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Southwest France: Smoke-Free Gastronomy

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photograph courtesy of  merkley???
photograph courtesy of merkley???

It’s well known in France that you can eat like a king in the provinces for what you would pay for a sandwich and a glass of wine in Paris. But do so in a smoke-free restaurant? Impossible.

Well, actually, not really. Le Pigeonneau, a fabulous restaurant in Riscle—in France’s southwestern Gers region—banned smoking five years ago. The British owners say that this decision has been good for business. Their lunchtime formula costs €15 and you can choose either appetizer and main course, or main course and dessert.

We had a creamy cauliflower soup with thin strips of ventreche—a kind of bacon—followed by a supreme de pintade (guinea hen), puree of celery root, steamed cabbage shreds, and oyster mushrooms. For dessert there was a choice of a charlotte aux fraises or nougat glace. The combination of the finest local ingredients and the chef’s Paris-trained classicism is hard to beat. Without a doubt, Le Pigeonneau is one of the best restaurants in the Gers.

Le Pigeonneau, 36 Avenue de l’Adour 32400 Riscle. Telephone: +33 (0)5 62 69 85 64.

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