Monthly Archives: June 2009

Travel Tip: On the road in Barcelona, Spain

IMG_6654
Local hangout in Barcelona

I have a friend who loves to travel alone.
One evening not too long ago we were discussing his recent trip to
Barcelona when he casually mentioned something he has done for years.
I think it’s a great idea.
Each time he visits a new city he will locate a bar, cyber cafe, or small restaurant near his hotel.  Nothing fancy, just someplace that feels comfortable.  Then every day at around the same time he’ll stop by for coffee, a meal, or to check his email.
After a few days he will invariably have become friends with at least one kind waiter, bartender, or even owner.
He assures me this little bit of extra effort has enriched his travel experiences more than he could have ever imagined.
I think it’s worth a try.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Tips

Traveling between Nice and Paris?

Consider booking a ticket on the TGV (bullet train).  Comfortable and convenient, the trip lasts about five hours and the train reaches speeds of up to two hundred miles an hour.  From Nice you’ll hug the coastline to Marseilles, then turn North for the final leg into Paris.

For information and booking visit Rail Europe at:

http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/tgv/index.htm
(click the British flag at lower left of main page for English)

Leave a comment

Filed under Tips

French Riviera Road Trip: Essential tunes for navigating the upper corniche

Click here for information on the French Riviera Mini Cooper Driving Adventure!

1) Artist:
The Rolling Stones
Album:
Exile on Main Street
Why:
“Exile on Main Street” was actually cut at four different studios, one of which was in the basement of Keith Richard’s rental house, Villa Nellcote, in the south of France.  Recorded during the blistering summer of 1971 in Villefranche-sur-Mer, “Exile” is classic, down and dirty Stones.  Just listen to “Ventilator Blues” or “Casino Boogie” and you can practically feel the sweat dripping off the walls.  Today fans can find Villa Nellcote easily enough, but will have to settle for a photo by the front gate.  It’s not possible to enter the grounds.

2) Artist:
U2
Album:
Take your pick
Why:
Bono, lead singer of the mega-super-group U2, has quite a connection to the south of France.  He owns a house on a small strip of beach Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Driving, Misc., Tips

Movies to watch before traveling to the south of France….

052
Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in “To Catch a Thief”

One surefire way to increase your excitement about an upcoming trip is to watch a movie set in or near your destination. Listed below are a few of my favorite flicks filmed in the south of France.

To Catch A Thief (1953)
Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, the French Riviera.  Need I say more?
A stylish, timeless classic directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Great footage of Le Bar sur Loup, Tourrettes sur Loup, Gourdon, Monaco, Nice, Cannes, Eze, and more.

And God Created Woman (1956)
The one that put St Tropez and Brigitte Bardot on the map.  Watch it and you’ll understand why everyone was so gaga about Brigitte.  There is also great post war footage of St Tropez before it became an international tourist destination.

French Kiss (1995)
Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan star in this feel good chick flick shot in Paris and the south of France.  Plenty of scenes filmed on La Croisette and in The Hotel Carlton in Cannes.  The nearby village of Valbonne is also prominently featured.

Ronin (1999)
The ultimate European thriller starring Robert DeNiro as a bad-ass ex C.I.A. agent for hire.  Lots of footage shot in Cannes, the village of La Turbie, the old port in Nice, and in the hills behind Le Bar sur Loup.


14 Comments

Filed under Films, Misc.

La Pizza: The best pizza in Cannes, France

It takes quite a man, resolute and in possession of a strong character,  to walk out of a restaurant and proclaim to the world, “that was the best damn pizza I have ever had and ever will have in my lifetime.”

My friends, I am that man.

I first visited La Pizza in Cannes on a cold, gray December afternoon in 2000, and to this day, can remember exactly what I ordered.

One slice of cheese pizza
A fresh, green salad
A glass of Italian red wine

It’s easy to remember my first order because at each subsequent visit to La Pizza (approximately 12 to 15 times) I have never ordered anything but:

One slice of cheese pizza
A fresh, green salad
A glass of Italian red wine

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and let me tell you the pizza at La Pizza ain’t broke!

Now, if you want to go to a restaurant where the waiters are always convivial and make you feel welcome from the moment you step inside the door, then by all means DO NOT go to La Pizza!  But if your main objective is tearing into a wondrous slice of pizza smothered in fresh cheese and spicy olive oil, then this is the place for you.

Who knows, maybe one day I’ll actually branch out and add a topping or two to my cheese slice or ask them to put an egg on my salad, but not today my friends.

Not today.

La Pizza
3, Quai St Pierre
06400 Cannes, France
tel. 33 9 61 01 57 31

2 Comments

Filed under Dining and Wine

Dining in France: 12 Tips

IMG_1746

1) Good food, like good wine, plays an important role in the lives of the French.  Along the Cote d’Azur dishes follow the seasons and almost always include olive oil, fish, and fresh local vegetables.

2) The French view lunch and dinner as experiences to be enjoyed and not rushed.  It’s not uncommon for a meal to last two hours or more, but once the visitor becomes accustomed to the pace, dining takes on a flavor and enjoyment all its own.

3) The French, in general, are much quieter and more reserved than Americans, especially in restaurants.

4) It’s not necessary to tip 15 or 20 percent in restaurants.  The service is always included.

5) It its acceptable to leave a small tip if you’ve been particularly pleased with your meal.

6) When you wish to order at a restaurant, close your menu.  This will indicate to your waiter that you’re ready.

7) If you find yourself becoming frustrated because the waiter has not brought your check, remember, the table is yours for as long as you want it.  He will not bring the check until you ask.  When you are ready, simply get his attention and say
“l’addition s’il vous plait.”

8) Most restaurants have their own house 
wine (la reserve).  It’s usually hand picked by the owner and of a high quality.

9) Menus usually comprise three or four courses: the entree (first course), main course, cheese, and dessert.

10) Coffee is always served after dessert.

11) An aperitif comes before your meal and a digestif after.

12) Having a drink while standing at the bar in a cafe or Brasserie is less expensive than sitting at a table and drinking.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dining and Wine, Tips

Thoughts on travel

IMG_4466

I love to travel.

When I’m not traveling I’m fantasizing about trips I hope to take in the future.
I think my love of travel may border on the obsessive.

So be it.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve begun to realize how important travel has been in my life.  I’m absolutely certain it has made me a better person.  If you want to learn something about yourself, your friends, or even your hometown, then hop on a plane and go somewhere you’ve never been before.

If, upon returning, your perspective has not changed even a little bit, then maybe traveling really is not for you.

To quote one of my favorite lines, “An ass does not go traveling and come back a horse.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Misc.