Renoir Museum Re-opens

In 1908, Pierre-Auguste Renoir chose to take up residence in the hills behind the seaside town of Cagnes-sur-Mer on the French Riviera. Taken by the climate, the light, and landscapes of this area, Renoir painted olive and fruit trees, flowers, as well as his muses, and began sculpting for the first time. His residence is now a museum and a source of studentsinspiration to young artists, who I saw drawing “en plein air” sitting under olive trees on the grounds.

The museum reopened July 26, 2013, having been closed 18 months for renovation.

Musée Renoir
Chemin des Collettes
06800 Cagnes-sur-Mer

Tel. +33 (0)4 93 20 61 07
(Hover mouse over photo for caption)

Charming Restaurant in Old Nice

Walking from the Nice Opera, go directly through Cours Saleya to the end and turn left onto rue Gilly, walk straight ahead to the Y in the road and “La Ferme Saleya” restaurant is just there to the left.

exteriorWhat a find!  This place is charming, has wonderful service, and the food is excellent.  They even served a free Kir to customers who arrived before 8pm to have dinner – I ordered a Kir Peche (peach) rather than my typical Kir Cassis (black currant) – it was delicious!

kir peche I highly recommend this restaurant and definitely plan on having lunch there next time.  See you there!

Hard Rock Café NICE !

We’re #2!  Nice is the site chosen for France’s second Hard Rock Café, the first being in Paris. Situated at 5, Promenade des Anglais, next to the Office de Tourisme, the two floor, 557 square meter café will open in mid-October, 2013, employ around 70 people, and seat 200 clients in the restaurant and 30 on the terrace.

Photo: Nice Matin

Photo: Nice Matin

There will also be a bar and and “Rock Shop” boutique, selling iconic tee-shirts and rock inspired articles. Nice’s café will have an interactive wall with technology allowing fans to tactilely view rock memorabilia and virtually visit other Hard Rock Cafés around the world.

A jacket worn by Justin Timberlake, a red accessory item of Rihanna, a 1970 costume worn by James Brown, and a drumstick used by the drummer of Guns & Roses are just a few of the rock ‘n roll iconic items that will be decoratively displayed at the café.

Since 1971, Hard Rock Café has been associated with philanthrophic activities around the world. Hard Rock Café Nice will continue that philosophy, aligned with breast cancer awareness and other causes chosen by the greatest pop rock artists, through their Tee-shirt Signature Series program, as well as supporting local associations.

(Source: Nice Matin)

Gallic Garlic

“France produces 18,500 tons of garlic per year, in areas scattered throughout the country. Several varieties have what is called an IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée), a European label that guarantees the region of production, and specific growing and preparation standards.

Among the primary garlic varieties in France are l’ail rose de Lautrec (Midi-Pyrénées), l’ail blanc de Lomagne (Midi-Pyrénées), l’ail d’Auvergne, l’ail de la Drôme, l’ail de Provence, l’ail fumé d’Arleux (Nord-Pas-de-Calais), l’ail de Cherrueix (Bretagne) and l’ail violet de Cadours (Midi-Pyrénées), the only garlic with an Appellation d’Origine Controlée, a hard-won pedigree that underscores the quality as well as the cultivation and preparation of the garlic.

There are two major categories of garlic in France—that planted in spring and that planted in the autumn. Both are harvested in July. One of the more distinctive varieties is the mild ail rose de Lautrec, with a rigid central stem that makes it impossible to braid. Instead, growers first peel the heads down to the first skin, so the pink shows through, then tie it into fat, heavy bouquets.

Another variety that stands out is the golden smoked garlic of northern France. Its production is concentrated around the town of Arleux in the Pas-de-Calais region, and it represents ten percent of French garlic production. The cloves are pink, but smoking over a peat fire obscures their color and turns the outer skins deep golden and slightly sticky. The reason for the smoking is the climate. The north is damp, without enough sun to dry the garlic; the smoke preserves it, preventing it from getting moist and spoiling.

Garlic generally lasts well until Christmas, though certain varieties are given a mild heat treatment that extends their shelf life until May. Contrary to popular wisdom, garlic is best kept in a dark spot at room temperature. If there is a green germ inside a garlic clove, it should be removed. There is nothing wrong with it other than its texture, which is somewhat tough.”


This sauce evokes Provence at its productive best, in summer, when farms and family gardens are at their peak, yielding vegetables with an incomparable depth of flavor.

Note: When making aioli—or any mayonnaise-style sauce—think slow, slow, slow as  you add the oil. If you do, then you’re guaranteed success. But if the aioli does separate, put an egg yolk in another bowl and slowly whisk the separated aioli into it.

6 garlic cloves, green germ removed

1 tsp sea salt

2 tsp Dijon mustard

3 large egg yolks

2 cups (500 ml) grape seed or other neutral oil

1/2 cup (120 ml) fine quality, extra-virgin olive oil

2 to 3 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Make a paste of the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle, by working the pestle around slowly, always in the same direction, in the mortar. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, either finely mince the garlic with the salt, transfer it to a medium-sized bowl and press on it with a wooden spoon until it makes a rough paste; or simply mince the garlic and salt together in a food processor and transfer the mixture to a medium-sized bowl.

2. Whisk in the mustard and egg yolks until they are blended with the garlic and salt. Then, using either the pestle or a whisk, add 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the neutral oil very slowly in a fine, fine stream, until the mixture becomes thick. Don’t add the oil too quickly or  the mixture will not emulsify.

3. Add 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice to the oil and garlic mixture, then add the remaining oil very, very slowly, whisking or turning the pestle constantly. The aioli will gradually thicken to the consistency of a light mayonnaise. Adjust the seasoning, and add more lemon juice if it needs more tang. If it becomes very, very thick you might add 1 tablespoon of warm water to loosen it.

4. Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary. Aioli will keep for several days in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, but is best served within 24 hours of being made.

About 6 servings

Susan Herrmann Loomis teaches cooking classes in Normandy and Paris.

by Susan Herrmann Loomis for France Today

Surprising Stats

Let’s face it – we don’t really know what’s going to interest our audience in the world of blogging, as there is so many blogs and so little time.

I try to write informative articles, yet amusing and entertaining ones to pique readers’ interest and loyalty.  I was surprised that every day someone does a keyword search for Starbucks, but I had no idea that that topic would be the top post so far – go figure (pun intended)!  Hips don’t lie and these stats don’t lie!


1st Starbucks on the Côte d’Azur

Mots Croises de Noel (Christmas Crossword Puzzle)

Book Trailer Video: “Solitary Desire”

“11eme Art” : A nice Nice restaurant

Brasserie in Nice

Thanks for staying tuned!

A Royal Visit & A Chat

IMG_0091His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco was scheduled to visit the Grimaldi Château in the medieval village of Cagnes-sur-Mer.
chateau grimaldi map
I figured this was as close to royalty as I was going to get, so I decided to attend.  I wasn’t surprised at the fanfare of his arrival and visit, with police and undercover security in place, but was surprised that I actually got to chat with him at the buffet table. When I said in French that I was “American like his mother,” he looked equally surprised and immediately responded, “Oh, Hi!”

The conversation then led to where I was from and how I like living in France, followed by a comment he made to the nearby mayor saying, “Louis, elle est americaine” to which the Mayor responded to me, “Tous mes hommages, Madame.” The Prince and I continued to chat for a few minutes more about the village and if I have family here, etc.

I was nervous at first (didn’t even mention my name), but the Prince was so charming and down-to-earth that soon the conversation felt comfortable, and I wish I had had more time to talk.  How wonderful it would be to have a chance to interview him!

Did I mention that he was very charming (and also taller than I had expected)!

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Seeing is believing…

Taking some of the frustration out of France

France’s bureaucracy is notoriously slow and for many foreigners, very confusing. But life is about to become simpler as the French government unveils a new series of measures to ease interactions between the French State and its citizens. From driving penalty points to paying VAT, the new set of rules could make ‘l’administration’ more modern and user–friendly.

The new measures to simplify interactions between the State and the public could reduce waiting lines at town halls.  (Photo Credit: David Morris)

Among the most expected measures, the life of a carte d’identité (ID card) will be extended from 10 years to 15 years, saving money and many hours at town halls in the process.

The restaurant tickets system, whereby certain companies give their employees around eight euros a day to spend on lunch, will also be simplified. Before the end of the year, a rechargeable card will replace the paper system to make paying for food more convenient. Around 3.5 million French workers use the restaurant tickets system.

Checking how many points a motorist has lost on their driving license will also become a little less time–consuming since the data will be posted online for drivers to consult.

Businesses are also set to benefit from the government’s plan, with obligations for trading firms to register with French tax authorities to be removed. Those companies will only have to register with their chamber of commerce, cutting paperwork and costs by half.

Several administrative procedures for businesses will be achieved online, such as payment of the VAT, which represents five million bills sent to the State every year.

Prime Minister Jean–Marc Ayrault said the measures will save the country around three billion euros in 2014 by speeding up and simplifying the interactions between the French State and businesses, as well as those who live in the country.

Source/Credit: Mado Bayon for The Riviera Times Online

France May Not Be For You…

What others would you add?

  1. The French sure do love their cigarettes.  If you don’t like cigarette smoke, France may not be for you.
  2. If you expect to be fussed and fawned over at dinner by wait staff who act like your new best friend and offer up their name, France may not be for you.
  3. And if you may become upset and impatient when said wait staff let you relax and enjoy your meal rather than shoving you out the door, France may not be for you.
  4. If you need to touch and riffle through all the merchandise when you’re shopping and you think the customer is always right, France may not be for you.
  5. If you expect the French to smile, hold the door for you (a complete stranger) and speak to you in English, France may not be for you.
  6. If you don’t like cheese – the smell of cheese, the taste of cheese. It’s a country of over 365 cheeses and if you can’t handle that much cheese, France may not be for you
  7. If you prefer Paris sidewalks to be free of doggie doo, France may not be for you.
  8. If you’re not big on etiquette, using your manners, or going out of your way to be polite in a foreign country, France may not be for you.
  9. If you like mega-sized portions and leftovers, France may not be for you.
  10. If you thing aloof, private and reserved translates to rudeFrance may not be for you.
  11. If you have no desire to learn a bit of the language or culture before you go, France may not be for you.
  12. If you’ll be highly offended when you try to speak your best French, but you’re answered back in English, France may not be for you.
  13. If you’ll throw a hissy fit when the classy resto you’ve been looking forward to dining in won’t serve you at 3:30 for lunch or 5:30 for dinner.  France has set hours for shopping, dining, banking and other services, France may not be for you.
  14. If you’ll be uncomfortable when Parisians blatantly stare at you while sizing you up on the Metro, France may not be for you.
  15. If you can’t sleep in anything less than a king sized bed or stay in a hotel room the size of a house, France may not be for you.
  16. If you might ask a waiter for a phone book to call the health department to report the women sitting at the next table in a bistro who’s dining companion is her dog, France may not be for you.
  17. If you’re not greeted with the same sense of urgency as you’re used to in other parts of the world (ie, the U.S.), France may not be for you.” 

Reblogged: By Robin Locker Lacey via Tongue in Cheek


Gascogne Café – Eze Village

Situated at the bottom of Eze village on the Moyenne Corniche is a café restaurant where I usually have lunch whenever I’m passing through on my way to Monaco.  Situated directly across from the Casino grocery store, diagonally across from the Fragonard perfume factory, and not far from the public parking lot and entrance to walk up to the village of Eze – maybe not the most scenic location to eat, but the food has always been excellent and service good.

So it was that I recently lunched there again and was not disappointed, as usual.  I had the menu du jour: gaspacho du pasteche (watermelon soup), saumon avec ratatouille, et dessert gourmand for around 16€!  BON APPETIT!


Egalières in Provence

I recently took a long weekend to spend time with an American girlfriend and her husband, who had rented a six-bedroom house in Egalières, for themselves and 8 others (family & friends) – located about 45 minutes from Avignon in Provence. So, there we were – 11 of us – old friends, family members, and new acquaintances alike:  sitting by the pool, taking day trips together to local markets, and trying out new restaurants as a fun-loving (and yes, loud) partying group!

We ladies took an in-house cooking class, learning how to filet a fish and knife cutting skills to cut julien style veggies for a great lunch – harder than it looks!  That evening, the chef cooked and served a luscious dinner to all of us staying in the house – wine flowed, songs were sung, and rugs were rolled up for after-dinner dancing of fox-trot and cha-cha.

Another evening, we went to a local restaurant called “Gilles,” where Jolie-Pitt’s “Pink Floyd” wine from Château Miraval was on the menu – I only had a sip of this “famous” rosé, which was going for 18€ a bottle (see slideshow photos) – a sweet wine at a sweet price!

All in all, it was a great time in a great area of Provence!

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