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Great South West

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1 800 735 2478

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Sébastien Bras
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Owner and Grand Chef of Restaurant Bras
My Route du Bonheur...between Auvergne and the Mediterranean

I was born in l’Aubrac. This is the place where I was born, and where I live with my family. This place Aveyron, in the North, is a land of transition between the chain of the volcanos of Auvergne and the open plateaux on the Mediterranean. From our mountain, we have modestly dominated the horizon. Here, the Aubrac cows, which can be recognised by their wheat-colour coat and their fur-fringed eyes, occupy the summer pastures, quietly occupying the landscape. These are places of few words but also of great beauty. Places where knives and cheese are manufactured every day. Places which extend and reinvent tradition. Just like our restaurant…

Relais & Châteaux proposes its Routes du Bonheur for your inspiration: they are suggestions of itineraries that you can adapt to your preferences and desired experiences. Our advisors are at your disposal to individualise your routes and help you make reservations at our properties.
Example for a six-night stay from 1521€*
* Minimum indicative rate per person, subject to availability, on the basis of a double room with double occupancy, including accommodation, breakfast and dinner (menu, without beverages) in the properties suggested for the itinerary.
Activities on site and nearby must be reserved by you.

My Route du Bonheur
Step 1: 2 days, 2 nights

Château de Codignat

The unique atmosphere of a place steeped in history
Château de Codignat
Dominating the countryside, this splendid medieval château has preserved its square tower dating from the 12th century. Its stones, antique furniture and trompe l’œil-style frescoes offer us a real journey through time. Here, one sleeps in canopy beds, and dines by candlelight. At the heart of a forest and a 15 hectares park, it is today a palace whose refinement is matched only by its discretion.

Close to the property...

Thiers, its knives and its half-timbered houses

The medieval city of Thiers includes a number of splendid half-timbered houses. Built between 1450 and 1530, these homes evoke the prosperity of its artisans and other merchants who used to work in the stationery and cutlery industries. Do not hesitate to open the door to one of the many shops that still operate, or that of the Museum of Cutlery, which has a splendid collection dating from the 16th century up to the present day.

Fourme d’Ambert, a cheese of Auvergne

Auvergne is a land of volcanos but also of a formidable plateau of cheeses. Saint-Nectaire, Salers, Cantal, Bleu d’Auvergne and Fourme d’Ambert are all produced within a relatively small perimeter. It is the GAEC of Hautes Chaumes, located in the commune of Valcivières, which supplies our restaurant with Fourme d’Ambert. For here we continue to work on summer pastures and to produce cheese in the mountains, moving the herd depending on the quality of the grass and the pastures…

GAEC of Hautes Chaumes

On the route...

Clermont-Ferrand, volcanic stone

Don’t people stop at Clermont-Ferrand because its stone is black and austere? If the city is not immediately appealing, then the capital of Auvergne is definitely worth a visit, if only for its impressive cathedral, the ambience of its rugby matches (Clermont was in the European Cup Final in 2013 !), an ascent of the Puy-de-Dôme or a ride on the neighbouring site of Gergovie, the place where the Gaulish chief Vercingétorix taught César a lesson in resistance…

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : BRAS

Calling from another country ? Click here

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Step 2 : 2 days, 2 nights

Bras - Sébastien et Michel

The love of the Aubrac - a pleasure to be shared
Bras - Sébastien et Michel
It’s a family history. It all started with my grandmother, who was settled in the village of Laguiole; then my father Michel, who earned the respect of the most prominent food critics and moved to the heights of the Suquet. And then it was my turn to share and extend this passion of l’Aubrac. Today, I continue to observe and cultivate this nature which every day offers us these new flowers and these plants and vegetables of which our Gargouillou is composed. It is the most beautiful of presents.

Close to the property...

Laguiole, knives

Everyone who lives in Aveyron has their Laguiole knife. Over here, everyone possesses at least one. Designed in 1829 by Pierre-Jean Calmels, a blacksmith who lived in Laguiole, the first local knife was inspired by a capuchadou, the traditional blade of the peasants of Aubrac, and the navaja, which the seasonal workers had brought from Catalonia. It quickly spread throughout the mountain. Its steel was tempered in the village spring and the handle was made from the horn of an Aubrac cow or bull. Then a stamp was soon added, at the request of farmers, before the knife had a corkscrew added to it. The latter met the needs of the coalmen who went to work in cafés in the capital. The knife that you will find at your table will be served during the cheeses course, and was made next door, at the forge of Laguiole…

Forge de Laguiole

The cheese of the Coopérative Jeune Montagne

Laguiole is known for its knife… and its cheese. Continuing the tradition of the cheese manufacturing establishments, the coopérative Jeune Montagne produces the cheeses of Laguiole ("young and old") but also an excellent aligot as well as a fresh Tome. On our menu you will also find two cheeses from Laguiole that are produced by this coopérative which respects equitable and inclusive agriculture.

Jeune Montagne

Pierre Soulages Museum, Rodez

Rodez during Spring 2014. Located in its hometown, the museum has benefited from the significant legacy of the "black" painter. With very large numbers of historical works dated 1946-1948, and remarkable works of the 60s, the museum’s collection is already the artist’s largest collection in the world. Soulages told me that he know his first feelings as a painter in the plateau of Aubrac. There are links between him and our family. We have had the good fortune of being chosen to open a gastro pub at the heart of the establishment.

The wines of Marcillac

I love the local wines produced in the Domaine du Cros by Philippe and Julien Teulier. Frank and authentic, they are a perfect accompaniment to a good piece of Aubrac beef. The Teulier family has cultivated wines throughout generations since 1870. Their domain today extends over thirty hectares in the Vallon de Marcillac, and has been enjoyed by the best wine-lovers of London, Tokyo and New York. And the wines with seasonings of black pepper and hints of red fruits which are also included on our menu, go down well…

Domaine du Cros

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : BRAS

Calling from another country ? Click here

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Step 3 : 2 days, 2 nights

Le Domaine de Verchant

A spot where time stands still – the promise of a delightful interlude sealed off from the outside world.
Le Domaine de Verchant
Located at the gates of Montpellier, this château is surrounded by 17 hectares of wines both young and old. It is a peaceful location which mixes old stones and contenporary furniture design with finesse. With these Mediterranean and Bordeaux grapes, this area is part of the relays of the route of the wines of Languedoc Roussillon. The house and its magnificent spa, which opens onto the vineyard, could almost make you forget the proximity and the interest of the town with its Bofill architecture and its Fabre Museum…
Or

Le Jardin des Sens

The alchemy of the senses is the source of pleasure
Le Jardin des Sens
The twins Jacques and Laurent Pourcel were born in this Mediterranean region. With Olivier Château, they were able to create a modern and generous cuisine, fully turned towards the sea and the sun. The sons of winemakers, they are today some of the most active French chefs in the world. We know them well, and Laurent also worked along the shores from Michel to "Mazuc", before heading back to his estate.

On the route...

Micropolis or the enchanting world of insects

This stunning city of insects was born following the phenomenal success of Microcosmos, a documentary which was held outside of the competition of the Cannes Festival in 1996. Located on the grounds of the famous entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre, the city today houses thousands of different species of insects. It also encourages visitors to discover a large number of images that were not used in the film. In recent months, a new route has been created, offering one an amazing feeling that they are actually heading inside a giant ant colony…

Micropolis

Viaduct and whipped focaccia

This work of architecture, designed by the famous British architect Lord Norman Foster, has proven itself an essential site in the region within the space of only a few years. Crossing this viaduct gives one the impression that they are flying over the valley. At its peak, the building which looks like a boat is 343 m high. More than a passing place, it is a contemporary work and an exceptional site. On the area that borders it, our family has created a gourmet area, intending to highlight the regional products. It is a place where one can taste Capuchin stuffed cabbages, vegetables, Capuchin "Aubrac Aligot meat" or even "Comprégnac Aligot truffles"…

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : BRAS

Calling from another country ? Click here

Texts : © Guides Gallimard