I'm going to be spending several weeks in Cordes, France this summer. Does anyone have restaurant, market or general food recommendations for Cordes and the surrounding area?
It is about 50 miles from Toulouse.
Don't miss the market day - Thursday morning - in the bastide square of Villefranche de Rouergue. It is one of my 3 fave markets in France, and I'm a market hound.
Cordes sur Ciel is a beautiful village. Gaillac, not far away, is a great town with food and wine focus, in an equally enchanting region. I liked especially the restaurant Vigne en foule.
You are lucky to be spending holiday in this secret jewel of a region.
I hope Yank will chime in. That epicure knows the area inside out.
Whew, I can breathe now.
According to this article,
1. The move is temporary.
2. The market is temporarily set up in the Halle (covered market) on Place Antoine de Morlhon).
3. The construction which was supposed to last 4 months was obviously delayed, as it was still ongoing when you were there in October 2013. Which gives us optimism about it being open this year in the warmer months…
Check out a recently published book, "Tales from the Hilltop: A Summer in the other South of France" by Tony Lewis. It is centered in Cordes, about a couple of Brits running a biking and walking operation. Tony talks about places for food throughout the area. Plus gives a really good feel for life there/
Café Joubert is a lovely café/wine bar/restaurant in Fayssac, between Gaillac and Cordes-sur-ciel. Our favourite place we ate at in the Tarn two years ago. Really fresh food, inexpensive and charming, situated in the middle of a pretty village, with lots of outdoor seating. They hold concerts some evenings -- you could ring them to ask the schedule. Delicious lunches. Might well need to reserve. Not sure if they serve dinner.
I second Parigi's recommendation of Vigne en Foule, very reasonable wine prices by the glass if you want to try a selection from their list. The main courses (better than the starters) are large: we had an excellent steak and a pork chop on dfifferent nights, big enough to share. They also sell their wines at retail prices if you want to take some back to where you're staying. You would probably want to reserve ahead.
Also recommended is the "Nature et progres" market in Gaillac on Tuesdays from 4-7:30 pm in the place du Griffoul. (In Gaillac, the easiest place to park is on the place Saint-Michel, next to the church, from where it's a short walk to the market.) There's also a smaller "Nature et progres" market on Tuesdays from 4-7:30 pm in the place Fernand Pelloutier in Albi. The one in Gaillac has all sorts of delicious cheeses, fruits, meats and vegetables and has a fun atmosphere.
I'm finishing my month in Cordes and have barely scratched the surface here. While it is stunning, I do not recommend spending such a long time up the hill in the Cité itself. It is like living in a museum.
Our house is 5 stories: the top two are 14th century and the bottom three are 12th century, carved into the second wall of the city. The view is spectacular.
The restaurants in Cordes appear to serve jarred cassoulet and prepared foie gras, so I don't recommend them. However, there is an excellent and beautiful gourmet store up the hill called Delices du Terroir. Patrick, the young man who owns it, stocks a wonderfully curated range of foods and wines. And he doesn't close mid-day.
We have cooked a lot at home, enjoying the local ingredients.
The Saturday market in Cordes is very good with fish, meat, produce, cheese, bread, pastries, plants, charcuterie, prepared foods, and more.
One charcuterie/butcher vendor is especially charming and sells excellent pâtés, sausages, and a delicious pressed roll of boneless duck confit. He insists that his customers taste everything, so there is a wait to be served, but it's worth it.
Every morning we trek to the Garcia boulangerie/patisserie for the best pain aux raisins and pain au chocolat and the daily baguette. It shows the importance of bread in France that the law requires the posting of bread prices wherever it is sold.
We visited two small organic ("bio" in French) wineries. I recommend Domaine Brin, which is run by 28-year-old Damien Bonnet. He has transformed his family's vineyard into organic production with lovely wines.
We had a good private dinner at the B&B Logis sur Ciel where the owners' Dutch-French 28-year-old chef son prepared a beautifully presented 3-course meal with good wine pairings, the local walnut wine aperitif, and a homemade limoncello-type dessert drink. The dessert itself included an apple foam.