Three years ago, my fellow foodie and travel companion, Miss H, the casting director kindly took me to her family home just outside St Girons - a town about an hour south west of Toulouse, France. I now rush back as many times as I can manage, every time I am asked. To me, St Girons has just the right mix of climate, people, food and breathtaking landscape that adds up to something quite magical. In this week's Limited Edition Prints, I have tried to capture the romance of the place whilst not over stylising images that then become too twee. Having recently stumbled upon the works of Rebecca Plotnick, I was inspired to keep the area's rustic feel, its ever pervading French charm and the overall warmth that the area evokes.
I highly recommend a visit, and, owing to its numerous festivals, there is always a good time and a great reason to go. It's weekly Saturday morning market is reason enough in itself. It sells numerous things - from clothes through to flowers through to pottery - though its main pull for me is the food it has on offer. Just at one cheese stall there is enough Fromage to keep you going through countless Christmases, and there are countless numbers of said stalls. The hot food on offer is some of the tastiest grub I have ever tried (the stuffed mussels, if you can find them in the maze of shops, are out of this world), and the spice stalls are a very welcome attack on the senses. Visually, the colour of saffron, next to hibiscus, next to oregano is stunning, yet it is the assault on your nose that is beyond description.
Be careful not to over eat though, as after all this cheese tasting, pottery buying and sifting your way through the huge descent of people from the surrounding area, you need to visit Le Bouchon. This restaurant cafe is the ideal spot to take a load off and sample the local coffee, beer, or, in my case, red wine. (Only if after 12!). The food here is always tasty, and always good value (especially the set menus). If you fancy something a little more, well, fancy, then take a short walk to work off the cheese, up to the pretty little enclave of St.Lizier and treat yourself to lunch at Le Carre de l'ange. Here, the mind boggles between the beauty of the view, and the delicious food. It is one of my favourite restraunts I have ever been lucky enough to try. Hyperbolic? Perhaps. True? Definitely.
Auberge D'Antan - roaring fire in the winter, gorgeous garden in the summer.
Carre de l'ange - see above!
Le Bouchon - Incredible atmosphere, often with live music while the market is going on. Excellent people watching. Traditional food (serves excellent frogs legs for example!)
Sentenac - In Tourtouse, outside St Girons. Has incredible rustic regional food. Warning: don't go if you don't love garlic!
La Petite Maison - Fine dining at its best. Delicious food whilst sitting in the garden watching rabbits play!
Things to do:
Saturday Market - in the town in and around the main square. Go early.
Any of the festivals! (Confit Rock is excellent - a festival dedicated to confit, and rock. What's not to like)
Walking and cycling - The Tour de France often goes through St. Girons and the many surrounding hills. The views, lakes and rivers are so idyllic that you could pinch yourself wondering if they were real or not.
Sitting and watching the world go by.
Eating. Everything in sight.
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Previous blog prints are available at my etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thisiscArrt?ref=s2-header-shopname