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St Antonin Noble Val:- what's the low down?

St Antonin Noble Val:- what's the low down?

Apr 18th, 2002, 07:47 AM
  #1  
Dominic
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St Antonin Noble Val:- what's the low down?

Hi, off in late Aug/Sept for 3 weeks in a gite just north of St Antonin Noble Val in the Aveyron (actually near Caylus). Love to hear from others who know the area of things we ought to know about. Already planning a canoe trip down the gorges (canoed the Ardeche last time out... WOW!) but what about St Cirq, Cahors, Figeac, Villefranche etc etc? Anything would be appreciated.
Dominic
 
Apr 18th, 2002, 10:42 PM
  #2  
France lover
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St Antonin is a very quaint town with a great market.
Cahors is also very beautiful but can get quite busy with tourists so I suggest you go early in the morning. Don't forget to try the local wine; its dark and heady and absolutely great.
St Cirq is also very pretty but it too tends to be full of coach parties. There's a great restaurant at the top of the town but the name of it escapes me but it does the best crepes with truffles ever!
Have a great time!
 
Apr 19th, 2002, 07:00 AM
  #3  
Dominic
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Thanks for that... does anyone else have any ideas? Please?
Dominic
 
Apr 19th, 2002, 07:39 AM
  #4  
StCirq
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Dominic:

I don't know St-Antonin-Noble, but I'm very familiar with the other places you mention.

St-Cirq-Lapopie is justifiably renowned for its geography - a pretty-enough village perched on some fearsome crags. I don't particularly like the place, but most people would disagree with me. Certainly, if you're in the area, it's worth a stop. We did not enjoy our stay at the Pelissaria hotel, which gets a lot of good press.
Cahors is a fabulous town, a sort of gateway to the Midi, the place where everything suddenly takes on a kind of Mediterrnean patina, but you've still got the rugged causses around and plenty of that great "black" wine (the closest thing to what the Romans drnk, according to the Cadurciens. I recommend staying at the Hôtel Terminus (or at least eating there - best food in Cahors)or, alternatively, for a lusher experience, the nearby Château de Mercuès. The old quarter of Cahors is charming, and don't miss (it would be hard to) the Pont Valentré, a fortified 12th-century bridge that has withstood an incredible number of attacks. Besides the cathedral of St-Etienne, in the old quarter it's worth a stop at the Maison de Roaldès, a 16th-century mansion decorated with the Quercy motifs of sun, rose, and tree.There's a great Saturday morning market in Cahors.

Figeac has been a lively town since the Middle Ages, when it was both a major stop along the route to Compostela and a Protestant refuge.The old quarter has been meticulously restored. The Musée Champollion houses a mold of the Rosetta Stone, which is in the British Museum. For a real splurge stay at the Château du Vigier du Roy. For a good meal, try La Puce à l'Oisette.
I assume by Villefranche you mean Villefranche-de-Rouergue (almost all bastide towns in France were named Villefranche, or Villeneuve, and there were loads of them)? I love this town. As the center of activity for the western part of the Aveyron, it's fairly big and bustling. It's not quaint or charming, though there are restored parts of the medieval town that could be called that, but more just a great example of a busy market hub town in a fairly isolated part of France. You can still see evidence of the regular, grid pattern of the typical bastide, and Cornière Square is still surrounded by the typical bastide arcaded houses, many of them richly ornamented. Market day is Thursday. I had a great lunch there once at a place called l'Epicurien.

Other places worth visiting in the area include the Grotte du Pech-Merle, Najac, Cajarc, and Marcilhac-sur-Célé - if you like quaint old villages.
 
Apr 19th, 2002, 07:54 AM
  #5  
Dominic
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St Cirq:- thank you very much for your detailed advice... especially the well rated restaurants! Indeed i did mean Villfranche de Rouergue and I'll definitely be visiting there now.
Finally i was thinking about spending an evening in Toulouse, eating, drinking and dancing the night away with my fiancée... can anyone recommend a reasonable (cheapish) city centre hotel suitable for crashing out in before gingerly driving home the next morning... oh and come to think of it what about somewhere for breakfast the next day? Thanks alot!!
 
Apr 19th, 2002, 08:37 AM
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Mike
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St Antonin is a nice place, not quite like Najac or Cordes. It was a good introduction to France for me a good few years ago now - old people sitting out on the pavements outside their front doors, kids singing in the square etc (easygoing and independent, I guess would sum it up) - and the relative ease of buying a rubbish meal, along with the ability of waiters to suddenly forget all their English when you complain!

There is a good restaurant in Najac (super village), Oustal du Barry I think. Cordes (also super, but really busy) has an amazing place. The chef is Yves Thuries, and I think it's called Hostelleris de Vieux Cordes (he owns several places in town). I went to the most expensive (not crippling, I seem to remember). All the food is good, but he is one of the best pastry chefs in the world. Try the Menu Douceur if you like desserts.

I still regard Les Loges de l'Aubergade in Puymirol as the best hotel/restaurant I have ever stayed at. It is a controversial place, and is no longer really fashionable - M Trama only gets 16/20 in Gault Millau now - but his lobster lasagne, leek terrine and apple sorbet were really seminal dishes in Europe in the late 1980s/early 1990s. I stayed at Mercues as well, and it was a different (IMO lesser) experience. Puymirol is a fair drive from St Antonin.

Peche Merle (cave complex) didn't do English tours when I went. The guide was very patient with my requests for repeats (as were the French tourists), but I found it a bit embarrassing! Pre historic cave painting is beyond my French, so I didn't get the most out of it. Times may have changed. We stayed in a super hotel near there, but I think it's no longer in business - La Pescalerie. Very relaxed, charming, very pleasant food. If it is still there ...
 
Apr 20th, 2002, 08:10 AM
  #7  
Dominic
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Cheers Mike for the gastro info... now back to top! Any one help me over the Toulouse question?
 
Nov 18th, 2004, 04:09 PM
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We were in St Antonin just a few weeks ago. Its pretty, not overrun with tourists and seems to be attracting artists who are fixing up some of the really old dwellings. If you have the time, - it'll take a few hours to get there - you must visit Conques. Also in the Veyron. Wonderfully preserved village. Fabulous church with amazing Tympanum (sculpture over the main entrance) depicting the Last Judgement. The town is in a beautiful location up on the rim of a cirque. Just about 20 k from Figeac.
jmiller is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2004, 04:41 PM
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now back to top! Any one help me over the Toulouse question?

There is a very pretty drive south from Caylus to Gaillac (then on to Toulouse), but you can take the train from Caussade (15-20 mins from Caylus)which will eliminate driving into Toulouse. The Hotel Mermoz and hotel President are within walking distance of the train station and the center of Toulouse. We've stayed in each.

We vacationed in a Gite close to Caylus for 1 week last year & 1 week on '02.

I have a 30+ page itinerary for visiting the Languedoc. It describes our favorate sites, drives, and the 20 or so dinners we've had there (with detailed entrees discussed). Two of our favorites are very close to Caylus. E-mail me if you want a copy.
StuDudley is online now  
Nov 22nd, 2004, 05:06 PM
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Dominic, To get you psyched for your trip watch the movie Charlotte Gray which was filmed in St. Antonin and Najac. The area around St. Antonin is absolutely beautiful. We just made a short stop in the town to see the church and watch a game of boule/petanque. Have a great trip. Deborah
DeborahAnn is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2004, 05:10 PM
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Fhooey, I just noticed the date of the original post, I hate when I do that:-< But the movie is still good to watch for anyone interested in St. Antonin. Deborah
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Nov 22nd, 2004, 08:47 PM
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........thanks for the tip on Charlotte
Gray. We were in Najac and St.A.N.B.
in September and fell in love with both
towns. I thinks St.A.N.B. will be
'discovered' soon and restored to a
town like Sarlat. As it stands now,
it has such a 'real' feel to it -
walking around the town centre is as
close to a medieval setting as you're
going to find. And Najac is just the
perfect bastide town - up on the crest
of a hill with a charming main street
and a most photogenic castle.
llamalady is offline  
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