Have you ever visited a place that seemed too storybook perfect to be real? Or maybe not “perfect”, but definitely not real. Where, while walking around, you just keep thinking this place cannot actually exist. I imagine that happens often when viewing natural wonders – I’ve definitely experienced it when in different mountainous regions surrounded by so much grandeur and beauty. But I’ve also experienced it in a little town called Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val.
Last year, during my amazing birthday trip to France, I was fortunate to spend three nights in this medieval fairyland. If you have seen the movie The Hundred-Foot Journey, then you’ve seen this town. The movie was filmed there and that’s how I was first introduced to it. And after watching that movie, I knew I had to visit someday.
Located in the South of France and surrounded by the beautiful Gorges de l’Aveyron, Saint Antonin is like no place I’ve ever been.
My friend, Teresa, and I arrived late on a Sunday afternoon, just missing the famous Sunday market ( 😥 ). We checked into our amazing bed and breakfast, Le Residence, and were shown to our room with this rooftop terrace and view:
During the week, this town is incredibly quiet. But I’ve heard that on the weekends it can become quite lively! The Sunday market here is very famous and people drive miles to experience it and pick up yummy goodies.
We were in town from Sunday evening through Wednesday morning and it was so nice to experience it during the quieter days, but there are some drawbacks to that: namely, that we missed out on the market, and many of the restaurants, shops and art galleries are only open on the weekend.
But we still got to enjoy some good eats and also some fun shopping. 🙂
Our first evening we ate at Le Gaspacho and sat outside to enjoy the pleasant weather. The restaurant wasn’t very busy until we neared the end of our meal and people started showing up to watch what was apparently a very important rugby match.
Is anyone familiar with rugby? I had heard of the sport but didn’t know anything about it until this experience. We were seated in a spot that gave us a view of the TV inside and I was entranced at, what to me, appeared to be the craziest game I’ve ever seen. I’m sure there’s some method behind the madness that is rugby, but it seriously just looked like chaos! But the French apparently love this “chaos”! 🙂
This region of France is a fantastic place to visit for anyone who enjoys spending time in the great outdoors. There is so much to do: biking, hiking, rafting, kayaking…
Our first full day in this town was spent almost entirely outside. We packed a picnic lunch then headed out for a hike.
After a few wrong turns and some scrambling up various overgrown inclines, we finally found the PR9 trail that would take us up to and along Le Roc d’Anglars.
What a lovely hike! We didn’t see many people on our walk and the trail took us through shady, cool woods and along some open roads. The views from above were so beautiful and the weather on this June day was absolutely perfect!
We stopped at a lookout point to enjoy the baguette sandwiches we had picked up at a local boulangerie. Yum.
And after we made it back to town we had to reward ourselves with some gelato. 🙂
Not quite ready to end our day outdoors, we decided to try another, shorter hike that started on the other side of town. Unfortunately, we never did find the trailhead for this one. But we did enjoy the walk and we discovered a lovely wooded area next to a river and waterfall where we sat and journaled for a bit.
That evening we rewarded ourselves for the second time – with pizza! We ate in the town square which was actually pretty busy on this Monday evening.
The following day was my birthday and we spent it shopping and touring the town. We had picked up a tourist map at the local Tourist Information office that had various points of interest highlighted on it, and we used that to explore this amazing town and learn some of its history.
That evening we ate dinner in one of the nicest settings I’ve dined in. Beffroi Tentations has an absolutely beautiful outdoor dining area surrounded by foliage, medieval buildings, and romantic lamps. The food was good, the atmosphere was great!
I am so glad we decided to spend a few days in Saint Antonin and I only wish we had been able to stay longer! It’s such a lovely place to just relax and unwind, or for a bit more adventure, go on a hike or kayak through the gorge. Highly recommend!