Eating out in France

Lunch hours are quite strict in France. Workers take a long lunch from 12 to 2pm and often eat in the restaurants; outside of these hours it can be hard to find anywhere open. Restaurants serve at lunchtime and suppertime, but not in-between. In the evenings, service usually doesn’t start until around 7.30pm. Days of closing vary, so you may want to check and in high season it is probably worth booking.

Most places, except fast-food joints, offer a plat du jour, which can be very good value. You can choose one, two or three courses, and they usually like you say up front how many you will be having. Quality varies, of course, and when multiple courses are served, they tend not to be very large but adequate. Bread is always served with meals, but you may have to ask for salt and pepper.

Restaurants and bars in Laguépie

Laguépie has some year-round restaurants and others that appear for the high season only. Availability will depend on when you visit, but for July and August those listed are currently all open. There are also two typical French café-bars open all year-round. There is always one day a week when they are closed, however, so do check. Le Deux Rivieres is about 10 minutes’ walk away as is Les Tilleuls, the campsite restaurant. All others are a minute or so from Bridge House. We’ve given rough directions, but a brief walk around the village will be enough to let you know where they are all located.

Le Troubadour, is a traditional café-bar and tabac in a prominent location in the Place du Forail (the marketplace with the parking in the centre). It’s a must for Wednesday and Sunday morning coffee when the market is on for people watching, but also good for watching big-screen sport in the evenings. It’s closed on a Monday.

Le Bar Du Viaur, aka Chez Fifi, is a café-bar just a few houses away in the same square as Bridge House. It has river-side tables and sometimes serves food; it closes on Tuesdays.

L’Oustal
This restaurant is to the right of the Place du Forail. It does a decent plat du jour but specialises in pizza. It has a nice area for sitting outside and indoor seating; food and service are good; open year-round, but closed on Mondays.

L’Angle
This new restaurant run by an experienced chef is indoor only, open year-round and serves authentic French cuisine, cooked expertly. It’s not expensive, does a plat du jour; quality and service are good. To find this restaurant exit the house and turn right, go past the Bar Du Viaur and the brocante shop, carry on along the road and the restaurant is on the same side and about two minutes from the house.

Chez Wam
Just past the Bar Du Viaur and a few paces further on the same side of the road, this is a trendy summer-only pop-up. Its seating area is on a wooden platform in the street with a few tables inside. It offers primarily steak, chicken and veggie burgers and amazing chips. The quality is excellent, food very tasty, service considerate and the beers artisanal.

La Galoche
This is on the riverside, outside and its tables are visible from our balcony, so it’s easy to find. It does drinks, salads, fast food, ice creams, crepes and snacks.

Hollies
On the beach is a shepherd’s hut that’s a mobile fast-food outlet. It’s painted blue and owned by Holly, a friendly young English woman. Beers, soft drinks and fast food – simple stuff and convenient, friendly service. It retreats to the square out of season.

Camping Les Tilleuls.
This shaded outside restaurant is in a great spot and the walk there is short and lovely. They do drinks and coffee, salads, burgers and a few other traditional options, and spit-roast chicken for Sunday lunch. It closes on Tuesdays. To get there, go past the Bar du Viaur, past the brocante shop, the haberdashery shop and L’Angle restaurant. On the same side of the road, you will see a green sign at the start of an alleyway saying Camping; go down this alleyway till you get to the river bank. Just keeping walking along the towpath with the Viaur on your right and houses on the left. You will then see the tennis court; the restaurant is another 100 meters further on.

Le Deux Rivieres is next to the camper-van site on the Averyon bank and is a traditional French restaurant of many years’ standing; it has indoor and outdoor seating. To get there, cross the Averyon bridge as if you were going to the station; you will see the original Deux Rivieres that burned down ahead on the right, but take the first left, down a bank then circle down towards the river and keep going.

Out-of-town eating

15 mins drive

  • Varen, Le Moulin de Varen – posh dining in a restored mill-house right on the River Aveyron.
  • Le Food Truck, Arnac – funky outdoor bar and restaurant serving burgers and veggie dishes often with live music – you have to join the Association for 1€ to drink!
  • Verfeil Sur Seye, Les TonTons Zingeurs – hipster/ traditional cuisine and artisanal beer in charming, trendy village.

20 mins drive

  • Saint-André-de-Najac, Relais Mont le Viaur – a traditional, old-fashioned restaurant and inn in Aveyron stone style .
  • La Chataigneraie, Lagarde Viaur – a funky outdoor bar and pancake restaurant, often with live music.
  • Najac has several eating houses but the Le Faubourg (traditional French), in the top part of town, and Il Cappello (Italian), down towards the station, are reasonable, reliable and usually open and Hotel Restaurant Le Belle Rive, near the station is impeccably situated.
  • St Antonin de Noble Val has many restaurants but our favourite is just off the main square and has a lovely courtyard, Beffroi Tentations; quieter and cheap and cheerful, a minute away, is Le Capharnaüm. Out by the Casino supermarket is a trendy micro-brewery, Le Bellier, run by an Englishman, with excellent hand-crafted beer.
  • Monestsiés, in the Tarn, on the way to Carmaux, has a superb dining terrace the Auberge Occitane. Don’t miss the medieval pieta carvings, La Mise au Tombeau, when you are in this pretty village.

30 mins drive

  • La Guinguette de Cazals – an outdoor summer riverside café serving full meals in the season just off the Aveyron beach where the canoe companies pick up.

35 mins drive

  • Villefranche de Rouerge has numerous restaurants and bars, very busy on Thursday lunchtimes.

40 mins drive

  • Albi and Gaillac both have numerous bars and restaurants, catering for all budgets.

Bon Appetit!