The flavours of the French Riviera

Written by on January 28, 2019 in Provence-Alpes

Restaurant terrace with tables and chairs and pots of pink flowers, very bright and sunny

The cuisine of France is renowned for many reasons – across the country menus offer tempting regional dishes. The taste of the south though is very different from that of the north, influences from neighbouring Italy and from Spain and North Africa have left their mark.

The sun drenched French Riviera, lapped by the Mediterranean Sea, is a melting pot of tasty dishes as all those influences come together to create some truly breath-taking flavours.

The gentle climate lends itself to al fresco dining for most of the year and visitors flock to this southernmost part of France to relish bold flavours like garlic, olive oil and herbs.

Here’s a must-try list of fabulous gastronomic delights for you to discover the exquisite flavours for yourself…

Marvellous Markets

A man in a straw hat sells lemons and oranges from a market stall

The markets of the south of France are famous for their vibrant atmosphere, fresh seasonal produce and colourful characters.  Visit the Nice market, the Cours Saleya, and enjoy the endless stands of local Socca, Pissaladiere and Salad Nicoise served in a bun as snack called a pan bagnat. As you enjoy the scent of sea salt olive oil and smoke wafting around you,  you’ll definitely be tempted by the exotic spices, fresh local fish, organic honey and home-made jams, flamboyant flowers and juicy fruits, soothing, deliciously scented lavender and local arts & crafts.

In Cannes, Marché Forville is superb, don’t miss the olive stall, the best selection anywhere!

Fish and Pastis in Marseille

Fishermen sell fish from tubs on a quayside next to the sea

The world’s greatest bouillabaisse is made in southern France. Marseille in particular is famous for the flavoursome fish stew. Almost every restaurant, from Michelin-star venues to tiny cafés will serve their own version. Check out the ‘Panier’ area, the famous old district for great people watching from the pavement and terraces.

Before your meal though, enjoy sipping a Pastis like the locals (who call it Pastaga). This aniseed flavoured and very strong liqueur should be enjoyed with ice. Add a little water if you want to keep a clear head!

Divine Vineyard visits

Vibrant green vines with a hill in the background and a tiny white chapel

There’s masses of choice for vineyard visits all along the French Riviera. Much loved by the locals are the wines from the vineyards of Bellet. Just ten minutes’ drive from Nice airport, the dozen or so vineyards form one of the smallest Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) regions in France. The vineyards are located high in the hills, requiring a drive up some very steep and winding roads. But it’s worth it for the warm welcome and a fabulous tasting. The wines here are unique.

To go even more off the beaten track, visit Hyeres-les-Palmiers. The little town outside of Toulon boasts over 8,000 palm trees. From here take a 15 minutes cruise to the island of Porquerolles. You’ll discover beautiful vineyards and savour the wine while you have a game of petanque. Try Domaine Perzinsky for its wonderful views and shady terraced tasting area.

Awesome olives

Olive trees in an orchard under a bright blue sky, mountains in the background

The fruit of the olive tree is part of Mediterranean daily life and it has left its mark on the landscape. Like grapes, olives have a perfect picking moment. Don’t eat them straight off the tree – they taste vile. You’ll be left wondering how it is possible that they can be transformed into something so good! There are more than a dozen olive oil farms and mills open to the public, many of which have been going for centuries. Learn about the history of olive oil, take a cookery class and stock up on luxury oil at Ecomusée de l’Olivier.

The allure of Antibes

A market stall heaving with spices and herbs, great bowls of dried lavender and saffron

Antibes has lured many admirers over the years, from Picasso to Miles Davis. The dazzling blue sea, the warm architecture and the culture are hugely alluring. This is a place of fishermen’s districts and wharves, markets and pine groves, where the living is good. Head out to the surrounding villages like Vallauris for an authentic taste of Mediterranean cuisine in the most gorgeous surrounding. Here, beach restaurants and traditional brasseries are plentiful and you’ll find the prices are much lower than in the main tourist areas.

There isn’t much that beats dining at a restaurant along the sea’s edge. It’s extra special at night when the air has cooled and the sky is filled with stars. There’s something magical about watching the twinkling lights of the boats and the gentle waves lapping the beach. As you dip into a freshly made tapenade, sip your wine and soak up the ambiance – priceless!

Authentic restaurants in Nice – where you’ll relish the true flavour of southern France
The gastronomy of Nice how Nice got it’s unique flavour
Gluten free France – how an award winning restaurant in Lourmarin puts gluten free dishes first
The markets of Provence

Related Articles

5 must-sees in Marseille from the well-known to the secret…

Marseille is one of those places that you simply can’t visit just once. There’s so much to discover, so many facets to this bustling cosmopolitan city that you find you just have to go back. 5 million people a year visit the city. It’s the second largest and also the oldest city in France, a […]

Continue Reading

What do see and do in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse in Provence

One of the charms of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is the river that runs around and through it. This river, the Sorgue, is a favorite of tourists and fishermen alike, with its crystal-clear waters sparkling in the sun. The source of the river lies just five miles east of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in one of the most beautiful spots in […]

Continue Reading

Where to stay in a beautiful and undiscovered part of Provence

Montauroux is a small hilltop village in the department of Var, Provence. From its elevated position, surrounded by forests there are fabulous views over the gorgeous countryside. One of 8 traditional Provencal villages in the Fayence area, it is ideally situated between the mountains and the sea (Cannes beaches are only 25km away) and close […]

Continue Reading

The most perfect Provence luxury tours

Discover the mouth-watering markets, captivating cuisine and wonderful wines of Provence when you experience the authentic ambiance of this most beautiful corner of France. Join a personally guided, bespoke, extraordinary and luxury small group tour that’s off the tourist track – and every bit as good as it sounds. Markets and Meditation holiday in Provence […]

Continue Reading

Picture perfect Provence in the spring

Provence is a land of tiny medieval villages, with buildings of warm, worn stone walls covered with abundant, beautiful blooms, especially in the spring. Guest photographer Renata Haidle shares her favourite photos of Provence and the south of France… Colours of Provence The bright, vivid colours of towns and villages contribute to a lively atmosphere […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top