Villefranche-sur-mer and surrounding towns food itinerary help please
We are staying in Villefranche-sur-mer for four nights this August. We will arrving in Nice by plane then drive (renting car) to VF. We arrive in the early morning so i thought we would go straight to the Hotel Welcome and check in and check out VF area. I am not sure what places to visit in this area but was thinking Antibes, Cap Ferrat, Eze and Monoco. On our last day Sunday our flight out of Nice is 3:30 so I thought we would go early and spend the day in Nice. I would like your help for intinerary and restaurant choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A couple of places I have found so far for VF are: La mere germain and le cosmo. Also Bacon in Antibe.
We leave in three weeks and am stressed out trying to plan it all and need your help! Thanks so much for your help!
Skip the stress and relax. There are a lot of enjoyable little restaurants within a five minute walk from the Welcome Hotel. La Mère Germaine is merely the one with the most tradition. For your big blowout I would suggest L'Hostellerie Jérôme in La Turbie. In Nice go to Millésime 82 in the evening and have the 50 € menu. I suggest Tétou in Golfe Juan rather than Bacon, but only if you all are going to have the bouillabaisse; both are expensive, but you get value for your money. For your last day go to the market at the Cours Saleya in Nice. Go to Safari at noon; get a nice outside table and watch the crowd go by as you eat.
The Hotel Welcome is on the port of Villefrance, almost across the street from Cocteau's Church of St Pierre (which check out). The hotel is surrounded by restaurants and cafes, none of them particularly cheap, but places like the Cosmo and the cafe across from the Cadillac (I forget the name) are probably your best bets for a coffee/croissant breakfast (and will be cheaper than the hotel). For lunch in St Jean, the Cosmo is reliable and friendly; skirting around the big rocks and the Castle - going out to the right from the port, following the cliff walk - you come to the fishing port. There is a little cafe restaurant there, well off the beaten track, called La Baleine (The Whale). Cheap and cheerful, it is well-garded by locals and in-the-know vacationers. La Fille du Pecheur and L'Oursin are now the better choices for a more gastronomic experience in-town - Mere Germaine is overhyped and overpriced.
The peninsula of St Jean is just around the bay from the port, passing the small pebble/sand beaches (the least crowded is the farthest along the bay, at the far end of the parking). If you are one who likes getting to know a place by walking, there is a walk around the main peninsula (beginning either at the Villefranche end and ending at the Beaulieu/St Jean "bridge" - or beginning there and ending back at Villefranche. Count on 1 1/2 hours.) It passses the lighthouse and the pool area of the Hotel St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, which, together with La Reserve de Beaulieu and Eden Rock in Antibes, is the grandest of the Cote d'Azur grande dame hotels, and cuts through the centre of St Jean village (You could take a break and eat in St Jean's port at Le Sloop, a longtime standby with a good lunchtime menu, or another port restaurant about 2-3 bistros before it on the quay, which is also good. Check out the menus). Good things are also said of the Captain Cook (on the village high street) which hides a pretty terrace at the back.
For tips on Nice, see the query and replies on eating in Nice posted on July 18th/19th.
PS To the above. If you have not already committed to a car, I would reconsider. The town of Villefranche descends down the side of the hill, from the Basse Corniche to the port. It may be a long, uphill walk from where your car is garaged (I don't know the hotel arrangements) and a car is really more of a headache in the summer than a help because of parking spaces and traffic. The 100 bus goes along the Corniche from Nice to Menton and back and can be counted on every 15-20 minutes (and costs a mere 1 euro, whatever the journey length!!). To go to Antibes, you simply take the 100 to the bus terminal in downtown Nice, then change to the bus continuing along the Corniche to Antibes and beyond. The bus stop is on the main place in the New Town - about a 10 minute walk up- or downhill from the Welcome. (This will probably be what you would have to do for your car). Alternatively, there is the train, which is a 5 minute walk to the end of the quay, and quicker (only 8 minutes to Nice centre from Villefranche station)
sound advice re car rental vs bus/train. easy and you will save money. if you plan on eze or some of the mtn towns a car may be necessary but only for the day.
my favorite lunch in villefranche is to walk down the quay, get a pan bagnat, an adult beverage and watch the people on the beach. then you can walk to the far end of the beach and see the old men playing boule.
Stop stressing out. You are in for an enchanting vacation.
I have stayed at the Welcome. Good choice. You can't lose.
I agree with all the other recs but would like to add:
A bad Pan Bagnat is awful. There are a lot of bad ones on the coast. There used to be an excellent PB place on the Beaulieu waterfront but itseems to have disappeared. Sorriest not much help here. Our coastal hounds must hide a good PB address somewhere… Comeon, out with it, please.
I highly second L'Hostellerie Jérôme in La Turbie. Besides, La Turbie is much nicer than Eze, for a village perché. Actually Eze and Monaco would not be high on my priority. Another village perché with good eats is Biot. And les Hauts de Cagnes.
There are buses to those villages from Antibes and Cagnes sur mer respectively.
Lastly in Villefranche don't forget to do an Exile-On-Main-Street pilgrimmage at Nellecôte. -- Do you think the Stones ate pan bagnat?
Ate at Le Sloop in St. Jean Cap Ferrat a week ago for dinner, it was quite good. Also recommend for lunch the restaurant at Plage Paloma. Last year had lunch at Restaurant du Port which was pretty good too.
In La Turbie, Cafe de la Fontaine (which I think is owned by same guy as Hostellerie) was disappointing this year. The food was fine but the place is so hectic and service brusque that it is somewhat unpleasant.
Many thanks to you all! I just took notes on all the areas we are thnking of visiting. I know....not to stress out..but like like to have some ideas of places for gteat meals. I'm not that into chekcing out Monoco but my husband wants to see it. Im not into that extreme high end glitz but have to make some compromises, right? Do any of these restauants (dinner) need advanced reservations or should I check in with staff at Welcome upon check in to make them for me? Thanks again so much!!!