By day, a tapas restaurant; by night, a bar/club. A lively mix of French and Spanish influences in music, food and drink. The young crowd here can be relied upon to dance with a passion and energy that is quite uplifting for a visitor from the UK.
This excitement is partly due to the live trumpet player at weekends, who, to disguise the DJ's average mixing skills, blasts out the south of France fanfare heard at rugby games and all over the region. This works the crowd into a frenzy, tempered only when the trumpeter slows things down for the Spanish national anthem. Then another fanfare, and the crowd go wild again. It's like this every weekend.
1 Rue Gabriel Peri, Toulouse. Nearest station: Gare Matabiau
A guesthouse in the midi-Pyrenees and the base for Jonathan's tours - walking holidays in the beautiful Ariege region of France. The village manor house has been restored with sympathy and flair. The garden - where Jonathan grows organic fruit and veg - a hidden oasis of terraces and lawns, provides a delightful lunch setting for Myriam's wonderful meals - all food is sourced locally and where possible, is organic. Jonathan is passionate about the area and an enthusiastic guide. When not based at home he's running similar walking tours in Crete.
If this sounds like an advertisement, well I'll come clean - I run creative writing holidays at Le Clos Enchante - also painting holidays, but we first met Jonathan and Myriam in Crete and have the greatest respect for his style of guiding - always taking his clients to meet local people, putting money into the local economy wherever possible (meals taken with shepherds) - both in France and in Crete.
And to save on those polluting airmiles why not travel to Le Clos Enchante by train on the excellent French rail service - as we did last year when our camper van broke down. After a B&B in Toulouse, we took an early morning train - changed in Bordeaux and Paris and got to Roscoff in plenty of time for our overnight crossing to Plymouth.
A beautifully kept and secluded campsite overlooking the valleys of the Dordogne.
Particularly recommended for off-peak camping, the site also hires out "mini-chateaux". Very warm staff, great location with nearby watersports, medieval villages and superb local cuisine.
Camping les Hauts de Ratebout,
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