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  • Writer's pictureMme Vanessa Williamson

'Michelin' its all about the STARS

(The awaking of the senses) When our guests visit Mayenne for a special romantic escape and dinner, we know the destination can only be L'Eveil de Sens Restaurant (The awakening of the senses). Proudly the only Michel star restaurant in the Department of Mayenne, Chef Nicolas Nobis has been awarded a star for 9 consecutive years. I imagined a French Michelin Star restaurant as unaffordable, with long waiting lists, unaffordable wine lists, and full of 'beautiful' elegant people. All too scary to contemplate. How completely wrong I was about everything. Here in rural Mayenne in west France is a Michelin Star restaurant known for its accessibility. A dining experience of perfection in simplicity, calm, local produce, seasonal cuisine, lunch menus from €23 and bookings often available from a week before.

The Stars: So what do the stars mean exactly since my perception was so wrong? They are routed in the 1900 original traditions of the very first Red Guide. When motoring was demanding & slow, in essence, was it worth the drive, before the 1950s in France that could be a long slow journey. Michelin stars are used in the Red Michelin Guide to grade restaurants on their quality & diners' experience. They are defined by the quality of dining, the mastery of technique, and the restaurant's consistency. Even factors such as decor, service and table settings can be ignored by award stars. Restaurants are awarded one to three Michelin stars on an annual review basis. Even one Michelin star is considered an honour. A one-star review is not criticism but praise. The prestige that comes with even a single Michelin star, is an honour coveted by chefs around the world.

Here in our town of Mayenne, the regional and local newspapers run a front-page story & photo each year as our local restaurant is again awarded a new star.

One-star Very good restaurant, a good place to stop if you are on a road tour. The food served is consistently of a high standard.

Two-star Worth travelling out of your way to visit. The dishes are carefully and skillfully prepared, and the quality is outstanding.

Three Star is worth making a special journey for. The food is exceptional, the dishes are distinctive, prepared with the highest quality ingredients, and always prepared to the absolute highest standards.

So take the time to explore the restaurants on offer while you travelling,

From Michelin Guide - "On the outskirts of the city, it is impossible to miss this restaurant whose fishnet-like facade in oxidized metal catches the eye. There is not much left of the old pizzeria tastefully transformed by chef Nicolas Nobis and his wife Isabelle. These two met in Alençon and learned their trade from Bernard Loiseau and Georges Blanc. The sober and refined decoration of their restaurant gives pride of place to wood. The same principle of simplicity and naturalness is used in the chef's cuisine, who likes to work with herbs, including nettle, and vegetables from Mayennais producers. Its precise cooking and seasoning finish awaken the taste buds and the senses of the guests."

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