Great french cuisine in Noumea
The oldest French restaurant in New Caledonia opened in 1970 by a French coiuple originally from French Algeria.
French traditional cuisine from the South West of France, especially Foie gras and Duck and of course cassoulet.
A good choice would have been the assorted seafood platter for about US$35, enough of a main dish for two with lobsters, fish salad, crab salad and succulent oysters. The couple at the next table ordered this meal.
The mussles and local fish also have to be tried. Short but well-balanced wine list. Very warm welcome in a Mediterranean/South West style country house.
Reservations are a must. We walked by the restaurant earlier in the day to see the menu and thankfully we made a reservation at the same time... When we arrived at 7.30pm for dinner, the place was packed, people without a reservation were turned away.
This is where the locals eat.
This restaurant is walking distance from Le Pacifique/Nouvata Park or Ramada. I had the Duck confit and my partner had the Duck Cassoulet. Both meals were outstanding. The menu is exactly what you would picture the traditional french to be. Many choices of duck.... i was very happy.
Our meal included 2 starters, 2 main dishes and a bottle of French red wine. Total cost $180AUD. I thought this was great value.
Noumea, NC. The South of France in the Pacific
"Its only a short hop from east coast of AUS"
Picture the south of France only 2.5 hours flying time from Sydney.... well that is 1 way to describe Noumea NC.
The centre of town is situated around the central park. A beautiful place to sit and relax.
French is obviously the preferred lanaguage of Noumea - after all Noumea is part of France. It was strange to see the EEU & French flags flying and also the road traffic signs exactly the same as used in France.
Don't worry though if your French is not good... you will get by if you take the time to equip yourself with the essentials such as bonjour and merci. The locals, particularly those people in contact with tourists usually speak english.
Is holidaying in Noumea expensive??
The short answer to this question is yes it can be. By no means is this a cheap holiday destination like Bali. Most food and produce is shipped in from France. Only a small percentage is grown or made locally and a small amount of food items are shipped in from Australia. Walking through the supermache's is like being in France. You will see the odd item on the shelves that you will recognise. This obviously impacts on the price of items. Of course you can imagine what the deli section is like... the cheese selections with phenomenal.....
Don't let this put you off though.... you can live well without spending huge amounts.
You can keep the cost of your stay in Noumea under control if you take care. Following the lead from the locals is just 1 way you can do this.... you will notice the locals do not dine out at lunch time in restaurants. The deli section of the supermarket (supermache) will prepare to your instructions a mouth watering bagette stuffed with gorgeous things.
To give you some idea of the cost of living...
a McHappy Meal at McDonalds (not i didn't eat there) was 770CFP or ~ $10AUD
a roast chook from the Supermarket was 2000CFP or about ~$28AUD. That is enough to feed a family of 4 though. Add fresh bread, salad and a bottle of french red (all available at the supermarket) and you have the essentials for a great picnic down by the bay.
"The beautiful beaches"
Noumea has some lovely beaches, Anse Vata and Baie de Citrons are just 2 of them.
Anse Vata is about a 10 minute taxi ride from the centre of town. This area has a large number of hotels and hence is geared towards the tourist market. Hotels such as the Le Pacifique, Nouvata Park and the Ramada Plaza are located here. This is a great spot for wind surfing as there is always a decent breeze to fill your sail. You can always hire a wind surfer or kayak along the beach front. Rates are reasonable - about $25AUD per hour.
Water taxis leave from here to islands such as Ile aux Canards (Duck island).
If kite surfing is what you are after, there is always plenty of action around Pointe Magin (towards Le Meridien Hotel).
Baie de Citrons is a short 15 minute walk around the bay from Anse Vata. There are less accommodation options here and this tends to be be where the locals hang out at night. There are many dining out options here, great selection with a really good buzz at night.
The bay is more sheltered than Anse Vata and is a great place to swim or just lay around topping up the sun tan.
If you prefer to eat where the locals do... then this is the place to head to. Young lively atmosphere.
"Land transfers are a must... forget the taxi"
On arrival to Noumea you will land at Noumea La Tontouta International Airport. The airport is located 45 kilometres from Noumea. If you are planning a trip to Noumea, no doubt by now you have heard that it is expensive. It yes but with careful planning it is about on par with Sydney... BUT you must plan ahead.
If you are taking a holiday package to Noumea, have your airport to hotel transfers included in your package. If not, look for the many bus operators once you depart the airport terminal. On exiting the terminal head off to the right, you can't miss them. 1 prominent tour operator providing transfers into town is Arc en ciel Voyages. The price is around 3000CFP one way (approx $42AUD). A taxis could cost you about $100AUD.
For other travel requirements within Noumea check out there web site