St. Come is a unique little village. It is one of the few villages around here that has maintained it’s strong sense of community and true village life, while at the same time having an open-minded attitude. Our children attended the tiny, ‘home-made’ village school, which certainly bonds the village. The little bar also has a tiny corner shop inside which sells fresh bread daily and other bare essentials. (See more details under Restaurant section.)
PLACES TO VISIT
A twenty five minute drive from us is the stunning Roman city of Nimes with its’ beautiful old town. Do not miss the Jardins de La Fontaine, La Maison Carre, the Arena, getting lost in the little streets in the old town, visiting Les Halles food halls, all the cafes and restos and shops. Best way to get there from St Come, is if you go through St. Come and up over the hill and through the garrigue. When you can go no further, you turn right on the Route de Sauve and go straight on for about 15/20 mins until you reach the centre of Nimes. We often park in the underground car park of the Maison Carre (sign posted). When you exit this car park, take the immediate, little road on your right and then turn left. And then straight on. This will take you directly back on to the route de Sauve and it avoids the one way system in Nimes.
When we first moved to France we lived in the centre of Montpellier, just off the main square La Place de la Comedie. It is a beautiful, energetic town, which instantly seduces. Do not miss the numerous squares filled with shady cafes and restos in the quite large pedestrian old town. Just walk and explore and you will love all the fabulous shops. 40 mins drive by motorway and we normally park in the Triangle underground car park because you avoid the one way system. Head for ‘Centre’ and it should be sign posted. Otherwise, there are lots of other underground car parks.
A beautiful city which is only a 50 minute drive door to door. We went here last year for the first time and loved it. The Palais de Papes is impressive and of course you must sing to the Pont d’Avignon. Do not miss the beautiful gardens next to the Palais de Papes. They are great for kids to have a run around and there are beautiful views.
This is a pretty, artistic medieval town set into the cliff on the river, on the road towards St. Hippolyte du Fort and the Cevennes. There are many little art galleries and cafes but it is not overly touristy. Everything will close in the afternoon for siesta, as in many towns and villages around us. 40 mins drive.
Attractive town on the river on the way to the Cevennes.
Another medieval town on the Vidourle river. Filled with shops, cafés and restos. Do not miss the market. Only 15 mins drive.
A beautiful medieval town. There are more tourists here but it is definitely worth a visit. The pedestrian main square, La Place des Herbes is charming and there are numerous restaurants and cafes for people watching. If you have kids, you may have to visit the Haribo Museum which is just outside Uzes. St. Come is a picturesque 45 mins drive from Uzes.
- PONT DU GARD
I know this isn’t a town but it is very close to Uzes so I thought I would put it here. This amazing UNESCO site really is worth a visit. Take a picnic or eat at the resto by the river. Take your time and walk amongst the ancient olive trees. Have a look at the website www.pontdugard.fr There are meant to be wonderful concerts and festivals in the summer.
A pretty town at the foothills of the Cevennes famous for it’s pottery. Just outside Anduze is the beautiful Bambouseraie (www.bambouseraie.com) which really is worth a visit. From there you can even take an original steam train to St. Jean du Gard. Great fun for big and little kids. Go early in peak season to avoid the crowds. 40 mins drive.
We do not know Arles very well but it is meant to be a very interesting city filled with art and culture thanks to Monsieur Van Gogh and filled with the Camargue culture. 45 mins drive.
Fortified medieval town in the Camargue. Well worth a visit. 40 mins drive.
- ST. REMY DE PROVENCE
A beautiful, chic provence town. Wednesday is the main market day so it will be busier but fun. 1 hour drive.
If you feel the need for more sea air and some great sea food, take a trip to Sete, a genuine fishing port with stunning sea views. Fabulous fish restaurants and a pretty canal. One hour and 5 mins drive.
Another medieval village and apparently one of the most beautiful villages in France and a World Heritage UNESCO site. A wonderful place for canoeing too. Leave early to avoid crowds at peak times. One hour and twenty minutes drive.
We are spoiled for choice. Our favourite is to head for La Grande Motte and go to the beaches on the Montpellier side called Le Grand Travers or Le Petit Travers. You can just pitch up with your umbrella and towel and find a spot or if you want spoil yourselves, try one of the beach restaurants (see our restaurant list). You can hire a mattress for the day or you can go for lunch, aperitif or dinner. A real treat. If you are going to the beach between mid July and mid August or at the weekends, be aware of traffic. At these times, we always go early morning or late afternoon as it’s easier to park and the traffic is fine.
If you love eagles, hawkes and flamingos, black bulls and white horses, you may be tempted to visit the Camargue. It feels like another world with its rice paddy fields, cowboys, salt marshes and farmlands. There are many ways to experience the culture of the Camargue including simply driving through, horseback riding, cycling tours or even jeep safaris. Arles and Aigues Mortes are very close. See http://www.camargue.fr
You can reach the foothills of these mountains, within 45 mins drive from our house. See the section on ‘Towns’ for some good places to aim for but if you drive north/ north/west from us you will find yourself surrounded by the beauty of these mountains and a feeling that you are lost in another era.
One thing is for sure, you cannot be bored here. If you are feeling energetic, here are a few suggestions:
- Riding – At Maruejols which is the hamlet attached to St. Come, there is a beautiful riding school. Tel: 06 74 93 84 10 Even if you do not ride, it’s worth a visit in the car as it’s such a pretty hamlet.
- Cycling – Our area is well known for cycling. St Come even hosted the National Firemen’s Cross Country Cycling competition a few years ago. There is the wonderful cycle/walking path called the ‘La Voie Verte’ very close to us or you can just cycle on the roads or on the tracks through the vines. There is a great bicycle shop in Calvisson called Vaunage Passion Velos where you can hire bikes.
- Walking – There are so many inspiring places to walk that I can’t list them all. Try walking towards Maruejols, the charming hamlet attached to St. Come. Or walk up to the village and if you are very fit, right to the top of the hill. You will be rewarded with magnificent views and there is a bench half way up for a rest. Or when you reach the village, carry on past the bar but before you start the climb, go left through the vines. Another pretty place to walk is above Calvisson. Walk up the Grand Rue and just carry on. There is even the remains of a castle up at the top in the garrigue and again you will be rewarded with splendid views.
- Acrobranche –
Tyroliane at St Christol – 06 77 79 14 36
We have heard this is a great place for all you monkeys out there.
Many places along the Gardons and the Herault rivers. Last summer we went to St-Guilhem-Le-Desert but there are many places much closer.
- River Swimming:
When you feel like a change from the pool and the sea, why not head for the rivers. The best places to swim are often closely guarded secrets and if it’s been a very dry summer, the rivers can be low but you could try the following:
In the Gard – Try Collias but apparently there are some currents, so children would have to be careful. You can also swim at the Pont du Gard but this can be very busy. Or head up past Anduze and follow the river north. When you spot a cluster of cars by the side of the road, it might mean there is a good spot to swim. Sometimes the walk down can be slightly treacherous though.
In the Herault, the Pont du Diable, (near St-Guilhem-le-Desert) is very popular.
- Inside Activites:
Sometimes, even in the south of France, rain pours from the heavens. On these days you may need a little inside entertainment. Just off the motorway at Montpellier, exit 26, is a new brilliantly designed complex called Odysseum. There is everything you can imagine – aquarium, cinema, ice rink, planetarium, climbing centre, restos, great shopping….(and I’m not talking about the Ikea). Even on a sunny day, it’s good family entertainment all in one place. You can also park here and take the tram into the centre of Montpellier or stop off at the beach on the way home.
Throughout the summer months, the whole area is filled with parties, shows, concerts and spectacles. Nimes and Montpellier are bursting with music and entertainment and the local villages all have their own, unique bull running festivals which are an amazing experience. Check out local posters for details.
We are spoilt for choice around us and the best idea is to experiment! Intermarche has a good selection of wines but most of the vineyards sell direct and are usually very friendly. Go and explore but avoid the siesta period. It might be best to call in advance. Here are some we would recommend:
- Cave Cooperative in Calvisson – very good value and good quality wine. No need to call. Closes at lunchtime but open on Sunday morning.
- Domaine de Foltodon – St. Come – 06 07 55 78 15
2 place de la Mairie, right next to the Maire in the centre of the village. Ask anyone if you can’t find it. The father, Monsieur Crouzet is a lovely man but if you need some English spoken, you may want to ask for Paul, his son. They are very special people and make delicious wine. Do say you are staying at Mas de Mahystre.
- Mas de la Barben – Route de Sauve – 04 66 81 15 88
This is on the way to Nimes (my directions) on the left hand side of the road. The driveway is lined with avocado shaped trees!
- Domaine d’Aigues Belles – 30260 Brouzet-les-Quissac – 06 07 48 74 65
Near Quissac, on the way to the Cevennes.
And if you want any tips about Rosé wine and a good read, you will find Extremely Pale Rose by Jamie Ivey in the bookshelf either in the Den or in the blue and white bedroom. Jamie is my brother-in-law. He has also written two other books in the Rosé series, Rosé en Marche and La Vie en Rosé, which should also be in the bookshelf. My husband Neil, did the sketches for the books. Jamie’s latest book, ‘Ten Trees and a Truffle Dog’ has just been published.
The little bar is perfect for an early aperitif outside under the plane trees. Very quiet and local, unless it’s during the village fete (Fete Votive – first weekend in August in St. Come) when it explodes into party mode. It is open Tuesday to Sunday 8 am – 1.00pm and about 5pm – 9pm approx. It is closed on Mondays.
Le Chaverdille – 04 66 81 43 24
A lovely resto in the original chateau, in the heart of Caveirac. Delicious, local produce with a good local wine list. It has a pretty courtyard for summer dining. Open Tuesday to Sunday at midday and Thursday to Saturday evening. Quite a treat.
Les Deux Palmiers – 04 66 03 65 92
In the summer, the pretty terrace is always bustling and the menu is full of delicious local produce. More smart than cheap and cheerful.
Café des Sports
This is a true French bar which has recently opened a cheap and cheerful restaurant. It boasts a great terrace and is a wonderful spot to soak in the atmosphere, particularly on market day. Salt of the earth stuff.
Café/Hotel La Fontaine
Nice little bar on the main street in Clarensac, opposite the Post Office. Full of locals with a small terrace.
Bursting with restaurants and cafes but here are a few ideas in the old town. You should probably reserve.
Le Lisita – 04 66 67 29 15
Beautiful restaurant with a stunning position opposite the Arena. It used to have a Michelin star but they relinquished it last year to make it more accessible to everyone.
Aux Plaisir des Halles – 4 rue Littre – 04 66 36 01 02
As the name suggests, this is very near Les Halles market, near the Maison Carre. In the old town of Nimes. Lovely courtyard with delicious food. Quite a treat.
Le Vintage – 7 rue de Bernis – 04 66 21 04 45
Great food, servie and wine list.
A La Ficelle – 15 rue de l’Etoile- 04 66 76 11 46
A great little place.
And for those of you real foodies, who love a real ‘gastronomique’ resto, here are a few treats near Nimes:
Chez Alexandre – route de l’aeroport, 30128 Nimes Garons – 04 66 70 08 99
Two Michelin stars. Reserve.
Le Vieux Castillon – 10 rue Turion Sabatier, 30210 Castillon-du-Gard –
04 66 37 61 61
In between Nimes and Avignon, near the Pont du Gard. Stunning setting. Reserve.
La Tour de Mole – place de la Tour de Mole – 04 66 77 02 45
Right in the heart of this little town. A must if you’re looking to eat out in Sauve.
Mas de Roux – 30260 Bragassargues – 04 66 77 14 01
A very special place, lost in the vines near Quissac. Delicious food, fabulous views and lots of space for kids to run around outside. About 25 mins from St.Come.
Also exploding with restos and cafes waiting to be enjoyed. We are slightly out of touch but these have been recommended by great friends who live in Montpellier.
Place O Gout – 5 place de la Chapelle Neuve – 04 67 29 90 45
Le Grillardin, 3 place de la Chapelle Neuve – 04 67 66 24 33
Maison de la Lozere – 27 rue de L’Aiguillerie – 04 67 66 46 36
A delicious treat in the heart of the old town.
CARNON PLAGE, NEAR MONTPELLIER
Le Canis – 117 Avenue Grassion Cibrand, 34280 Carnon Plage –
04 67 68 11 58
This is a real secret. You can hardly even see it from the road. If you love mussels and homemade chips then you must find this place. Simple and excellent value. Please reserve. A one minute walk to the beach.
Les Demoiselles Dupuy, 4 quai Maximin Licciardi 04 67 74 03 46
A tiny place where all the fishing boats come in. You may need to book.
They are normally open from April until early September and you are spoilt for choice but here are some of our favourites.
La Paillote Bambou, La Grande Motte
04 67 56 73 80
La Plage de Bikinis – La Grande Motte
04 67 56 10 40
Last year this was our favourite because they served Tapas from 6pm (very useful for big and little children!) and twice a week they had chill live music which also started at 6pm. We could sit on comfy sofas, listen to sweet music with our toes in the sand, while the children played around us. N.B. You have to park,…. And walk 2 mins on the pretty path behind the beach.
Sun 7 Beach – La Grande Motte
08 99 02 23 55
We don’t know this personally but when my sister and family stayed here last summer, they raved about it. I think it has live music and tapas too!
Yacht Club Beach – La Grande Motte
04 67 29 29 29
Carre Blanc – Villeneuve-les-Maguelone
08 99 02 77 30
We don’t know this one personally but I have read good reviews and it’s a pretty place.
La Voile Bleu – La Grande Motte
08 99 02 20 48
La Baie du Roi – Port Camarge
08 99 02 41 62
La Plage des Artistes – Le Grau du Roi – Port Camargue
08 99 02 69 78
We don’t know these last two but have heard good things, if you want to explore Port Camargue/Le Grau du Roi.
Please note – apart from Intermarche and L’Amandine boulangerie, most of the food shops are closed from 12.30pm until 4pm for a little siesta.
- Intermarche in Caveirac is the one we go to for our main shop. From St. Come go to Clarensac and then keep following signs for Caveirac and Nimes. You will see Intermarche on your right hand side, after about 8 minutes. It is open Mon – Sat from 9am – 8pm and on Sunday mornings from 9am to 12.30pm. They even stock fresh milk.
- Super U in Clarensac is a little supermarket and useful if you’ve forgotten something. This is also open on Sunday mornings but it does close for about two hours at lunch time.
- Boulangeries: As is typical of French villages, you are spoilt for choice. Our favourites are :L’Amandine in Calvisson (opposite the post office) Les 13 Desserts in Caveirac (next to Intermarche). Both are not to be missed but there are many others to be discovered.
- Butchers: The Super U butcher in Clarensac is very good. The butcher counter in Intermarche is excellent. Valz et fils in Caveirac on the main street, on the left as you are looking at the chateau and the hills. This is a gorgeous, top quality butcher, if you’re looking for something a little special.
- Fishmonger: The fish counter at Intermarche is excellent. There is also a fishmonger in Calvisson called L’entre deux mers on La Grand-Rue which is the road that goes up the hill away from the main square. Or if you venture into Nimes, the fish counters in Les Halles (see markets) are fabulous.
- Fruit and Veg: Even though Intermarche has good produce, you can’t beat a proper fruit and veg shop. There is a very good one on the main high street in Clarensac called O P’tit Primeur. Also Cote Jardin – on the roundabout between Clarensac and Caveirac is excellent. Depending on what month you are in St. Come, you will find lots of stands on the sides of the road selling local, fresh fruit and veg. Just avoid the ones near the beach on the D61 – these are often full of rotting fruit and wasps!
- Newsagent & Tabac: There is one in Clarensac on the road going up the hill next to the bar (Le Grand Rue) and there is one just off the main square in Calvisson, opposite the church. They sell British newspapers here but you may have to get there early, especially on Sundays.
- Pharmacies: Well, they are everywhere and all of them are very good. The ones we use are on the main street in Clarensac and the one next to Intermarche in Caveirac. And anyone who is a fan of Nuxe products, buy them here in the pharmacies – much cheaper than in the U.K! This is probably the same for many skin care products.
- Post Office – Clarensac and Calvisson are the closest and are rarely too busy.
- Boutiques Shopping – If you are on the look out for something special and original, do visit the old towns of Montpellier and Nimes. Both are full of little independent, interesting clothes and jewelry shops. Lose yourselves in the gorgeous old streets, splash out on treasures and reward yourself afterwards with a delicious lunch or drink in one of the numerous shady cafes.
- Markets :
Calvisson – Sunday morning until 1.00pm Buzzy, local and not too touristy.
Sommieres – Saturday morning – seek out the main square in particular.
Wedneday nights in July and August from 6pm.
Sauve – Saturday morning
Uzes – Wednedsay morning & Saturday morning (I think Saturday is a bigger market)
Nimes – Les Halles, Boulevard Gambetta very near La Maison Carre. Fabulous food halls/market every day from 6am – 1.30pm.