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nouvelle food in Southwest France

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We are planning a 12 day trip starting and ending in Lyon. We would like recommendations on a loop going to Avignon and Nimes, westward to Beziers then to Albi , north to Brive and then Eastbound back to Lyon. We love the country inns with a grand restaurant in house or small towns with the same.
We have budgeted for a experience of one to three star dining (expensive)

Does anyone have ideas for a trip with these in mind. We live in a large city and do not have to be in one overseas to be happy but would like to have something to do in the days also.
Dog21

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  1. I'm not sure what you mean by nouvelle food, but it seems that your nice route will take you, on the Nimes-to-Beziers leg, very near Montpellier and/or Sète -- and so you may want to check out Le Jardin des Sens and La Coquerie -- both described near the top in this long post: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/873368 -- Jake

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    1. re: Jake Dear

      "Le Jardin des Sens" I've not been paying attention here but I'd endorse Jake's sugestion.

    2. "Nouvelle" as in Michel Guérard, 1970s, or Nouvelle as in "what they do now down South"?
      I would lean towards the latter.

      I fully second Jake's recommendations. Also think of:

      Michel Bras, or Cyril Attrazic in Saint-Chély d'Apcher if Bras is packed up,
      L'Atelier de Jean-Luc Rabanel and La Chassagnette in Arles,
      Folia at Château de Flaugergues near Montpellier (where a wonderful, little-known chef named Thierry Alix performs)

      1. I agree with both Jake's and Pti's recommendations (except for Bra's which I don't like & think is highly over rated.)

        Here are few others in your travel area to consider:

        L'Esprit du Vin in Albi. Generally excellent, but occasionally disappointing.

        Le Vieux Pont in Belcastel - our favorite! Everything is just right.

        Both of these have Michelin stars.

        L'Epicurien in Villefranche de Rouergue - The new owners are trying hard & are good. I would expect a star on the horizon.

        Chateau de Longcol near Najac. New owners. The food is excellent and the location superb. Another contender for a star.

        A visit to one or more of these will enhance your trip. None of these will break your budget.

        1. thanks guys for the replies. Just the type of posts we love. I will certainly visit a few of them
          dog21

          1. It's not Michelin starred, but L'Ochre Rouge in Herepian does very good modern French food using local Languedoc ingredients.

            There is also a new restaurant - L'Ortensia - in St Gervais Sur Mare, just over the mountain from Herepian, and it is supposed to be very good.