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Day 13 Southern France: From St Remy de Provence to Carcassonne via Pont du Gard - 26 May

After a solid night’s sleep and good breakfast, we both felt invigorated and ready for the three hour drive to Carcassone. En route, we planned to visit the incredible Pont du Gard aqueduct close to the town of Remoulins.

The Pont du Gard:
An incredible feat of Roman building and engineering, the Pont du Gard aqueduct was built shortly before the Christian era to allow the aqueduct of Nîmes to cross the Gard river. Standing almost 50 meters high, the aqueduct is constructed over 3 levels and spans 50 kilometers long. 

Charging 18 Euros per car to enter the national park where one can view the Pont du Gard, the cost is not as steep as it initially seems: the amount includes an entire day’s parking, entry into the national park which includes165 hectares of protected land, and the museum and Pont du Gard. The museum, which is located just under the ticket office, is highly recommended as it gives a complete background to the Ancient Romans and how they built Pont du Gard, helping the visitors fully appreciate what it is that they are seeing. 

Our Accommodation: Auberge du Chateau Hotel Restaurant
After an hour and a half drive from the Pont du Gard, we arrived at our accommodation just 5 kilometers out of Carcassone. Called Auberge du Chateau Hotel Restaurant, the imposing building that was our hotel is a converted late 17th century farmhouse that sits in the tiny town of Cavanac. Set on sumptuous grounds surrounded by a rural landscape, the rooms of the Chateau are spacious, warm and welcoming. The rustic floor tiling contrasted with the soft country floral patterns in the bedding and soft furnishing in our room, “Rose Pompon”. 

What the Auberge du Chateau is well known for is its cuisine. With the restaurant located where the old stables used to be, the vibe is farmhouse-meets-gourmet. Large in scale and capable of seating up to 300 people, the red tiled flooring, exposed wooden beams and open gallery kitchen to the side with open fireplace, and old farmhouse barrels and accessories, add to the almost medieval atmosphere. Here, guests from the hotel and neighboring towns far and wide come to indulge in a 4-course feast, wine included, for 45,00 Euros. Peter and I booked ourselves in for dinner and brought our appetites with us.

Starting our meal with a Peach kir, the first course included such specialties as Pan fried foie gras in a fig sauce, half a lobster served with salad, house smoked salmon served with dill, and pan fried scallops seasoned with Gruissan rock salt.

The second course was a choice of Seafood and vegetable gratin, snails cooked in Carcassonne sauce, or Crayfish prepared with spicy crustacean sauce. Mains included the meat dishes such as beef, pork, lamb duck or fish of the day.

After the first three courses, the table is then served a shared platter of regional goat’s cheese served with honey, after which one may indulge in some pastries and sorbets for dessert. A “digestif”, along with any coffees or teas, is then served in shot glasses to help all that food down.

May I say that all-inclusive dinner at the Auberge du Chateau was not only tremendous value, the quality of all the courses was first rate, the presentation impeccable, and the wines that were included were very pleasant drinking. Considering that there were about 150 diners at the restaurant that night, we were extremely impressed. We were also grateful that we didn’t have to drive anywhere after such a feast!

Auberge du Chateau Hotel Restaurant, Chateau de Cavanac, 11570 Cavanac. www.chateau-de-cavanac.fr

Posted by Victoria Ugarte on 26th May, 2012 | Trackbacks
Categories: France

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