Le forum de Ptipois
Hi! Bonjour ! Bienvenue and welcome sur le forum de Ptipois.

Do check the "Forum talk" topic for any forum news.

N'oubliez pas de consulter le sujet "Forum talk" pour les news du forum.
Le forum de Ptipois

Food, drink. Manger, boire.
 
AccueilAccueil  CalendrierCalendrier  FAQFAQ  RechercherRechercher  MembresMembres  GroupesGroupes  S'enregistrerS'enregistrer  Connexion  

Partagez | 
 

 Staying in Menton, or near Nice? (And dining as well, of course!)

Voir le sujet précédent Voir le sujet suivant Aller en bas 
AuteurMessage
JakeD

avatar

Messages : 13
Date d'inscription : 26/09/2015

MessageSujet: Staying in Menton, or near Nice? (And dining as well, of course!)    Dim 1 Nov - 1:56

Salut all,

I'll inaugurate this subject file by asking for recommendations for places to stay (and of course to dine) near between, let's say, Marseilles/ Cassis, and Nice/ Menton, in the early fall of next year.  We'd also be interested in exploring a bit of the nearby southern alps, along the border with Italy.  We may be traveling at least part of the time with friends who will be celebrating a very significant anniversary, and so we'll also be interested in something appropriate for that . . . .     

-- Jake
Revenir en haut Aller en bas
Voir le profil de l'utilisateur
Ptipois
Admin
avatar

Messages : 64
Date d'inscription : 26/09/2015

MessageSujet: Re: Staying in Menton, or near Nice? (And dining as well, of course!)    Dim 1 Nov - 18:24

I lived in this region from age 6 to 10. Considering the age, I could say I was raised there. I still have dreams of the place at night.

The Provençal coast (Marseille, Cassis) and the Côte d'Azur (Nice, Menton) are distinct entities. In the same way, their respective hinterlands are culturally different; to the West you have Haute-Provence and to the East a small portion of the Genoese-culture Ligurian province of Italy happening to be on the non-Italian side of the border. But speaking a Provençal dialect nevertheless (that's just history, they all speak French or Italian).

These two regions put together are a large territory; there is a lot to experience in both. They should be studied separately.

I have no particular recommendations for hotels or places to stay. Every time I went there in recent times, I was either AirBnB-ing or invited. However, in Nice, I can mention the HI Hotel which is run by someone I know (a starry chef). Decorated by Matali Crasset and with a private beach to boot. Prices sound reasonable.

In Marseille, I've got a few restaurant recommendations (Chez Michel or Chez Fonfon for bouillabaisse and other seafood, Chez Georgiana, Lionel Lévy's L'Alcyone, and then some). Reine Sammut in Lourmarin. In Nice, La Merenda is not to be missed but I'll do a more thorough search for it is not normal that you should find good traditional Nice food (one of the very best in France) only at one place. In Menton, Le Mirazur absolutely (tell me about it when you want to book) and it might be the place to celebrate that anniversary.

Unless you want to celebrate it in Provence — in this case, head for Arnaud Donckele's La Vague d'Or in Saint-Tropez. Or Gérald Passédat's Le Petit Nice in Marseille (love the food but find the place a bit overpriced and perhaps a bit too stuffy for celebrating). I'd still elect Le Mirazur.

I can only recommend a bit of wandering through the mountains behind Nice, a magic region. My village was Berre-les-Alpes, where you absolutely must go (I'll go with you if possible, I'd be a good guide for the region). It lies at an altitude of 800 m which makes it a great viewing point.


From both sides of the main square, right at the top of the village (hidden by the church on this photo), you have the most fantastic panoramic sight on the entire region: the old hills separating the Paillon Valley from the sea; the impressive, conical Pic du Baudon and Rocca Sparviera; closer to the sea, the Mont-Agel, and more to the East the Authion and the mont Bego with the Vallée des Merveilles somewhere nearby. Looking East and North, you can see snow on some of these mountains most of the year while glancing Southeast you can catch sight of the blue sea at a distance. I woke up to that every morning for three years.
There are two (and always have been two) restaurants on the main square: Hôtel des Alpes and Hôtel Beauséjour. Now only the second one rents (very simple and cheap) rooms, while both serve food. These two places used to serve fantastic traditional food, I think Les Alpes closed for some years but it is now reopening as a restaurant. I see they still serve their house-made ravioli with daube and if they're as good as they used to be, they are not to be missed.
Restaurant des Alpes

Of course I'm being very descriptive about Berre since I know it so well, but there are tons of interesting villages in the area; the higher you drive, the quieter and more mysterious they are. They are all very compactly built (eagle-nest-style), as if they were pasted around a stone peak like modelling clay, and they all have their network of small streets and covered alleys that make them feel like anthills or beehives. They are all extremely atmospheric. Berre is one of the most spectacular but in the same style you also have Peillon, Peille, Coaraze, Tourette-Levens, L'Escarène, Lucéram (a true gem), Sospel, etc. Peillon is remarkable by the way its buildings seem to be rushing towards the sky, Berre looks very grand piled up on top of its sandstone cliff, and L'Escarène has a strange, eerie Italianate feeling, being nestled in a deep valley while still being perched atop a stone peak. Laghet is charming and, nearby, La Turbie is grandiose with the tall ruins of the Augustus tropheum.

Long = to be continued. In the meantime, do not hesitate to ask questions.
Revenir en haut Aller en bas
Voir le profil de l'utilisateur http://ptipois.fr-bb.com
JakeD

avatar

Messages : 13
Date d'inscription : 26/09/2015

MessageSujet: Re: Staying in Menton, or near Nice? (And dining as well, of course!)    Lun 2 Nov - 1:35

Hi Sophie,

I'll respond very quickly here -- and I'm going to copy this to Mo.  (Hey, she should join this forum.)  You are reading our minds -- we were thinking of asking if you wanted to join us and our friends for part of this fall trip.  They probably have some specific places to which they'd want to return after a honeymoon long ago (including, on the way down, La Pyramide, in Vienne -- where they say they dined at the then "***" (I see it's "**" now, pas mal) -- after which they slept in their car that same night to make ends meet!   And I think that your childhood village may fit in as a nice inland diversion once we are al the way down to that area.  I'll add more later, but thanks for the great detail you've already provided -- I have some research to undertake . . . . -- Jake
Revenir en haut Aller en bas
Voir le profil de l'utilisateur
Ptipois
Admin
avatar

Messages : 64
Date d'inscription : 26/09/2015

MessageSujet: Re: Staying in Menton, or near Nice? (And dining as well, of course!)    Lun 2 Nov - 2:38

The cooking of the Nice region is one of the very best I know. You could say I feel that way because I've been raised there, but I don't think that would be exact. It just happens to be amazing, better than Provençal cooking IMO, but I'm not sure how much is left of it now. Here is an example of what it is and you'll understand why I became a food writer, having been exposed to that sort of thing so early in my life. I can't think of the ravioli they used to make in the hills without going crazy. By the way, ravioli is originally from Nice. Other forms of pasta are from Italy but Nice is really the birthplace of ravioli. They made them in households, the entire family worked on it, and it took days.

If you want real ravioli, you have to make daube. You have no other choice, for even if you choose a "lean" filling like chard leaves and brousse (ricotta), you'll need the daube's jus to serve as a sauce on top of the ravioli. So a few days ahead, they stew the beef for daube à la niçoise, unmarinated, in a large cocotte with cubed pancetta, rehydrated cèpes, onions, garlic, carrots, red wine, eau-de-vie, a bit of red chilli, a good bouquet garni with plenty of wild thyme, and olive oil. Simmer for about 4 hours, then you take it off the heat and let it cool. There should be plenty of jus, quite thick and dark. Remove the bouquet and keep aside in a cool place until the next day.

If you want to make ravioli, that is. If not, you'll eat the daube for lunch or dinner with homemade potato gnocchi, or large penne, or polenta, or toasts spread with garlic puree. It is always possible to use leftover daube for ravioli. But when you want to make ravioli, first you have to make a daube just for the ravioli. This is tradition. And Nice ravioli, with the right filling, and a good ladleful of daube jus on top, and a topping of grated Parmesan or Sbrinz cheese, tastes like nothing else in the world.

Anyway you're going to make ravioli. So the next day, separate the meat from the jus and drain it. Chop the meat very finely with a large knife. You should also cook some Swiss chard greens (vert de blettes) in boiling salted water, drain it, squeeze it dry, chop it very finely and mix it with the chopped meat with a few whole eggs, salt and pepper, and perhaps a few spoonfuls of daube jus until you have a thick paste. If you're not using the meat — if you've eaten it up for instance — then you should still have the jus, so what you do is prepare a filling of finely chopped Swiss chard greens and brousse, which is a local type of ricotta.

Make the ravioli dough: 1 egg for every 200 g wheat flour, salt and a little cold water, a little olive oil. Mix well and knead until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. Shape it into a ball. It should be firm and smooth. Let it rest for 30 min to 1 hour. People generally make the dough before chopping the meat and chard so that it may rest while they're preparing the filling.

Roll out the dough very, very thinly. Normally, being all-flour (no semolina), it should be very white and delicate, unlike the look and texture of classic Italian fresh pasta. More like rice pasta or wonton dough. Place small spoonfuls of filling, 3/4 of an inch apart, on one half of the pasta sheets, then fold the other half of the sheet over the first half and carefully press around the filling to seal the ravioli. Then cut them with a pasta wheel, dust them with flour. Normally you should boil them as soon as possible after they're made but you can set them aside until the next lunch or dinner, covered with a cloth. To cook, boil them gently in water until they rise to the surface. Drain and serve with reheated jus from the daube and some grated cheese. I noticed that Nice people preferred to use Swiss Sbrinz cheese instead of Parmesan, not sure why, maybe it was cheaper.

The last time I had Niçois ravioli was at the Hôtel des Alpes in Berre, and it was fantastic. I read that they still make it but is it up to my memories? We should give it a try. Anyway, there is a seemingly untouristy restaurant in Nice that claims to be "la maison du ravioli depuis 1949" so that may be worth trying. But I'm sure there are other options like Le Restaurant du Gesu in the old town. Of course there is my favorite Le Safari, also in Nice, but I'm not sure they have ravioli.

Another excellent dish that we shouldn't miss is stockfish (stocafissa), but that is another story and it also takes days. Longer than ravioli.
Revenir en haut Aller en bas
Voir le profil de l'utilisateur http://ptipois.fr-bb.com
T. Tilash

avatar

Messages : 18
Date d'inscription : 27/09/2015
Localisation : Paris, France

MessageSujet: Re: Staying in Menton, or near Nice? (And dining as well, of course!)    Ven 20 Nov - 19:10

I have promised some friends a "homemade ravioli" dinner... Didn't really know what kind to make yet, I just found out !

_________________
T. Tilash - Chez Food
Revenir en haut Aller en bas
Voir le profil de l'utilisateur http://www.chezfood.com
Parigi



Messages : 3
Date d'inscription : 04/10/2015

MessageSujet: Re: Staying in Menton, or near Nice? (And dining as well, of course!)    Jeu 18 Fév - 11:25

Menton has an enchanting old town. And if you are interested in the arrière-pays, Menton may be a sightly better base for reaching such little jewel villages as Breil sur Roya, Luceram, Peillon, Sospel, Coaraze, Ste Agnès (on the road to which from Menton my MIL always kept her eyes tightly shut, even though the view is spectacular). Pti can tell you much more about them. We love those villages, and they are never overrun. They are well preserved like the remote old beautiful Alpine villages that they are. In their beautyn they look very modest, very rual, until you push through the door of their Baroque chruch (and every tiny village seems to have one). The opulent Baroque splendor will dazzle you so much you may want to reach for your sunglasses.
Another fun place to go, with Menton as a base, is Italy. the lovely village of Bordiguera is a very short drive away.

Menton itself has fabulous gardens. The village is known for its lemons and its gardens.

Here are two rentals I know in Menton. (Oops, one. On rue Longue, the oldest street):

I can't find the ad to our rental in the old town anymore. The view, right on the bend of the French-Italian Riviera, is mesmerizing. The fabulous market in the old Halle is an easy walk. 

Here is a rental next door, where a friend of mine has stayed and loved. I have not been inside but can totally vouch for the location. 
https://www.vrbo.com/61837

I also like the hilltop villages on the coast, like Biot, Le Haut de Cagnes and Roquebrune. The former 2 villages have a fabulous concentration of good eateries, and all three are actually quite near the coast.

But I'm a bigger and bigger fan of Nice. 

We stayed in this rental with a fantastic view of the Med and the old port.
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/868125

The old port is our fave 'hood of Nice. We either walk to the old town to its faaaab markets (wih an astoundingly non-touristy high standard and low prices) or to the calmer rue Bavastro, a market street with everything, back in the he Port area.  
Nice is a very vibrant town with lots of good museums and stuff to do, and great eats ranging from street food to multi-stars. The public transport is wonderful. If you decide on Nice as your base, bear in mind that you really don't need a car. You may want to rent a car later when you are visiting the  arrière-pay villages.
Revenir en haut Aller en bas
Voir le profil de l'utilisateur
Parigi



Messages : 3
Date d'inscription : 04/10/2015

MessageSujet: Re: Staying in Menton, or near Nice? (And dining as well, of course!)    Jeu 18 Fév - 11:27

Oh, there is one compelling reason for not staying in an hotel but in a rental instead.
You have to have a kitchen to cook (heat) the insanely good ravioli from the Maison Barale in the old town of Nice.
Revenir en haut Aller en bas
Voir le profil de l'utilisateur
Contenu sponsorisé




MessageSujet: Re: Staying in Menton, or near Nice? (And dining as well, of course!)    

Revenir en haut Aller en bas
 
Staying in Menton, or near Nice? (And dining as well, of course!)
Voir le sujet précédent Voir le sujet suivant Revenir en haut 
Page 1 sur 1
 Sujets similaires
-
» recherche coin ou camping sympa autour de Menton
» La Serre tropicale du Parc Phoenix de Nice
» Bourse aux plantes du JB de Nice
» Euphorbia dendroides, une station entre Monaco et Menton
» SDA NICE

Permission de ce forum:Vous ne pouvez pas répondre aux sujets dans ce forum
Le forum de Ptipois :: France :: Where to stay?-
Sauter vers: