Rural French Dining and High-End German Motorhomes
We found a new place to eat. Its location wasn’t anything to write home about. Restaurant de la Garrigue is hidden on a small industrial estate. It’s at a junction with the main road between Narbonne and Perpignan and a narrow tree-lined avenue leading to Peyriac-de-Mer. The owners have a laid-back approach to business. The restaurant is open from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 7:00 to 8.30 p.m. six days a week. Despite their best efforts to avoid customers, diners need to book tables in advance.
Cynthia and I arrived at 1:00 p.m. All but one of the restaurant’s ten tables were occupied. We felt as though we had gatecrashed a private party. We opened the front door. All conversation stopped. Every head turned towards us. The predominantly middle-aged diners stared until a waitress lead us to the only empty table.
Cynthia struggles to find something she can eat in provincial restaurants. She chose a simple salad. It was a meal she enjoyed apart from the tepid raw egg which quivered in the middle of her plate. I had confit de canard, a delicious duck dish served with a stuffed tomato, ratatouille, green beans and hand cut fries and accompanied by a tiny cup of strong black coffee.
We stopped briefly at Peyriac’s post office on the way back to our aire. We are using their post restante service. There’s supposed to be a €1 – €2 charge for each parcel we collect. The new Peyriac postmaster appears to have taken pity on us poor nomadic travellers. He didn’t charge us for our half-dozen packages. Hooray!
Back at the aire, as is often the case, we had ten acres of landscaped grass parking mostly to ourselves. As dusk fell, a palace on wheels arrived. The vehicle was a Niesmann & Bischoff Arto, £143,000 of uncompromising luxury.
The owner, Klaus, had driven for eight hours from his Freiburg home in south-west Germany to enjoy a long weekend away from the stress of running a busy engineering company. After being on the road for most of the day, he didn’t appear particularly relaxed.
Each to his or her own, but working long and exhausting days to pay for a high-end motorhome which is only used once every blue moon to recover from working those long and exhausting days doesn’t appeal to us. Our motorhome cost a fifth of the price Klaus paid. Our boat and motorhome combined cost less than half the price of a new Niesmann & Bischoff Arto. We don’t have a great deal of money, but our lifestyle choice allows us to enjoy much more than an occasional long weekend away from the stresses and strains of modern day life. I think we’ll stick with our fifteen-year-old Hymer.