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Chapter 1: We Leave for France
Chapter 10: Looking for Mr. Goodstone
Chapter 11: A mission to la Clape
Chapter 12: Dinner at Château de Lignan
Chapter 13: Antiques and plunder
Chapter 14: The vintner next door
Chapter 15: The rooftops of Nézignan-l'Évêque
Chapter 2: Comes the crusade
Chapter 3: The 13 colonies
Chapter 4: Our curtains are dreadful
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Chapter 7: A pilgrimage to Toulouse
Chapter 8: Remembering Collioure
Chapter 9: The priest and the mayor
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A Day Trip Itinerary...print this out   print the content item
Le Relais de Pigasse: Restaurant Gastronomique
Le Relais de Pigasse was, in 2005, the Michelin-starred restaurant nearest our house in France. Starred eateries are few and far between in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Only about 10 eating places here have earned the coveted (and highly profitable) star rankings awarded by Michelin's inflexibly demanding reviewers. [See our daytrip #25 for another, Auberge du Vieux Puits.]Le Relais de Pigasse (translation: the relay station in the Pigasse area) delivers extraordinary service and imaginative cuisine in a renovated 19th century structure beside the Canal du Midi. The welcome (we were early) was warm and attentive. The building has been beautifully adapted to its new use as a temple to food. There is also a cellar where you can taste and purchase superb (and good value) wines from the owner's estate, Château Maris. The food here is dazzling: tasty, unique, even witty. The signature dessert is tobacco-flavored ice cream formed in the shape of a Havana cigar. We all ordered the 45 Euro fixed-price menu. If you count all the amusements that arrived, it was a six-course, three-hour experience. The portions are sized so you leave well fed but not stuffed. The meal ranged from deep-fried ravioli stuffed with gizzards and eggplant "caviar," to wild greens (including something called "pig's weed," a succulent high in Omega-3 and part of the so-called "Crete diet"), to goat's-milk ice cream. The meal finished with an aniseed lollipop. This elegant crystal sweet makes punning reference to a once-popular French song with the lewd refrain, "Annie likes lollipops."Le Relais de Pigasse is now open just half the year (it's a 2005-06 experiment). We ate there on October 8; the restaurant closed for the season the very next day. The other half of the year the staff moves to the owner's other restaurant in St. Barts, in the West Indies. Most of the clientele in the Caribbean are Americans, so the staff is capably bilingual. Presumably Le Relais de Pigasse will reopen in France in time for the holiday season sometime in April or May.

Time to destination: 45 minutes

Call for reservations: 04 67 89 40 98 Visit the website: http://www.comtecathare.com/
Directions: Le Relais de Pigasse is in the countryside, on the D11 not far west of Capestang. You can go through Béziers and pickup the D11. Or you can go around Béziers on the A9 Autoroute and take exit 36, headed toward Béziers, and get off at the D11 intersection.
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