English and French are spoken at Malérargues and some Italian, Spanish, and German. However, it is a good idea to know some basic French phrases when traveling in this area of France, though the local people are quite accommodating to outsiders trying to make themselves understood in French.
Great to know
Malérargues has a wireless internet connection, which you may connect to for free during your stay. You need a laptop with the ability to connect to a wifi system. Please learn how to connect your laptop to wifi before you come as the office staff are often too busy to give a lot of help with this, especially in summer.
There are no food shops at Malérargues. So, if you are staying at Malérargues, please bring food (or eat before you arrive) for the evening and / or breakfast on your first day. In the south of France, lunch time is real. Most shops and services are closed from 12 to 2 or 3pm for lunch. Most shops are open every day until 7pm (except Wednesdays and Sundays), and some close at noon on Saturday: Intermarché is the nearest supermarket (on the way from Anduze to Malérargues) with good fresh fish, and it has a bakery. They are open on Sunday morning until midday and they also sell petrol. SuperU in Anduze is also an another supermarket, has better meat than Intermarché, and also has a bakery. They sell petrol, and are open all day on Friday and Saturday, but closed on Sundays. Utile in Lasalle is a smaller grocery, which offers great service, the family that runs it is friendly, and they often have good local produce. They are open Sunday mornings. Terroir des Cévennes sells local produce in Thoiras, about 5 minutes by car from Malérargues. Here you can buy best quality cheeses, wines, bread, meat, spices and fruits and vegetables produced in the area. They also sell locally produced art and handicrafts; a great place to buy gifts. Open on Sundays but closed for lunch hours (1 to 3pm). Boucherie Chardenon is what a local butcher should be. Located in Lasalle, this butcher shop roasts its own local chickens, and almost all their meats come from surrounding farms and local hunters. They produce a delicious series of game patés (wild boar, venison, and wild rabbit), which when eaten with a loaf of the local sourdough bread and the famous Lasalle goat cheese and washed down with a good bottle of local red wine (Pic Saint Loup for example), you will wonder why you would ever want to do anything else! Dietétique au Bien-être in Anduze is the nearest health-food store. The manager is a friendly Danish woman who speaks English, French, German, and of course, Danish. There is a Market in Lasalle every Monday morning until noon and in Anduze on Thursday.
French food is rightly considered one of the great five cuisines of the world. Near Malérargues there are several restaurants where you can find out why this is – and at a reasonable price. The best deal often is to order a “menu” (usually the most interesting and least expensive option at lunchtime during the week) rather than ordering separate dishes, unless you are really not hungry. If possible, call ahead and reserve a table. Doing this is a courtesy to the restaurant, and one almost always receives better service (and you are certain of a table) even if you do this in bad French. La Grange de Labahou is the best, closest restaurant to Malérargues, located on the way to Anduze in Anduze’s version of an industrial park. The interior is done in a kind of French country kitsch (with a working fireplace in the winter). In the summer, La Grange serves meals in an outdoor bamboo garden with a refreshing fountain and pool. The food is very good and moderate in price (24 euro menu). The wine list isn’t large, but they have a good selection of regional wines for reasonable prices. Service can be slow if they get crowded, so do not go if you are in a hurry. Tel. (+33) 4 66 61 98 25 Go to Le Riche if you want to know what’s all the hollering about in relation to French food. Le Riche is where you should lose your gourmet virginity. Simply put, this is the best restaurant with the best value (a 3 course 22€ menu) with the best decor (original art nouveau 1907) in the region, with a reasonable and good wine list. It is located in the nearby town of Alès (25 minutes away) opposite the train and bus station. Le Riche is also a hotel (50€ a night), so a plan could be to come to the area a day early from Nîmes to Alès by train or bus, eat at Le Riche, stay there overnight, and then make your way to Malérargues having sipped at the fountain of Epicurus. You will not regret it. Tel. (+33) 4 66 86 00 33 www.leriche.fr . There is another excellent restaurant besides Le Riche near Malérargues. Les 3 Barbus is a delightful country inn in the small town of Générargues perched on the side of a cliff overlooking a river gorge traversed by a still functioning 19th century steam train railroad bridge. The food is excellent, although somewhat expensive, and they have the best wine list in the area. You can also use their cliffside swimming pool if you come there for lunch in the summer. They are closed in the winter months. Tel. (+33) 4 66 61 72 12 www.aubergeles3barbus.com . La Ballade Gourmande is up in the mountains in Soudorgues (a 15 minute car ride from Malérargues). It has good French country food. Over the years this has been one of the favorite places of students who have come to Malérargues. Tel. (+33) 4 66 85 43 94
Go for a walk in the beautiful mountains. There are trails throughout the Cévennes and all around Malérargues.
Drink and eat well. This is France.
Most towns are ready for tourists, and there are many shops to visit and events to attend especially in the summer. Check in the office for forthcoming events. There are quite a few museums and historical sites in the area.
Set aside time to visit Nîmes and Montpellier. The south of France has some of the best Roman remains in Europe, and some, like the arena in Nîmes, are still in use.
And remember that the Mediterranean is less than an hour and a half away. The coast here is rather undiscovered compared to other parts of France.
You can go horseback riding near Malérargues.
General medecine: Irène Lafont de Cazenove in Lasalle (opposite post office). Tél. (+33) 4 66 85 47 75 ; Christian Flaissier (Lasalle) Tél. (+33) 4 66 85 20 98
Dentist : Mercier Jean Pierre (Anduze) Tél : (+33) 4 66 61 70 03
Taxi : Lasalle : Mr Thérond-Flavier Tél : (+33) 4 66 85 21 84
Taxis : Alès : Mr Christian Dunis TAXI ALES : Tél : (+33) 4 66 52 39 39 or Mr ENJOLRAS Daniel Tél : (+33) 06 63 66 63 73