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Michel Bras

b
bostonrich1234 Oct 28, 2008 09:30 PM

Who has been? My wife and I are thinking of stopping on a trip from Barcelona to Paris. I like his idea of what food should be. I would love to here about anyone's experience there.

  1. w
    WineTravel Oct 31, 2008 09:52 AM

    Have been to Bras a half dozen times because it's one of the world's great restaurants. As was stated, you MUST stay at the property.... keep in mind reservations are VERY tough. Also, the bar area, awash in glass, affords wonderful views in every direction... the perfect spot for a glass or champagne before dinner. Souphie's comments are right on (as usual). In addition, the wine service is excellent and the list, while not huge, is well chosen with superb wines from excellent producers. On one memorable visit, it snowed all night and apparently only at Bras... almost a foot! When we left the next day... we drove down the drive to the main road and there was not a flake of snow? Perhaps another clue as to the magic created there.

    1. b
      bostonrich1234 Oct 30, 2008 08:06 PM

      Ok, so I'm pretty sure it is a go. How do we get there? I appears as though Rodez is the closest rail station. Is that true? Should we try to rent a car at Tellouse?

      3 Replies
      1. re: bostonrich1234
        Delucacheesemonger Oct 31, 2008 12:55 AM

        Sure, rent a car. Get a Michelin map, how perfect, and go. In the Auvergne, tough without a car. As long as you are in Toulouse, buy some dried haricot du Tarbais, finest dry beans there are. Use for cassoulet or any dish involving long cooked beans. This is time of year crop is just ready.

        1. re: bostonrich1234
          souphie Oct 31, 2008 03:32 AM

          Rodez is the closest train station/airport. And renting a car is indeed the only option. It's a long drive from Toulouse. It's not even that short from Rodez, almost one hour.

          And again, make sure your have a reservation first...

          1. re: souphie
            Cookingthebooks Oct 31, 2008 08:09 AM

            Agree -- make sure you have a reservation. Every time we are in Aveyron we try to go here and they are always full -- or closed. I think they close seasonally.

            This is a beautiful, undiscovered part of France -- mostly because it is not easy to get to. No TGV and a car is a necessity. Take your time with the drive -- those windy roads can be pretty hairy!

        2. purplescout Oct 30, 2008 12:25 PM

          I was there in 2001. Based on my relatively few 3 star indulgences so far, I would have to say that Michel Bras in Laguiole was absolutely the most magnificent. The journey to the restaurant is part of the adventure, since it's in the middle of France.

          The structures are amazing. If you've ever been to the Salk Institute in La Jolla, you'll probably feel as I did that the architect was channelling the spirit of Louis Khan. The buildings of the hotel are nestled into the side of a hill, with the restaurant sitting atop it all.

          The food was amazing. Different from anything I've had before or after. Tangles of vegetables that tasted divine. Game dishes. Multiple courses of dessert.

          Next year is my 20th wedding anniversary and we are planning a return trip to Michel Bras.

          1. r
            rrems Oct 29, 2008 08:19 PM

            I have been to Michel Bras twice, the first time when it was still in the center of the (at the time) very sleepy village of Laguiole, and the second time in the present location. This is a place that is not to be missed. The food is different from what you will find in most 3-star restaurants, in a good way. It is difficult to describe, but definitely go, you will not be disappointed.

            1. Delucacheesemonger Oct 29, 2008 07:11 AM

              While you are going that far into the Auvergne, you might want to do a day in Aurillac, small to medium sized, but lovely market and interesting sights as well. If you like knives, you would be near Thiers as well, but nowhere as interesting or good as Laguiole, IMHO

              1. Delucacheesemonger Oct 29, 2008 12:28 AM

                Was there when a 2 star for lunch. Stayed at his wonderful hotel with cow horns for the key holders, Meal was very interesting and, as Souphie says, a bit unusual. He let me help him make aligot in his kitchen, it was a slow day, and that was major treat for me. Make sure you plant to spend at least a few hours in Laguiole. Town is a church, M Bras, and a hell of a lot of knife shops. As l collect them, was even more of reason to go to town; Visit Calmels in center of town, his family designed the original of this style of knife. Small mountain town, roads a lot of switchbacks, allow time.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                  souphie Oct 29, 2008 02:44 AM

                  Second that -- average driving speed on those roads is closer to 30km/h than 100km/h.

                2. souphie Oct 28, 2008 11:05 PM

                  Well, just go. Those are Michel's last year before his son takes over. My main objection precisely has to do with his idea of what food should be, so if this is appealing to you, don't hesitate. Ingredients are probably the best in France (and I would certainly recommend to get some veal if they have it). The place itself is absolutely incredible, some luxurious bunker half buried, and the rooms is particular are pure wonders. Every room, sleeping or dining, is overlooking the plaine from the Aubrac's side, so the view is spectacular, with Laguiole's lights in the valley at night.

                  Now don't expect palace service, and also try to secure your room and table now, because this is one of the most coveited restaurants worldwide.

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