You would not guess from the humble exterior of this restaurant that inside are two rooms for guests, and that the experience offered would be one of a luxury get-away. I would recommend it without reservation for a romantic getaway, which you can combine with an amazing meal at the restaurant and some lovely sightseeing in the area, whether the lovely small towns of St Puy, Jegun and Monluc (where you should load up on liqueur, armagnac and wine from the chateaux) or the bustling capital of Gers, Auch. We found our way to this restaurant from a random travel article I found in the New York Times extolling the delights of Gers, a quieter and humbler version of more visited areas like the Dordogne or Aquitaine, awash in Armagnac (one of my favourite drinks ever) and Foie-Gras (with apologies to those who are uncomfortable with Foie-Gras but I really love it…).
Part of its charm is its story, Baptiste, the son who lived in Paris for 12 years, working in luxury fashion, returning to his hometown and family to help his parents modernise a long-running traditional restaurant. With the peak tourist season really only lasting during August, Baptiste felt the restaurant too large, and convinced his parents to let him turn the top floor into two rooms of accommodation. Our room was the “spa” room because of a large jacuzzi in one of its rooms. The fun starts right from the entrance, with astroturf, an explosion of decorative butterflies on the wall, and a cage rather than a wardrobe for hanging clothes and a security locker. The bedroom, with high ceilings, had a super-comfortable bed and pillows with linen sheets which felt lovely and cool and made us wonder who has to iron them. There was some extremely stylish furniture and a basket of fresh fruit. The toilet room, with a small selection of books and toy figures, with obvious personal meaning for the owners, is equipped with a Japanese toilet, one of those ones that washes, dries and warms… The bathroom had an amazing shower, stylish and contemporary fittings, two big white bathrobes in the drawer, samples of local toothpaste (the area is apparently famous not only for its thermal baths to take care of your skin and health, but for taking care of your dental hygiene) and Aesop products, a luxury Australian brand. Oh, there was a nice selection of magazines and our own little patio area.
For one night, the cost was 160 Euros (230 Australian dollars), which, if you’re splitting the cost with your partner, comes to a cool 80 Euros each. An intimate luxury experience like this in Australia would cost at least double this, if not more. Plus, it felt like a very personal experience, that the room was a labour of love for Baptiste who has tried to make every detail perfect, and every product and furnishing of the highest quality. Breakfast was delivered to our room in a basket and on the patio, we ate croissants and pain chocolat, fresh local yoghurt with a lovely fresh fruit compote, fresh orange juice, coffee (each in our own individual thermos) and today’s international edition of the New York Times.
I thought with our magnificent experience at Chateau de Lalande near Perigueux, that that would be my best review of this trip. But with my specialised taste for a truly individual experience combined with very affordable luxury, I really loved our night at Le Florida. Tell me if you ever have the chance to go.