This is a really nice little restaurant serving unpretentious Lyonnais food.
The service was good, although obviously being a bit away from the tourist area there was no English spoken. This did lead to us ordering calf's brain by mistake, but we couldn't really send it back, and it was actually quite tasty.
The wine good, as expected, and the bill was fairly reasonable.
One I would recommend, although it might be worth looking out your phrase book if you're not confident of your French.
Charming B&B run by knowledgeable, friendly and accomodating hosts. Excellent food - including a wonderful vegetarian menu for my wife, very comfortable and clean rooms and an idyllic spot to rest while touring the area. Great value for money - far less expensive than you'd think - with no unexpected extras on the bill. A very refreshing change from soulless hotel chains!
If you want authentic high-quality cooking by one of France's greatest chef's, but for a fraction of the price, then make sure you book a table at Alain Ducasse's traditional bistrot in Paris, Aux Lyonnais. As the name suggests all dishes are traditional Lyonnaise fair, including Quenelles a la Lyonnaise, sauce Nantua (yum) and Tarte et île flottante aux pralines roses (even more yum). With set menus for lunch costing as little as 30 euros, this really was a gem of a find. Tucked down a quiet side street, the 1890 decor makes for a sumptuous setting that was clearly good enough for Hollywood, as it recently featured in Woody Allen's film Midnight in Paris.
This is a warm and friendly French bistro that we found by accident when walking away from the tourist crowds through the back streets of Montmartre (we almost walked past the wooden frontage of the restaurant!) It's a lovely little spot with a great atmosphere, reasonably priced and very tasty classic dishes (around 15 euros for a main course). The wine list has a good unpretentious selection of wine too. Make sure you try the chocolate parfait for dessert! We went around 9pm when it was quite buzzy, and it seemed to go on until quite late - we loved it as the clientele were pretty much all French with the odd tourist dotted around (presumably they had got lost and found it by happy accident like us!)
Typically we stumble on the best restaurants on the last night of our trips, and invariably they are right under our noses. Such was the case with Le Basilic. It is intimate, atmospheric, inviting and affordable with a three set menu for 23 Euro's or the Parisian staples of escargot and duck from the a la carte menu. After feeling ripped off in the majority of Parisian eateries, Le Basilic restored our faith in French bistros, especially considering its location within a mile of Moulin Rouge and Sacre Coeur (both of which are worth a post dinner stroll). We first found Le Basilic in 2000, were delighted that it was still open when we returned to Paris in 2008 and we make a beeline for it whenever we are are near Montmartre.
A fantastic stop off on your way down through France. A beautiful village in the Beaujolais region. The bistro is situated in the Georges Dubœf Wine Museum serving all the latest wines from this amazing French wine king. The food is simple yet delicious, the cleanliness of the restaurant is exemplary and I guarantee you will not be disappointed. It is just a step off the TGV station or not far from the A6 Autoroute. The museum is also well worth a visit if you have time.
It is a small welcoming French bistro in a side street in the 11eme, a bit off the tourist track
The menu is short and the food good and the wine list has something for every pocket.
We discovered the Auberge des Peintres in the picturesque hamlet of Saint-Ceneri -Le-Gerei on an overnight stop in Normandy. Situated on the main square in a building dating back some 300 years, the bistro’s wood panelled walls were hung with canvasses of local painters, continuing a long association with writers and artists including Baudelaire. All the old favourites were on the menu. Starters included rilettes de maquereaux, ouefs cocotte, pates and salads. Juicy pave de boeuf, pink magret de canard, creamy gratin de mer, andouilletes, boudin noir, and cote de boeuf were but some of the mains. The joys of chocolate fondant, charlottes and tarte tatin followed. Prices were reasonable for the excellent cooking. Best visited in the evening when day trippers have left and a pre-dinner stroll takes in the frescoed, Romanesque church, a beautiful stone bridge under which kayaks glide, wild flower gardens and Les Jardins de la Mansoniere, a garden in which candlelit classical music concerts are hosted in summer.
Le Bourg, 61250 St Ceneri le Gerei, France
Google map: bit.ly/wMIn2g
Le Columbier is a lovely family run restaurant away from the tourist area in Toulouse. Nestled between a couple of shops, an unassuming front opens up to a rustic, friendly restaurant. They have something to cater for all tastes. They specialise in cassoulet and classics such as magret de canard. After a heavy main course try a refreshing sorbet "drowning" in champagne. A delightful meal from start to finish.
A beautiful fine dining restaurant in St Juire Champgillon (between Saint Hermine and Chantonnay). Wonderful service and beautiful food! You need to book in advance as they fill up quickly.
11 Place de la Mairie, 85210 St Juire Champgillon
+33(0)2 51 27 86 91
Google map: bit.ly/z418Bz
A cafe/bistro just next door to the Musee d'Aquitaine. Friendly service, bright, pleasant decor and an excellent lunch menu.
Peace and quiet, some great views, the Romanesque Church. An old man fishing under some ancient trees, reflections of the arched bridges in the clear blue water, spotting some big fish under the bridge, an ancient pigeonnier, a beer in the market square, a meal in the riverside restaurant, stroking a friendly cat that follows you along the bank.
This is the cosatal region of Poitou-Charentes and is the centre of oyster culture. It is very picturesque and has some great restaurants obviously specialising in sea food and particularly les huitres, There are also some great beaches especially on the two main off shore islands Ile de Re and Ile d'Oleron.
This is a 'brocante' (antique/flea market) that is not to be missed. It's medium-sized and takes about an hour or so to wander up and down, and it has the most wonderful selection of goodies. There's all sorts of classic antique French tableware including stunning linen and lace, as well as homeware objects and furniture set out alongside old posters and adverts on old weatherbeaten enamel panels. The last time I was there I picked up a huge one and a half metre high neon-lit 'Tabac' sign (I was there with my car, admittedly!) for just 60 euros. There are food stalls at either end so you can stop for a coffee and a croissant, and if you're feeling cultural there's also the Muséum Naturelle d'Histoire de Toulouse next door on the edge of the equally impressive Jardin des Plantes. It takes place the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday of each month from around 8am until lunchtime.
Allée Jules Guesde, Toulouse (next to the Muséum Naturelle d'Histoire de Toulouse in the Jardin des Plantes). Nearest métro stop: Carnes / Palais de Justice
Google map: bit.ly/y9eyzz
The ‘brocantes market’ in beautiful Aix en Provence is held on a wide boulevard shaded with trees and surrounded by fragrant flower displays.
The locals set out stalls under bright coloured umbrellas and hours can be spent wandering from one to another, enjoying coffee and pastries at the street cafes along the way. There is a wonderful eclectic mix of antiques from extravagant chandeliers and glamorous jewels to dusty books and agricultural ironwork.
The market has a lovely relaxed air; visitors can soak up the atmosphere created by the sunshine and chatter of the locals whilst searching for a little piece of treasure.
Place de Verdun: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
Google map: bit.ly/H2XobA
Breezy runs a cosy, relaxed catered chalet close to Chamonix town. Fantastic food and flowing wine. Her intimate knowledge of the valley is invaluable when it comes to making the most out of your precious ski or snowboarding holiday.
Who needs Bora-Bora when you have Brittany? I'll wager that when you arrive on the Îles de Glénan, an archipelago off the southern coast of Finistère, you'll consider these desert isles as good as any that you might find in more exotic places. If you're not here for the sailing school, there is little to do except bury your feet in the white sand, kayak across a clear lagoon, or watch the black headed gulls, weave and dip, on their flight out to sea.
Widely considered the toughest trek in Europe the GR20 follows the spine of the Corsican mountains from the north west to south east of the island. The trek, mountains and views are spectacular. The hut infrastructure is good and the people are very friendly.
Some people go out and do as much as they can of the route in a week. It can be completed in less than 2 weeks but give yourself 1 week more and you can take the 'alpine variations' and a few side trips. Treat yourself to some time in Corsica at the end of trek to enjoy beaches, good food and powerful cheese.
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