Sunday, October 2, 2022

Eating under the leaves

All roads lead here

When we arrived in Argens-Minervois, we were expecting to find a couple of choices of places to eat. However, things start to shut down for the season in October and when we got here there was one restaurant in the town and one two kilometres away in each direction out of town. And the only market was also closed so the cheese and wine option was out. 

On the first day, we walked down to “la guinguette” (Translates to ‘the Tavern’) the only local restaurant. The first impression was a bit odd. There was an open sign, and nice menus written with artistic care in chalk on the walls. But there was no door to get in, just a big wooden gate which was shut tight. We walked around and there was no other entrance. It looked like a collection of little wooden outbuildings joined with a fence. But it was the only show in town, so we waited, knowing that often things in France do not run strictly on time, and finally someone came and dragged the wooden gate open and we went in. It really was a series of little wooden buildings connected with a fence, and the tables, a mix of odd and ends were scattered among three large trees and alongside the Canal du Midi. There was one little building housing the bar, another with a blazing hardwood fire grill, another with the kitchen, one with a sort of closed-in-on-three-sides seating area and a few others I could not identify. Overhead were a collection of umbrellas, canvas roofs, and sun shades with outdoor lighting of various styles strung together. Underneath was beach gravel with a few patio blocks and wooden platforms randomly scattered under the trees. The entire place was decorated with cooking utensils and pots and pans. 

But . . . it was the only show in town, so in we went. The place was amazing. We have eaten there three times and it has been a wonderful experience. The food was delicious and they have an excellent menu. The same two young women do all the serving, there is a young bartender (He looked 16), a grill chef and some kitchen staff we never saw. The servers got to know us and we got treated as regular customers, giving us the best tables and trying so hard to explain things in English. It has been the highlight of our visit to this town. 

The other restaurant

Then one day we went for a walk down the canal and ended up at a little town about 3 km down the canal. We suddenly realized we were not going to make it back for our 12:30 lunch reservation, so we called and apologized, making a dinner reservation for later with a promise of the “Best Table”. 

This town was obviously one of the 2 km away restaurants so we crossed the bridge and went into town, immediately finding the only restaurant in this town. And it was basically the same design. Three almost separate service areas, one a bar, one a kitchen, and one a pizza parlour. Again, there was no inside seating, just tables and chairs scattered under trees with umbrellas overhead and gravel underfoot. Again, it was an excellent experience with delicious pizza and a friendly cheerful waiter. I guess it is the style in these little towns. 

The "Best Table" by the canal with a real floor

Both these restaurants were very popular with almost full seating at lunch and dinner. Our server at la guinguette told us however that they will be closing for the season in the middle of October, so I do not know what the locals will do then. We however will be gone by then.

The Restaurant by day

Dinner time with the sun setting

I don't think it will start - restaurant decoration

The grill

Paying the bill

Calamari Dinner

Under the lights and stars


  1. This place looks great! I'd love to eat here :)

  2. Looks so charming! Their menu does look good. The bartender does look very young. Lol