France: Burgundy

Heart of Beaujolais

Southern crus and communes from Lancié to Tarare
By Michael Edwards

This Guide was last updated on 26 April 2011
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Places to stay

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Alain Chapel

Address: N83, 01390 Mionnay
Tel: 04 78 91 82 02   Fax: 04 78 91 82 37
Geo-coordinates:  Latitude: 45:53:15N (45.88747)     Longitude: 4:55:17E (4.92135)  

Less than half an hour from Villefranche, this is Bresse’s top address for classic cuisine. Gastronomes revere the memory of Alain Chapel, who before his sudden, early death in his late forties was thought by many to be perhaps the greatest of Lyonnais chefs (the city is 23km to the south). Happily, his widow has managed a fine team, bringing the restaurant back to an exceptional level in an ambience of cosseted luxury. Yet now having two Michelin stars (rather than three) prices are relatively reasonable, particularly if you want to stay overnight (see ‘Places to stay’). Don’t miss the very subtle creation of langoustines and velouté of fennel served on gelée of shellfish (springtime) or the classic poulette de Bresse en vessie, sauce foie gras (local Bresse chicken cooked in pigs’ bladders with a foie gras sauce). And you don’t need to spend a fortune on wine: both the house Mâcon Clessé and the local sparkling Cerdon rosé are delicious. This is also a luxury Relais et Châteaux hotel, an old inn on the Dombes River in a small, picturesque village - the 12 bedrooms are unquestionably finely appointed.

Useful information: Menus: €58 (Wednesday/Thursday lunch) - €130. Rooms: €130-€150; breakfast: €16-€21. Closed Friday lunch and all day Monday and Tuesday (except public holidays). Closed in January.

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