Tag Archives: France

Bon Manger

When dining out context plays such an important role that it’s sometimes difficult to focus solely on the meal. This is why I’m ambivalent when it comes to eating at 3 starred restaurants.

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It’s very difficult to focus on the food when there’s a complex dog and pony show going on around you.

I have rarely left a 3 starred establishment talking about the food, rather, I tend say things like “Did you count how many people were serving us?” or “My water glass never got below half-full!”

Dine at a 3 starred restaurant and you will no doubt walk away dazzled, but given the choice I’ll spend my hard-earned Euros at a good old mom and pop establishment anytime. Continue reading

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Top Gear In The South Of France: The World’s Best Driving Road?

Click here for information on Le Stuff’s French Riviera Mini Cooper Driving Adventure!

To tell you that I know my way around an automobile engine would be like telling you Michael Jackson had all the skills needed to become a champion prize fighter.

In other words, I’d be lying.

My scope of mechanical expertise ends with my crackerjack ability to discern, within seconds mind you, whether the vehicle I’m piloting has a gas or diesel engine.

The point I’m trying to illustrate here is that you don’t have to be a gear head, love cars and driving, or even have a driver’s license, to enjoy what may possibly be the finest television show ever made.

BBC’s Top Gear begins its 15th season this year.

Ostensibly about cars, driving and speed, TG is really about the interaction between the show’s three hosts, Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond.

A few of my favorite episodes? Continue reading

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The French Riviera: Best Drives

Click here for information on Le Stuff’s French Riviera Mini Cooper Driving Adventure!

Into The Back Country

I recently posted tips for driving the celebrated, and often congested, corniche roads.  I would now like to offer a few suggestions for those wishing to break free from the constraints of traffic by heading north into the vast arriere pays (back country).

Begin your journey in the tiny hamlet of Pont du Loup and head west on D2210 in the direction of Le Bar sur Loup.  Bar is a beautiful and uncrowded working class village that sits on the side of a hill overlooking the Loup Valley.
Consider having lunch at the recently renovated
L’Hostellerie du Chateau (the food is sublime) located in the town’s main square.  You may also want to stop by the tourist office (just steps away from the Chateau) and make arrangements for a guided village walking tour.


Le Bar sur Loup

Trip Notes:
Auberge des Gorges du Loup

Pleasant, affordable accommodations and a good restaurant in the tiny town of Pont du Loup.
http://www.auberge-gorgesduloup.com

L’Hostellerie du Chateau
Beautifully renovated 14th century chateau in the the main square of Le Bar sur Loup.  Exquisite restaurant and 6 tastefully decorated rooms.
http://www.lhostellerieduchateau.com

Continue east from Bar on D2210 in the direction of Pre du Lac.  As you enter Pre du Lac take a sharp right onto D3 and begin twisting your way up to one of the most beautiful villages in France Continue reading

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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

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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

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Dining in France: 12 Tips

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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.

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