Monthly Archives: July 2015

A wedding in St. Tropez

Does anyone need a reason to go to St. Tropez? We were invited to attend the wedding of a friends sons in the village of Gassin. Gassin is a few miles from St. Tropez, perched on a hill top over looking the sea.  We drove from Nice about 2 hours and checked into a beautiful hotel called Villa Belrose, above St. Tropez. We arrived on Thursday afternoon and the wedding was not until Saturday, giving us time to spend in and around the area. There were several other friends from the Seattle area all joining in the festivities. After checking into the hotel and taking time to stand and look out over the amazing view, grab a light lunch at the pool and a little nap in the sun it was time to venture out with friends for the evening. 

We drove up to the village of Gassin where the wedding would take place in a couple of days. The village of Gassin consists of several simple outdoor restaurants, some beautiful homes perched on the hill side and the simple church that has been here for over 100 years.  We joined our friends for dinner at “Le Micorcoulier” where our hostes suggested a great bottle of Munity rose wine to start. Munity was first know for their Rose but now they are producing a white wine they call golden and a red wine all grown just down the hill from Gassin. Dinner was in true French fashion, several courses one being a large grilled fish served for two people, large enough for 4. Dinner lasted 4 hours finished with several desserts, including a sorbet with lemon Chello poured over the top.

The next morning after coffee on the terrace we headed into St. Tropez to shop and wander the docks looking at all the huge boats docked with their crew standing guard. We bought great linen shirts for the men and hats for the girls. The girls  had a lunch on the beach at a private club called The Pearl.  While the boys played Bolle in the city park and drank beer we drank rose on the beach and enjoyed the cool breeze across the sand. 

We all retuned to the hotel for a nap by the pool under blue umbrellas and a chance to clean up before returning to town for a late dinner. The row along the dock, Quai Jean Jaures,  

 is packed with great restaurants that come alive in the evening. We chose a place dock side called “Le Guielier”, a very lively place serving amazing seafood and whole fish to share, prepared on the grill or baked in a salt crust. Around 11:30 the discos begin to come to life and the people watching can’t be missed. 

Saturday we got up early to have time at the huge market, everything from paella, fresh fruits, jewelry at every level and clothes for everyone in the family at every price point. Before attending the wedding that afternoon we returned to Gassin for a light shared lunch in the village, we stopped next to th church at a little place called “Bella Visto” simple menu, but fresh items and plenty of shaved fresh black truffles. The wedding was in the local traditions of France followed by a reception that lasted into the morning hours. We went back to the hotel before the younger  guests hit the pool around 3 am. 

Loved every minute of the week-end and hated to leave on Sunday morning, back for a flight to Paris. We spent  the night at the airport Sheraton  in Paris so we could catch the morning direct flight to Seattle. Of course we took the train into Paris for dinner at “Chez Julien”‘.  we were seated outside so we could watch all the people going past. The weather in Paris has been very warm and this restaurant offers many tables outside for dinner. The white asparagus salad was a perfect way to end a great trip to France! 


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A week in the South of France

We arrived in Cannes and were greeted by our friends and hosts for 5 days of eating and exploring. Our friends have a wonderful condo a few blocks off the beach offering great views from a large deck. After we settled in and got organized we headed to the water front for an evening walk before sharing dinner on the deck and enjoying the sunset. 

Up early and off to the large local farmers market, off Rue Saint-George’s, and across the street from Saint-Lazard. This time of year the small melons are in season and a real treat since they are not common in the north west. We picked out local small peaches, figs, melons and apricots. Then loaded the baskets with veggies, olives, and cheeses and headed to the local bakery for bread. On our way back to the condo we stopped at Jean Luc Pele for amazing Chocolates, they have several shops in Cannes and a must visit.

After dropping all our food stuff back at the condo we relaxed on the deck with a coffee and then headed to the beach front for a late lunch. Our friends favorite place is “La Plage 45”, across the street from Le Grand Hotel on the Croisette. The beach club sits in front of the lovely little restaurant and offers great people watching. The menu is fresh and offers a good selection of summer dishes along with a sushi selection.  

In the evening we had dinner reservations at “La Oasis”, 06210 La Napoule. The Oasis is a very high end restaurant located in a walled garden setting. The service was perfect with information on each item on the menu and also the extended wine list. There were several small chefs offering before we even ordered to wet our appetites. The portions are very generous so it works fine to share. Be sure to leave room for the dessert trolley, it was over 6 feet high. 

Sunday morning we shared all our fruits on the deck and then late morning headed to the area over the hills called Grasse. We drove to the village of Cabris on the outskirts of Grasse for lunch on the patio of L’Auberge du Vieux Chateau.  After lunch we went into the town of Grasse to visit the famous perfume shops, best known shop is Fragonard. Grasse has always been famous for the production of essence of flowers used in soaps, sachets and of course perfume. 

We spent the evening cooking a light supper at home and enjoying some of the chocolates we found at Jean Luc Pele.  The next morning we got up early and drove 25 miles to Nice to attend the Anitque market. This is one of the largest of its kind in the south of France, located on Saleya street. You can find everything from silver spoons, full sets of silver in the original boxes to old books, Anitque linens and tools. We met a lovely man with a wonderful display of high end silver and glass pieces. We bought a full set of silverware from early 1900, all in perfect condition. Anitiquites 1900-1930 is owned and run by Mathieu,, he also can be found in St. Tropez on Saturdays. Mathieu packed and shipped all our silverware FedEx for us so we did not have to deal with customs etc.

Following all our shopping we shared good pizza and a local bottle of wine at a restaurant on the same street called Le Safari at 1Cours Saleya, once again the portions were huge so plan on sharing.  We walked to the new park that was finished last year when they built a cover over the river and brought in old growth trees for all over the area and built large scale play areas for families to share and others to read in the shade. Quiet dinner at home and a good card game ended another busy day in the Cannes.

The next morning on our way to the old part of the city we wandered down Rue Hoche, a small walking street full of restaurants, bakeries, cheese shops. One of our favorites is Volupte, a tea store with a simple restaurant next door. Volupte serves a perfect cold mint tea that hits the spot on a hot day. We continued to walk toward the high point at the south end of Cannes, this was where the village began. As you climb the steep winding street to the top outlook you will pass several restaurants that will welcome you on your decent back to the port below. When we came back down we stopped at a beautiful French restaurant that had a few tables on the street for lunch. We chose “Relais des Semailles”, along Rue Saint Antoine. One of the great things about June is the abundance of preparations for stuffed zucchini blossoms, today mine were stuffed with crawfish mousse. 

 The next morning we caught an early train to Antibes, an easy 20 minutes, upon our arrival we grabbed a taxi to the Picasso museum. This simple museum holding a group of Picasso drawings, photos of his time in Antibes and some of the pottery he produced during the few years spent in this walled beach front town. The total time needed including sitting in the sculpture garden is less than an hour. Since we had time before or lunch reservation we walked the little local food market, ate huge ripe cherries and wondered the small shops. Lunch time—- could not have come soon enough. We had reservations at ” Les Vieux Murs”, 25 Promenade Amiral de Grasse, next door to the Picasso Museum. This lovely restaurant is located at the top of the wall overlooking the sea. The menu is divided by price fix and ala carte. We chose to share fresh French bean salad with the most perfect green beans dressed with a light vinegarett and covered with fresh black truffles.  The main course was suckling pig with a crisp skin and a light preparation of white fish, just the  journey to the dessert.  The windows were wide open to the fresh sea air and the finish of a lovely trip to Antibes. 

Back in Cannes for our last night we waited until 9 pm before we even began to think about another meal. We could not resist the warm evening on the water front and headed to the Croisette. We chose the happening pizza/Italian restaurant, Le Vesuvio at 68 Croisette. The pizza did not disappoint with a crisp crust and great toppings. The portions are very large for the salads and pasta so think of sharing everything. We had a great waiter and the crowd of people was entertaining for a fun crazy dinner to remember. 

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