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Has Any Traveled Through Provence France?

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We are thinking of taking a trip through Provence and I was wondering would it be better to rent a villa and buy gluten-free food in stores or stay in a hotel and order food at restaurants. We do not speak French at all but I have downloaded the lists to show waiters or chefs of what I can or can't eat. We would eat in some restaurants either way.

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I would do as much of the grocery store thing as possible.

You will probably find (it has been some time since I was there and I was not diagnosed at the time) that most restaurants have a "set menu", meaning you have options for three courses that are set. That usually reflects the food they have prepared. The choices are usually fairly limited-- fish or chicken for the main course, say. They will probably not be able to make a special batch up for you. This is a typical smaller rural type restaurant or hotel. They may simply not be able to accomodate you. A more upscale restaurant is a better bet.

You will love Provence-- if you get a chance, there were several towns and places that stood out that were a bit off the path.

Domme (breathtaking! It rises up out of the earth)

Rousillon-- eat some rabbit there if you can. I don't know why, but that is my memory. The red cliffs are beautiful.

Avignon-- you have to dance on the bridge. It is a tradition :-) The papal palace is okay, but the park is nicer.

Perigord (lots of culinary specialties-- confit de canard) If I remember rightly, they are excavating some amazing roman ruins there. You could walk over them and look down into baths, etc.

Lascaux II (the copy of the cave-- the original is not open to the public) in Dordogne. In that region you will see lots of abandoned towns along the road that are great photo ops.

Die (in the Alps)-- famous for a clarette and an amazing archaeological site (Roman outpost, Mithraic cult-- spring for the museum there.)

Ile sur la sorgue-- just beautiful. Buy fabric there and hike up the river-- it is by Mt. Ventoux where the Tour of France goes through and where Petrarch spent some time. Get something to drink at a riverside cafe and sit a spell. The color of the water is beyond description.

Lac d'Annecy- one the boder with Geneva. It is famous for the black swans. There is a little twon near there that has micro-climates, so the higher you go, the more tropical the vegetation beomes.

And if you can, the Abbey of Senanc is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It is like a fairy tale place.

Watch out for sheep on the roads! There is a huge migration during certains months.

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Thank you so much for your suggestions. I never thought of the set menu problem. I thought I could just order plain fish or chicken.

Also I really appreciate the suggestions of what to see. It seems overwhelming at times to plan this trip between where to have our home base, what to see, what can I eat and the language. I don't want to give up and just not go because of the gluten-free diet.

I would do as much of the grocery store thing as possible.

You will probably find (it has been some time since I was there and I was not diagnosed at the time) that most restaurants have a "set menu", meaning you have options for three courses that are set. That usually reflects the food they have prepared. The choices are usually fairly limited-- fish or chicken for the main course, say. They will probably not be able to make a special batch up for you. This is a typical smaller rural type restaurant or hotel. They may simply not be able to accomodate you. A more upscale restaurant is a better bet.

You will love Provence-- if you get a chance, there were several towns and places that stood out that were a bit off the path.

Domme (breathtaking! It rises up out of the earth)

Rousillon-- eat some rabbit there if you can. I don't know why, but that is my memory. The red cliffs are beautiful.

Avignon-- you have to dance on the bridge. It is a tradition :-) The papal palace is okay, but the park is nicer.

Perigord (lots of culinary specialties-- confit de canard) If I remember rightly, they are excavating some amazing roman ruins there. You could walk over them and look down into baths, etc.

Lascaux II (the copy of the cave-- the original is not open to the public) in Dordogne. In that region you will see lots of abandoned towns along the road that are great photo ops.

Die (in the Alps)-- famous for a clarette and an amazing archaeological site (Roman outpost, Mithraic cult-- spring for the museum there.)

Ile sur la sorgue-- just beautiful. Buy fabric there and hike up the river-- it is by Mt. Venteux where the Tour of France goes through and where Petrarch spent some time. Get something to drink at a riverside cafe and sit a spell. The color of the water is beyond description.

Lac d'Anncey- one the boder with Geneva. It is famous for the black swans. There is a little twon near there that has micro-climates, so the higher you go, the more tropical the vegetation beomes.

And if you can, the Abbey of Senanc is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It is like a fairy tale place.

Watch out for sheep on the roads! There is a huge migration during certains months.

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Some of my spellings might be off a bit, but I bet you can find the places online and make a great trip. check the dates for the transhumance (sheep migration). If you catch that wrong you are looking at HOURS in the car while thousands of sheep sawrm around you car. I was there in June, as I recall.

Yes the set menus were strict when I was there. You could have soup or salad and they were pre-prepared (and who knows). You could have water or wine, fish or chicken and the dessert that came with. And it was all one price. And of course there was bread or fried potatoes on the side. Risky. Breakfast will be tricky because usually it is coffee and a pastry. Pack lots of something you can eat.

If I were you and I was determined to go, I would plan on picnics everywhere. I would hit a hypermarche and get utensils, fruit, raw veggies, big bottles of water (lots of water), cheese (if you can do dairy) yogurt, chips, deli meat (tricky there too-- do canned tuna if you can)-- maybe fois gras (check the labels). I would bring a bread substitute of my own if possible. Or you can get a campstove and a pot and do some cooking (boil eggs!)-- also tricky. Picnics can be so wonderful! People there will understand about picnics.

Bathrooms are hard (lord are they hard)-- you can usually use the one in a bar, but they do kind of expect you will buy something there-- a drink of sort sort will do. I availed myself of lots of broome bushes-- at least they are beautiful. You will want to get violet and lavender water, herbes de provence, some of the fabric (even just a small piece,) maybe a piece of limoges (the town itself was no great shakes as I remember) and lots of photos. You will see the famous poppy fields.

Sometimes I look back at the times when I was sick and traveling-- I went to Morocco, for goodness sake. While it is good not to let it stop you, it certainly does complicate things! But France is truly beautiful-- especially that part of it.

I forgot to say that Vaucluse (near Ile sur la sorgue) is worth seeing, as is the town of Gordes. Cavaillon (where the melons grow) is nice too.

Good luck to you! Bon voyage.

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We were there in June also. We brought a few gluten-free goodies from home but found lots of gluten-free food in the grocery stores & had lots of picnics in our hotel room. Rice cakes are in all the grocery stores but rice crackers were hard to find & we never did find gluten-free bread. We even found pre-prepared meals (made for the microwave) on many grocery store shelves with an ingredient list as per the USA/Canada. Despite being gluten-free we still ate very, very well. If you can get access to a kitchen then on top of things like cornstarch for baking with, we found chestnut & hazelnut flour in many stores. Remember France has lots of people needing to be gluten-free too.

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