Open again!

On October 30, 2020, restaurants, bars and cafes all over France had to close their doors to the public as part of another lockdown. At the time, nobody had any idea as to how long they would have to remain closed, but I don’t think that anyone expected the closure to last as long as it did! Finally, on May 19, 2021 – after six and a half months!! – restaurants, bars and cafes were allowed to serve customers once more. To begin with, diners are only allowed to be seated outside, with tables widely spaced, and the 9pm curfew still in place – but it’s a start!

When you think about how important a role food plays in French life and culture, you can imagine what a deprivation it has been not being able to go out for a meal. Even a glass of wine or a coffee on one of the terraces of the cafes was out of bounds!

I visited Cafe de la Paix in Saint-Chinian last Saturday evening to catch up with friends, and to enjoy a meal prepared by someone else!

The bar at Cafe de la Paix

Cafe de la Paix was taken over by David and Eve four years ago, and they’ve been working hard to improve the guest experience. The garden has had a complete makeover, the gravel being replaced with paving. There is new (comfortable) terrace furniture, and the place has had a general sprucing up inside and outside!!

The garden at Cafe de la Paix

The menu has also had a makeover – the focus is now on bistro cooking and appetising presentation!

Here now are photos of the dishes we enjoyed! 🙂 First off, a couple of delicious starters

Pissaladiere onion tart with smoked trout
Vegetable tart with shavings of Spanish ham

The main courses were equally delicious, and it was bliss to just sit there and have someone bring the food to the table!!

Filet of seabream on a bed of pasta with mussels
Rump steak with red wine sauce and potato gratin
Duck with olives

Our desserts arrived as it was slowly getting darker. The weather was perfect and I didn’t need to put on the jacket I had brought in case I got too cold! The desserts were a yummy ending to a lovely meal!!

Chocolate mousse, chocolate granola, and buckwheat ice cream
Strawberry eclair with strawberry sorbet
Cherry creme brulée

Because of the 9pm curfew, the restaurant had opened at 6.30pm to give diners ample time to enjoy a leisurely meal – it worked very well for us! If you have been to France in the past, you may remember that most restaurants don’t start to serve dinner before 7.30pm. I imagine that we’ll go back to this later starting time once the curfew gets abolished altogether later this summer.

As we head into summer, things are looking a lot more upbeat and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’ll continue that way.

Have you visited your favourite restaurant in France yet?

9 thoughts on “Open again!

  1. So good to hear that things are improving- we are in Devon visiting family on the first trip outside Scotland since January 2020! Looking forward to getting back to St Chinian, but might be next year…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Du hast Recht: Café la Paix ist für uns hier in Saint Chinian ein echter Gewinn! Endlich mal ein Restaurant mit Stil und Qualität- ein BIP im Michelin wird wohl bald kommen.
    Wollen wir mal zusammen hingehen? Ich lade Euch gerne ein.
    Herzlichen GruĂź
    Siegfried

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have felt so sorry for the restaurateurs during this long period. We haven’t been out for a meal yet, but we are looking forward to it as a real treat. We have had takeaways from local restaurants during lockdown, which have been very good, but it’s not the same as eating out! Your dinner looks scrumptious. Beautifully presented.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Have a wonderful summer,hope to visit in October!

    Best wishes Inger and Torsten

    FrĂĄn: midihideaways Skickat: den 29 maj 2021 09:04 Till: inger@torstendahlin.se Ă„mne: [New post] Open again!

    midihideaways posted: ” On October 30, 2020, restaurants, bars and cafes all over France had to close their doors to the public as part of another lockdown. At the time, nobody had any idea as to how long they would have to remain closed, but I don’t think that anyone expected”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Andreas Bonjour. No sadly we haven’t been able to visit our favourite restaurant in France but we would really like to. Why do we like it you might ask Well apart from….the greatest greeting……good food, well cooked, nicely presented…..great selection of local wines……perfect service…..nice canal du midi aspect…did I mention the welcome? First impressions count…..there is not much to say! However yours was good news and pics about CDLP. We have missed the charcuterie and melon avec du vin entrĂ©es of its previous incarnation but generally it has been getting better.Your experience sounds like a further movement upwards…..and we trust the your judgement! Much love  x2 Peter and Chris p.s. La Croisade of course

    Sent from the all-new AOL app for iOS

    Liked by 1 person

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