Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Villefranche-sur-Mer...a ville and its food....

Villefranche...the restaurant strip beside the water (Photo LP 2013)

After four weeks in Villefranche-sur-Mer,France, I have settled in and feel a little like a local.  My regular contact with the people in the little boulangerie, the nearby small supermarket, the butcher,  the Tabac and the small shops I pass each day on my way to and from Institut de Français has resulted in a familiarity which I would not have expected. 

The regular " bonjour, ça va?" as I pass, or when I visit the market each Saturday morning, has made me feel at home.  When I have mentioned  that I am a student at the Institut the local people immediately smile and encourage me to speak in French, which was awkward in the beginning but as I have improved my confidence and my ability to speak in their language, these "locals" have encouraged me with their compliments, week by week. I am going to miss each and every one of them when I leave.


My first meal inVillefranche,scallops at Les Corsaires

I have also become a "regular" at some of the restaurants in Villefranche.  I have not had a bad meal here. The service has been warm and welcoming;  the food that I have chosen has been simple, fresh and always declicious;  the ambience, whether beside the water or in the interior of the ville, comforting.

Valet parking and busy waiters at L'Oursin Bleu on the waterfront

As someone who judges restaurants in Australia I would like to think I have a good eye for them, wherever they are, their strengths and their weaknesses; and I have only been disappointed here once with the level of service.

Escargots et morilles in a cocotte at L'Aparte...my favourite

And so a photo gallery of some of the more memorable dining experiences...to date...

Fish soup at L'Oursin Bleu

The day I dined at L'Oursin Bleu, a Sunday, a very glamorous couple arrived with a friend for a reserved table, immediately in front of me, Ralph Lauren; however, the fish soup remained for me the highlight of my afternoon.

And after a really tiring day at l'Institut de français,  I would walk the 10 metres to the restaurant which became my other kitchen, the wonderfully homely, and always welcoming, Le Serre...

Daube with ravioli, a simple salad and a glass of rose...perfect...

Then there were the times, after a really rewarding day in which our language skills seemed to progress, that my fellow students and I would meet for a small glass of wine before a lovely meal,  prepared and served with care and affection by the woman behind the lovely La Grignotiere restaurant.  She was always out, preparing the restaurant the following morning when I walked to school, and greeting me with a cheerful 
"bonjour madame"...

Beautiful duck at La Grignotiere


And these are only a few of the memorable meals I have enjoyed in lovely Villefranche.  They do not include the meals I so enjoyed making in my apartment after shopping in the Saturday market and filling my basket with artichokes, broad beans, peas, white, green and purple asparagus,courgettes, eggplants, capsicums,and the fruit...the local oranges, falling off the trees, the strawberries and raspberries...and then topping up my basket with the flowers in season, tulips, hyacinths and roses.

Another wonderfuol component to studying at 'Institut de français, is the location of Villefranche-sur-Mer. My journals are now full of hastily scribbled notes about food tastes...I hope to replicate some of them when I return to Australia...it will ensure that my parting fromVillefranche is less  painful.

4 comments:

  1. The French have a reputation of being unfriendly, but perhaps that is more Parisians who have to deal endlessly with tourists.

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  2. How I wish I could join you, a once a week lesson is not easy! Love your photos as well. Keep well Diane

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  3. Andrew, even in Paris I rarely find rudeness...perhaps a shrug of the shoulder, as only the Parisien can do! But certainly the Côte d'Azur, including Monte Carlo, Nice, St Tropez and Antibes has not disappointed...and I have not dined at the well known restaurant but rather I sought out those frequented by locals...

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  4. Bon soir Diane, yes it has been wonderful! I thoroughly recommend the immersion experience and actually hope to return at the same time next year...I have improved my comprehension and confidence 100% and I am trying to take the advice of mes professeurs to just...speak! To hear the music...and on a good day it works!!

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