From Luberon Markets to Finally Fresh Seafood at Menton

From Sault to Menton, since our hotel won’t be available to check-in before 3 pm, we took this opportunity to explore the Luberon villages that we haven’t been to during our last trip. Also, check out their local markets to hunt for the jumbo-sized and juicy cherries that we had during our previous trip. Looking at the map, Apt was the obvious choice since it was almost along the route and not much of a detour.

Sault to Apt was only 38 minutes but through those windy and local roads, on the way, we stopped at a viewpoint for the photo of the lavender fields of the Sault plateau….you can see those spots of purple far away.

Parking wasn’t too bad in Apt as there is a parking lot right outside the village center. There are a few souvenir shops selling lavender products, some clothing stores, and some cafes.

With every town and village, there must be a church right in the center.

The town hall looked cute but the grounds in front were under construction so we didn’t stay for long.

The village isn’t big either nor as picturesque as the other Luberon villages.

We checked out some markets selling fruits and saw the jumbo-sized cherries but they were so expensive at more than €10 per kilo. I remembered a few years ago when I bought the cherries at Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, it was only €4.80 for a kilo! We didn’t stay at Apt for long and decided to head to the next village.

When I checked the Luberon market days, the other one that was open on Fridays was in Bonnieux which we had been to but it was on the way so why not. Also, we had a super yummy lunch there so we want to revisit that restaurant, I still remember the dishes we ate!

The market at Bonnieux was huge and a variety of products such as baskets, clothing, toys, and of course fruits and food!

It was time to shop!

Dried fruits, as France is quite famous on peaches, I asked the lady if I can try the dried peach. She gladly gave me a piece and it was very sweet as in natural peach sweet not loaded with sugar sweet. I bought a small bag and it was costly at more than €5.

Fruit stand! Here the jumbo-sized cherries were €7.90 per kilo so we bought a kilo and tasted one – yum…..that was it – juicy and sweet!

We were super glad that we found the cherries, save that for tonight’s dessert 😀

A long row of spices and herbs!

This vendor was selling huge metal decors.

You can also get cooked food here too!

So many types of sausages…

Olives, etc.

Pestos too by the kilo!

I remember this building which is right next to our favorite restaurant – L’Arome. We walked in the restaurant before it opens, the waiters and waitresses were there setting up the tables with a lot of “reserved” signs already, and asked if there’s any availability for lunch. Luckily, there is, but we’ll need to wait until noon for it to officially open which was fine with us. I left my name and then we walked back to the market to browse around.

I was getting hungry and need to use the restroom so we walked back to the restaurant and the waitress kindly seated us on the outside. I remembered their fancy restroom 😉 When we were presented with the menu, I was a bit disappointed that all the dishes have changed 🙁

The amuse bouche which tasted like seafood risotto.

Jason ordered the 3 course menu which consisted of the lobster rice as a starter and it was very lobster flavor!

I got the chicken, it was juicy and flavorful as well.

For the main dish, Jason chose the slow-cooked pork, it was okay not as impressive as the duck breast rolled around foie gras last time 🙁

For dessert, it was ice cream on pavlova with berries and sprinkle of honey. I think the dessert tasted the best. Our expensive meal cost €96…it was good but not as impressive as our last meal.

After lunch, we drove to Menton; it was a 3 hours 15 min. drive and the toll was crazy, every few miles a toll booth: €4.20, €14.80, €3.20, €1.50, and €2.60 totaling €26.30!!! We finally arrived Menton and I contacted the hotel, Hôtel De Londres, in advance for parking. They do have limited parking spaces at an underground parking lot nearby for only €10 per day which was a bargain and convenience in Menton.

We parked the car and strolled our luggage to the hotel, checked-in, and our room was located on the 2nd floor which was super tiny that I kept forgetting to take photos since it was so uninteresting. Their old elevator was super slow! For the 3 nights, it cost $377 booked via so we got what we paid and for the convenience.

Afterward, we walked to the port which was a good 17 minutes walk through the old town. The port has a lot of boats parked and the public beach is next to it.

Even though it was late in the afternoon, there were still a lot of locals on the beach! The sun was behind the old town at that time so the colors were washed out – best to take photos at late morning to early afternoon!

Since it was bad timing for photos, we walked back to the old town to explore the town center.

Menton is more geared toward residents and not much of a touristy town since tourists tend to stay around Nice, Monaco, and the famous resort towns of French Rivieria.

I enjoyed checking out their supermarket for the juice section – we found the delicious mango juice and it reminded us of the mango juice we had in French Polynesia! It was that good! After stocking up on breakfast items, mango juice, and of course milk, we went back to our hotel to drop them off prior to heading out for dinner.

For dinner, we went to La Trattoria which is only a 5-minute walk away and a good rating seafood restaurant. Let me tell you, finally, we had fresh and excellent seafood!

Their menu is only in French and Italian so it’s definitely not a tourist trap. There’s a waitress who speaks good English to translate the menu as well as the menu of the day for us. One dish that sounded super interesting was the spider crab spaghetti for two people for €50. I couldn’t have crab during pregnancy (according to Chinese believe, the crab will cause the baby to have bad skin) so I said I couldn’t eat crab and asked for a seafood spaghetti. Jason still wanted to try the spider crab so he ordered that although it was for two people. For the appetizer, we ordered the mussels in spicy sauce (forgot the naming of it).

The mussels were so fresh, huge portion, and the sauce, OMG the spicy sauce was the best I ever had!!! The spicy sauce was so much better than the sauce of my seafood spaghetti so I ended up pouring some spicy sauce over it LOL. My seafood spaghetti tasted great too with more mussels, lots of clams, and a huge shrimp.

After we finished both dishes, we waited and waited for Jason’s spider crab. Hum….we were getting eager and finally flagged the English speaking waitress and asked her about the spider crab. She was shocked, she thought we didn’t want it since it was for two people and I ordered the seafood spaghetti. She was so sorry about it and then suggest that she could offer us a smaller spider crab for one person portion for €35. We gladly took that offer!

When the dish came, we were so shocked!!! It was a whole spider crab! Usually, those crab spaghetti only half a crab or some crab meat but this one was a full spider crab! The plate size itself was almost as big as our table! We couldn’t imagine how large it’ll be for the two people portion! And look at the portion of the spaghetti, literally, this could feed four people!

For €35, it was excellent value; I don’t think we could get a whole spider crab dish in Boston for €35! Even though I couldn’t eat it, I sneaked a bite of the spaghetti and it tasted delicious with crab flavor.

Jason had so much fun cracking the spider crab that caught the attention of the people around us LOL! I was sitting there watching him eating for more than half an hour to clean up that crab! Of course, he couldn’t finish the spaghetti! We were super full and the awesome seafood feast was only €73. It was one of the best meals on our trip, we loved the seafood in Menton!

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