On our last day in France (October 15th), the only thing we had planned was going to lunch at Ferme Auberge Le Castelas (tel: 04 90 74 60 89, reservations necessary, if only so they know you’re coming). We had wanted to have a good meal in an off the beaten path destination as we’d have to return the car by 6pm. Apparently Catherine Deneuve has been known to helicopter here for a meal so we figured Ferme Auberge was a safe bet.
It was an exceptionally stressful morning as we spent more on train tickets to Brussels that we expected, and the direct connections were sold out so we’d have to transit in Paris and brave the strikes all the same. Later we discovered that the woman who sold us the tickets was a complete moron, something we should have been clued in to when she thought we said Boston instead of Brussels and had an itinerary on Icelandic Air all queued up for us to buy. Right.
On tenterhooks, we drove to the village of Sivergues, which was by far the smallest village we’d ever seen. It consists of perhaps two structures, neither of which looked like people lived there. Both buildings were located at the end of the only road into town, the D232.
Chris maneuvered our rented Renault onto a hiking trail where our lunch would be waiting for us 1.5 kilometers down. We were told that once we saw the goats, we weren’t far from the entrance. I spotted a few prancing in a pasture along the trail and sure enough, Ferme Auberge’s entrance was no more than a hundred meters away.
The sound of gravel crackling underfoot announced our arrival, and as the only patrons there, we had the pick of the long wooden tables placed around a large field. Perhaps this is where Madame Deneuve sets down.
Today, it was where pigs lunching on grass and a very excitable kid, who later jumped on our table and helped himself to some flatbread, greeted us.
In minutes, a mouth-watering spread of appetizers was laid before us: fennel salad, roasted red bell peppers, house-smoked jambon cru, and soft goat cheese with chervil and basil. All this was to be washed down with a pitcher of red sangria and local red wine. Heavenly.
Careful not to fill up before whatever largess awaited us for the main course, we ate perhaps only half of everything. The main course was 10+ grilled pork chops and perfectly roasted baby potatoes simply served on a long wooden board.
We dug in and summoned our dessert stomachs for the jaw-droppingly gorgeous spread of goat cheeses that was plunked down before Chris – how did they know he was jonesing for some cabrio-love? The cheeses are made on the farm and aged by a local affineur. We finished with warm chocolate cake and coffee before romping around with the pigs, who were being fed day-old bread while not fleeing from a mischievous dog.
One of Ferme Auberge’s employees asked Chris, “Why did you come to the Luberon? Why not Paris, Cannes or Marseille?” Oh country mouse, if only you knew that we city mice long for a life like yours!
Lunch including wine, sangria, dessert and coffee was 30 Euros each, and half-board there, which is breakfast and dinner, is 70 Euros per person.