The Prettiest Restaurant in the World

At least according to me.

Here’s the sad thing…I don’t even know its name. I’m not sure I ever did. This is what I can tell you about it.

The restaurant is in Vezelay, in the Burgundy region of France. Vezelay is a hill town, founded in the 12th century. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it is best known as the home of the Abbey of St. Mary Magdalene. We visited there two years ago on a trip we took exploring the region.

Italy is famous for its hill towns–France less so. A thousand years ago, villages built at the top of steep inclines were easier to defend. Fortunately for us 21st century history buffs, many are still around.

Europe 07-April 080

But it wasn’t the Abbey or the views or the charm of Vezelay that we and our friends remember. It’s the lunch we had at the prettiest restaurant in the world. (At least according to me.)

A short digression. We live in what is known as an “historic” town. There was a bloody battle fought here in 1864. We have many antebellum homes. The entire downtown is on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. Those credentials notwithstanding, any European in his right mind would scoff at our pretensions to historic importance.

We had left the Abbey, wandered through some shops and were heading back down the hill to the car when we saw it. A simple patio behind an iron fence. Plastic tables and chairs of the Wal-Mart variety were scattered about. Behind the patio, an ancient stone building with open windows–shutters pushed aside. And twined above it all, a massive wisteria vine. In fact, it was a wisteria tree, in full bloom. The trunk was several feet in diameter. We were there when the blooms were at their peak. We had to stop and have lunch. There was no question about that.

I don’t remember what I ate–most likely une salade au chevre. What I do remember is the wine. We ordered the local white wine for the table and it came in a little earthenware pitcher–most likely from grapes grown on the adjacent hillside. One pitcher became two…the setting was just too pretty to leave.


Here it is:


In honor of that memory, husband bought some wisteria last week in hopes that it will climb up the posts to our second story deck. Check back with me in about 500  years–I’ll let you know how it’s doing.


Filed under Food/Cooking, Travel

13 responses to “The Prettiest Restaurant in the World

  1. That restaurant really is pretty and so’s the wisteria. I’ll check back in 500 years on the wisteria. You should have some pretty rockin’ wine aged by then as well.

  2. I love reading about your memories of places I’ll never go. And, Wisteria is a lovely flower.

  3. I hope the Wisteria takes for you – it’ll be beautiful.

    I’d say if you’re looking for an easy climber, get some honeysuckle. The flowers are so pretty and the smell in the evenings is just gorgeous.

  4. Julie Fisher

    Do you remember the scent from the wisteria as well? So beautiful! As far as growing wisteria, I believe you have definitely chosen a great plant for non-gardeners. All you have to do as far as growing it is really nothing. Just sit there and, as you said, wait. 500 years? Not really, maybe 200. But, hey, you’ve got that many for sure.

  5. That’s one hell of a time capsule! x, e

  6. Beautiful.

    I have places like that in my mind too. Thing is, I don’t know if it would be as beautiful if I were to go back. I think it was just the perfect moment.

  7. Dingo–Do you like port? We have LOTS aging in the basement. Might not take 500 years.
    Gwen–Saying you’ll never go is a self-fulfilling prophecy…so is saying you will. 🙂
    Beth–Do children in England pull out the honeysuckle stems and drink the nectar?
    Julie–I don’t remember the scent, but I do remember that I found those little purple petals in my bag when I got home.
    Ellie–Thanks…I enjoyed reading about your travels as well.
    Blue–I think you’re right. It’s hard to recreate perfection.

  8. It may take slightly less than 500 years 😉

  9. mongoliangirl

    I’ll check back with you in 500 years. It would simply be too beautiful to miss. Also? Because I like to think I will be haunting others 500 years from now.

  10. That is just friggin’ gorgeous. I don’t know what else to say other than that.

  11. Niece Lash

    Rassles got it right!

  12. Yeah, I also like the Restaurant, but how you found out the “Prettiest”?

  13. I’m really late on replying here – I didn’t even know you could do that?!

    I do remember that we had pet hamsters that would eat the flowers though..

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