In the pleasant verdant countryside of the Vaucluse, about a half-an-hour drive northeast of Avignon, stands a large proud stone edifice on the perched hill of a village in miniature, Crillon le Brave, which before it stretches out a commanding vista of the 6,000 foot limestone-crested Mont Ventoux.
Crowning the hill top, the eponymous hotel – Crillon le Brave – appeals to the smart and fashionable set for its remoteness and tranquility; the village of about 400 is veritable cul-de-sac bereft of vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
For its well-heeled guests, the feeling of the hotel is not that all dissimilar to the experience of members of a private club where a youthful well-mannered staff ‘cares’ for you and your every need. Almost as if placed there as a prop, the narrow driveway at the hotel’s entrance cradles a car that by its make and model is assuredly owned, not rented.
For those yearning to dine in the serene comfort of its premises, the Crillon le Brave moderates cost without sacrificing quality in its new Bistrot 40K, nestled on a small charming terrace, the Cours du Puit, and in an adjoining comfy dining room, the Reboul house, both archly removed from humming hotel activities.
With eight or so tables in the dining area and on the terrace, the ambiance is relaxed and the dress code is casual.
At first sight, you perceive that this is a place for couples of a certain genus – those who have that particular expression around their eyes that communicates a sense of emotional assurance; exchanged gazes creating an envelop of privacy around them, an atmosphere upon which it is presumptuous to intrude.
Local wine producers tipped off PVB to the Bistrot, which takes its moniker 40K – kilometers not thousands mind you – to indicate that all the ingredients, produce and wines originate within a radius of 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Crillon le Brave.
Perched on a stone wall of the Bistrot 40K, a blackboard announces the evening fare at 40€ per person, which changes every night, including a starter, a choice of a main course, and dessert, with substitutions upon request.
Better yet, you can descend down into the Reboul Wine Cellar and pick out your own bottle of red, white or rosé wine for the evening.
For lovers of local wines, there are plenty of friendly faces such as the Ventoux reds from Fondreche, Olivier B., Unang, Vendemio, Pesquié, Valcombe, and Tix. Any questions, the engaging enthusiastic Benjamin Ruggiero knows his wine stuff (il est dans le truc).
In these times of recessionary pressures when there are so very few new restaurants that appear within the orbit of Mont Ventoux, it is a pleasure to discover a fresh small star on the horizon that shines brightly.
Bistrot 40K, Hôtel Crillon le Brave, Rue Église, Crillon-le-Brave, Tel: 04 90 65 61 61, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Open five nights a week from 7:30 pm until 9:30 pm. Website
At the Hôtel, lunch is served in ‘La Grange’ Bar or on the terraces from 12.30 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Le Restaurant offers seasonal menus from 60 Euros for four courses.