From Monaco to St. Tropez

I am afraid that I have slipped behind badly in keeping up with my blog posts which are now in arrears since Friday September 30 when my daughter and I went for a wonderful dinner at Restaurant Louis XV in the Hotel de France in Monte Carlo, Monaco.  Thanks to dining late and to champagne followed by a bottle of delicious Provence Rose’ and then a chewy Bordeaux red for the cheese course, the next day was essentially a wash out!  The dinner however, in the sumptuous Hotel de Paris was well worth the hang over!  Sunday October 2 was devoted to the fantastic Oceanographic Museum in Monaco followed by the changing of the guard at the Grimaldi Palace former home of Grace Kelly or Princess Grace and Prince Ranier and at present home to Prince Albert I current ruler of Monaco.  Our lunch was in one of my all time favorite places, Le Chateau de La Chevre d’Or perched high above the Mediterranean Sea in the town of Eze Village.  I recall dining there in my yellow bib with it’s lobster depicted in red and enjoying a whole lobster with my former wife Sheila and our friends the Stan Goodman family.  No lobster this time but the Mediterranean Sea Bass and my daughter’s rack of lamb were perfectly done and delicious.  After lunch we toured the rocky and hilly lanes of the village where my daughter purchased a colorful acrylic painting of the gorgeous coastline below.

Monday October 3 saw us visiting the truly amazing Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Villefranche Sur Mer.  This fantastic estate, previously completely unknown to me is on of the most beautiful that I have ever experienced for it’s enormous collection of art, furniture, porcelain, tapestries and the eclectic architecture of the estate itself.  If that were not enough Baroness de Rothschild had  a variety ofamazing gardens created to her exact specifications to reflect different garden styles throughout the world including French, English, Japanese, Chinese, etc.  After a delightful lunch at Restaurant La Differ’Ance  perchased high above the sea we visited what to me has become the unexpected highlight of our tour so far for me, namely the lovely, quiet seaside town of Menton just about as far as one can go along the shore of the Mediterranean to the east in France, before one encounters Italy.  Quiet, colorful, small enough to be quaint but large enough (population about 30,000) to have essential services and home to a lovely museum dedicated to one of my favorite French artists, writers, poets, Jean Cocteau.  An exciting find while exploring the medieval streets of the town was the exquisite St. Michael’s Basilica whose first stone was laid in 1619.  In French it is called a “coup de foudre” or “love at first sight” which was my emotional response to Menton.  I loved it and I plan to return, possibly next spring for an extended visit.

Tuesday October 4th took us to the well known seaside village of Antibes, my daughter’s “coup de foudre”, home of the Picasso Museum and some amazing Yachts lining the harbor.  Lunch at Le Vieux Murs along the old walls of Antibes saw my daughter and I sharing a whole sea bass, line caught by local fishermen that morning.  So fresh and delicious, simply grilled, filleted table side and accompanied by a delicious, crisp Domaine Le Leidiere Provence rose’.  After lunch we paid a visit to Cannes, site of the famous film festival each May and strolled along La Croisette in the footsteps of the world’s film elite on their way to the Palais du Festival to receive their Palme d’Or Awards.  Tomorrow we will be back on track after a night at the fabulous Chateaux de La Messardiere in St. Tropez.

T

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