Sunday, July 5, 2015

A walkabout Gigondas and a wonderful lunch at l'Oustalet Restaurant

Sablet is located between Séguret, a small beautiful village to the north and Gigondas, a small village (532 pop) renown for its wine to the south. We think Gigondas is one of the prettiest of all the Côtes du Rhône wine villages and a must stop for red wine lovers. From afar, Gigondas seems little more than a cluster of stone houses on a hillside with a church below the Dentelles de Montmirail.

Turn off the D-7 and follow the road up through the lower village; you will pass a succession of cafés and tasting rooms, before you arrive at Place Gabriel Andéol where the Mairie (Town Hall), and the Caveau du Gigondas (the wine growers cooperative), are located.

Park your car here and go explore Gigondas. We try to time our visits so we can eat lunch on the village square at l'Oustalet, one of my favorites in the area or for simpler fare, we go to Du Verre a l'Assiette, one of Shirley's favorites. Make reservations so you are not disappointed.

The pictures which follow are some we took back in May during a visit to Gigondas.


If you like red wine, plan to stop in at the Caveau du Gigondas which was opened in 1972 by the winegrowers of Gigondas as a place where you can taste more than 100 different Gigondas wines from 80 wineries and buy them at the same price as at the winery. The Caveau sells more than 80,000 bottles of wine each year. The Caveau is opened daily from 10-12 and 14-18. Tastings are free.

Place du Village and Caveau de Gigondas

The name Gigondas is of Roman origin. Jocunditas means great pleasure and enjoyment in Latin, with the town's origin and production of wine dating back to the Romans.

Gigondas Town Hall

The castle seen below originally belonged to the Princes of Orange and was probably used as a second home. In 1678, the Hospices were added to the castle. After the French revolution, the castle functioned as a girls' school up until the beginning of the 20th century when it was finally abandoned and fell rapidly into ruins.

Ruins of the Princes of Orange Castle


Walk up through the pretty streets and alleyways lined with stone houses to reach Saint Catherine of Alexandria Church with its beautiful façade. With the elevation at nearly 800 feet, you can see a great view of the region all the way to the Cevennes.

Gigondas street towards the village church

Gigondas house with bright blue shutters

Gigondas fountain

Trimmed Plane tree

The pottery shop shown below is on the main street leading to the main square of Gigondas. If you are looking for beautiful, locally made pottery, make sure to check out this shop.

Gigondas pottery shop

Stone houses

Flowers in a Gigondas garden

Saint Catherine of Alexandria Church with its central clock tower flanked by a campanile belfry seen below dates from the beginning of the 17th century. The hollow on the front façade shelters a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Saint Catherine of Alexandria Church

The Gigondas castle and the defensive walls were built around the 13th to 14th century.

Gigondas defensive walls

View from the church

Vineyards in front of Gigondas defensive wall

Gigondas is largely a red wine (99%) appellation with a small amount of rosé wine (1%) being produced. No white wine is produced with a Gigondas label. In 1971, Gigondas was designated as its own appellation; previously it had been classified as Côtes du Rhône-Villages.

View of defensive wall from the village cemetery

Gate through the Gigondas defensive wall

The ruins of the ancient fortifications extend up from the rocky ridge high above the village and most of the old defensive wall still runs down from the top along the east edge of the village.

Eastern defensive wall of Gigondas

Stone wedge house next to lavoir

Gigondas lavoir

When we first arrived in Gigondas that day, I walked over to l'Oustalet Restaurant to see if they had an open table for two persons since I had not made reservations in advance. They said "bien sur, a quelle heure?" When we finished our walkabout Gigondas, we headed over to taste wine at the Caveau du Gigondas while we waited for our table to be ready.

L'Oustalet Restaurant

L'Oustalet Restaurant has a pretty, small, wood-beamed dining room and a tree-shaded stone terrace where you can sit and watch all of the activities in the center of the village. The restaurant is owned by the Perrin family who own Château de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf du Pape. The chef is Laurent Deconinck.

Shirley at l'Oustalet Restaurant in Gigondas

Shirley chose a table somewhat in the shade as it was a sunny, warm day. Our lunch which followed was excellent. To begin with, we were offered the amuse bouche seen below.

Amuse bouche of zucchini tartar with pesto and confit almonds

We both chose the same dish for first course seen below.

Asparagus over potato mousseline with softly poached egg

For my main course, I chose roast veal with potato mousseline that arrived with a lovely crock of morel mushrooms and fingerling potatoes.

Roast veal with potato mousseline

Crock of morel mushrooms and fingerling potatoes

For her main course, Shirley chose braised monk fish served two ways. The first was served over a green garlic leaves sauce with artichokes, cauliflower, and spelt.

Braised monk fish over green garlic leaves sauce with artichokes, cauliflower, and spelt

Second, braised monk fish was served over a hay broth. To tell you the truth, in this case I think the chef carried away with trying to be overly creative with his hay broth. Neither one of us thought it did much for the perfectly cooked fish.

Braised monk fish over hay broth

But he was back on track with the dessert of strawberry rhubarb with vanilla ice cream shown below.

Strawberry rhubarb with vanilla ice cream

To finish, we were brought the tray of small dessert bites shown below.


Service by the all-male staff was excellent. If you get a chance, you should visit their wine shop which is just up the street from the restaurant.

L'Oustalet Restaurant
Place du Village
84190 Gigondas
Tel: +33 4 90 65 85 30

Have a great week. Chat soon.


  1. Oh I do love France, the more I see, the more history I love to look up. Great photos with a great meal. The hay broth sounds a little odd to me but each to their own :-) Take care Diane

    1. There are no shortage of beautiful places in France with lots of history. The only thing lacking is time to get to all of them. Thanks for checking in.

  2. Your posts always make me want to step on a plane and visit France (we only know Paris and St. Germain-en-Laye). Some of my husband favourite writers lived in all of the other areas we never went too and long to know, so we travel a bit that way too, reading their books. The meal is truly a gourmet looking!!!
    Thanks for making all of us dream a bit!
    Paula Lima (from Portugal)

    1. Thanks Paula Lima for stopping in to check out my blog and for leaving a comment. It is much appreciated. As I said above, there are no shortage of beautiful places in France with lots of history. I hope to get to Portugal some day. I hope you will stop by often.