Saturday, November 24, 2012

Au Fil du Temps, a special restaurant in Pernes-les-Fontaines

On Sunday a few months ago, late in the afternoon and thinking about dinner, I flipped through Michelin's "Bonnes Petites Tables" and the "Guide Gantié" to restaurants in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur looking for restaurants where we hadn't dined and most importantly, restaurants open on Sunday nights. For readers in the US, many restaurants in France are closed on Sundays nights.

After calling some recommended restaurants and listening to messages saying they were closed on Sunday nights, I reserved a table at Au Fil du Temps in Pernes-les-Fontaines. I was doubly pleased with myself because we had not dined there before nor had we visited the town. Pernes-les-Fontaines is located about 25 miles south of Sablet between Carpentras and L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

Pernes-les-Fontaines is an old medieval town with defensive walls and portal gates that remain in tact dating to the 16th century. As the name implies, Pernes-les-Fontaines takes its name from the many fountains that are located around the town. We drove into town through one of those portal gates and parked near St Augustine church, today transformed into a cultural center.

We parked just as the sun was setting and then we discovered that across the street from St Augustines, was the restaurant Au Fil du Temps. It's a tiny place with room for 18 diners owned by the chef Julien Drouot and his wife Clair who works the front of the house. In warm weather, dinner is served on a small terrace next to a fountain.

The dining room is simply decorated and the tables are well-spaced. Shirley sits at the table waiting for dinner to be served. While waiting, we chatted with Clair Drouot and discovered that they have owned the restaurant for about 2 years and were previously in San Francisco where both worked for chef Philippe Gardelle at Chapeau restaurant, one of my favorite restaurants in the City.

I spotted one of our favorite wines on the Carte des Vins (wine list) and happily ordered a bottle of the 2009 Domaine la Soumade Rasteau, Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages, Cuvée Prestige, a delicious blend of Grenache Noir (70%), Syrah (20%), and Mourvèdre (10%). The winery is close to Sablet.

Unfortunately, I can't find my notes about our meal so I will tell you what we had based upon my recollection and the pictures. First off, we started with a very creamy asparagus velouté (soup) sent out by chef Julien as an amuse bouche to get our appetites charged up.

It was asparagus season and we started with what the menu called Méli mélo (translated as mish mash), a beautifully plated asparagus salad. Since Shirley doesn't eat red meat or poultry, the chef made her a vegetarian salad off the menu which I didn't get a picture of.

For Shirley's main course, she chose a grilled white fleshed fish set on asparagus and served with a large baked cannelloni.

For my main course, I chose the pan-roasted duck breast. Unfortunately, I don't remember what the puree or sauce was made of.

To finish, we shared the chocolate dessert, yummy chocolate ganache with pistachio cake. Unfortunately, I don't recall whether it was sorbet or ice cream which accompanied the creamy chocolate.

We also shared a selection of cheeses which I recall the menu said were aged by Josiane Deal in Vaison-la-Romaine.

To send us on our way, the chef sent out house-made chocolate truffles and a glass of port. A very nice way to finish a wonderful meal.

Au Fil des Temps lost one Michelin star when the restaurant was sold to Julien and Clair Drouot. Our meal was excellent and worthy of its Michelin Bib Gourmand designation.

At some point during the meal, there a was cracking sound and down I crashed on my little wooden chair to the floor. There were only one or two other tables with diners but the experience was certainly most embarrassing. Clair sweetly said that the chair leg had been cracked, have no idea if that was true or not, but at least she tried to make me feel better. Thankfully, I was not injured except for my ego which was deeply bruised. I guess that means I need to start la régime (diet).

Regardless of my embarrassment, we will return again to dine at Au Fil du Temps; it is definitely worth a trip to Pernes-les-Fontaines if you are in the area. Since we got there at dusk, we returned the next morning to actually visit the town and see all of those fountains, more about that visit in my next post.

I hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving. Bonne journée mes amis et à bientôt. Have a great week.

Au Fil du Temps
51, Place Louis Giraud
84210 Pernes-les-Fontaines
Tel: 04 90 30 09 48


  1. Michel,
    we love Pernes - such a beautiful village. Unfortunately when there, we went to the "other" restaurant - the goose place. Not nice. Next time we will follow your good advice (once again....)

  2. My husband has cousins that live in Pernes so Au Fil du Temps is definitely going on the 'restaurants to try' list.
    And don't feel bad about the chair, one time in a very busy restaurant, I came back from the Ladies, completely misjudged the chair (it had been pulled out a bt too far) and slid right off the edge of it and then it toppled over on top of me. HORRIFYING.

  3. Sounds like a great place - seasonal cuisine, beautiful presentations, and a warm, gracious welcome.

  4. Barbara - We really liked Pernes too and I would rate Au Fil du Temps as one of the best restaurants in the Northern Vaucluse.

    Sara - Thanks for helping to pick up my ego from the floor. It was horrifying, just happy there were not more diners in the restaurant.

    Croquecamille - Definitely a nice place! Thanks for checking in on my blog. I hope you are well.

  5. Wow that duck breast is making my mouth water and we have just finished dinner.....

    As for the chair, the most important thing was that you were not hurt. Take care :-) Diane

  6. I love your restaurant recommendations Michel, thanks so much. After our fantastic meal at Chez Serge, you are now our trusted guide. Hope we'll have a chance to try Au Fil du Temps soon, looks amazing. Hope you had a very nice Thanksgiving too & bon weekend. Tuula

  7. Diane - The food was very good. Thanks for trying to make me feel better.

    Tuula - If you like Chez Serge, you will love Au Fil du Temps. I hope you get there soon.

  8. Bonjour Michel. Thank you for stopping by chez moi today. I guess I had missed this entertaining and very thorough post about lovely Pernes-les-Fontaines (or should it be renamed "Pernes-les-Chats?") There are so many towns and villages I have not seen yet in my homeland, but thanks to traveling fellow bloggers like yourself, I get to go, at least vicariously. As for chair episode, I command you for not SUING the restaurant afterwards (kidding!) - Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  9. Veronique - Thanks for stopping by. I always enjoy your comments. I am glad you like my posts and tours through our corner of Provence. In the US, there is no doubt that if something like that happened in a US restaurant, there would be a law suit.