Jardin Exraordinaire

Jardin Extraordinaire - Pumpkin Field
We were tipped off about this show from some friends that live under Montsegur. They described it as a village fete centered around gardens.

When we arrived at the tiny village of Lieurac (west of Lac Montbel) we knew something big was up. The amount of cars and people was more akin to a large festival.
Jardin Extraordinaire - Faces in the Clay
The Fete is just outside the village along a river, in a few fields and gentle wooded slope. It is put on by a collaboration of artists. The River has a walk that runs on an artificial shingle bank weaving past unexpected sculptures and rock art. The Woods are the same but without the river. Lots of ingenious calabash pots with flowers, mosses and woven natural fibers. Sticks are arranged in patterns. Details are everywhere. Hanging from trees, hollows in the earth. The field is dominated by a series of large bamboo structures that support a dense canopy of squash. Some are edible pumpkin, others are calabash. A few structures are built in the form of tepees. One large geodesic dome was home to a kora harp player. Another field was a labyrinth of head high wild flower, whilst another field had kids games.
Jardin Extraordinaire - Padame hold up a squash
Jardin Extraordinaire - Kora Harpist
Jardin Extraordinaire - dreamcatcher
There was also entertainment, theater, comedians, a live band in the evening, a bar serving ice cold craft beer, a candle lit walk at night, lots of stuff.

From Thursday to Sunday – every year in the last week of August.
Jardin Extraordinaire - River Walk 1
Jardin Extraordinaire - Moss Balls

Restaurant Review – Poulet Bicyclette

The Chicken on a Bicycle
Poulet Bicyclette
This seasonal restaurant, discreetly tucked away in the pine hills behind St. Ferriol, is visited by just about everyone we know. So after being here a year we had to try it for ourselves.

I was left with the question, is the meal is unimaginative or unpretentious?

The menu is certainly nothing special.
A fish dish (salmon fillet from frozen in orange sauce)
Duck magret
A page of pizza plates
Dish of the day

A short list of deserts, tart, cheese, ice cream, mouse, fruit salad,

The bar has beer and wine but limited in spirits and no cocktails.
They only accept cash payment
poulet bar
I had a set menu.
The starter is a small plate of salad with cured ham, mayo ham, crab rillette, pate and bread.

Salad leaf, crab rillette, ham mayo, pate, cured ham

Salad leaf, crab rillette, ham mayo, pate, cured ham

Followed by a very large duck magret with oven chips and a courgette gratin – a generous portion but the duck was lacking seasoning.
Magret with courgette gratin and chips

Magret with courgette gratin and chips

Desert was pear tart with whipped cream
A simple dessert of pear pie and cream

A simple dessert of pear pie and cream

Mara had
Salmon orange, with courgette gratin and oven chips. The salmon portion was small
Salmon, rice and courgette gratin

Salmon, rice and courgette gratin

Anika had sausage and chips from the kids menu of sausage or ham. The kids plate was as large as the adults.
Sausage or ham, with chips and ketchuph

Sausage or ham, with chips and ketchuph

I guess what the menu lacks is made up in the quirkiness of the restaurant. Built into the side of the hill, seating is on decking overhanging an artificial pond of carp, koi, gold fish and trout. Behind the restaurant is a woodland walk weaving through enclosed chicken runs of rare and unusual breeds. There is a small kids play area.
View onto the dining deck from across the carp pond

View onto the dining deck from across the carp pond

The restaurant was fairly busy but not so busy for a Saturday in August.
Service was very friendly but I was left waiting at the end when the support staff ended their shift.
I would go again for the kids and so long as one has no high expectations of the food,it will be an enjoyable experience.
The entrance to the chicken run

The entrance to the chicken run

From Quillan, drive through St. Ferriol direction Granes. Not long after leaving St. Ferriol there is an innocuous dirt road on the right which goes up the hill to the restaurant.
website: http://www.petanque-et-poulet-bicyclette.com/service-guestbook.html

Camurac Ski slope

This is a short video of our trip last Saturday to the Camurac ski slope. It is one of several small ski slopes in the area. As I have never seen snow before in such quantities one must excuse the excitement! Is was also Anika’s first ever go with skiis.

Camurac village has a ski rental store. It is about 12euro for a day for skiis and boots. Another 20euro for a day ticket for the ski lift. There are only a few slopes – I am told its a toddlers playground compared to what is on offer in the Alps. But for me its perfect 😉