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France Nice Trip Report

Nice and environs (Monte Carlo, La Turbie) — including lovely inland hill towns of Berre-les-Alps and Villars-Sur-Var (and ravioli!)

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Nice and environs (Monte Carlo, La Turbie) — including lovely inland hill towns of Berre-les-Alps and Villars-Sur-Var (and ravioli!)

Jake Dear | Apr 30, 2017 03:57 PM

Here’s a quick and belated report part three of three (#2 is here: https://www.chowhound.com/post/vallau... ) from September 2016:

First, the inland villages:

For this part of our visit the Nice area we were based in the charming little hilltop town of Berre-les-Alps (with views over the range to Italy) at its sole commercial lodging, the basic and very pleasant Hotel Beauséjour (family run and apparently little changed since 1965) http://www.hotel-berrelesalpes.com/, where we also enjoyed simple dinners two of three nights (one with local ravioli). Another simple dinner (on Beauséjour’s closing day) was a minute walk at Restaurant des Alpes, https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran..., which also was closed, but the chef was nice enough to open for just us. Locally (we fortunately were with someone who knows the area very well!) we explored lovely villages including Luceram, L’Escarene, and Sospel.

The most memorable meal from this segment of our visit was lunch at Café de Platanes, in the charming town/village of Villars Sur Var — see http://www.cuisinenicoise.fr/les-plat.... Here we had traditional, simple, and lovely Nicoise fare, including two kinds of ravioli, on the village place. See also https://www.tripadvisor.fr/Restaurant... — as you can see from the reviews, this is, happily for us, not a place where you are likely to run into fellow anglo tourists.

Next, Nice and the coast:

We were based in Nice at (and highly recommend) Suites Massena, http://suitesmassena.com/, well located on the edge of the old town (see also https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev... — and note, the proprietor mentioned that they plan to open more rooms soon).

Lunches in Nice:

Café Lea, https://eater.space/cafe-lea; https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran... — lovely and simple cuisine du marché (but questionable art on the walls).

Le Safari, landmark brasserie at the market in the old town, http://www.restaurantsafari.fr/en/res..., we were pleasantly surprised about the quality and freshness.

Dinners in Nice:

We really loved tiny and packed La Merenda, https://www.lamerenda.net/La_Merenda_.... The Chef, Dominique Le Stanc (formerly **, and gave it up) apparently is a character; reservations are hard to make — in person only, not even by phone. There are apprently two seatings; we were at the early one with lots of tourists from northern Europe. Bright, fresh, traditional and bold cooking — followed by super ice cream at Fenocchio, at Place Rosseti.

Franchin, http://franchin.fr/, in a pedestrian zone, serves high quality traditional cooking in a very fine art deco ambiance (and it’s conveniently open Sat & Sun).

L’Âne Rouge, http://www.anerougenice.com/#_=_, across the street from the harbor, was good, but our terrace table dinner was marred by too many cigarette smokers upwind and at the adjacent restaurant, tant pis.

Lunches east of Nice on the coast:

Le Cafe de la Fontaine, La Turbie, http://www.hostelleriejerome.com/FR/c..., a Michelin bib, was very nice on the terrace and we had an interesting time watching various Russian Mafia bodyguard types a few tables way.

Imperial Plage, Menton (hmmm; not so fresh, not that good; avoid). But the town of Menton was lovely.

Blue Bay (at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel), http://www.montecarlosbm.com/restaura.... Wow, this was a blow-out experience, but unlikely to be replicated, at least in the way we experienced it, unless you happen to have a table companion who is also known by the chef. We did not order; the chef simply had dish after dish delivered to our seaside table. Here’s a recent review showing some dishes that we recall from our amazing lunch: http://foodandsens.com/made-by-f-and-... PS: We otherwise had a negative reaction to Monte Carlo; way too much excess and bling for our tastes.

— Jake

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