Provence, France: it’s so named as the first Roman province outside of Italy because of its natural beauty, this region in southern France is varied from the Mediterranean coast to the inland wine regions. It’s home to a number of unique dishes and cultural traditions.
Through Anthony Bourdain’s eyes, Provence is an idyllic culinary destination where it’s easy to see why artists and chefs have been inspired by the Provençal way for centuries. In this post, you’ll learn what happened to Anthony Bourdain in Provence, plus where he ate and shopped.
Bourdain visits Provence in season 6, episode 9 of No Reservations; this is the only time he visits Provence during any of his shows. In this episode, Anthony Bourdain slows down to enjoy the “simple” life in Provence. He specifically stays in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, a town of roughly 9,700 people.
Over the course of a week in the area, he dines with local contacts and acquaintances in the area, as well as enjoys a few restaurant meals and cooking a meal of his own to mark the 100th-ish episode of the show. Tony also visits a local vineyard for a wine tasting and meal, and tries his hand at a local sport of Pétanque.
Note: I get a lot of questions about where Bourdain ate in Nice, France. You might be surprised to learn: Anthony Bourdain never filmed any episodes in Nice. If you want to visit the area, you should check out these Provence spots, and can explore Nice on your own. I’ve also added a few Nice food tours at the end of this post that seem like ones Tony would approve of.
Where Anthony Bourdain Ate in Provence
Like many episodes of No Reservations, Tony combined restaurant/establishment dining with local food experiences and home-cooked meals.
That said, there are a few places mentioned in the episode that you may want to visit on your own trip to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence:
Bar du Marche
(near 19 Place de la République) – Where Tony drinks wine, devours charcuterie, and muses on a Sunday morning drinking tradition; this is actually a tobacco shop with a cave and cigars.
Le Bistrot de la Galine
(Along D99 outside town) – Located outside Saint-Rémy, Le Bistrot de la Galine is where Tony enjoys a meal before the ambitious game of Pétanque (the Provençal equivalent to bocce).
Chateau Val Joanis
(2404 Route de Villelaure) – At Chateau Val Joanis, Tony enjoys a tour of the vineyards, wine tasting, and a relaxing, simple lunch.
The arc of Tony eating with and cooking for friends means he also visits several shops for ingredients during this episode. To the best of my ability, here is the list of places I think he shopped based on the episode:
La Cave aux Fromages
(1 Place Hilaire) – It’s shown on-screen and we know he serves cheese during the meal, so this seems like a likely candidate.
Boucherie La Cavaliere
(6 Rue Jaume Roux) – A butcher’s shop where the guys stock up on charcuterie.
Le Petit Duc
(7 Boulevard Victor Hugo) – Owned by Anne Daguin, who serves as one of Tony’s guides through the episode, Le Petit Duc is a sweet pastry shop renowned for its calissons and cookies.
Other Provence Travel Tips from Tony Bourdain
Based on his observations, here are a few other travel tips for Provence inspired by Tony’s insight:
- Keep it simple. The best food – and the best experiences too, perhaps – don’t require complication or a ton of ingredients.
- Provence really does look like the “inside of Martha Stewart’s head.” Come prepared with a camera and soak it all in.
- Tourism is a critical part of the economy in Provence. A historically poor region, Provence is supported by tourism jobs and dollars. Try to stay at local accommodations and shop/eat local to ensure your euros go back into the local economy.
- Always splurge on the villa. (‘Nuff said!)
Provence Food Tours You Might Enjoy
If you’re traveling to Provence specifically for food, you might look beyond Saint-Rémy to sample all the region has to offer. Here are a few tempting food tours to consider, since you won’t have a local fixer like Tony:
Nice Food Tours You Might Enjoy
As mentioned at the top of this post, Anthony Bourdain never filmed any episodes in Nice, France. While Nice is technically part of Provence, many people consider them to be different parts of the country. Nevertheless, if you’re visiting Nice and want to have a Bourdain-like food experience, here are some nice Nice food tours to inspire you.
Have other questions about what happened to Anthony Bourdain in Provence? Comment below!