by Mandeep Gaygoat
The French Riviera is a fantastic location and we are very fortunate to have it on our door step. The people are very friendly and 99% of the locals recognised us as Sikhs.
The hotel, La Chèvre D’Or is worthy of being a member of the Relais & Chateau for it’s location and rooms. The staff are not as helpful and sometimes unfriendly, you get the feeling they are only doing the job because they have to. We have stayed at other hotels where staff have shown passion in their work and will bend over backwards to make your stay, delightful.
For vegetarians I would not recommend the 2 star michelin restaurant. The chef could have used more then the basic fruit and vegetables for our dishes!!
Loving Hut in Menton is a fantastic restaurant and definitely worth the visit. The food and service are very good.
Eze village is a great medieval village and has quaint galleries and cafes. Off season the location is quiet and peaceful, I can imagine that in the height of summer this will get very busy and crowded.
by Mandeep Gaygoat
This morning we both watched the sunrise again, it was spectacular
On a Sunday they have a flea market on the road leading up to the medieval village
Today is also our last day here, we fly back to the UK. It has been a fantastic few days and we were sad to leave this awesome location. On a happier side we are only two hours direct flight from here so will definitely come back to explore different areas.
We headed back to the hotel to checkout. Afterwards we visited a gallery where we saw a very nice painting of Eze, unfortunately it was closed. We walked up to another gallery but decided against purchasing a painting from there, not to my high standards! Well after staying at this hotel my standards have gone up!!
On the way out we met Merlin and Susie, it was great to see them again. Hopefully we shall meet soon.
We drove back to Nice taking the lower basse corniche
The drive goes through Cap Ferrat.
Cap Ferrat is situated in Alpes-Maritimes département, in southeastern France. It is located in the commune of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
Saint Hospitius lived here as a recluse during the sixth century. Thus, the cape is sometimes called Cap-Saint-Hospice or Cap-Saint-Sospis.
Once the domain of King Leopold II of Belgium, Cap Ferrat is now graced with a number of magnificent villas. The writer W. Somerset Maugham bought Villa Mauresque (originally built for Leopold’s father-confessor) in 1928 and lived there before and after World War II. He described it in a letter to his nephew, Robin Maugham, as “the escape hatch from Monaco for those burdened with taste.” Current famous residents include Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in Villa Maryland and theatrical composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Driving through Cap Ferrat, one can smell the money!!
Once we got to Nice we drove around this town, a town like any other, big, busy, people are in a rush (even on a Sunday!!) we also drove around the Promenade Anglais, a celebrated promenade along the Mediterranean at Nice, France.
Before Nice was urbanized, the coast at Nice was just bordered by a deserted band of beach. The first houses were located on higher ground well away from the sea.
Starting in the second half of the 18th century, the English took to spending the winter in Nice, enjoying the panorama along the coast. When a particularly harsh winter up north brought an influx of beggars to Nice, some of the rich Englishmen proposed a useful project for them: the construction of a walkway (chemin de promenade) along the sea.
The city of Nice, intrigued by the prospect of a pleasant promenade, greatly increased the scope of the work. The Promenade was first called the Camin deis Anglés (the English Way) by the Niçois in their native dialect Nissart. After the annexation of Nice by France in 1860 it was rechristened La Promenade des Anglais, replacing the former Nissart name with its French translation.
We drove past Speak Easy, vegan restaurant in Nice
7 rue Lamartine,
Unfortunately it was closed, so as we had three hours to spare before our flight home we decided on driving on to Antibes.
Antibes is a resort town in the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France.
It lies on the Mediterranean in the Côte d’Azur, located between Cannes and Nice. The town of Juan-les-Pins is within the commune of Antibes. The Sophia-Antipolis technology park is northwest of Antibes.
There are 48 beaches along the 25 km (16 miles) of coastline that surround Antibes and Juan les Pins.
Archaeology Museum This museum sits atop the Promenade Amiral de Grasse in the old Bastion St Andre, a 17th-century fortress. The museum’s collection focuses on the classical history of Antibes. Many artifacts, sculptures and amphorae found in local digs and shipwrecks from the harbour are displayed here. The views of the sea and mountains from the promenade are also spectacular.
Naval Museum of Napoleon Housed in a 17th-century stone fort and tower, this museum presents a collection of Napoleonic memorabilia, paintings and naval models. Several wall paintings show historic moments in Napoleon’s reign and there are also pieces of his clothing such as one of the hats he once wore.
Picasso Museum This museum houses one of the world’s greatest Picasso collections: 24 paintings, 44 drawings, 32 lithographs, 11 oils on paper, 80 pieces of ceramics, two sculptures and five tapestries.
La Tour Museum This small museum in the centre of town brings the contemporary history of Antibes to life through its exhibit of costumes, tools, photographs and other objects used by the local people.
Absinthe Museum The Absinthe Museum is located in a basement in the Roman foundations of Old Antibes. It is dedicated to the manufacture and appreciation of this green liqueur.
It would be nice to revisit Antibes to look around the museums when we have more time in the future.
Here we had a hot chocolate at a nice Italian cafe
Well I had hot chocolate, Sangeet had an apple juice.
The rain had now stopped and the sun had come out and brightened everything up. It is amazing how when the sun comes out everything just looks so much better. We went for a walk along the coast
One has to be careful whilst walking here as there is plenty of renegade dog leavings. I really do not know why owners cannot clean up after their dogs!!
After a short while we headed to the airport, returned the car to Avis and boarded our plane.
Poster at the airport
by Mandeep Gaygoat
This morning we watched the sun rise.
After a relaxed morning in the suite, we walked to Eze village. Here in France because there is no artificial preservatives, one has to eat the bread on the same day it is made. The bread tastes fantastic, so off we went to get some more!
View of the medieval Eze village from the village below.
The lady recognised us as Sikhs, which is always great to see. She saw a documentary on Nihang Sikhs and it impressed her very much. She shared the information she learnt with us. She was also laughing when she said the British used to be in India, now the Indians are in England!
We then popped into the local supermarket to get snacks.
After a fantastic breakfast we then enjoyed the hotel grounds.
Views from the hotel grounds
Hotel swimming pool
Many of the staff here knew we are Sikhs, they are always happy to see us.
Around the hotel there are a number of statues
Steps leading to and from the hotel to the gardens
After having a walk around the hotel gardens, we came back to the suite so I could enjoy a snack!
We then went for a walk around the medieval village of Eze.
Here there are many galleries and cafes
Another picture of the many artists here
At the top of the village is Jardin Exotique, an amazing garden growing many cacti and other plants. The entry fee is 6 Euros per person.
Views overlooking the village
An Agave plant
Back at the hotel, where cars like this Aston Martin were a familiar sight
In the evening we drove to Loving Hut, Menton. You would think by now we would have been bored of this restaurant, but honestly speaking this has been a superb restaurant with great food and great company. It has a fantastic energy, the staff are so calm and peaceful.
Passing Monaco on the way
After Monaco we drove through Cap Martin
One of the many huge houses here
Roquebrune-Cap-Martin (Ròcabruna Caup Martin in Occitan, Roccabruna-Capo Martino in Italian) is a commune in the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France between Monaco and Menton. The name was changed from Roquebrune to differentiate the town from Roquebrune-sur-Argens in the neighboring Var Department.
At Loving Hut
Back at the hotel
Night time walk around the medieval village
by Mandeep Gaygoat
As we decided to check out of this suite and move into another suite, we took advantage of the garden in the meantime.
Getting ready to wash the locally grown strawberries
We then moved to the new suite named after Jean Cocteau. Jean Cocteau, (born July 5, 1889, Maisons-Laffitte, near Paris, France—died October 11, 1963, Milly-la-Forêt, near Paris), French poet, librettist, novelist, actor, film director, and painter. Some of his most important works include the poem L’Ange Heurtebise (1925; “The Angel Heurtebise”); the play Orphée (1926; Orpheus); the novels Les Enfants terribles (1929; “The Incorrigible Children”; Eng. trans. Children of the Game or The Holy Terrors) and La Machine infernale (1934; The Infernal Machine); and his surrealistic motion pictures Le Sang d’un poète (1930; The Blood of a Poet) and La Belle et la bête (1946; Beauty and the Beast).
In France restaurants usually start service at 12 noon until 2:30pm then reopen in the evening at 6pm (varies restaurant to restaurant, but those the are general rough times)
So around 1pm we drove to Loving Hut in Menton.
A fantastic dish, that is why you do not see a single bit of food left!
Delicious vegan cheesecake
On the way back to Eze, we decided to take the middle corniche road.
Three”Corniche” roads, said to be “Lower, Middle and Upper or Grand” considering their different altitudes, lie between Nice and Monaco.
The Lower one culminates 150 ft above sea level and from Nice, leads to the little fishing port of Villefranche that boasts such a beautiful bay ; after Cap Ferrat, the millionaires’ peninsula, the road enters the little resort of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, that became very chic and fashionable at the Turn of the Century. From Beaulieu through the section of “Little Africa” at the foot of very impressive cliffs, the Lower road crosses Eze on Sea, then Cap d’Ail and its crystal clear little inlet. That’s the last French town before entering the Principality of Monaco.
More recent, the Middle road, offers incredible views at all the little resorts mentioned before and leads to the “eagle nest” village of Eze culminating 1200 ft above sea level.
The Upper Road, a strategic road and the older one, offers great views as well, but doesn’t cross any city center, except the one of La Turbie, little town just above Monaco, renowned for its Roman trophy : built in 6 B.C., this monument is unique among all the world’s Roman remains presently known.
The Upper Road leads finally to the perched village of Roquebrune.
We seemed to take a wrong turning at one point which was a blessing as we ended up on windy roads with stunning vistas and then onto a quaint windy road to Sospel.
The town dates back to the 5th century, when it served as an important staging post on the royal road from Nice to Turin. The old toll bridge used by travellers to cross the Bevera, built in the 13th century, still stands. It was bombed by the Germans during World War II to prevent contact between the French Resistance (“The Maquis”) and the Italians. Much of the town was destroyed. Renovated after World War II it now houses the tourist office. Ruins of a tower, part of a château belonging to the counts of Provence, are all that remain of the 14th century city walls.
On the way to Sospel
We wanted to park up to view the amazing sights, it ended up being somebodies garden!
On the way to Sospel I saw a snake crossing the road! It came as a bit of a shock.
People here seemed very surprised to see us, it does not seem many tourists visit this place. They were very friendly and smiled and said bonjour! It was fun to watch a game of French Boules being played by the locals in the park.
Boules is a collective name for a wide range of games in which the objective is to throw or roll heavy balls (called boules in France, and “bocce” in Italy) as close as possible to a small target ball.
Boules-type games are traditional and popular in France, Italy and Croatia, and are also popular in some former French colonies. In those countries, boules games are often played in open spaces (town squares and parks) in villages and towns. Dedicated playing areas for boules-type games are typically large, level, rectangular courts made of flattened earth, gravel, or crushed stone, enclosed in wooden rails or back boards.
In the south of France, the word boules is also often used as a synonym for pétanque.
As Italy is only 8km away we decided to drive there.
An Italian village
We drove to Italy, down to Ventimiglia on the Italian coast then back to France.
Back to Menton
We decided to enjoy a takeaway in our suite this evening. Previously when entering Menton we saw an Indian restaurant called Indian Moods, we walked to the restaurant, as we saw it was a halal restaurant we decided to go back to Le Taj for a takeaway. On the way we passed a nice fruit and vegetable shop where we stocked up on locally grown apples and a fruit similiar to blood-satsuma.
We placed our takeaway order at Le Taj
Then went for a wander, since coming to France I have been wanting to eat fresh bread, the lady at Le Taj told us where we can get some so we searched for the boulangerie (bakery.) On the way we saw a live performance by a very good local band:
It was a fantastic and lively atmosphere, so good to see people dancing and enjoying themselves, without the need for drink!
The search for my bread continues!
Woohoo, found some.
On the way back to the hotel we passed Carrefour.
Carrefour S.A. is a French multinational retailer headquartered in Boulogne Billancourt, France, in Greater Paris. It is one of the largest hypermarket chains in the world (with 1,452 hypermarkets at the end of 2011, the second largest retail group in the world in terms of revenue, and the third largest in profit (after Wal-Mart and Tesco). Carrefour operates mainly in Europe, Argentina, Brazil, China, Dominican Republic, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but also has shops in North Africa and other parts of Asia, with most stores being of smaller size than hypermarket or even supermarket. Carrefour means “crossroads” and “public square” in French. Previously the company head office was in Levallois-Perret, also in Greater Paris.
There we bought water, fruit smoothie and snacks.
Back at the hotel we ate whilst watching a movie called Short Cuts, wish I could tell you what it was about but whilst watching we felt sleepy, probably because the movie had a very slow start!
by Mandeep Gaygoat
After a relaxing morning where I did the childish but enjoyable things (like brush my teeth whilst using the lift and after a shower dry myself, again whilst using the lift!) we had a wander around the hotel’s amazing terraced gardens and then ventured out to the Loving Hut in Menton, we found free parking in a nearby car park.
Enjoying a morning coffee at the hotel
Views from the room
Before leaving the hotel we asked to see another suite
Views from the hotel
Driving to Menton
The free car park
A building in Menton
Looking out from Menton
The Loving Hut restaurant is part of the same chain we have visited in other countries. The Loving Hut marketing slogan is Be Vegan, Make Peace.
Loving Hut Menton
649 Promenade du Soleil
T: +33 4 92 07 32 57
E: [email protected]
Sangeet ordered a falafel mix and I ordered a loving burger, for starters we had summer rolls. My dish came as a deal, burger, fries and dessert or drink for 12 euros. We got chatting to the owner, Afigour, he mentioned that all the staff who work there are vegan, those that weren’t became vegan. As you talk to Afigour you can tell he is very much into veganism and spirituality. He told us about increasing veganism around the world and how Mongolia is leading the way. He talked about various healing lines (‘blessing lines’) coming to earth and how these can be attracted to earth by very spiritual people.
Plenty of seating inside
Literature and products for sale
Two hands are not enough!
Vegan dog food!
Whilst chatting a fellow Sikh came to say hello, he was from Glasgow and his name is Surjit Singh Sokhi, he has been coming to this part of the world for the last ten years and thoroughly loves the area. Also whilst chatting we found that we had many friends and relations in common. What a small world!
We left the restaurant a few hours later after having great food and fantastic company.
We had a wander around Menton which is a very beautiful town. We walked along the Promenade du Soleil seeing people of all shapes and sizes sunbathing, we saw the Basilique St-Michel Archange, a 17th century church, the beautiful gardens of Garavan and the Jardin Bioves and nearby Palais de l’Europe. it was enjoyable just wandering about enjoying the beauty of the architecture and gardens and taking in the energy of the place. We were around 1km from the border with Italy and were tempted to pop over. On the way to the car we bought locally grown strawberries, we were looking for oranges especially after seeing the many orange and lemon trees during our walk, unfortunately the oranges for sale were from Spain and the satsumas were from Israel.
On the way back to the hotel we drove through Monte Carlo, as they are preparing for the Formula 1, the stands were being erected. I managed to drive fast through one of the straight roads. Apparently you have to be very careful as this is frowned upon by the police.
As we entered Eze village there was a fantastic vista point where we could see our hotel hanging on to the cliff edge. We parked up and as we were walking to the point a motor biker passed us and shouted something out, he then turned around and came back to talk to us, he kept saying Guru Nanak, looking towards the sky and shaking his head side to side!!
We arrived back at the hotel around 7:30pm in time for our 8pm dinner reservation at La Chèvre d’Or, a Michelin 2 star restaurant at the hotel.
We walked to the restaurant and were greeted by a number of staff and three maître d’hôtel! Now I understand why the food costs so much, just to pay the staff wages!
For aperitif we had a asparagus, notice I said ‘a!
Well judge for yourself:
I felt so sorry for the asparagus it felt so lonely and sad!
The base is eggplant and various vegetables and flowers were on top, a bit like a herb garden. I am now thinking surely it must get better!
For mains we had:
Basically mixed vegetables cooked in its owns waters!
Between and alongside courses I was filling myself up on:
Which was the nice bit!!
For dessert Sangeet had sorbet:
I had fruit cocktail:
On a bed of finely cut kiwi and I mean finely cut! There were various fruit.
Considering this is a 2 Michelin star restaurant, the chef could have been more creative and instead of giving us boiled vegetables done some other type of dishes.
It does make you laugh when you think for lunch we ate at loving hut, we ordered what WE wanted and paid 34 euros, at the Michelin 2 star restaurant they tell YOU what you are having and then at the end of the meal give you a huge food bill for mediocre food! Saying that we have to be very thankful that with God’s blessing we are in a position to be able to come and try food at this restaurant. After a lot of laughs over the whole dining experience, including the waiters amusing descriptions of each dish (ours and other people’s), we retired to our suite.