We have now traveled to the small town of Mougins twice. In 1999 we began our long anticipated summer vacation with a trip to the south of France, flying overnight from Beirut to Nice, via Paris. From Nice we rented a car and headed down the southern coast of France. Our first stop was a mountain village overlooking Cannes, Mougins. In the summer of 2003 we returned to the US from Singapore via Europe, and France was the third leg of our journey. The first section of the page details our first trip, including a stay at Les Muscadins, and a visit to the old city of Mougins, while the second part of the web page shows the new experience we had on our second trip, including a stay at Bastide de St. Olivier, and our fabulous dinner at Moulin de Mougins. Take a tour of this lovely spot . . .
spent our first night at an Inn by the name of Les Muscadins, described
by the guidebook as "the last word in rest and relaxation." They
exaggerating. After recovering from our travel weariness, we explored
city and then returned to dine on a meal that could only be made in
salmon ravioli in lobster sauce, grilled chicken with vegetables, white
rabbit meat with gnocchi, and the desert of champions, creme brulee.
Located on a
mountain top, the Inn overlooks an outdoor restaurant across
the road. In the distance are the mountains. To the right, obscured by
the palm tree, is Cannes and the Côte
d'Azur. We were a bit surprised to
find palm trees at this elevation!
Walking up the hill from our
hotel, here is a the entrance to Mougins,
a picturesque city whose famous (and infamous) residents include chef
Verge, and the ex-Haitain dictator "Baby Doc" Duvalier. This photo was
taken around 2:00 in the afternoon where everyone takes a break, on the
stoop of the house or in the local cafe.
Here is the town center, replete with fountain. The village winds around in a series of circular streets to the middle of the village, with each row of buildings serving as a rampart, protecting the center of the village. The road to the right leads to the commercial center of the town, a place filled with shops and sidewalk cafes.
view, taken further down the street described above, shows the entryway
to the local musem to the left, and the first of many sidewalk
that are interspersed with shops.
As you wind toward the center of the village, the circular streets become primarily residential. The narrow, quiet streets are a study in architecture and landscaping, with a profusion of floral colors and no two sets of doors and windows quite the same. All in all, a postcard setting for the visitor!
Bastide de St.Olivier:
Our time in France began, once again, in Mougins. This time, however, we decided to rent from a couple whose beautiful home got our attention when we were looking online one day. Marie-Jeanne and Philippe Santini's La Bastide de St. Olivier was just what we'd been looking for, and it didn't disappoint. The picture to the left shows the entrance as we drove in, and to the left is the private entrance leading to our room.
We chose to stay in the
Plumbago room, but it was a tough choice between that and the (only)
other room there. No regrets; we loved it. Off to the right there is
the view as we were leaving our room to head out to the pool below.
was served to us daily by Marie-Jeanne by the pool. It was a perfect
combination of hot tea, juices, crusty baguettes, jambon, fruits &
pastries. Late in the afternoon, we'd invariably find ourselves back by
the side of the fabulous pool area. Marie-Jeanne definitely has a green
The second night we were in Mougins, we
had been thinking about a little restaurant that looked nice back in
the "old town" area. However, in the back of our minds was the fact
that, only 1.5 kms. from La Bastide de St. Olivier, was "Le Moulin
des Mougins" -- an inn and, more relevantly, a 2-star (Michelin guide)
restaurant, run by Denise and (chef) Roger Vergé. We decided it was unlikely they'd be able to
take us as "walk-ins", but did dress a little nicer than we might
otherwise have done. As you can see, we were indeed made welcome
there...that's our table!
I made every effort with bahasa
pirancis (yes, that's French in Indonesian!) but our waiter quickly
reached the conclusion that we'd do a lot better if in English. The
menu was overwhelming in its choices, but eventually we decided on one
of the set menus. This is more commonly done in France than elsewhere,
and anyway, if there were ever a time to "trust the chef's choices",
surely this was it! There was no disappointment here, either: We
started with foie gras (the whole shebang: toasted wild berry muffin
underneath it), moved into the whole lobster tail in a curry-like sauce
which I could never re-create (guess we'll have to go back!) and
finished with the fillet.
Ah, I didn't mean "finish" exactly...there was, after all, dessert. Mine was a parfait -- some fruity concoction with a lot (see picture) of spun sugar atop. It was sensational, but of course completely unnecessary -- and no, it didn't taste anything like the cotton candy it resembled. Dale's was (no surprises here) some kind of chocolate mousse cake...but don't ask me, all of his desserts always look the same. I suppose this one is something of an exception; look at it! We will definitely be back.
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