Yesterday was a full on day but before I describe it I have to do a bit of back tracking. Bob has already praised Accadio which I endorse as it was the best of the old quarter restaurants in terms of comfort, food and price. Blue Beach, recommended by Bob’s friend Rory, was less pricey but just a good as Beau Rivage as beach restaurants go and the grilled sea bass delicious.
After passing through its entrance you reach a vast oval atrium which houses full length paintings, model vintage cars and modern sculptures.
This sets the tone of hotel whose decor is imaginative, individual and stylish. Moving through this atrium you will see two loos one in the style of a General’s bivouac and the other a ladies powder room.
Backtracking there are three restaurants, the two rosette Chanticleer, the Regency and La Rotonde. Daffer’s law is where there are three restaurants served by the same kitchen choose the cheapest.
The 38-euro menu of pea soup or a lightly battered octopus tempura, sea bass and apple crumble or banana on a brioche is good value and tasting all the dishes ordered by the party delicious.
My only criticism were that they did not have our booking and we were left standing in a half empty restaurant as this was sorted but I’m now familiar to poor greeting and uncomfortable seating.
Yesterday we ascended the stairs to the chateau. This is not advised to anyone with coronary fears so Bob wisely took the free lift. Up top we did nor see any castle but 2 cafes, spacious parkland, fountains and superb panoramic views over Nice. Well worth a visit.
Dismissing any helping hand with the words “it’s man’s work” he composed a salad of endives, Roquefort cheese, asparagus, hard boiled eggs, avocado, red onion- all fresh produce from the market – with olive oil and fig vinegar.
Washed down with glass or three of chilled Bandol rose, it was a delicious meal.
Finally last night we drove to Villefranche. This has a deep port and featured in the American fleet landings in August as part of Operation Dragoon, the recapture of the Riviera in 1944 largely forgotten in the light of the Normandy landings 2 months before.
There are photos of the locals cooking meals for the American Navy adorning the restaurant La Mere Germaine we visited. I had oysters and cooked lobster but the three course meal of fish soup, cod and desert at 48 euros is good value. You sit on a terrace overlooking the sea with Cap Ferrat opposite and its delightful ambience. There was fierce fighting though nothing like Operation Overlord mainly to the east to secure Marseilles and Toulon, key ports, which made me think that it still did not take that long for this most pictoresusque but resilent of coastline to reassert itself as an enduring vacation destination.