Saturday, March 22, 2014

A yummy lunch in Maillane, home of Provençal poet Frédéric Mistral

A few months back, we went to Maillane for déjeuner at L'Oustalet Maïanen, a Bib Gourmand restaurant according to the Michelin inspectors. Actually, we went there twice within a two week period of time. The first time for lunch with friends Steve and Mary and a second for dinner with cousins Jean-Marc and Christine.

We had not been to Maillane nor heard anything about the village before that day. It wasn't until our dinner with the cousins that we learned why there are so many references to Frédéric Mistral in the village. It is the birth place of this famous, Nobel prize winning Provençal poet on September 8, 1830 and where he lived all his life and died on March 25, 1914.

Maillane is a small quiet village set amidst olive groves in the Alpille's countryside about 7 km northwest of Saint Remy. As I said, we didn't know about Maillane before we came to dine at L'Oustalet Maïanen. So not knowing there was more to the village than the sleepy appearance it displays, we didn't visit the village and historical sites associated with Frédéric Mistral.

Cross in Maillane

First named Notre-Dame of Bethlehem, the Romanesque style parish church later took the name Saint Agatha, the village's patron saint. Saint Agatha is a Christian saint and virgin martyress born at Catania, Sicily and martyred there in approximately 251 AD. She is also the patron saint of breast cancer patients, martyrs, wet nurses, bell-founders, bakers, fire, and earthquakes.

Saint Agatha Church

Inside Saint Agatha Church, you can see a 17th century high altar of white marble, classified as a historic monument and representing Christ and the disciples in Emmaüs. In a reliquary, to the left of the altar, you will see a statue of Notre-Dame de Grâce, a crowned virgin from the 13th century, who saved the people of Maillane from the cholera epidemic of 1854.

Interior Saint Agatha Church

We went to Maillane to eat at l'Oustalet Maïanen hoping we would find a new, excellent place in the Alpilles, a chain of limestone hills dotted with small villages that run east and west south of Avignon. We got to the village and found the restaurant opposite the former home of Frédéric Mistral.

L'Oustalet Maïanen

We were shown into and seated in a well lit dining room. After reviewing the various menu options, we all chose the "Convivial" menu for 29 Euros. While we waited for our first courses to be served, we nibbled on a tray with tomato Parmesan crackers, olives, and multigrain crisps topped with tomato-cheese terrine.

Tomato Parmesan crackers, olives, and multigrain crisps topped with tomato-cheese terrine

The food that followed was excellent.

Friends Steve and Mary with Shirley at L'Oustalet Maïanen

Frisée Salad with grilled quail, radicchio, raisins and onion confit

Pumpkin soup with sauteed mushrooms and cream

Rabbit three ways

Pan roasted cod on tomato confit with sauteed zucchini and star anise sauce

Baked apple with almond crisp and ice cream with currant sauce

Chocolate crunch with chocolate cookie, raspberry mousse, chocolate mousse, all encased in chocolate ganache

As I said, our meal was excellent and we intended to go back when we were in Provence a few weeks ago. Besides the excellent food served at l'Oustalet Maïanen, I wanted to take photographs of the historical sites related to Frédéric Mistral to put in this post.

We were told you can see the house where he was born, then the house where he lived with his mother, and third the house which he built upon his marriage and where he eventually died. Finally, you can see his final resting place in the cemetery.

Well l'Oustalet Maïanen was closed for congés annuels while we were in Provence and we had so many places to go that we didn't have time to make a special trip to take pictures. So those will have to wait for a future visit.

Maillane street and Saint Agatha Church

L'Oustalet Maïanen
16 Avenue Lamartine
13910 Maillane
Tel: 04 90 95 74 60

We definitely found an excellent restaurant like we hoped at L'Oustalet Maïanen. It is very close to Saint Remy and would be an excellent place to dine after the market or if you are looking for a place to dine in the Alpilles.

Have a great day my friends. Chat soon.


  1. Hi Michel! Lovely to read your posts again - super photos! The meal looks amazing, I must say! And I also looked at your Gordes post - we know Gordes quite well and it was great to see those familiar streets again! You live in such a beautiful area..Best regards to you both.

    1. Claudia - Nice to hear from you again. I appreciate your checking out my posts very much. I hope you are well.

  2. Again, you were so close to Arles! :) And I am glad to hear that this restaurant lives up to its very solid reputation. That is a steal for 29€...

    1. Heather - I screwed up. I really should have looked closer at the map so I could see how close we were to Arles. Yes, the restaurant is very good. If you and Remi are near St. Remy or Les Baux, it is a great place to get an excellent meal at a modest price.

  3. Michel you always find the best little restaurants - lucky Shirely!

    1. Barbara - I keep trying to convince Shirley how lucky she is but she is not yet fully on board with that idea. :-)