ANGELA BIRD'S

 

The
Vendée 

 

 

WHERE TO EAT IN THE VENDÉE,

 

4. FONTENAY, POUZAUGES AND THE HAUT-BOCAGE

Bazoges-en-Pareds, Chantonnay, La Chataigneraie, Cheffois, Faymoreau-les-Mines,
Fontenay-le-Comte, Foussais-Payré, Mervent, Moncoutant, Monsireigne, Mouilleron-en-Pareds, Nieul-sur-l'Autise, Niort, Poitiers, Pouzauges, St-Michel-le-Cloucq, St-Michel-Mont-Mercure,
St-Prouant, Vouvant.

 Key
Blue text = restaurant with view over water (sea, lake or river)
Red text = hyperlinks to relevant web pages

 

 

Photo: Colin Ellis

BAZOGES-EN-PAREDS
Auberge du Donjon, 28 Rue de la Poste (tel: 02 51 51 20 07)

COLIN ELLIS AND FAMILY WRITE:
Aperitifs outside in summer, and a roaring log fire indoors in winter make a welcoming atmosphere at all times of year in this elegantly restored stone building. Try the salade du donjon, with its mixture of meats and leaves, or caviare d'aubergines, followed by delicious pork fillet, and rounded off with a plateful of tiny portions of every dessert in the house. Around 18€ (2003).
Closed Wed, and also Tues from mid-Sept to mid-June.




Picture:
Moulin Migné website

CHEFFOIS
Ferme-Auberge du Moulin Migné (tel: 02 51 69 68 76)

Great food at this pretty farm-restaurant, with meat and veg home-produced by Roland, and cooked and served with energy and enthusiasm by Isabelle. You must reserve at least 24 hours in advance. They will do vegetarian dishes if requested a day ahead. The auberge is signposted down the country lanes, to the south of the D949bis.  Menus from 19€ (2008).



Photo: Angela Bird

FONTENAY-LE-COMTE
La Fontarabie, 57 Rue de la République (tel: 02 51 69 17 24)
ERNA DE CLERCK
WRITES:
The Glycine (wisteria) restaurant of this two-star Logis hotel - a former coaching inn, but now thoroughly modernised - on Fontenay's lower main street serves good salads, lamb and local dishes. Avoid the chips, though! My family are connoisseurs, and we found these something of a let-down...
PS: from Angela:  I noticed that this restaurant does offer a vegetarian option on its menus – a rare thing in the Vendée.




MERVENT
Crêperie du Château de la Citardière, Les Ouillères (tel: 02 51 00 27 04)
Not as sophisticated as you would think from its address. The crêperie is housed throughout the summer in the courtyard of a sturdy, moated medieval stronghold, illustrated left, and you can eat pancakes and other snacks, indoors or out, from noon till 10pm. Closed Wed.




Photo: Angela Bird

 

NIORT
André Perrier, inside market hall

Irresistible cooking smells lure hungry shoppers to a small bar area running alongside the passageways inside Niort's beautiful glass market hall. The helpings of braised steak etc are huge, so don't over-order!



 



PISSOTTE
Crêperie le Pommier, 9 Rue des Gélinières (tel: 02 51 69 08 06)
MICHEL LAGARDE WRITES:
In a pretty house alongside one of the area's vinyards 4km north of Fontenay-le-Comte, Philippe and Michelle Coirier serve generously filled galettes and sweet pancakes, plus salads, puds and other dishes washed down with cider or family-produced rosé. Visit the website and you can print out a voucher for a free aperitif on your first visit! Two rooms and outdoor terrace, children's playground, and a warming fire in winter. Best to book at weekends. Michelle also does painted furniture and objects. Closed Mon.



POUZAUGES
Auberge de la Bruyère, 18 Rue du Docteur-Barbinneau (tel: 02 51 91 93 46)

Fantastic view from the open-air terrace looking out over the hills and valleys of the Bocage, where you can enjoy a splendid panorama while eating a good-value midweek lunch at this Logis hotel-restaurant. Menus 15€-27€ (2008). 2-sdtar hotel rooms from 46€ (2008).
Closed Fri evening, Sat all day, & Sun evening (June to September, closed Sat lunch and Sun evg).



Photograph : Angela Bird

ST-HILAIRE-DES-LOGES
Le Pantagruelion, 9 Rue de l'Octroi (tel: 02 51 00 59 19).
Smart restaurant 10km east of Fontenay, where Laurence and Cyril Bretheau present sophisticated dishes such as foie gras with apricot. Closed Sat lunch, Sun evening & all Wed.





ST-MICHEL-LE-CLOUCQ
Ferme-auberge de Mélusine, Place de la Maison Neuve (tel: 02 51 51 07 61)
Extremely good - though not inexpensive - food, from Pascal Raguin, in this farm inn 6km north-east of Fontenay-le-Comte. In a less rustic setting than you might imagine, the restaurant has an imposing entrance on a hard-to-find square in the middle of St-Michel-le-Cloucq (find the Mairie first, then look for a signpost). The name is an allusion to the mythological fairy said to have built castles at Vouvant and a host of other places. Lunch menu 19€ (2005). Open from Easter to end October; closed Wed, and also 1 week in late Oct.





Photograph : Auberge website

ST-MICHEL-MONT-MERCURE
Auberge du Mont Mercure, Place du Sommet (tel: 02 51 57 20 26)

Reasonable food in this restaurant hidden away behind the church in a village that is the highest point in the Vendée. Not cheap (menus start from 23€) - but weekday lunches at 14€ offer a chance for some bargains (2008).

 

 

 


Photograph : Stephanie Nestor

SIGOURNAIS
Le Saturnin, 5 Place de Lespinay (tel: 02 51 40 42 77)
STEPHANIE NESTOR WRITES:
In the village bar/restaurant, new owners - Daniel and Frédérique - are wonderful hosts. They provide good-quality food and varied menus - the weekday lunchtime ouvrier menu is specially good value at 11 euros (2010) for three courses.  Evening meals are available at weekends in the upstairs restaurant (also open during the week, by prior reservation). Nothing is too much effort:  there is a children's menu; they will prepare dishes to take away; and - given 24 hours' notice - can provide an imaginative vegetarian menu.   Open 7 days a week from 0730 (closed Wednesday afternoon).   

 


Photograph : Angela Bird

SIGOURNAIS
La Morlière, Lac de Rochereau (tel: 02 51 40 41 98)
ERNA DE CLERCK WRITES:
M et Mme Lucas welcome visitors to their friendly, waterside restaurant overlooking the Lac de Rochereau, a short way north-east of Sigournais - itself some 6km north-east of Chantonnay. (Take the Monsireigne road, and keep going a km or two until you see a sign to the restaurant in the heart of the countryside.) Popular with families for its informal style, good-value set menus and large playground.
Closed Mon (and Wed from Sept to June)
2007:  Louise Jordan adds the recommendation below:
”We had the most stunning meal; service couldn't have been more friendly or helpful - made all the nicer by their extremely good-natured black labrador.”

 

 

 

   © Angela Bird...and friends

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