Some roads are meant to be taken. The one I am talking about today is the Corniche des Cévennes, a panoramic route linking St Jean-du-Gard with the little town of Florac. With views that seem to stretch for ever, every twist and turn is a delight. Unfortunately there are very few places where you can stop to appreciate the views and to snap that all important photo. For a much lauded tourist route you’d have thought that more provision would have been made to really ‘sell’ the stunning countryside and have regular stopping points, but sadly it isn’t the case.
The purpose of my journey was to end up in Florac, and my timing was perfect for a quick stroll around and then to grab a ‘bite to eat’. I always try to find somewhere that gives me the real French experience when eating. I appreciate that small tourist traps are exactly that, but it is nice to have some authenticity. I am forever reading about these people who just happen to stumble upon a way-out-of-the-place restaurant where they have been able to linger over a perfect home-cooked, authentic lunch, with amazing service and hospitality and all for a handful of coins in their pocket. Only in books and travel magazines I tell myself! Imagine my utter joy and surprise when I actually did find that very same place under the trees that the books all write about. The most enormous and practically perfect 3-course menu du jour of exquisite, freshly cooked food, wonderful service and neighbouring diners all chatty and friendly. Maggie was fussed over and she was more than happy to lap up the attention. Sitting in dappled sun and taking 2hrs to eat lunch was such a delight. I was in heaven! The best part was it all came to just 13 euros…almost the loose change in my pocket. As reluctant as I was to leave this pleasant scene I needed to move (if only to let the feast shift down several notches in my fast growing belly).
I first came to Florac when I was in my early 20’s and I loved it then. The delight of my day only got better the more I wandered around, realising that nothing had changed and just about everywhere in the town was exactly as I remembered. It was as if I had been transported back 40yrs. And yet the town was vibrant and busy, and had obviously retained her charms without having suffered the fate of so many small communities – namely failing to survive in the modern world.
Main Square beside the wonderful restaurant
A pretty corner of Florac
Facade of the old 16th century convent – shame about the grafitti!
Obviously an afternoon nap is in order!