Lunch stop between the Aveyron and the Jura? Clermont Ferrand?
We had high hopes of returning to the Hotel Faurie on our forthcoming trip (thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/893014) but it turns out they're only opening on June 6 this year. So we'll probably make an even bigger detour to Michel Bras instead and then make the long drive up from there to Poligny in the Jura.
Does anyone know of an obvious lunch spot en route? Ideally somewhere satisfying and traditional rather than too contemporary cuisine. We would try to go to Daniel et Denise in Lyon but it seems too far to get to in time for lunch. Clermont Ferrand and its environs might be a better staging post if anyone has ideas for there?
Clermont-Ferrand is a fascinating city, with a stunning historic center. If you stop there, you should see it.
It also has the particularity of being one of the very rare French cities without social segregation (no poor neighborhoods and no bourgeois neighborhoods either, the only chic area is not technically Clermont but Chamalières). That accounts for a friendly atmosphere that is hard to find elsewhere.
You could eat at Le Rallye near the Michelin factory (simple café, great beef, great atmosphere), Le Bistrot Bancal on rue des Chaussettiers, but really the best lunch stop I can think of is Jacques Décoret in Vichy, not in Clermont.
It is contemporary cooking so if you really want the traditional experience you should try the Auberge de la Mère Castel in Saint-Gervais-d'Auvergne, between Clermont and Vichy. Stunning.
Jacques Décoret is one of the brightest, most overlooked chefs in France. I think it is somewhere to linger a bit at your table, though he probably offers a special menu for lunch.
At La Mère Castel, yes, you should stay one night. Might be worth it, too. I thought that place was stunning, it was recommended to me by a local food journalist. It is exactly what an Auvergnat village hotel must have looked, felt and tasted like in the early 20th century.
That's really helpful information ptipois. La Mère Castel looks extraordinary. We're definitely going to try both places but it will have to be on another trip, to the Auvergne in general I imagine -- the Faurie have moved their opening forward a little so we're headed back there. Sorry for the false alarm but I can assure you we will treasure these recommendations for the future.