Friday, 30 January 2009

Local Restaurants


This section of the blog is to give you a good idea of where you can find some really nice restaurants around the local area.

Over 3 million visitors travel to Carcassonne each year, so as you can imagine there are a multitude of restaurants, bars and cafes to service their needs and they are not all in 'La Cite', you can find some pretty good ones in the newer part of the city as well.

For now though I am going to limit the list to those restaurants that have been visited and recommended by previous guests, or where we have been and enjoyed ourselves with good food and a drop of wine or two.

Carcassonne

Bistro Florian One of my favorite little places that we stumbled upon when house hunting before our move to France is in Place Carnot in the center of the newer part of Carcassonne known locally as 'La Bastide Saint-Louis', that's the Bistro in the picture above.

I had a Foie Gras salad when we went for lunch and it had a dressing on it to die for. Lovely ambiance, very busy but this added to the experience in our case because the service was still pretty good and it just felt very cosy as we were all inside being a crisp November day.

Castelnaudary

Le Maison du Cassoulet  is one of our favorite restaurants in Castelnaudary, it is located on the main street through the town called the 'Cours de la Republique' just above the Marie's office. That's where I ate my very first Cassoulet, and a fine example it was; although it has to be said you need to be sure you are hungry before ordering this dish.

Le Mistral has been visited and recommended by several of our previous guests, the food and service was generally regarded as being of a very good standard and the hostess has been mentioned for her lovely warm welcome and attention to her guests. From what we have been told you won't go far wrong choosing Le Mistral for a nice lunch or evening meal. You can find it in Rue de Carmes which is just off the square where the tourist information office is located.

Little bit of an update as we recently ate here ourselves and were not too impressed with the steaks that were served, the fish looked pretty good as did the mussels but the steak, well unless you are Jack Sprat's wife I would leave it alone and sit inside not in the street.

Au Petit Gazouillis this restaurant was actually recommended by my barber (called Bob, very French) who also told us about Le Mistral and one or two others as well. He mentioned that these were the best places to go for the world famous Cassoulet. I am still waiting for feed back on this one as to whether it meets expectations, but Bob came good with Le Mistral so I am listing this on his recommendation. Thanks Bob.

La Belle Epoque this is another of Bob the barbers recommendations, so I am also still waiting on feedback about this one and the quality of their Cassoulet. It is located in a street that runs parallel to and behind the main street of the town where you can find the Marie's building and the post office.

Un Tour de Moulin, this is the last of Bob's recommendations and just in case you need a haircut I have identified Bob's shop, he only speaks French but he does a mean haircut for €14.

Lac de St Ferreol


The Lac de St Ferreol provides a lovely backdrop to the many restaurants that are located around the lake, there are a number of different styles on offer including of course French, Chinese plus a few more. I know its sacrilege but we have eaten at the Fleur D'Asie Chinese restaurant a couple of times and the food was lovely.


We have also eaten at a French restaurant there called La Renaissance with equally satisfying results, slightly better actually. The service at La Renaissance was very welcoming and the food we had was delicious, with a set menu for offer at only €15 per person for a main course and a dessert.

Fanjeaux

La Table Cathar
, this is on route to Mirepoix from Castelnaudary when you take the Limoux road as an alternative to going over the hills. My family and I have eaten in this restaurant for lunch and it is run by a lovely lady and is very popular, food is simple but very good and your hostess provides a friendly atmosphere and likes a bit of banter if you can squeeze out a bit of French.

Mirepoix

La Flambee, this is a nice restaurant in Mirepoix that was visited by guests from Ireland and comes highly recommended by them after they spent a very pleasant evening here. Mirepoix is worth a visit anyway and is a very popular tourist destination with lots of little cafes and restaurants in the medieval square. La Flambee can be found in Rue Porte D'Amont just off the square.

Hotel de Commerce, we have eaten at the Hotel de Commerce on a few occasions, I wouldn't say they catered well to vegetarians (unfortunately for one of friends) but other than that it really is very nice. We like to visit in the summer and eat in the covered courtyard which is delightful, so add this to one of your places to visit.

Well these add a few options for you and there will be loads more 'La Cite' in Carcassonne leaves you spoilt for choice and I haven't even added Revel's options yet but will do shortly. I know it's sacrilege but I really enjoyed the Chinese restaurant at Le Lac de St Ferreol which served Chinese food French style in small courses and it really was very nice and worked well with our very large family of mostly youngsters. I will dig out the name and add that one as well later so stay posted. This one is going to grow.

Of course you can also choose to eat in, Chez Nous (or Le Moulin) has proved to be one of the best restaurants around, depending on who is doing the cooking of course.

If you want some Best of British you can do a bit of shopping in Carcassonne at your British grocer in France which you can find at 67 rue Armagnac just off Place Carnot. They are open Tuesday to Friday 10.00a.m. to 4.30p.m. and Saturday 10.00a.m. to 4.00p.m. I won't tell if you don't.

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