Les Chambres d’Andréa is named after the owners’ grand-daughter

The best restaurants and hotels in the region, plus some hidden secrets only the locals know about (until now)

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TOP HOTEL-RESTAURANTS

Le Château L’Hospitalet

Surrounded by pine forest and vines to the east of Narbonne, and just ten minutes from the coast; a hotel, restaurant, cultural event space and vineyard all rolled into one. Website: www.chateau-hospitalet.com

Hôtel Les Remparts

“The hotel occupies a former garrison, where stone arches and walls immerse you in an incredible medieval journey.” So say Cécile and Stéphane Rives, the owners of this rather special three-star hotel right in the heart of the fortified town of Aigues-Mortes. Website: www.remparts-aiguesmortes.fr

Le Spinaker

In Grau-du-Roi you’ll find this excellent hôtel-restaurant close to the beach and the marina. There’s a swimming pool, a spa, a formal restaurant and a poolside grill. Website: www.spinaker.com

The Hôtel Les Remparts is housed in an 18th-century former garrison

TOP HOTELS

Château Pech-Céleyran

This château, in Salles d’Aude, a village between Narbonne and Béziers, has been in the Saint-Exupéry family for five generations. Guests can stay in one of five gîtes, or four bedrooms, or indeed the nine-person apartment above the wine cellars. There are three reception rooms, plus a huge courtyard, gardens and 96 hectares of vines. These latter produce some pretty special wines. Website: www.pech-celeyran.com

Les Chambres d’Andréa

This lovely guesthouse in the coastal town of Marseillan has a swimming pool and a garden stocked with fig, cypress and tea trees. “Bathed in sunlight throughout the day, yet shaded and calm, it is a perfect spot to escape the bustle of everyday life,” the owners inform us. Website: leschambresdandrea.com

Hôtel-Résidence Andemar

The four-star Andemar Hotel & Residence is a very grand former hôtel particulier that will give you a great insight into how the haute bourgeoisie used to live in this lovely town overlooking the Étang de Sigean. Website: www.sigeanhotel.com

Château de Pouget

A 12th-century castle, an indoor swimming pool, a boulodrome, an orange grove, and a “romantic park ideal for cocktails and aperitifs”. All this and more at this 4-star hotel between Montpellier and Nîmes. Four bedrooms, all individually decorated. Website: chateau-de-pouget.com

The Auberge du Vieux Puits is in a tiny village to the south of Narbonne

Mas de l’Étoile

“For a luxurious stay, guestrooms are provided with scented candles, a king-size bed and satin sheets in Gard Camargue style,” say the owners of these chambres d’hôtes near Aigues-Mortes. Each suite has its own jacuzzi, and there’s a spa with a roof that opens or closes with the weather. Website: www.masdeletoile.fr

TOP RESTAURANTS

La Cranquette

The old rectory in the village of Gruissan is now a rather splendid restaurant specialising in fish and seafood. So splendid, in fact, that there is a whole menu dedicated to just mussels. “As true epicureans, we cultivate beauty, goodness and truth,” they claim. “Even the traditional recipes that we dutifully offer all pass through the prism of our creativity.” cranquette.fr

Le Portanel is just the place for those of you who love to dine on eels

Le Portanel

This former sherman’s house in the village of Bages has wonderful views of the Étang de Bages. The special eel menu (currently at €42 per person) features eel terrine, smoked eel, sautéed eel, eels à la narbonnaise, and eels stewed in Fitou wine. Website: www.leportanel.net

Les Grands Buffets

The French tend to turn their noses up at the concept of an all-you-can-eat restaurant. Not here at Narbonne’s Grands Buffets, where great classics of traditional French cuisine are offered in unlimited quantities. First there’s the main dining room, with its rotisserie – “an imposing wall of roasting spits sets the scene for a never-ending procession of whole suckling pigs and Pyrenean milk-fed lamb, farmyard chickens, roasted quails and slabs of beef”. There’s also a terrace, a private dining room, over 70 wines sold at production prices, occasional live music, and imposing artworks displayed on the walls. Website: www.lesgrandsbuffets.com

Chez Bébelle

Inside Narbonne’s Les Halles, former local rugby star Gilles Belzons has set up a snack bar where ingredients hail exclusively from the market stalls surrounding it. Order a steak and watch as Gilles yells through a loudspeaker to nearby butchers who then throw the meat across the marketplace to his waiting hands. (Spin passes are optional.) Great fun. Website: www.chez-bebelle.fr

La Table Saint Crescent

This gourmet restaurant in Narbonne has been blessed with a Michelin star. Housed in what was once a medieval oratory, it benefits from the direction of the very experienced chef Lionel Giraud. Menu prices currently range from €35 to €90 per person. Website: www.la-table-saint-crescent.com

La Cambuse du Saunier

Out on a lagoon south of Narbonne, you’ll find a salt marsh called Le Salin de l’Île Saint-Martin. Here there’s a beach restaurant called La Cambuse du Saunier offering delicious meat and fish dishes. Expect to have them seasoned with plenty of local sea salt. Website: www.lesalindegruissan.fr

Auberge du Vieux Puits

It’s worth heading inland to Fontjoncouse, home to the Michelin- starred Auberge du Vieux Puits. Chef Gilles Goujon currently offers three menus from €110 to €195. Website: www.aubergeduvieuxpuits.fr

From France Today magazine

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1 COMMENT

  1. I am trying to find an ancient village in Provence. Friends of mine recommended it. The information they gave me:=

    ancient village
    stayed in a B + B owned by Dutch fellows
    village name Le Berut

    Not muth information, sorry, they cannot remember very much

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