For lovers of food and wine, there has never been a better time to visit the Midi-Pyrénées with attractions, restaurants and bars designed to tempt any travelling gourmet.
In April, an old railway line will be reborn as the Armagnac Rail-Bike Trail. A nine-kilometre there-and-back route, offers an original way to explore the undulating countryside and vineyards of Armagnac in Gers, Saint Mont, the Floc and the Côtes de Gascogne areas. A great way to combine a little exercise with a spot of wine tasting from a local producer – similar to a railway version of a pedal boat, the rail-bike can carry up to five people.
In Tarn-et-Garonne, June 2014 is scheduled to see the transformation of its ancient castle, Château de Nègrepelisse, into the home of ‘La Cuisine’ Centre for Art and Design. The remains of the castle will be combined with a contemporary extension to showcase a new museum which uses a food-themed approach to question the conventions and customs of eating.
Aveyron has created a brand new ‘Route des Vins d’Aveyron’, exploring four very different terroirs where four AOCs are grown: Marcillac, Côtes de Millau, Entraygues-le-Fel and Estaing. The participating wine growers have signed a quality charter guaranteeing the best wine-tasting welcome for visitors exploring the area. This new itinerary is another addition to Aveyron’s well-loved range of food-themed attractions such as the unmissable Roquefort cheese cellars.
Following her success in running the family restaurant in Laguiole, Michelin starred chef Isabelle Auguy has now moved to Rodez in the Aveyron with her own eponymous restaurant, bringing her skill set to bear on a wide ranging menu from Filet de boeuf to aligot and her delicious porcini mushroom salad.
Opening a tea room in the heart of Toulouse in the Haute-Garonne was a childhood dream come true for chef Yannick Delpech with Le Sandyan. Passionate about patisserie, the two Michelin star chef from his restaurant L’Amphitryon just outside Toulouse has devised a contemporary range of cakes, pastries and desserts to stimulate the five senses.
For lovers of the humble potato, L’Oncle Pom, in Toulouse, Haute-Garonne is the perfect restaurant for it is this vegetable that is the star of the show. This unorthodox eatery extols the beauty and virtue of the potato and features only fresh – and local – produce as the accompaniment. The principle is simple: firstly, choose the style of potato dish (frites, gratin etc) then – and only then –decide on the accompaniments (fish, burger or meat dish!).
For a wine bar with a cosy feel, N°5 Wine Bar in Toulouse, Haute-Garonne, features the innovative Enomatic by-the-glass wine serving system which allows wine-lovers to take a tour of the great wines, champagnes and grand crus of France and the rest of the world. N°5 also offers an ‘Oenological Excursion’ using a ‘Wheel of Aromas’ to guide guests through taster-size servings from a vast selection of available wines.
Michel Bras is the only three star Michelin – chef in the region. He was awarded the third star back in 1999. He was born in the Aubrac where his restaurant is situated, a truly amazing sight near Laguiole (where the famous knives of the same name are from). Michel is greatly influenced by the Aubrac and uses produce the area has so offer such as in the ‘gargouillou’ of tender young vegetables, herbs and flowers. This year he will open Café Bras, a gourmet eatery designed by his son Sébastien in the Musée Pierre Soulages in Rodez.
Click here to see what else is new in 2014!
Also available – Part one: What’s New – Exhibitions & Attractions in the Midi-Pyrénées for 2014 and part three: Hotels – New for 2014
Key Facts & Figures for Midi-Pyrénées:
- Population: nearly 2.9 million
- Surface area: 45,348 km² making it France’s largest region
- Capital: Toulouse – population 437,000
- 8 departments – Ariège, Aveyron, Gers, Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées, Lot, Tarn and Tarn-et-Garonne.
- Third most important interior (non-coastal) tourist region in the French market (after Rhône-Alpes and Ile de France)
- France’s 6th most important tourist region in the international market with 4.3% of the market share
- 15.7 million visitors per annum with 85.9 million bednights booked
- 33,500 salaried jobs generated by tourism