I am back!!! I was on a wonderful vacation in southern France, Italy and Switzerland and now I have some recommendations to make :)
Our point of departure was a small town near Nice (about 20 minutes by car from the airport) called Vence where we stayed for the first night; the town itself is quite small but lovely with a beautifully preserved medieval center. We stayed at a very nice family run bed and breakfast called La Ferme du Paradou and visited a very good restaurant called Le Pizzaiole chez Guy on 28 avenue du General Leclerc – the majority of the food is made in a wood burning oven we sampled quite a generous selection of dishes between the four of us (escargot with garlic & parsley butter, pasta, pizza, steak with pepper sauce, grilled fish of the day, foie gras) and everything was delicious.
Unfortunately I have very little to say about the food in Provence because it was more than disappointing though one restaurant really did stand out, it is located in the small town of Chateauneuf du Pape and is called La Mere Germaine and is listed in the Relais and Chateaux guide. The food was amazing and the light and sunny dining room was very pleasant, there is also a terrace which we couldn’t use due to the Mistral. Order anything – meat, game, seafood, desserts – its all good! While in the Chateauneuf du Pape take the time to visit a winery or two (some require advanced arrangements) – we visited the beautiful Chateau La Nerthe and gladly brought a couple of bottles home with us.
Another decent meal in Provence (my view was not shared by half of our table of four…) was Allain Assaud in St Remy de Provence at 13 blvd Marceau (to the left of the church), the food wasn’t amazing but it was good starting with a traditional fish soup with toasts and rouille, pot au feu with duck confit and a cherry clafoutis of sort for dessert. I do think it was overpriced for what it offered but the atmosphere was nice.
We continued towards the Alps through Annecy and really enjoyed our meal at Le Venezia at 23 rue JJ Rousseau, it is a small place overlooking one of the canals with very good pasta (the carbonara came with an egg yolk in an egg shell on top of the pasta which I thought was nice) and buckwheat crepes (galettes).
While in Chamonix Mont Blanc we stayed at the wonderful Les Balcons du Savoy which on top of the amazing view had a kitchen allowing us to shop the many beautifully stocked food stores with many local specialties like Chanterelle or Cepes salamis & oozing cheeses. We also found a very good pastry shop not falling in quality or imagination from its Parisian counterparts; the name is Patisserie Richard on 10 rue du Docteur Paccard.
While in Chamonix we actually visited only one restaurant and it was quite enjoyable with fun decor which complemented the name, La Dolce Vita, displaying some scenes from Federico Fellini’s classic. The restaurant is located on 78 rue du Lyret and is an Italian restaurant with Italian owners and Italian food.
After Chamonix Mont Blanc we continued on to Switzerland and this will be my next post.