Passionate about cooking, Angèle Abadie opened a family boarding house with a restaurant in Castéra-Verduzan for people coming to bathe and relax in the hot springs. She loved flowers so every room was decorated with her bouquets and there were geraniums on each windowsill. The Spanish who were fleeing civil war in Spain called the inn the Casa Florida – the house of flowers.
A family saga
Le Florida has stood at the corner of the rue de l’Eglise and the rue du Lac almost forever, opened by great-grandmother Angèle and then run by her daughter Paulette, her grandson Bernard and now her great-grandson Baptiste. Four generations have followed each another, so that they say eating with the Ramounéda family is almost a tradition.
The thirties - La Casa Florida
The sixties - eat, drink and dance
Paulette took over the family business with an iron grip. Charming and stylish, her principle was ‘who sleeps dines’ and so the Auberge Le Florida invited guests to spend the night and eat in the restaurant. On Fridays, the belote players in the village came to eat and drink, and the Saturday night dances attracted all the young from miles around, and were local sweethearts could meet.
The eighties, family cooking
A charismatic chef, Paulette’s son Bernard took over the establishment in the mid-eighties, and the restaurant quickly gained a considerable reputation. His menu and traditional dishes gave pride of place to the fine ingredients of Southwest France. Authenticity on every plate, and the room was packed all week and at weekends. Families came from the whole region to celebrate birthdays, weddings and engagements.
Le Florida today, a contemporary auberge
Having spent 15 years in the luxury and fashion world in Paris, Baptiste, the great-grandson, has reconnected with his innkeeping background. Inspired by the history of the place, he has put together his memories, hijacked the family furniture, and added his own modern collection of objets and crafts to create a unique venue, a poetic retreat. The gourmet restaurant has won a Michelin Plate and been acknowledged by Le Fooding, and now there are four elegant country-style bedrooms, some with their own private Jacuzzi, and a wellbeing programme dedicated to reconnecting with your inner self.