the steak sauce parfum in the corridors any less disturbing. The room was small-medium in size and clean and the bathroom was alright (except for the spatial relationship between the front of the toilet, the wall and the door).

Other than the weird smell and the unwelcome wake-up call, there wasn’t anything actively wrong with our experience here. And at least half of the blame belongs on my shoulders; I didn’t fully research the layout of Avignon, so I didn’t realize that the location wasn’t going to have as much personality as something inside the city wall. But the whole thing was just so overwhelmingly lacking. We paid roughly EUR90/night here and an extra charge for partaking of the ho-hum breakfast buffet. It didn’t seem worth it.