The Riviera in Two Days

img_3031

I have avoided the Riviera when visiting Provence, figuring that it would be too busy, too ritzy for my taste. Well, after finally deciding to give it a try—after all it is the Riviera—all I can say is “I get it!!!”

I now see why it is so popular. It is gorgeous! The stunning mountains, the blue sea, the colorful flowers, the Italian-style villas dotting the hillsides are all like something out of a painting.

img_3068

Instead of planning too much on our two-day adventure, I wanted just to get a taste of the Côte d’Azur and perhaps save some for another time. I also wanted to avoid the crowds. But I have to say, everything seemed calm in the month of September, while the weather was still balmy.

Our first stop along the way from the Luberon was Gourdon in the Alpes-Maritimes department of Provence. This village has been on my list for some time based on this picture.

img_0527

From Gourdon, we headed to Tourrettes-sur-Loup, where we had a reservation at an amazing bed and breakfast for the night, which I will write more about later. The village itself was the most charming of medieval villages with gorgeous views, and I must go back.

img_2763

The following day, we drove to Beaulieu-sur-Mer. We parked our car and walked the Promenade Maurice Rouvier to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat to explore the peninsula.

img_2878

Once arriving in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, we first made our way to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a beautiful rose-colored villa with nine gardens overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

img_0627

From there we continued along the coastal path and stopped at Paloma Beach for a dip in the Mediterranean. The water was so warm and calm, and the stunning mountains made it surreal. We continued along the path, taking in more stunning scenery.

img_3033

img_3064

As we made our way back to our car in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, we stopped for a drink along the coastal path and then started on our almost three-hour ride back to the Luberon. Needless to say, I must return to spend more time in the Côte d’Azur. Though I can’t give up my Vaucluse region of Provence entirely.

À bientôt!

Another Encounter at a French Spa

img_1540

In keeping with my newfound tradition in Provence of getting a massage while my husband bikes Ventoux or elsewhere, I made an appointment at the new spa at la Coquillade resort. Now, please note that I don’t stay in these places but just indulge in a little treat now and then by getting a massage and enjoying a glass of wine on an amazing terrace at these luxury resorts.

img_1533

That being said, I made my reservation and was confirmed to have a massage at 4:00 p.m. with Gilles. All sounded great. Well, when I arrived for my massage, “Gilles” was a handsome, 6’2 Frenchman. Um, awkward!

You see, while that may be the norm for the French, we folks from the United States are still a bit on the reserved side. Hmm. What to do? Well, I told myself, ‘It’s just like a medical treatment.’

That treatment was in a beautiful room—thankfully dark—and extremely thorough. By the time I left, I was so relaxed it didn’t matter if it was Jill, Gilles, or whom it was. La Coquillade is a five-star resort. A wonderful place for a spa treatment, a meal, or just an apéritif on a terrace.

img_1403

À bientôt!

Le Fournil—The New Gold Standard

img_0838

Over the last few years, I’d been hearing mention of le Fournil in several gite rental binders, and it had been on my list of restaurants to try. It did not disappoint! In fact, with each bite we were asking, “How soon can we get back?”

Le Fournil is located in the center of the beautiful village of Bonnieux and set in a natural troglodytic cave. The menu is Mediterranean inspired with the freshest ingredients and the most simple yet refined dishes.

img_4263

During the summer months, it is absolutely enchanting to sit at a table outside in the evening by the 17th-century fountain.

img_2111

For our menu, we chose the poisson du jour and the porc du Ventoux with pommes de terre. Both were outstanding!

img_2077img_2103img_2105

And for dessert, the chocolat du jour with apricot sauce was crazy good.

img_0856

Thanks to le Fournil, nothing tastes as good since returning to the States. Now, we can’t help but compare everything to it. It’s hard to choose between le Fournil and our other favorite restaurant in Provence, les Remparts, written about here. But I think you will agree that le Fournil deserves to be the new gold standard.

img_2096

À bientôt!