Saturday is usually a working day for us. Every Saturday in the summer, and many out-of-season Saturdays, are “changeover” days for our holiday gites and apartment. As we insist on preparing each gite ourselves it can be quite a hard days work. We now have 3 gites, and on a 3-way changeover day they all have to be thoroughly cleaned and prepared between 10am and 4pm. This gives us just enough time to do all the jobs – and a little over for any unexpected problems such as defrosting fridges, fixing blown fuses and breakages, unblocking washing machines, etc. There’s sometimes even enough time for a quick sandwich at lunchtime.
It used to be tougher. There was a time when we had 5 gites – 2 at the seaside and 3 in the country – but we decided to reduce the number when we found we needed to employ helpers to cope. We are supposed to be semi-retired, after all!
So, on Saturdays if the work has not been too tiring, we often treat ourselves to a meal out at one of our local restaurants. One of our favourites is the Restaurant La Terrasse, on the seafront at Fort Mahon. It’s only about 10 minutes from our home, and it’s open almost every day of the year, so it is particularly handy in winter when many other places have closed down. But the main reason why we like it so much is that it is very French, usually busy, but always ready to find space for you if it’s possible, even without a reservation. The fixed price menus start at the reasonable price of 18 euros, but for a special occasion you can go for the Menu Gourmand which includes lobster and champagne at 55 euros per head. We’ve never had a bad meal there.
Last Saturday, however, we made a typically late decision to eat out, and decided to try the newly refurbished brasserie restaurant at the Hotel des Freres Caudron, at Rue, a pretty market town about 13 kilometres away.
This hotel used to be called the Lion D’Or, but last year it was taken under new management, greatly smartened up over the winter, and reopened under its new name in February. We thought we would give it a try, and strolled into the place, early for dining, at about 7.15pm. It certainly looked smart, and the menu was enticing, too, so we were very disappointed to be told that we couldn’t dine because they were already booked up. As we’re still in March, with not many tourists about, this must mean the place has already become very popular with the locals. In France there is no higher recommendation. You can forget your Michelin and Gault Millau guides, if the locals crowd into a place it must be good.
We made a mental note to make sure to book next time, and not to wait too long, because if there’s a really good new place to eat in our area, we need to try it out and make our own judgement. So far the indications for “Les Freres Caudron” are good.
So we ended up once again at La Terrasse – not that there’s anything wrong with that – and enjoyed an excellent meal with, in spite of a full dining room, the usual exceptionally attentive service. Not bad for only 48 euros.
You really can’t go wrong when you stick to the places where the locals eat.
Brasserie Les Freres Caudron,
5, rue de la Barriere,
Téléphone: +33 (0)3 22 25 00 66
Hotel La Terasse,
Avenue de la Plage
Téléphone: +33 (0)3 22 23 37 77