The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Issue No. 17

Packed with fabulous features: Carcassonne, Nimes, Orange in Provence, Nice Carnival, Paris at Christmas, Laval in Mayenne, absinthe, the fashion district of Paris, recipes, guides and more. Our secret ingredient is passion!

Left: Le Parc Franck

Left: Le Parc Franck Putelat restaurant; top Franck Putelet Wine and Dine in style: At the 2 Michelin star Franck Putelat restaurant Le Parc, in his hotel, just minutes from the old city. I was lucky enough to chat to this internationally renowned chef. He told me he’s been in Carcarssonne 21 years, adding that he truly loves it here. Originally from the Jura region Chef Putelat has worked at some of the greatest restaurants in France before setting up his own in Carcassonne. Even after all this time, “it is my passion to cook” he says with conviction. When I ask him who cooks at home he laughs “me of course” he says “my wife is very happy for me to cook, her favourite dish is Tataki de Thon Rouge with a salade tomate and oeuf parfait”. “I never get fatigued, I love what I do” he said before heading off to the kitchen to prepare for the full restaurant. I was there to try his tasting menu but I managed to sneak a peak at a couple of the rooms in the bijou, 7 room hotel beforehand. You cannot fail to fall in love with the idea of lazing in a hot tub on the roof in the shadow of la cité. The rooms are simple and elegant, no overbearing colours, no jarring furniture, zen-like is how I’d describe them. Back downstairs in the restaurant I took my seat. As usual I was on my own, solo travel is great but there are times when you really want to be able to turn to someone and say “blimey – isn’t that amazing?”. I didn’t take many tasting notes because I was so busy enjoying the food and the ambiance and I’m not sure that words can convey just how special the food is. The restaurant is undoubtedly theatrical. The bread board is a glass cabinet, kept warm by the flames of a real fire. The servers wheel the cabinet to the tables to offer the bread – talk about wow factor. From the home made bread, including miniature baguettes that make you smile, to the dishes that look like works of art and taste divine – this is one restaurant you’ll never forget. Pricey, bien sur, of course, it’s a 2 Michelin star restaurant – but for a special night out and a memorable meal in captivating Carcassonne, it’s worth every centime.

Photo: Paul Palau, Carcassonne TO Above: the beautiful chateau Pennautier; far left: rue Trivalle, home to La Maison Vielle B&B; left: Porte d'Aude, la citadel. Picnic at: Chateau Pennautier owned by the Comte and Comtesse de Lorgeril, just 3km from the Citadel of Carcassonne. The 30 hectare park was designed by Andre Le Notre who also designed the gardens of Versailles. Treat yourself to a bottle of fabulous wine from the chateau shop, and if you’re not in the mood for a picnic, the restaurant here is fabulous. Take a Selfie: Ask the locals of Carcassonne and 9 out of 10 will say Porte d’Aude, the famous 12th century gate that leads into the citadel. Stay at: La Maison Vielle, 8 rue Trivalle at the foot of the citadel, it’s a charming B&B at the bottom of the ramparts. There’s a lovely terraced garden, common room and a great kitchen where you’ll enjoy a stylish breakfast which when I was there, included a mini crème Brulée. I gulped at the calories I’d be piling on “you’re on holiday and besides, you won’t be able to resist walking it off in la cité next door” I was told! Or stay at: La Villa de Mazamet, a 45 minute drive away, it’s been voted No. 1 luxury B&B in France on TripAdvisor several years in a row. Don’t miss: The other old city of Carcassonne, Bastide st Louis. Many visitors aren’t aware of its existence, spend a few hours within the ramparts and go merrily on their way without even being aware that just across the bridge at the base of the old city is another old city!