Monday, September 5, 2022

Excellent Seafood Restaurant near the Port of Le Grau-du-Roi and a Water Jousting Match to Boot

On a warm Saturday a couple of weeks ago, we headed seaside to Le Grau-du-Roi, a fishing port and beach resort, with cousins Jean-Marc and Christine. We figured we would find cooler temperatures near the Mediterranean Sea and bonus, we could try out a new restaurant I had read about.  

Le Grau-du-Roi is a commune in the Gard Department about 1.5 hours south from Sablet. Le Grau-du-Roi is the only commune in the Gard Department to have frontage on the Mediterranean Sea. Le Grau-du-Roi is the second largest French fishing port on the Mediterranean. 

Port of Le Grau-du-Roi

I made reservations at Le Vivier Restaurant early in the day. As we made our way toward Le Grau-du-Roi, it became clear we would be quite late for our reservation because of heavy traffic on the A-9. So I called and they said come ahead, but get there as soon as possible.

When we finally got there, we were kindly welcomed and seated at a table on the terrace. The charming owner told us they didn't mind tardy arrivals but since the chef works by himself in the kitchen, they try to keep to their posted hours as closely as possible. 

Le Vivier in Le Grau-du-Roi

The menu offers a wonderful selection of seafood and fresh fish with very tempting accompaniments. I debated between Couteaux, Razer Clams in English, that were dressed with a Safran Cream sauce and Tellines also in a cream sauce. For those who don't know, Tellines are tiny triangular shaped multi-colored clams. 

Cousin Jean-Marc order a platter of mixed seafood that includes oysters, sea snails, and shrimp. The ladies passed on starters and said they would order dessert instead. 

The owner steered me to the Couteaux, saying the Tellines were really tiny right now. I didn't know what to expect as I had not tried Couteaux before but was really happy I took her advice. They were perfectly tender and delicious with their sauce. 

Couteaux (Razer Clams)

The main courses offer a nice selection of fish, any of which I would have been happy to try. Cousin Christine chose the "Poisson du Jour" which this day were Rougets accompanied by veggies and a sweet potato puree. 

Rougets with Sweet Potato Puree and Vegetables

Shirley opted for the filet of Daurade (Sea Bream) with a mint, dill and citrus broth accompanied by tomatoes and zucchini. 

Filet of Daurade (Sea Bream) with a Mint, Dill and Citrus Broth accompanied by Tomatoes and Zucchini

Jean-Marc and I both ordered Whole Wild Fish which were a duo of whole fish, which changes plate to plate with a citrus cream sauce accompanied by crushed potatoes and veggies.

Duo of Wild Whole Fish with a Citrus Cream Sauce and Crushed Potatoes and Vegetables

Our dessert selections were Frozen Citrus Souffle accompanied by a citrus coulis and fresh fruit,

Frozen Citrus Souffle with Citrus Coulis and Fresh Fruit

Lingot Glace accompanied by caramelized peanuts and fresh fruit,

Lingot Glace with Caramelized Peanuts and Fresh Fruit

Frozen Chocolate Souffle and fresh fruit. 

Frozen Chocolate Souffle with Fresh Fruit

After lunch, we walked along the canal that connects the fishing port to the Mediterranean to see the lighthouse at the entrance. As we walked, we watched the water jousters (Joutes Nautique in French) in combat on the canal. 

In water jousting, two wooden boats are rowed towards each other by eight or ten oarsmen. One jouster on each boat stands on a raised platform at the stern of the boat about 10 feet above the surface of the water. In addition to the jouster and rowers, the crew consists of a helmsman and two musicians, and jousters who will participate in the next match.

Water Jousting Team

Jousters carry a shield 70 cm high and 40 cm wide and a lance 2.8 meters long. They must wear white outfits and white shoes. As the boats approach each other propelled by the rowers, the jousters crouch with their lances directed towards their opponent. A direct hit will propel the unlucky jouster into the air before he falls into the water. 

Water Jousting Team

In case you think these matches have been created as tourists attractions, you will be interested to learn that jousts have been carried out since ancient times. There are records of jousts going all the way back to the time of Christ. This form of jousting is practiced in eight towns in the Herault Department and one town in the Gard, Le Grau-du-Roi. 

The Water Jousting Teams Meet in "Combat".

Our meal at Le Vivier with the dishes of very fresh fish and seafood prepared by an excellent chef made the trip from Sablet worthwhile. Finding out they were jousting on the canal was just icing on the cake.  

I would recommend making reservations at Le Vivier as its a very good restaurant and very popular, especially during tourist season. Parking is available a short distance away. 

Le Vivier Restaurant
7 Rue du Commandant Marceau
Le Grau-du-Roi
Tel: 33 (0) 4 66 53 23 36
website: https//


  1. Excited to try it! Razor clams - done well - are amazing. First time we had them was at Cannon Beach in Oregon - season changed now to a few months, used to be a few weeks.

  2. The restaurant was great and I think Le Grau-du-Roi is an under rated seaside town. Definitely worth the drive from Sablet. I really enjoyed the Razor Clams. I can't wait to have them again.

  3. The food looks delicious. Recently I was in the Vaucluse and traveled around solo. Visit my adventures sometime.