June 23, 2012
Castelnou, officially listed as one of the plus beaux villages of France, is the village closest to Ille-sur-Têt with that distinction and the last one we visited before heading to the US for the summer (take D48 off of D615 outside of Thuir). Set on a hilltop in les Aspres foothills it’s worth a visit as much for the views of the surrounding valley with the Canigou peak looming in the background as for its pretty stone structures along cobbled streets.
Restaurant l’Hostal takes full advantage of these views
and is a pleasant place to chill with a glass of rosé on a hot summer day. With prices that also take advantage of the view, consider visiting Tuesday – Friday for the better value set menu. We tasted their farm salad with warm goat cheese – over-sauced and not very interesting,
and the mixed grill platter – skimpy portions (for the price) of gristly meat.
Come here for the setting not the food.
The refurbished castle decorated with a mish mash of furnishings, local “art” and odd figurines is located at the top of the town
and affords the best views of the valley but not much else.
The castle wine, however, is worth a taste if not a purchase (tastings offered in the gift shop).