Budget travelling in Provence and the Languedoc... need restaurant suggestions!
hi, i'm doing a 6 week backpacking trek through northern italy and southern france, and i'm on a budget. i do love food, however, and the whole point of my trip is to learn more about food and cooking and wine. while i'm in france (nice, marseilles and small towns in between), and suggestions for where a twenty-something, non-french-speaking female travelling alone might be able to enjoy an authentic meal on a budget? i can splurge here and there, but for the most part, i'm just looking for good, simple, fresh food.
also, i posted about agriturimos in italy on the italy food board, but is there anything similar in southern france? my interests lie in organic and/or natural farming, cheesemaking and sustainable ag. i would love to actually stay on a farm for a few days!
There are quite a few good ones near Bedarieux, but that will be outside your 50 mile radius. Others I can think of a bit nearer to Carcassonne are:
A restaurant in Noailhac - a village East of Castres on a road off the N112. I can't remember the name of it, but it's easy to find as it's on the main road, towards the Castres side of the village. It's the only restaurant we saw in Noailhac (there may be others in the side streets, but it's very small, so I doubt it). We went there just over a year ago, and it serves really good traditional food at reasonable prices.
If you go to Pezenas, there are lots of places to eat there. My favourite is called "Apres le deluge". It's to the right of the main square/parking area as you're looking towards the row of bars and the centre of the town. It serves lovely food which is slightly different from the other places, but still traditional. Medium price range.
If you are anywhere near St Pons de Thomiere, we found a really good cafe/bar in the square by the cathedral/church. As far as I remember, there weren't any other places to eat on that stretch of road. There are some seats across the road under the trees (not sure if they are for the place I'm talking about or for a neighbouring bar). As you go in there's a long bar to the left and seating all along the wall to the right. It serves dead cheap plats du jour and has a bigger menu too - everything from Croque monsieurs to full meals. We had very good pasta which was the plat du jour - very good home cooking and great value.
Pick up the Winn's Guidebook for the Luberon area if you'll be visiting there.
Also, visit Slowtravel.com
The people on that board were incredibly helpful for me when we planned our trip. Like you, we were hoping to find affordable, organic/sustainable food and we found some really neat places.
Let me know if you need any specific info!
France has the most sophisticated Agriturism program in Europe. There are so many places, of all kinds, it's hard to know where to begin. Try the link below. I don't know how much of the site is in English, but at least the beginning is. If you run into any French you can't understand, you can always try AltaVista's Babelfish to translate.
In addition to planning ahead, you can always reach a village or small town, ask at the Syndicat d'Initiative (tourist office) and they will tell you what's available. Some of the best eating of my life happened this way.