The Best of Provence – Part 2: The French Riviera

best-of-provenceFor our second week in Provence, we headed down to the coast.

If most people around the world call it the French Riviera, we always call it “Côte d’Azur” or coast of azure because of the incredible shades of blue of the Mediterranean sea. The French  never call it the Riviera.best-of-provence

Our first stop was in the town of Cassis where we had Bouillabaisse. It is a local fish soup that can only be found in that area since the original recipe calls for the use of 7 specific species of fish which live around the rocks between Marseille and Monte Carlo. These species are harder and harder to come by, so what used to be a staple in the local poor people’s diet, has become a expensive delicacy (around 50€ per serving for fish soup…). For a bouillabaisse, the fish is quickly boiled in broth and that broth is used as a base for a chunky bisque. The cook will filet each fish and place them on a platter with boiled potatoes. The “bisque” is served very hot in a soup plate in front of each guest at the table and is only used to warm the fish up. So you place pieces of fish and potatoes in your spoon and then dip it in the hot bisque and then put it in your mouth. The bouillabaisse (like all fish soups in France) is also served with croutons and an aïoli/paprika mix called “rouille” (rust in French because of it’s color).best-of-provencebouillabaisse

We also visited Saint Tropez, Cannes, Menton, Eze and Monte Carlo where Dave picked a very nice yacht to take back with him to the US 🙂 We had a picnic by the sea in Roquebrune near Monaco. I had brought some nice wine from Bordeaux, proper plates and silverware + charcuterie and stinky cheese. Voilà! How is it that food, simple as it may be, tastes so much better when you eat it by the water?

Provence-Monaco

best-of-provencebest-of-provencebest-of-provence

The old Nice has to be my personal favorite. There is a Farmers’ market every day there! Nice and Menton have a very Italian feel to them. This makes you feel like you’re in a different country altogether. It actually feels quite special so come across road signs pointing to Italy. best-of-provencebest-of-provence

The sea front in Cannes is called “La Croisette”. The name comes from the French verb for passing someone on the street: se croiser. In Nice, it is called “La Promenade des Anglais” (The English Promenade). This comes from the olden days when the British gentry would come to the French riviera while on their European tours or just to escape the cold of Winter. If you watched the latest episode of Downton Abbey (spoiler alert), you know that the Dowager Countess is heading for Cannes as we speak :0) These “promenades” were ideal locations for street photography. From the two girlfriends eating ice-cream on a bench to the German biker covered in tattoos: portrait photography heaven!!best-of-provencebest-of-provence

Note: if you ever are in Menton, do have pizza at Pizzeria Vesuvio. I checked their rating on TripAdvisor later and they had quite mixed reviews. This shows how misleading that site can be. Truly one of the best pizza I have ever had with a fantastic waiter to boot!

As for the bouillabaisse, we had it Chez Gilbert on the Fisherman’s wharf. Truly spectacular!best-of-provence

 

48 Comments Add yours

  1. Stunning photos as usual. What a lovely trip.

  2. churchmouse says:

    My better half and I love the Côte d’Azur! We’ve been there together several times. Most of the time we are in Cannes, a stone’s throw from the Croisette.

    My main reason for writing is to send congratulations and best wishes on your nephew François Gabart winning the Transat Jacques-Vabre (Le Havre to Itajai, Brazil) with Pascal Bidégorry on November 7.

    I recall we had a brief exchange when he won the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe. It was ably covered by another member of the Gabart family on RTL radio!

    No doubt you will be planning a grand celebration once he returns to France!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Oh thank you so much for remembering! Yes, we are all very proud of him. He is sailing back today with his crew to try and fix and fine tune lots of little things on the boat. We are even happier he won since the boat is brand new and we were worried he would break a lot of things on it in this first race… I think it’s one of the reasons they went “slow” in the beginning… Anyway, thanks for your kind words my friend!

  3. Sheryl says:

    The pictures are wonderful. I especially enjoyed the street photography of the people. I wish I was in Provence. 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Ha ha, me too Sheryl 😉 I do prefer Bordeaux and the South West though… Maybe because I was born here…

  4. terrepruitt says:

    Beautiful photos, as always. Sounds like a grand time. And, I’ll take one of those yachts, too!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Ha ha!

  5. Angeline M says:

    Oh how I’ve missed visiting your blog. The photos here are just what I needed to start my day.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Good! Have a lovely day dear Angeline!

  6. Wonderful how you capture the spirit of a place. That’s some yacht! Hope you enjoyed a sail in it.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Oh yes! I think I’ll make it my second home now 😉

  7. My lovely Stephane,
    You make me dream! Great photographs!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      That’s my only goal in life. I always thought dreams were important in this crazy world. Have a lovely day Katerina!

      1. You too, my dear Stephane!

  8. jfoureur says:

    Bonjour……as always a wonderful read with beautiful and drool-worthy photograph, you have gift for capturing and transmitting the warm ambience of this wondrous part of France. (is there any area that isn’t) …….. I have lived in La Turbie for 20 years now having come her for a six-week job, and do want to make one correction ….. La Promenade des Anglais is in Nice, and La Croisette is in Cannes ……….. Merci Affinement pour tous !!!!!!!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks for the lovely comment! And most of all, thank you for catching my mistake!!! One should never drink and post I guess 😉

  9. Erin Jory says:

    Incroyable! You have given me an escape on this rainy November Sunday on wet coast of Canada 😊

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Why I’m glad I could help, but even with the rain, I must say that I still would LOVE to visit your neck of the woods someday… Vancouver has been in my bucket list for years! 😉

  10. I’ve never been to this part of Provence, so thank you for the beautiful trip.

    janet

    1. My French Heaven says:

      My pleasure dear Janet!

  11. I am living life vicariously in France through your wonderful photography of food, people, and scenery. What great memories you have with Mimi and Dave!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Yep, it wouldn’t have been half as much fun without them. Sharing is half the fun ☺️

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks, but you know I’d give just about anything to be in New York right now. I say the tree just went up at the ice ring… Ah, Christmas in New York… 😜

      1. Christmas in NYC is magical the lighting of the tree is one of my favorite events of the holiday season. It’s wonderful!

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Yes, NY and London beat everybody else in this category ☺️🎄

  12. Looks like something straight out of a Grace Kelly movie!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Surprisingly, Monte Carlo isn’t nearly as nice as they make it up to be. The classy days went when she did…

  13. Lovely, lovely photos, as always!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks!!!

  14. The Lu Life says:

    What gorgeous photography and what a spectacular time! Hopefully I’ll make it out there sometime in the very near future!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I hope you do! Everything there makes one feel happy to be alive ☺️

  15. Having just returned from Provence, I am loving your blog post. Beautiful pictures have me longing to return. French heaven indeed. And the people are lovely!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed Provence. Really special indeed 😉

  16. ladyredspecs says:

    DEEE-licious as always

    1. My French Heaven says:

      😉

  17. Nadia says:

    What gorgeous photos. Made me want to go there immediately. I cannot decide if I prefer the bouillabaisse, (years since I had a real one) or your seaside picnic.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      The picnic was quite special actually. Have a lovely day dear Nadia and thanks for the lovely comment 😉

  18. Sandra says:

    You had me at Bouillabasse! What a wonderful trip. Brings back memories and reminds me I need to visit the French Riviera again.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I hope you do dear Sandra!

  19. Linda says:

    More gorgeous photos…looks you all had a wonderful time – great memories 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      😜

  20. you are a terrible tease

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Ha ha!! 😉

  21. lostsoul2015 says:

    Beautiful photos. It is nice to look at such photos on dark autumn days. Thank you for posting them 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      They’re only a month okd, and looking at them makes me feel like Summer ended a lifetime ago… 🙂

      1. lostsoul2015 says:

        I went on a trip last week. I visited a large park by a chateau and it was just amazing – all those golden and red leaves, reflection of trees in the water! I will definitely look at those photos when I feel sad during the winter and remember how happy I was on that particular day 🙂

        1. My French Heaven says:

          I kind of love the Winter month though… The delicious stews and soups… Oh, that reminds me I need to make onion soup…

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