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Bric a Brac


During our travels, we do enjoy trying exotic things abroad.Here are some of these marvels.

RESTAURANTS - FRANCE Local Cuisine/ petits restaurants locaux tres agreables (Desole, on ne traduit pas tout; vous pouvez donc attraper votre dictionnaire.)
Les Trois Caves


18, place du Marechal Foch
62500 St Omer

Tel: 03 21 88 80 97

A delicious Savoyard restaurant decided to settle down in a near-costal town. The owner and staff are very efficient and friendly (they did let us go upstairs, as downstairs was smokey, even though we were the only people upstairs) the menu outstanding, and I was hoping for something super unhealthy style potatoes-cheese-meat-more potatoes but it wasn't even unhealthy, quite light really but a delicious taste of the Alpes in a close by town. (only 3.5 hours from London) As the owner said "we tried to bring the Savoie to people who go skying in winter but do not want to wait till then to eat nice Savoyard food" .Too right!
Excellent friendly market in St Omer, on saturdays. Nicer than Boulogne, really.
Le P'tit Monmartre

11,place Pierre Bonhomme
62500 St Omer

Tel:03 21 98 33 33

A very very good traditionnal French restaurant, which is slightly nouvelle cuisine (they lay the plates nicely and add strawberries) but the portions are good enough, just enough so you still have a little bit of space for the lovely enormous and extensive cheese board and dessert! Excellent. Lovely.

Very good service, and fast , just what is needed for a lunch.

Le Filet Bleu



114 Avenue de Paris
50000 Saint-Lo

Tel: 02 33 55 21 93

This lovely restaurant is a bit too much nouvelle cuisine style(small portions) but specialises in fish, and is just gorgeous! It was enough food by the end, though.

Ferme du Vert



Ferme du Vert, Hôtel Restaurant

Tel: 03 21 87 67 00
Great value meals for France! They serve the finest foods available around there: Foie gras, confit, etc, and great desserts. No good for vegetarians. Very upmarket service, very very good wines. They also do their own cheese. Lovely! Plus it's full of Booooys! Ohhhhh
A Choumas'



1,Place Cadelade
43000 Le Puy en Velay
Tel: 04 71 03 03 94
Have you heard of the famous "lentilles du Puy" NO? You need to get out more often then. The famous brown lentils come from this town. And they served them in this little restaurant, which was marvelous: the waitress was very very warm, very keen, very helpful, very pretty, and the dishes amazing. Great lunch. THe only thing I'd say about the town is it smells of drains, which does spoil the meal a bit(smell of Ariel washing powder, pouah) Recommended if you don't mind washing powder smells. It s worth trying.
Le Thiers


Jetee Thiers
33120 Arcachon

Tel: 05 56 83 33 17
Very good big restaurant on the sea front in Arcachon. Friendly service, and nice food. To my request, they even served me parsley tea, which is a sign of quality. Good atmosphere. Good mussels. Delicious, actually. Arcachon is famous for its oysters.

Auberge de la Croix Margot



122 Av de la division Leclerc
72170 Beaumont Sur Sarthe

Tel: 02 43 33 31 07
An excellent regional restaurant which offers some good local specialities.In that case we got Rillettes, from the local butcher.Very smilly waitress, and very entertaining customers who stick bread bins on their heads and get told off by their straight-laced wives. Very good meal, lots of fun. And very good wines too.

Au Petit Bouchon



11, Rue de Fismes
51100 Reims

Tel: 03 26 40 03 25

This restaurant deserves a good review. Owned and ran by the landlord, we were the only customers in there, on a friday night. The restaurant is situated in the middle of houses, (looks like a house's front room) far away from the mains streets of Reims, in what seemed not such a nice subburb (where Hotel au Tambour is).
The service was delightful, and the menu very varied. There were menus with 5 dishes, which seemed excessive but were very good. Very good for meat eaters.
The landlord even posed for us. Lovely and warm. I recommend it.

Restaurant Bellevue



Route de la Schlucht
68140 Soultzeren

Tel: 03 89 77 31 87
Even though we were stuffed like pigs at the lovely "chez Fabienne" table d'hotes, I wanted to try an Alsacian Sourkrout, and the only time left for it was at lunch, in between a big breakfast, big dinner the night before and a big dinner coming the very evening. Anyway, we got some superb sourkrout...a whole pork, nearly as bad as "le Pescadou" 'special de la semaine:choucroute garnie'which was very bad.(as in very big) Anyway, it was delicious, and unfortunatly the evening meal was also delicious...Aaaah I m sick just thinking of all that food. Lovely. And don't say I'm skinny, I can be very unhealthy too.

Crepe Vals



73150 Val d'Ysere

Tel: 04 79 41 14 62
We just stoped there for a warm drink,(particularly fine mint-limeflower tea from Twinnings) but you may stop there yourself for a fondue, raclette or crepes in all kinds.
I' m only putting this link there because the service was wonderful, and done by very handsome boys, very pleasant, warm and chatty. What a nice place to be!
We also stopped there because the postcard shop was still having their lunch at 4 in the afternoon.

Au bon accueil



55 rue de Lille
62200 Boulogne/Mer

Tel: 03 21 80 37 41

This is a friendly small restaurant, in the old Town at the top of Boulogne. The first time I went there, I was delighted, very good bread tart, but the second time, the atmosphere wasn't as good (staff slagging off each other in front of customers) and the cuisine wasn't finally that fine (a lot of fried stuff) Ah well, try it if you come this way, otherwise there are plenty more fish in Boulogne.
(formulae bedroom-evening meal eating with other guests, with landlord) /formule tres tres sympathique

Chez Fabienne



31 Grand' Rue
68820 KRUTH

Tel: 03 89 82 24 31

First time in a Table d'hote: and we chose the right one! Very friendly welcome, very pretty bedrooms all touched with a personnal decor, and the meal...aperitif served in the lounge, with apetizers, then a meal with local dishes, mostly pork, potatoes, cheese, but some vegetables. Excellent, and you are pushed to eat like 5, which I did twice, and that was a nice start of holiday (but hard to get up in the morning) Breakfast is excellent, again she does her best. Homemade cakes, homemade jams, and to my biggest joy she provided some garlic with olive oil. Just lovely. We didn't want to leave.
Manoir de Bellecombe



25, route de St Oyen

Tel: 04 79 24 31 95

Second day at a table d'hote. Very old manor, excellent location and the decore is very nice. The bedroom was simple but with style. The meal was delicious,local dishes and a lot of homemade things. The host was very friendly, and very keen to please. He even crushed some garlic for me for breakfast, along with homemade bread, homemade jams and more. Very good.
CHAMBRES D'HOTES formulae bedroom in a familly place, without the evening meal /formule tres sympathique
Chateau de Tennessus



Chateau de Tennessus
79350 Amailloux

Tel: 05 49 95 50 60

Wow, that's what I call a real Holiday place! A brave English familly bought this ruin 15 years ago, and did it up with talent and perseverance. The castle is amazing, the bedrooms unbelievable, and the Castle lady welcomed us with a lot of warmth and help. Breakfast is outstanding: the best . Homemade jams, homemade bacon and cheese baguette, cereals, thousands of herbal teas, yogurt and fresh compote, I was even ashamed to turn up with my garlic (which I decided to eventually buy some, after having been in a hotel that didn't have any) Amazing. But don't tell it to your friends. Otherwise we won't be able to get in anymore. (also got swimming pool)
HOTELS Local bedrooms(with and without evening meals/ avec ou sans restaurant).
Station Bac St Maur

77 rue de la gare
62840 Sailly-sur- La Lys
Tel : (33) 03 21 02 68 20

A very unusual hotel...Imagine going back to the 30's, and taking the train to some exotic location like Marseille or somewhere else. Here, near Lille, is a very friendly revamped train station, and a antique 1930's carriage with compartiments to sleep in. It s uncomparable. This carriage is one of the 2 left in France of its style. Facilities include bunk beds, or 90" beds, excellent shower, clean rooms, and a very very good restaurant. Try the local specialities: potlevetch(ahem the spelling), or terrines. Salads are very good too, and the desserts sublime
(They serve ice cream from a very famous ice cream maker in Lille) (excellent) Lovely place to do fashion pictures in. Warm welcome from the Chef de gare.

Hotel au Tambour




60-63,Rue de Magneux
51100 Reims

Tel: 03 26 40 59 22

Clean hotel and decent if you are passing by Reims and fancy stopping by to check out champagne producers. They did not tell us though that after they shut, at 10pm, to be able to get in, you need to activate a flashing swipe thing with a magnetic keyring thing they give you; so we just stayed outside,banging like mad, and nobody even came to tell us how to get in. We eventually found out, but thought that was a bit poor of them not to mention it. The do not have a restaurant, so I recommend "au petit bouchon" down the road. Nice swimming pool, and good breakfast.
Ferme du Vert:


Ferme du Vert,
Hôtel Restaurant

Tel: 03 21 87 67 00

Are you going for a day trip to Boulogne? Lucky you! But if you do want to stay overnight, why not drive up to Vierre Efroy, where the Ferme du Vert will welcome you to it's old converted farm house, dating from Napoleon. The rooms are amazing, the place retreated, quiet and as a client you will be very looked after.The restaurant is a dream, and the meal can be up to 7 courses, that are served traditionally, slowly. All for 37 per person! Some of the diners are quite upmarket, so unlike me, you might want to avoid looking like a floozy, to not attract attention. They also serve and sell their own cheese and beer.  Amazing.
Hostellerie Les Breuils


34 Av. du Dr Mallet
15300 Murat

Tel: 04 71 20 01 25
Very comfortable hotel, and beautiful.Warm welcome. Covered swimming pool, gym, and little garden available. Breakfast was a bit too ordinary(no homemade jams) but they dug me out some garlic which was nice. Worth the stay.
Poor restaurants in the area, though. (this hotel does not do meals) It is the opportunity to do a little diet, and rather than stuffing yourself, go and walk in the beautiful hills nearby.
Hotel de Chabriere



7, Boulevard Leon Gambetta
84501 Bollene

Tel: 04 90 40 08 08

Neat hotel in a busy town. The owner of the hotel, who was doing the kitchen porter when we arrived,turned into the Bell man, then became the Chef, and then became the Waiter. His wife does reception. Man of many talents, I say.
Very good food, very nice hotel.
Hotel De France


1, route de Lesparre
33930 Vendays Montalivet
Tel: 05 56 41 70 34
"Chez Gilles et Marika Bernaud " is the other name of this very nice hotel restaurant close to the naturist beaches of the Medoc. A very warm place, which unfortunatly is closed till 7pm, and do outstanding dinners. Very nouvelle cuisine but enough of it, makes the particularity of this hotel which does deserve some stars. Very nice waiters, and good breakfast. Warm atmosphere. The bedrooms are all individually decorated with a woman's touch. Worth the stay.

Hotel du Chemin de Fer



Place de la Gare
72170 Vivoin

Tel: 02 43 97 00 05
A very good looking building, with very strangely decorated rooms: it feels like a convent with this 50s decoration. Very nice, very weird! Warm welcome, the staff are very attentionned and helpful. Unfortunatly we did not try their restaurant, but the breakfast was very nice, and the waiter brought me about a litre of olive oil to eat with my garlic. Very good, I say.
LOCAL PRODUCE Local cheese farms, wine, shops, etc../ Produits locaux et merveilleux
'A lafayette' Mercerie

50 Rue Thiers
62200 Boulogne-sur-mer

Tel: 03 21 31 47 93

An excellent aberdashery, visited by many British people. Their excuse: "all our aberdasheries are closing down in the UK" .In this shop, you get extremely good and friendly service, by people who are down to earth and knowledgeable about everything regarding sewing. Prices are good.

They have a lot of patterns in stock (unlike London where you have to go to John Lewis for them...what a shame)

Champagne Bernard



116, rue Daniele Casanova
51530 Dizy

Tel: 03 26 55 24 78
We were spoiled for choice when we decided to stop at a local producer of champagne (having decided not to go for the big boring commercial names) and we chose this one, in the middle of the small village of Dizzy. The lady spent a lot of time with us, even though she was in a rush,explained all the processing of the champagne, how it s got to mature for 4 years to get rid of the acidity of it (if you drink champagne which is acidic when it goes down your throat, it means it s not the best stuff) but aparently all producers cannot afford to keep it that long, so they sell it off way before they should. Anyway, she was charming and lovely, and the champagne was delicious. Go there!
Vin St Emilion:
Chateau Godeau

Saint Laurent Des combes
33330 St Emilion

Tel: 05 57 24 72 64
A very interesting wine seller, who took a lot of time answering questions, most of it in a perfect English. Very nice wine, and very good prices. Very fruity. They use a lot of Merlot, like in traditionnal St Emilion wines. They do not take credit cards, so bring a lot of cash with you.
Vin St Emilion:
Chateau Tour Pourret

Chateau Tour Pourret
33330 St Emilion

Tel: 05 57 24 72 61
A more heavy tasting St Emilion, using 65% cabernet Franc and 35% merlot.
They have a credit card machine but it seems to not like English cards, so you will also need alot of cash when you come here.
Alsace Cheese

68380 Breitenbach

Tel: 03 89 77 51 11
Local cheese sold on a shop near the road; the unique MUNSTER. After 4 days drive in the sun, the cheese had reached incredible aromas, but was delicious(I was glad to get rid of it, so it perfumed someone's fridge rather than the car)If you dislike Munster, try this one before you make a definitive judgment. Industrial rubbish is nothing comparing to this. Try it.Real farm cheese.
Ets Fraunie (Cheese)

Market, in the middle, saturdays

Tel: 03 21 82 36 96
If you are browsing in Saint Omer, and want to get some cheese, get to the lorry of this familly cheesemen, they have a wide selection of delicious cheeses,many of them being specially bought at small farms (organic Tomme, 18 cows-Munsters cheeses) They are very helpful and good, definitly the best cheese stand on the market on saturdays.Unlike others, they do not specialise in factory outlets- wrapped cheeses.

Cantal cheese




Salilhes 15800

Tel: 04 71 47 52 16

If you stop in Middle France, you have to try the Cantal cheese. But this one must be the best one I have ever eaten. To have the right to the "appelation" Cantal, the cows which produce the milk are only allowed to eat grass and hay, and no GM, no dead chicken feathers blended with soya beans or no dead cows meat, and have to be outside a bit part of the year. This little farm in the hills has wonderful cantal, and tome, which is very fresh curd not yet processed to become Cantal. They also sell Pounti, a local delicacie, and any other speciality you can think of, they have. Amazing cheese.
Annecy 'Glacier des Alpes'


16 Rue Perriere
74000 Annecy

Tel: 04 50 51 08 86
This artisanal Ice cream shop is so well known that people in health food shops will come out of their way and explain to you in great details where it is, making sure you don't get lost, to get to this ice cream heaven. Even I had to try it. Dozens of different flavours, like violet-honey, licorice, walnut, tiramisu, milk jam, and more of the ordinary ones like banana, strawberry, pistachion, cookie, coconut, pink grapefruit, melon, mango, coffee, chocolate, white chocolate, and of course Vanilla. They do not use artificial colours, and flavours, well at least not obvious ones. It s delightful.

Conserves de Canards Gras




Gaec de Larnaudie
46800 Le Boulve

Tel: 05 65 31 95 18

An artisanal duck farm that sells products at the local market.
Excellent 100% duck pate(no pork added) and very good but expensive Foie gras. They also sell rillettes, confits, magrets de canards, and other lovely duck dishes.
Organic shop
"sarl Au quercy Bio"



183 Av Maryse Bastie
46000 Cahors

Tel: 05 65 23 00 39

A big organic food store, with a lot of choice that you do not get in England. I was very surprised to see that most fresh frhuit they were selling were green and unripe, what was the organic thing about, again? The sales assistant was very very helpful and friendly, and did know what she was talking about, which was nice. A very good shop for all your organic produce, except the fruit. They even sell moon books and propolis extract in alcohol.Wooohhh!
Organic shop
"Vert de terre"

17, rue Peyras
31000 Toulouse

Tel: 05 61 21 11 86
Open monday-saturday 9.30am till 8pm (probably with 2 hours lunch) Very friendly and cosy little organic store. This shop has a lot of different products which again I haven't seen anywhere else. If you need powdered soups with seaweed, come here...Very nice shop assistant...
Organic shop "Biosoma"


50 Cours du 14 Juillet
47000 Agen
Tel: 05 53 67 13 00
A shop which also sells a big variety of natural things, including salt lamps, and eye make up which I haven't managed to find anywhere else(made wihout any chemicals) The shop assistants are a bit average, not if you pass by Agen you may want to browse in there and get your stock of organic soja mince or organic meat, whatever you prefer.
'MOTHER IN LAW'S LINKS: things just for her. "Liens pour belle-mere" pour la faire partir en courant.
Cafe du Commerce



10-11Avenue Leon Gambetta
No contacts

I have never yet came into a place with such ABOMINABLE service. If you want to impress Mother in Law and make her think that even YOU are nice, bring her here. Arriving there, we were pushed into a dark corner as we were not eating, The service was rudely ironic, they did not propose caffeine free hot drinks; we eventually ordered a coffee, which took 10 minutes to come, and as we decided to go, the "waiter"rushed to bring the ordered coffee, didn't bring the water I asked for, and that bloke (big moustaches) just stood there, in front of us, stopping us from getting anywhere, staring in an unpleasant and rude way, waiting for his money.
The best Mother in Law link so far. Well done guys.That's worth 5 mother-in-law heads,

Vin D'alsace Leon Beyer



BP Nunero1
68420 Eguisheim

Tel: 03 89 21 62 30

Fancy impressing your mates? Or your mother in law in that case? Tell her this wine people sell their wine to restaurants like "Gordon Ramsay" and "Manoir aux Quat' saisons" which are obviously overpriced UK restaurants. These people are not independant vignerons, they need to buy grapes off their neighbours to complete their own, which is not a sign of quality for a start. Then the woman, in a very irritating posh English -French accent starts saying things like "we do not sell wine to the Masses""we sell to refined people with taste " basically, if you are a pratt you'll be impressed by it and buy some wine, and if you are not you will go and get one from someone who doesn't fart higher than their own arse. As expensive as a bottle of champagne. Not worth it.

Restaurant de la Paix



2, rue St martin
15300 Murat

Tel: 04 71 20 14 22

Do you have a dairy intolerant-vegetarian mother in law close to hand? If yes, this is the right place to bring her so she never wants to see you again: in this little town, you cannot get any food served after 9pm. (due to aging population). In this particular retaurant,You will not get any vegetables, they do not have any, but insipid lettuce, which I had both for starter and main course.The local specialities being Cantal and Tomme, you will have to try the brick load of Tartiflette and Truffade, which are actually very nice, but very very filling, with potatoes, cheese, chips and meat as starter.
Your mother in law will definitly not come back for more. And be constipated for the next fortnight.(nice customers though)

Restaurant le Sampiero



18, route de la Liberte
79200 Lageon

Tel: 05 49 69 82 11
A truckers restaurant, with 2 separate rooms, one for truckers and one for casual people.The food is abundants, particularly the starters, but the quality is poor, frozen food, fried, not very tasty and desserts which have that little special "fridge" taste to them. The service was quite nice, but the food isn't worth the detour. We didn't even get to meet any lorry drivers, they were so well concilled. Ah well...