La Caunette is a village which is all too often passed by, lying as it does on the other side of the river, on the way to Minerve.
I have good reasons to visit La Caunette on a regular basis, because of friends who live there. For casual visitors there are a number of attractions which should entice you to stop: one is Restaurant La Cave, which was created by three sisters, Christelle, Frederique and Sophie, in what was their father’s old winery. The building is ideally located on the only square of the village, right across from the Cafe. Inside, the old wine vats have disappeared, but the barn-door like entrance still hints at the previous use, and the name is of course a give-away.
Inside the decor mixes old charm with modern colours and furniture; just to the right of the door is the old wine press, and the old stone walls and wooden beams are very much in evidence. The chairs are comfortable and the tables laid with nice tablecloths and napkins.
Good first impressions are always nice! Once we were settled, one of the sisters came with the menus. The daily menu at La Cave is priced at €15.50 and consists of a starter, main course and dessert, AND includes a quarter litre of wine, as well as coffee!
The choices for the starters were Tarte au Roquefort and Cappuchino d’Asperges – the first a kind of Roquefort Quiche, the second a creamy asparagus soup with a topping of whipped cream – both delicious!
The choices for main course were Seiche aux oignons and Filet de Poulet a la creme – cuttlefish with onions and chicken breast with a creamy sauce. I had the Seiche and it was deliciously tender and tasty. One of my fellow diners was very happy with her chicken! The only thing which could have been improved was presentation!
For dessert our little group had Tiramisu aux Speculoos – tiramisu made with spiced biscuits, and I had the strawberry smoothie, which was a perfect end to my meal!
After coffee we set off for a stroll around La Caunette. I had not visited the oldest quarter of the village since the roads had been re-laid, a couple of years ago, so was eager to see the improvements (they are good!).
A little topography: La Caunette is a rather long village, built between the cliff and the Cesse River. For a lot of its length the village is just one street wide. In the oldest part, the Carambelle, there is a little more space and the houses cluster right up against the rocks. For the adventurous, right at the top there are few steps hewn into the rock, which allow you to climb up to the caves. It is thought that the village grew from those early cave dwellings, and at one point there were troglodyte houses in the village. These days the caves look completely abandoned, but no doubt the land belongs to someone.
After we left the Carambelle we meandered past the fountain (La Caunette has very good spring water), and on to the newer parts of the village.
On our way back to the car we stopped at the church, which was unfortunately locked. It’s an ancient structure, and very impressive close up. From the cemetery, the views of the surrounding countryside are wonderful.
So next time you are headed for Minerve, stop at La Caunette for a little walk, a meal at La Cave or a drink at the Cafe in the square – I promise you’ll not regret it!