Last Easter Holidays (from Friday to Monday in Catalonia) we head off to Southern France, a favourite destination of ours when we have a short break; it’s reasonable close, we can go by car, every little town has its own charm and the food is delightful! This time we headed the west side and visited Tarbes and Lourdes in the Midi-Pyrénées region, Pau in Aquitaine and the Pyrenees National Park. We started enjoying the beauty of the Pyrenees already in Aragón, on the Spanish side, everything was green and defrost water was running across the mountains to make the landscape even more pleasant.
On the gastronomic side of the journey, the first great thing about this destination, particularly during Easter, is that they are expert chocolate manufacturers! Every town city centre that we visited had more Pâtisseries than they would possible need regarding the town sizes and most of them have a tea room to enjoy their delicacies on site. So, loving good chocolate as we do, we indulge ourselves every afternoon of our visit. In Tarbes we had a lovely afternoon tea and cake at the Royalty salon de thé. In Pau, we re-found an amazing chocolate shop that we had previously discovered at Bayonne: L’Atelier du Chocolat that sells a great variety of dark and milk chocolate in bulk. Finally, in Lourdes the lovely and non-touristy Barzu Salon de Thé (25 Pl. Marcadal, 65100 Lourdes).
Restaurant-wise, we went to a Chinese one in Pau (Andong Meas, 7 Rue de Foix, 64000, Pau), that had a reasonable quality/price ratio but wasn’t particularly outstanding, however it’s dumpling soup was delicious!
When travelling we usually survive on frugal snacks most of the time, but we generally spot a few appealing restaurants where to have a proper and delicious full meal and discover some local specialty if possible, and we are often incredible lucky in our choices. However, this time, the last day of our journey we were visiting Lourdes that, in spite the beauty of its Castle, Gave de Pau river, Sanctuary and natural background, does not stand out for its gastronomic offer. The extremely touristy city centre has been taken with endless souvenir shops and brasseries that look like naive-tourists trap. And just when we were about to give in and content with a kebab we discovered this lovely restaurant with a great market menu: Alexandra. Unfortunately, kitchen was already closed for lunch, but we made a reservation and came back for dinner. It was totally worth it! Food was excellent, especially the foie gras and the confit du canard (I love duck, and no one prepares it better than the French!) and so was the service, not to mention the very convenient price! They also recommended us a great local wine: protected designation of origin Madiran, a discovery to us. Here they are some mouth-watering pictures of the complete menu:
Finally, when it comes to breakfast, I like French croissants so much that I keep it simple: un grand café crème avec un croissant au beurre…
I hope this personal review might be useful if you ever visit the area!