THE ROAD TO MILLAU


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Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Millau
May 4th 2012
Published: May 6th 2012
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Today we head for Millau and Roquefort Cheese country. I thought I was being so smart and headed in a direction that I though was correct; of course I was wrong and had us going to Nice instead. So after our brief diversion and loop around Aix, we were headed in the right direction. We are taking mostly Auto Routes today, because it is about a 4 hour drive to Millau, without any stops.

Arles

Our first and only stop of the day is in the City of Arles. This city is famous because it is where Vincent Van Gough painted over 200 hundred paintings, including Starry Night and Café at Night. The city is quite old and has several Roman ruins. They are in the process of renovating the larger amphitheatre but it is obvious that they still use the large amphitheater and the half theater as well. It was lunch time by the time we arrived so we had lunch at Café Van Gough, yes the actual subject matter of the painting Café at Night. Yes it was very touristy and probably had better food, but it was Café Van Gough, my favorite artist painted this café
La Cafe NuitLa Cafe NuitLa Cafe Nuit

As painted by Van Gough
I had to eat there.

After lunch we took a brief walking tour of the City and went on our way. It is a place worth at least a night stay in the future.

Millau

The drive to Millau was uneventful and not much to see as we were on the AutoRoute. The only moment of interest was when I made the wrong turn and was headed towards a military base instead of the city. But the 10 cops standing their didn’t seem to care and were busy making random stops of other vehicles.

Millau sits at the bottom of a very very deep gorge, driving down was a bit scary, but the French were whizzing buy passing on turns like it was a straight wide road, and it was not. There was one place to turn off and take some pictures, but it was a gray day, so you might not be able to see much. There is a river that runs long the edge of the town and divides it from the town of Creissels which is where we are staying. We stopped briefly in the city of Millau to buy some wine for
Nicoise SaladNicoise SaladNicoise Salad

Why am I gaining wait I only eat salads.
our room that night. The town is about the size of Oregon City but reminds me of Hood River, not for the way it looks, but it is pretty obvious people who come here are here for outdoor activity the same as in Hood River. It is worth the trip because it is 20 minutes from the caves of Roquefort.

Chateau de Creissels

We got lucky and found a great 3 star hotel that was across the river from Millau in a small town called Creissels. We stayed in an actual Chateau (Castle) that had been turned into a hotel in the 1960’s. The portion we stayed in was done in total period style right down to the Skelton key for the room and the creaking wood floors. It was a large room and I was sure the ghosts would be a visiting but they did not. For some reason any room that is not occupied has the key in the door. We were the only ones staying on the second floor in our wing, so we checked some other rooms out. The room at the end of the hall was the bishop’s rooms, very large with a canopy bed. The Chateau was initial the home of the bishop and the church is next door.

We had made reservations to eat in the restaurant at the Chateau, very good choice on our part. The restaurant is located in the wine cellars. It is very quaint, the lighting could be much better, to bright. The food was very good and very local. They had several prix fix menus to choose from, I choose the lamb menu and Jerry did al-la-carte. The staff’s English was limited so we really had to stretch, our French speaking ability. At one point in the evening the only other English speaking customer ordered an Americano coffee, the waitress did not understand and it took an Italian couple (who spoke French) and us to explain it to her.

After dinner we turned. I had to surround my self with pillows as my ribs from the fall are really hurting now and it is hard to find a comfortable way to sleep. Jerry and I are quite a traveling pair, he is getting over his allergy induced cold and I have bruised rips, god help us when we are in our 60’s or 70’s.

Tomorrow we visit the Roquefort caves (the real reason we came to this area at all) and then head for Pau.

TODAY’S EAT

Lunch

Arles at La Café Nuit (Café Van Gough). We both had a Salade Nicoise and our last bottle of Provence Rose. The Nicoise here was slightly different than Nice (from 5 years ago) or mine, there were no anchovies or French potato salad, and it added a rice component. The most glaring difference and in my opinion simply huge error was the lack of Nicoise olives, I mean that’s its name for god sake how can you leave them out

Diner

Jerry:

La Feuillantine au Roquefort, Salade aux Noix (puff pastry with roquefort cheese served with a salad); Le Filet de Bœuf Aubrae au Sautoir, Jus aux Cepes (perfectly cooked filet with a cepe (type of mushroom) sauce.

Variation autour de L’Agneau des Grands Causses (Lamb three ways as I say)

Sumosa d’Agneau Confit Aux Expices Douces, Buisson de Verdure, en Mise en Bouche (A lamb samosa and salad); La Tablier Du Gantier Jus au thym du Larzac (scallop of lamb breaded in herbs); Le Gigotin d’Agneau Grille au Lard Sale (Grilled leg of lamb with roasted vegetables); Les Fromages de brebis (four difference Roquefort cheeses); Craquant de Fouace a la Recuite De Brebis (Ewe’s milk ricotta with a caramel sauce)

REVIEWS

Arles: Great little town a lot to explore in and around the city give it two days, if your a Van Gough Freak maybe three days.

Café Van Gough: Touristy, but ok, better places to eat off the Place Forum

Château De Creissels: If you’re in the area, opted to stay here, has a pool in the summer, fitness center and the food at the restaurant is great. Beautiful location and lots of charm. The wifi only works in the reception so that is not the best. Best breakfast. (Described in next blog entry)

DAILY TIPS
For me the only reason to be in this area is for Roquefort, they also have a very scary and modern looking bridge the spans the gorge. If you’re out doors man or woman, then there is a lot more to this area that would attract you. Over all, a quaint city with a great castle to stay in.


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Inside Dining at the ChateauInside Dining at the Chateau
Inside Dining at the Chateau

Wine Caves of Chateau Creissels


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