La Terre des Lauriers

The Joint

La Terre des Lauriers
Pont du Gard – Rive droite
30210 Remoulins


Cliff
La Terre des Lauriers

We stayed in one of their two gîtes — cottages — available alongside their B&B offerings. As you can see here in the pictures, the grounds are beautiful. I think clearly the best aspect of La Terre des Lauriers is its location — proximity not only to the Pont du Gard, but also within easy driving distance to large and small towns more than worthy of exploration, like Aix-en-Provence, Nîmes, Uzés, Castillon-du-Gard, and of course Avignon. The air conditioning was effective for the main bedroom, and that was nice on the hotter nights, but it would have been much better to equip all the windows with screens so that we could open them for cross-breezes without fear of bug attacks. We had to change the refrigerant for our air conditioner, we used the TDX 20, you can learn more about switching to tdx 20 here. Le Chalet might have been suitable, size-wise, for 2 adults and a couple of kids (in fact, that looks like precisely the configuration they were expecting) but for four adults, it was more than cramped.

Sarah
La Terre des Lauriers

The location was really ideal. We could be at the Pont du Gard in 15 minutes on foot. We were about the 10 minutes from town, as well, but the area we were in was very quiet and isolated. And, as Cliff stated above, the grounds were really lovely and our host, Gerard, was very kind.

Here’s the but: the accommodation left something to be desired. Given how immaculate the b&b and the other gîte were, our “cottage” looked and felt like a hasty add-on. We decided to stay in self-catering accommodation so that we would have access to a kitchen, but the kitchen was difficult to use – the stove consisted of a double hot-plate, there was no oven and the pans were falling apart. The bathroom was tiny but adequate, and the beds were comfortable with enough storage space for our clothes in the bedrooms. Overall, though, that unit is too small for four adults. We were constantly dancing around each other while getting ready in the mornings. If we were to return, I would not stay in this particular unit again.


My location
Get Directions

Provence July 2009

Today Sarah and I drove my parents to their airport for their departure after three action-packed weeks bopping around Europe. You already saw our pictures from the Italian leg of the trip, right? (If not, see the next most recent post.) Here’s a very brief run-down of the Provence leg of the trip, which was a solid week in Remoulins with day trips out pretty much every day to explore local stuff.

  • We flew into Marseille on a Lufthansa flight from Munich.  We very nearly missed the flight thanks to the rail system (not sure if it was ALX or DB’s fault…but it sure was stressful).
  • We picked up our rental car, a Fiat Punto (pretty small for four adults and light luggage) at the airport in Marseille and drove out to Remoulins, where a rental cottage on the grounds of a Chambre d’Hôte awaited us.  We loved the location of our lodging, but it was pretty cramped for four adults and rather poorly equipped.  More on that later, perhaps.
  • Every day we planned to do something new and even when we were too tired, sweaty, or hungry to follow through on our plans, something easier and more local kept us interested.
  • We ate a ton of fresh fruit, stuff right off the vine, tree, etc.  I’ve never had white nectarines before, but I’ll be looking for them now.  Sadly, I doubt they’ll taste as good as ones from the road-side stands in Provence, but I’ll try them anyway.  Most of that fruit goes great with goat cheese and another local product, wine.  Yum!
  • We planned to visit l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Aix-en-Provence, and Avignon and were pleased with all of those.  Smaller places, like Uzès and Gordes and Castillon-du-Gard were complete (and welcome) surprises – cute places we just stumbled upon in search for WiFi (not every McDonald’s offers it) or a landromat open through lunch.

Here’s the map, to give you a rough idea:


View Provence July 2009 in a larger map

Here are my favorite pictures from the past three weeks (below). You can see all the pictures we took here.

A little chilly in Remuzat today

After a very nice (and well-deserved, I might add) sleep last night, we had a nice breakfast of bread and croissants with homemade preserves and tromped off on foot to the village of Remuzat. It was rather chilly today, and we even got caught in the rain. However, we could still see how cute the place is, nestled between mountains on all sides.




Couscouserie de l’horloge

The Joint

2 rue de Mons
Face à la Mairie
84000 Avignon
France

Reservations: 04 90 85 84 86
website link

Cliff

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.

Sarah

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.

My location
Get Directions

Best Western Hotel du Lavarin

The Joint

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


http://www.worldexecutive.com/directory/france/avignon/hotels/93529.html

Cliff

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.

Sarah

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.