14 Aug 2009

Love To Lunch At Le Lunch


I have not yet met a French person who doesn’t stop for a proper lunch.
By proper lunch I mean table, chairs, cutlery, china and food on the plate kind-of-lunch not the take-away sandwich fast food kind of lunch that I munched on in my past life.
I know that, ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ and that this wise platitude is based on sound medical reasoning but if we are talking in terms of eating pleasure, I vote for lunch every time.

How far would you drive for a good lunch?

I think the answer is that distance becomes irrelevant when there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Our rainbow yesterday were the calanques of Marseille – the limestone cliffs that push out into the Mediterranean Sea – and our pot of gold was a restaurant aptly entitled, Le Lunch.

Le Lunch sits by the sea at the base of the Calanque de Sormiou outside the port city of Marseille.

The restaurant is at the end of a long and very narrow road that winds up and over the calanque.
At the same time as reserving a table at Le Lunch you must leave the details of your car registration which then enables access to this private road.
The drive through these limestone cliffs is spectacular and that first glimpse of blue makes the 90 minute journey from home worthwhile.

Le Lunch is very simple and low key in decor with the same approach to the cuisine; Le Lunch is all about the location.

I opted for the grilled fish of which there was a choice of sea-bream, sea bass and red mullet.

It was presented whole, then de-boned at the table and served with a whisper of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt – light, delicious and perfect.

Driving back up and out is just as dramatic as arriving – the views of the city of Marseille are framed by the natural wilderness of the limestone calanques on either side.

Marseille is not St Tropez and Le Lunch is not Cub 55 but that is the beauty and the charm. Le lunch was le fab, xv.


Le Lunch

Calanque de Sormiou

13009 Marseille

+33 4 91 25 15 37

VA In Your Inbox

subscribe for updates from vickiarcher.com


Anne in Oxfordshire

What a beautiful place to lunch, I …if only I could get there!!

Your choice sounds delicious, but then so does MrFF…don't let too many people know, or they will all want to go :-) Hmmmmmm!!


Oh my gosh, that looks like the most phenomenal and dreamy lunch spot! I would easily drive an hour and a half for that– I'm tempted to fly across the ocean really! :)

Fabulous Finds Gal

What a divine place to be! I surely would travel a far to have lunch there. A proper lunch, I love the idea. I wish we Americans would trade our fast food for a china sit down. I will try today… off to Laguna Beach.


You do take Le Lunch seriously, : ) , and here we don't. Just yesterday I was complaining to someone about how much I dislike this idea of a 'working lunch'. I think you hear me.


KC Mom

I am so stinkin' jealous! I never knew the waters of the ocean were so beautiful there. The rocks are beautiful and I'm so dying for the food! I can't wait to see more of your life there!


What a beautiful setting to explore, Vicki. Thanks for sharing that beautiful hidden Le Lunch….I'd love to go there. What atmosphere! <3

Dumbwit Tellher ♥

This is why I love the French! Enjoying life and not the rush, rush, rush of America. I would drive a long way to experience a fabulous restaurant & with such magnificent views. What a truly stunning place.
Xx deb


Oh Vicki,
How absolutely divine that spectacular little hideaway is! Did you know about it or happen to stumble upon? Isn't it funny, that those little places always serve simple food, but always perfect. Do you think that a spectacular location makes the food taste better, or that simple food with the freshest of ingredients is the key .. or is it just both!!
I would love to visit it one day.

Laura [What I Like]

That scenery really just makes me gasp…how beautifully stark are those cliffs?! And the clear blue water…I can't even think too much about it. The very unclear Hudson River is the closest I can get right now and it's making me utterly sad!

my favorite and my best

H E A V E N. i LOVE lunch. it is a lost art here in america. what a beautiful life you lead. most of us here only see that kind of life in the movies. but you are living it. soon enough, mark my words, someone will make a movie out of your life. OOOH! maybe i could play you!!!

Angie Muresan

What an idyllic place to spend a leisurely lunch. The pictures of that place are breathtaking. Sad to admit, but unless it's the weekend, I often lunch on the go or work right through it. Lucky you that you escaped your previous fast paced life, and get to blissfully enjoy the slower pace of this one.


oh oh oh. Le yum!! Yum to the restaurant, yum to the scenery and to the secret hideaway, members only vibe. There is nothing better than fresh fish, except of course eating it by the sea, and with the view such as what you show! Ahhhh. That's the life – and the lunch!
xo Isa


yes, there's nothing like settling in to a proper lunch. and fresh, simply cooked fish by the seaside on a hot day (in the south of france)sounds like heaven! thanks so much for a little chance to dream on a winter melbourne morning …


I was just talking about food and eating lunch/dinner, today….I said that I know people to whom food is just 'eat to live' …having just come back from Italy, I cannot understand this philosophy…my whole life revolves around food.Food and wine play a major role in our holidays. That little spot that you have found looks absolutely idyllic and your meal is my perfect meal..fish ,simply cooked….. delicious and what a perfect view.

A Thousand Clapping Hands

Oh give me le fab! A divine lunch with a view. I cook lunch everyday since it is our only meal together. It is an elaborate affair on the coffee table.(Not kidding.) How nice it would be to sit by the sea and have someone de-bone my sea bass.

Francine Gardner

What I would not do, just to be there right now. everytime i visit your blog, i feel more and more that i must make the jump and move back to France. i am actually going to look at houses in January. I go every September for the Avignon deballage but too busy with the Showhouse i am doing in New York, so it must wait until then…meanwhile all I need to do is click in your blog…and i am right there


I do think the French know how to live. We all seem to be rushing, rushing here. What a gorgeous spot to lunch. It reminds me a little of a place in Cinque Terre, bordering the sea. I would gladly travel that distance for the view, the food and the pure joy of relaxing.


I shouldn't play favourites with meal times- they are all highlights of the day but there is nothing quite like a boozy lunch followed by a lost day. Those views are stunning. Am wildly jealous and very happy for you. Have a great weekend! Rx

My Castle in Spain

so dreamy and as you say, it's not St Tropez but definitely "le fab" !!
i agree about having a proper lunch and what could be better than those beautiful views with the grilled fish of course…
Have a great week end Vicki !


Sounds wonderful, Vicki, and your pics set the scene superbly. I had no idea Marseille was backed by mountains! Now, if it wasn't just that wee bit too far …..!


Perfect setting, gorgeous views, scrumptious-sounding fare and I feel almost as if I made the trip. What a way to brighten my day, Vicki – thank you! Have a wonderful weekend. XX

City Living Girl

Your blog brings back so many wonderful memories of my trip to France. But, we never made it to Marseilles. Oh, how authentic. I would travel many hours to lunch here.

adriana lobo

Vicki, what a place! I love lunch too, and breakfast! So maybe brunch is my favourite… Your posts fill me with joy! Have a weekend full of nice discoveries, and please, share them with us after. Love,


What a glorious trip….so beautiful and close to the sea. Have a wonderful week-end. This post makes me miss living in Spain when we would do similar trips to the coast Basque towns for lunch. Bon Appetit.

Kimberlee Jaynes

Hello Vicki,
I just saw Julie Julia the movie about Julia Child and fell in love with French food all over again…what a wonderful way to spend an afternoon!


La Belette Rouge

I would take an eight hour plane ride to lunch there!!! I am lunching with a friend in Newport Beach tomorrow, I am going to do my best to pretend I am at Le Lunch.


What a perfect spot! Somewhere to relax and simply enjoy life. I do think I would drive or fly to enjoy this experience. Of course I would have to stay a few weeks to unwind from the day job. Have a great weekend.

count it all joy

I would be happy to stop there if it was only for "le snack". Gosh Vicki, do you every pinch yourself, thinking "I get to live here!". Thanks for sharing a little slice of your life, it's just lovely….Meredith xo.


Of course, there is the guilt free version!
You hike over from Mazargues(a suburb of Marseille), enjoy a swim, even with the stoney seabed, then have lunch at Le Lunch. Better if done on day when the temperature is below 30c, so you don't totally expire.
Upside: The scenery, the crystal clear water, & Le Lunch.
Downside: Stoney seabed, & the walk home.


what a fabulous pictures and place!
don't believe THEM! lunch is most important meal!

I dream to see Marseille.

The Antiques Diva™

How far would I drive for lunch? Apparently 5 hours… as when we use to live in Amsterdam, we'd occassionally wake on a Sat morning with a craving for Paris and we'd throw on clothes, run for the Volvo and be in St Germain des Pres by noon! You, French Essence, are a girl after my own heart with your lunch-bunch mentality!! Bon Appetit!

Coastal Sisters

Dearest Vicki~
How lovely of a spot to have lunch. The scenery is just breathtaking. The Commander and I want to travel to France at some point. That has been my dream vacation :)

Have a lovely weekend dear one,


TQ for visiting…..i've been following your very inspiring blog since i found you by accident when i started coco's blog a month ago………

thanks for taking me on your interesting 'journeys'and i loooove Paris and most things french……
have a fab weekend,
coco's mum lilian


I wish more than anything to go there for Le Lunch today! I need an adventure far far away and I think you just shared the perfect spot~

Alison Gibbs

Vicki I am sure I would drive through the night to lunch at Le Lunch. What a wonderful place with delightful views. Think it beats the fish and chips on the park bench we had at Queenscliff on Friday – check my last post

The Clever Pup

I may have mentioned here before that I had a friend who was immersing herself in French in your neck of the woods and had to get a ride back to Paris. Her friend drove like a complete maniac at speeds over 100mph. Then he would stop for a leisurely lunch. Jump in the car, drive like crazy and again stop for coffee. Proves your point I guess.


Vicky…When I first met my Australian Husband he used to laugh at me about driving any distance! Going anywhere seemed like next door to him but was like Oh lala… (we need a whole weekend for that)to me!!!Now I have lived in Australia I realise that 90 min drive to go for lunch is "rien du tout"!!!
Thanks for the lovely pictures of Sormiou and Marseille that I have not seen for a while now;)Sandrine x

Cote de Texas

Just gorgeous! Love this! and I love the part about leaving your car registration – how romantic is that? Oh to be there with you!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would drive 10,000 miles. thank you for this post – it's wonderful.


Hey Vicky, you were not very far from me ! The lunch is not my favorite restaurant close to the sea . I have some others spots. Next time you plan to come to Marseilles, let me know , may be we can have lunch together in a secret place


Everytime I pour and devour your blog I feel an ache in my heart to travel. Your photo's are beautiful you can almost smell the flowers, or ocean. I love your romantism approach to all things french. I can't wait to come back to France and discover the real treasures.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

powered by chloédigital