Sunday, March 27, 2016

Some sights of Vaison-la-Romaine and an excellent lunch at Bistro du'O Restaurant

We go to Vaison-la-Romaine frequently, usually with camera in hand, so we have similar pictures shot during various times of the year. A few weeks ago, we went for lunch at Bistro du'O. So besides telling you about our lunch, I thought I would share some of the better known sights in different seasons.

The main square of Vaison-la-Romaine is Place Montfort seen below, a large, open square lined with terrace cafés, bars, restaurants and shops. There is a fountain in the middle and Plane trees for shade during summer. This is one of the main locations for the weekly market on Tuesday morning, antique markets, art and pottery markets among others events throughout the year.

Place Montfort, Vaison-la-Romaine - February 2016

Place Montfort, Vaison-la-Romaine - February 2016

Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth Cathedral seen below is a Roman Catholic church and former cathedral in Vaison-la-Romaine. It was formerly the seat of the Bishopric of Vaison, abolished under the Concordat of 1801. The structure of the cathedral in general dates from the 11th century, but the apse and the apsidal chapels are from the Merovingian period (500 - 750 AD)

Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth Cathedral - February 2016

Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth Cathedral Bell Tower - February 2016

Roman ruins in Vaison-la-Romaine are spread over two sites; Puymin adjacent to the Office of Tourism with its Musée Théo Desplans (museum) and Théâtre Antique (Roman theater) which once held crowds of 6000 people, built in the first century AD and on the other side of the street La Villasse seen below which we pass on our walk to the Tuesday morning market.

La Villasse, Vaison-la-Romaine - February 2016

La Villasse, Vaison-la-Romaine - February 2016

There are quite a few eating establishments in Vaison-la-Romaine but not many that we think are very good. One restaurant we have frequented over the years despite several changes in owners is Bistro du-O.

Bistro du'O Restaurant, Vaison-la-Romaine

The restaurant is located in what is said to be a former stable belonging to Lords in the upper town near the Roman bridge. It has been under ownership of chef Philippe Zemour and his companion Gaëlle Renard who attends to service in the dining room since 2013.

Bistro du'O Restaurant Dining Room

The menu is not very big, 4 choices for starters, about the same for main courses. Prices are moderate, they offer three-course menus for 32 and 47 Euros and the restaurant has been recognized as a Bib Gourmand by the Michelin inspectors for the past two years. For those who don't know, Bib Gourmand are restaurants that offer "exceptional good food at moderate prices."

We got the server to take a "selfie"

I ordered the three-course "Menu de Saison" for 32 Euros and Shirley ordered the roast cod and cheese course "A la Carte."

Crispy prawns, with sautéed leeks and bisque

Roasted duck breast with carrots, orange and cumin

Roast fillet of cod, with fennel puree, aioli and black olives

Rocamadour cheese belongs to a family of goat cheeses called Cabecous. It is produced in the regions of Perigord and Quercy, and the name is derived from the village of Rocamadour in the department of the Lot. The cheese takes about 12-15 days to attain full maturity, but it can be ripened furthermore for several months to make it a bit stronger. It appears white, ivory cream with velvety skin. Because of a nutty flavor, it tastes great when consumed on hot toast or in salads.

Rocamadour Cheese from Josiane Deal

Chocolate cake and ice cream

The pictures which follow were all taken last October during our fall visit to Sablet.

Place Montfort, Vaison-la-Romaine - October 2015

Place Montfort, Vaison-la-Romaine - Octover 2015

Cours Taulignan in Vaison-la-Romaine - October 2015

Hotel Dieu (old hospital) in Vaison-la-Romaine

Roman ruins in Puymin near Cours Taulignan in Vaison-la-Romaine - October 2015

Roman ruins in Puymin near Cours Taulignan in Vaison-la-Romaine - October 2015

Roman ruins in Puymin near Cours Taulignan in Vaison-la-Romaine - October 2015

Roman statuary and ruins in Vaison-la-Romaine - October 2015

Roman ruins in Vaison-la-Romaine - October 2015

This old stone bridge was built at the end of the first century AD. It is a classified historic monument and links the lower town center and the upper medieval old town.

Vaison-La-Romain had a disastrous flood in 1992 which swept away the new bridge and several houses and killed more than 30 people. Amazingly the Roman Bridge withstood the flood and is still in use today.

Roman Bridge in Vaison-la-Romaine - October 2015

The entrance into the upper, heart of the Medieval upper town is through the deep, fortified gateway through the base of the belfry tower seen below. The lower part of this tower was built in the 14th century. The upper part and the ornate wrought-iron campanile were added in the 18th century.

Belfry tower with its 18th century wrought-iron bell cage - October 2015

Bistro du'O Restaurant
Rue Gaston Gévaudan
84110 Vaison-la-Romaine
Tel: 04 90 41 72 90

Our lunch at Bistro du'O was excellent, food was perfect and beautifully plated, service was attentive. We will be back and recommend you go there if you are looking for a place to dine in Vaison-la-Romaine. You won't be disappointed.


  1. We also love Vaison La Romaine and recognize the town square. Our house in Mirabel Aux Baronnies is almost equidistant between Vaison and Nyons, so we visit both of them often.

    And we also enjoyed a delicious lunch at Bistrot d'O and look forward to eating there again. Lovely meal, service, and setting in the "old town" (as opposed to the VERY old part, which is Roman.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping in to check out my blog. We have only driven through Mirabel Aux Baronnies very quickly and its on our list of places to do a propert visit. There is a young man from Mirabel Aux Baronnies who comes to Sablet on Thursday mornings to sell the families delicious goat cheese. I hope you will stop in often.

  2. Beautiful photos! Thank you so much for sharing this lovely tour. Warm greetings and Bonjour from Montreal, Canada. :) (Yes, I speak both English and French)

    1. Hi Linda. Thanks so much for stopping in to visit my blog and for leaving a comment. I appreciate that very much. Good to know you can speak both French and English. I hope you will be a frequent visitor to the blog.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Hi, Michel, Thanks for posting about the Bistro du'O; I will send the article to friends and renters. Do you know:

    The chef won a local “Top Chef” competition in June 2014, that lasted over several months and took place in Châteauneuf du Pape (and was sponsored by a great winery, Chateau Vaudieu, there.) O
    ne of his competitors told me I should eat at Bistro Du’O. A local winemaker said the same and even invited me so I could experience the food.

    1. Hi Sharon. How are you? Thanks for sharing my post. We have been eating at Bistro du'O since we first moved to Sablet. Then it was owned by the couple who owned Le Grand Pré in Roaix in partnership with another couple. This was probably the best meal we have had there. So I would definitely recommend it to your friends.

  5. I'm an occasional reader of your blog..and so glad I stopped by today! Vaison is one of our very favorite places in France; we love the entire area but are drawn back to Vaison. So this fall we have rented right in town for two weeks and can't wait! My husband is a photographer and looks forward to having days and days to wander… We also love Seguret but it's too small for two weeks. Anyway, any and all suggestions would be most welcome! Thanks Michel. (Think I originally got to you from Julie in St. Remy who is a friend)

  6. Hello from Canada Michel!
    Thank you for hosting this blog, it's a big help for planning our trip to Provence this September!

  7. Is the amazing cheese shop still in Vaison, we were there about 4 years ago. this year we're haeding for St Saturnin Les Apt in a couple of weeks