Victoria Restaurant in Vieux Nice

 

I found a charming restaurant on one of the narrow streets in Old Nice, not far from the Cathedrale St. Reparate. I was enjoying my lunch so much that I had forgotten to take a before photo of my steak & fries! But, it was the bread to die for – so much so, that I asked where they source it and after lunch, went to the nearby boulangerie to buy some. Generally, the bread served in a restaurant is a sign (to me) of the overall quality of the restaurant and their attention to detail. The service was polite and efficient; the chef also came into the dining room to ask if all was OK with everyone. A great find!

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interior 2
interior 1

salt & pepper

salt & pepper shakers

THE bread !

Ravioli aux fromages

Ravioli aux fromages

steak & fries

Steak frites

Ile flottante

Ile flottante

 

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Head into the Massif de Maures for an Authentic French Holiday

The following is a post, kindly submitted by Eve Walsh, a freelance writer with a keen interest in travel writing, as well as a dear love of France and French culture. It is her dream to retire to Brittany and immerse herself in French life fully.

The Riviera has long been the go-to holiday destination for the rich and famous as well as people from all other walks of life – old, young, families and couples alike are drawn to the glamour of the big resorts such as Cannes, St Tropez and Nice. Whilst these destinations are great fun to visit, for many people the big names on the Cote D’Azur hold less allure and it’s the smaller, arguably, more authentic towns and villages set back from the coast that attract them back year after year. Pretty stone-built villages set in the cooler hills of the Massif de Maures, behind St Tropez, make for a perfect base from which to explore the rest of this truly stunning region of France.

The best ways to explore

Depending on where your base is and how long your holiday is planned for, there are a few options for exploring this area of France. If you have driven then you can obviously use your car to get around, or, if you are feeling particularly fit, then hire or bring a bike with you as the area has a wealth of bike routes mapped out. Some of the terrain may be hilly but you will be richly rewarded with some delightful scenery and the opportunity to slow down (metaphorically as well as in reality!) and really drink in your surroundings. Other options for travel to the area include flying to Nice and then picking up a car from the airport. Or, you could take one of the many cruises whose itinerary includes a stopover at Nice; the cruise industry has been witnessing a real renaissance and this looks set to continue into 2014 and beyond. Many of these cruises also offer the opportunity to cruise and stay; stopping over can give you the flexibility to take in some of the gems that the Mediterranean region has to offer. As travel specialists Planet Cruise say, the only difficulty is deciding whether to tour the east or west Med!

Once on the Riviera head inland and you will find a variety of picturesque villages that beat to a quieter drum than those on the coast. Grimaud, La Garde Freinet and La Môle, all offer a more laid back version of Rivera life and are well worth visiting.

La Garde Freinet

This pretty town is accessed via winding roads that takes you up and out of the built-up St Tropez peninsula into the hills behind, passing by vineyards and forests as you go. As one of the villages that is set in the heart of the Massif de Maures the town has a number of places to stop awhile and have a drink or a bite to eat. The main street is pedestrian only so you can take a leisurely walk along and look at the interesting independent shops on offer. There is a twice weekly market that offers locally produced food as well as crafts and really brings the town to life. Surrounded by chestnut, oak, cork oak and pine forests there are also a number of walks that start from the centre of town and lead up into the countryside – many of them offer stunning vantage points across to St Tropez and the sea.

Grimaud

With its 11th century chateau at its peak Grimaud has a commanding position over the Golfe de St Tropez below. The village itself has been sympathetically restored and whilst it is close to St Tropez it manages to retain an authentic French feel against St Tropez glitzier image. Stop off at the tourist office and pick up a map showing a walk around the town – it will take you along some of the narrow medieval streets, old fountains and past some of the 15th and 16th century village houses. Interestingly, cactus is popular here along with the ubiquitous but glorious bougainvillea. Numerous cafes and restaurants can offer respite to this quirky and engaging town.

La Môle

This smaller village offers a breath of fresh air and can act as a great base for exploring the wider region. It has a selection of year-round markets within easy reach so is not solely a summer destination – and it will be far quieter if you visit out of the peak summer season. There is plenty to do here to keep you busy with chateaus to visit, scented pine forests to explore and a number of local family owned wineries where you can taste the local grape.

With so many villages in this area of France to explore these really are just three to get started with. Notably, Cogolin and Le Plan de la Tour are two of the other must sees if you are in the region – if you can’t fit them in this trip perhaps a return visit will need to be planned!

Linnet’s Nominees for the Versatile Blogger Award

Linnet Moss

Just for fun, I decided to change the “Versatile Blogger Award” rules so that winners now have a choice of displaying either Kit Harington’s abs or Scarlett Johansson’s pecs. 

theversatile-blogger-award-pic

Not long ago I was nominated as a “Versatile Blogger” (many thanks, Perry of Armitage Agonistes!). It was a thrill because I used to worry that my blog was perhaps too unfocused to attract a regular set of readers. After all, how many people out there share an interest in all the things I write about, from rapini to Ralph Fiennes to rosé to ancient Rome?

This award gives me a chance to celebrate ten other versatile bloggers (some longtime favorites and a few newly discovered) and invite them to participate, if they so choose. The award is intended to be an honor, not a burden, so if you do not have time, no worries! Just bask in the…

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Language Lundi #2

language lundi #2

(Source credit: French Property News)

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Answers:

Who am I?: Blanc; Roux; Ducasse

Past Participles: su; ouvert; eu; mis; fait

Faux amis: grape; sensitive; to claim; uninhabited; to attend; disappointment

Odd one out: Pyrénées-Orientales; le parapluie; la confiture

Idioms: a.to be well read; b. to be speechless; c. to be at home; d. to meet someone halfway; e. to be over the moon

Follow the yellow-brick road! / Suis toujours la route de briques jaunes!

Years of dreaming, working hard, navigating life’s potholes, and some fortuitous events – the protagonist finds herself all alone in the “City of Light.”

Little does she know that it is just the beginning of her symbolic yellow-brick road, leading her on a life journey full of love, sweat, & tears. See Read if her dream leads to finding her own “Land of Oz.”

Book Cover

Paperback & e-book available  on Amazon

and Smashwords

Read reviews HERE

En Francais:

In English:

 

10 ICONIC THINGS TO DO/SEE IN NICE

1 – Museums

renoir painting

Follow in the footsteps of Chagall, Matisse, Renoir, and Picasso, among many other artists, with a visit to the numerous historical and fine arts museums. Discover how the light of the French Riviera inspired and captivated artists, beautifully reflected in their works of art.

2 –Old Town

2 CV

Marvel at the Apollo fountain in Place Masséna, as a starting point. Enjoy the culturally diverse food stalls & large flower market, as you stroll through the daily morning market in Cours Saleya; a flea market is held instead on Mondays for you to find just the right antique or trinket souvenir. Among the winding, medieval streets of  “Vieux Nice,” you’ll find art studios; a variety of quaint shops, cafés, & restaurants; Palais Lascaris; Sainte Reparate Cathedral, and many charming churches. Oh, and don’t forget to stop for ice cream at Fenocchio in Place Rosetti, if you can choose among the 98 flavors!

3 – Beaches & Seaside Restaurants

private beach

Nice’s beaches are iconically pebbled, with smooth stones of various patterns and shapes. Enjoy the azur, turquoise, and cobalt blues of the Mediterranean while dining al fresco. For up close and personal seaside views, lunch or dine at one of Nice’s private beach restaurants, or at one of the Promenade-lined hotel restaurants for panoramic views.

4 – Bellet Wines

wine

The vineyards of Bellet comprise around 11 domaines, situated in the higher elevations behind Nice, and are classified as AOC (appellation d’origine controlée). Producing red, white, and rosé wines, the Bellet vineyards are iconically rich in both terroir and taste.

5 – Shopping

Cartier

From the luxurious Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and Hermès designer stores to Sephora, Zara, Galeries Lafayette, and Nice Etoile shopping mall (just to name a few), there is indeed something fashionable for everyone’s taste and budget. If you would like a souvenir, designed around the iconic blue chairs lining the Promenade, you can see the information HERE

6 – Chậteau Hill

Castle Hill stairs

Take the stairs, elevator, or the tourist train up to Castle Hill for a breathtaking, panoramic view of the city and sea. The city park divides Old Town from the Port of Nice and is a peaceful setting of nature, including a waterfall.

7 – Salade Niçoise

salade nicoise

Nice’s iconically-named salad, delicately flavored with a vinaigrette dressing, is generally made with lettuce, red peppers, tomatoes, onions, hard-boiled egg, “les caillettes” (iconic Nice olives), tuna, and anchovies. You may see other variations of this iconic dish, with added ingredients, such as green beans and potatoes.  Nice and Lyon are two cities that have gastromically-acclaimed cuisine.

8 – Promenades

Walk, jog, bike, rollerblade, or simply stroll along the wide, seaside walkway – the “Promenade des Anglais.” Daydream while sitting on the iconic blue chairs and taking in the beautiful azure color of the sea.

velo bleu labeled

Stroll through the 26-acre park, “Promenade du Paillon,” with meandering paths from the Albert 1st garden to the Nice Theater – lots of green space, playgrounds, and fountains to enjoy.

garden fountains night

9 – Nice Port & Place Garibaldi

port boat labeled

The port is enjoyable, to take in during a portside stroll, with its “100 Antiquaires,” eclectic cafés, and boats and yachts of all sizes.

Nearby Place Garibaldi is known for its lovely frescoes and lively cafés, situated in the main square and along the various side streets leading to the port area.

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10 – Day Trips

flowered street labeled

Traveling either east or west of Nice, from Menton to Mandelieu, you can visit many iconic, charming towns and perched villages, easily accessible by car, train, and bus, on the French Riviera.  Nice is the perfect base from which to take day trips, due to its central location and comprehensive transportation systems. The Principality of Monaco is only 20 kms. (12 miles) from Nice, with easy access via the #100 bus that stops close to the famous Monte Carlo Casino.

BIENVENUE & BON SÉJOUR !

More travel information and insider’s tips in this book – available in ebook & paperback formats on Amazon & Smashwords.

Book Trailer Video

paperback cover SSS resized

Art Maintenant / Art Walk

A parcours artistique  was held lrecently, as a way to view displayed artwork and talk with over 15 artists, in the medieval village of Haut de Cagnes, and will be held the second Saturday of each month.

Bien sûr, the walk was followed by a refreshing glass of rosé, while watching a game of pétanque in the village square, with a 180 degree views of hillsides and (now snow-capped) mountains. Breathtaking!

Art walk map

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