Three-hour dinners require someone you can spend four hours eating dinner with.  The trip in Provence shifted into full gear when I met the Girl with Flowers in Her Hair.  I couldn’t have planned it.  But there she was!  We drove into the mountains and visited the Abbaye de Senanque, which was the most beautiful and quiet thing that I saw in Provence.

The Girl with Flowers in Her Hair is not only a human navigator she is also the sweetheart who brings out the best in people everywhere we went.  Because of her, the French Waitress rewarded us with a long “Super!” when we chose the “correct” menu items.  The severe looking French Waitress, glaciale at first, turned into a comedy genius.  Though extraordinarily flat chested, the French Waitress possessed that “something” that French women have.

In France, just ask the locals where they recommend to eat.  I didn’t eat at any Michelin rated 3 star restaurants, but I don’t think it’s necessary to go crazy with the planning of eating.  This is the country of serious gastronomy that is universally accepted as one of the word’s greatest cuisines.  And if you need to plan where to eat in a country that serves one of the world’s greatest cuisines, you might go nuts?  I had a light “chocolate soup” that had 4 puffs of souffle floating on top that was so good, in this little alley-way restaurant.  There was only 1 cook and 1 waitress.  Six tables tops.  The fact that it was night.  The moon was out.  We talked and laughed.  And we were sitting next to the Ancienne Cathedrale Ste-Anne.  There were just a few other tables seated besides us and everyone was taking their time.

A resturant is not an industrial machine.  It’s not a war zone.  There should be no assembly lines with people running over each other, and there shouldn’t be that flip door that flips in and out open to reveal a highly stressed out staff, carrying trays of glasses smeared with dirty lipstick smudge, who still need to keep a smile to earn a tip. In these restaurants where it is nothing restful – You could practically see Hell’s infernal fire burning behind that flip door!!!

A restaurant is where a decent meal is cooked in a little kitchen, with basil plants on the windowsill.  It is opens for 2 hours for lunch, and 3 hours for dinner.  There are only a few items on the menu…

La Manade, 36 rue Rene Cassin, 84400 Apt, Tel 04-90-04-79-06