8

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.

Bages, a coastal village, on our twice weekly shopping route between Peyriac-de-Mer and Narbonne

Bages, a coastal village, on our twice weekly shopping route between Peyriac-de-Mer and Narbonne

 A stormy sky over Peyriac


A stormy sky over Peyriac

The rubgy pitch at our aire, floodlit in anticipation of the local team's midweek training session

The rugby pitch at our aire, floodlit in anticipation of the local team’s midweek training session

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 8 comments
Ian Theodoreson - February 20, 2018

Great blog Paul. Certainly relate to the comment about lifestyle choices!

Reply
    Paul Smith - February 23, 2018

    Thank you, Ian. It’s a lifestyle which suits us very well. At dawn, we rarely know where we’ll be at dusk. Sometimes we aren’t even sure what country we’ll be in!

    Reply
Colette Gore - February 23, 2018

Thanks for your inspiring blog. Wish I could persuade my husband to change our lifestyle. Good luck!

Reply
    Paul Smith - February 23, 2018

    Thank you, Colette. Good luck with your husband. Suggest to him that he reads our blog posts (maybe not the ones where we have problems though!)

    Reply
Sally Kinnish - February 27, 2018

Great blogs! You both have great tenacity and perseverance… I am very temted to follow you (metaphorically speaking) in your change of lifestyle. Reason? I am finding trying to sell a shared house (relationship breakup and all that mess), plus buying two houses for us both to go to somewhat stressful!!!
I hope you have many wonderful moments to make up for the electrical failures and all the other issues you are having to deal with!
Regards Sally 🙂

Reply
    Paul Smith - February 27, 2018

    Strike while the iron’s hot Sally. Don’t forget that the major regrets that people have in their dotage are the things they DIDN’T do. You only live once. Seize the day!

    Reply
Jeannie - March 1, 2018

Right have now caught up with all the blogs I missed as I couldn’t open them. Great reads. I am sitting here in North Lincolnshire looking out at 4 inches of snow and a howling gale blowing. Enjoy your lifestyle and keep healthy. Keep up the good work so enjoy reading about your tavels.

Reply
    Paul Smith - March 1, 2018

    We had snow here too yesterday. It fell for five or six minutes and wouldn’t have covered an ant’s football boots.

    Reply

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