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Mar 20, 2011 12:25 PM

Need Restaurant Picks for Cannes, Barcelona, London, Paris Tour

Hi All,
My boyfriend and I are during a quick Euro-tour in late June for two weeks and need any of your amazing recommendations for places to eat. We'd love to mix both expensive with hole-in-the walls and non-expensive places. So far here's the list...please let us know if any of these aren't good.

We're also thinking about driving along the coast from Cannes to Barcelona, so if you know of an amazing city/hotel/restaurant along that route, please do tell!

Cannes: Colombe D'Or (lunch)

Barcelona: El Celler de Can Roca (dinner)

Cafe Panique (20 euro lunch SO good every time with that day's market goodies)
**Need one good expensive place so it's between Le Chateubriand, Pierre Gagnaire or Le
Meurice. We've already eaten at L'Astrance and it was hands down the best place of that caliber we've ever have the pleasure of eating at.

London: The Fat Duck
Wig and the Pen closed back in 2003. Any other gastro-pubs?

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  1. The Paris picks are an interesting mix, all different. I think it will work.
    One good expensive place, why not le Cinq?

    Colombe d'Or? I could have sworn it was in St Paul de Vence. Does it have a branch in Cannes now?

    A good place to stop between Cannes and Barcelona would be Arles. 1. very near the freeway, 2. close to mid way, 3. beautiful town with lots of points of interest, 4. last but not least, lots of good eateries, from temples like Rabanel to casual good eats like L'Affenage.

    Lastly I would not drive all the way to Barcelona. The public transport is excellent there, but the driving absolutely masochist. Why not hand in the car in Perpignan then take an easy short train to Barcelona?

    Also, it is best to post separately on Spain and UK boards. The boards and their expertise do not cross borders...

    3 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      Thanks Parigi. As you can see we're very thin on places to eat in Barcelona, London, and Cannes. Paris seems to be the easy one since we've spend a lot of time there. The other cities, only one little visit a long time ago

      1. re: adlibzrga

        Cannes is not the most beautiful or best-eats town on that stretch of the Riviera. If you have a car, a village perché like Biot or Les Hauts de Cagnes or La Turbie is much more beautiful and unspoiled with a Tender-is-the-night Riviera feel, plus very good eats. Why don't you do some research on those towns and get back to us?

        Barcelona. Go to the Spain board which is esp vibrant, esp on Barcelona. There is a ton of excellent info constantly updated by truly epicurian hounds.

        1. re: Parigi

          Car rental companies are not friendly in one way rentals between 2 countries, so renting in France and dropping off in Barcelona will come at a high premium, so Parigi's suggestion of Perpignan and the train is a good one.

          Also, agree about Cannes. Nice is a much more authentic city, and filled with scores of good eateries. La Turbie is a good haul from Cannes, almost at the Italy border; In the Cannes area we love Vence (NOT St Paul), another real town, quite attractive, with real residents and a very good choice of restaurants.

    2. For Barcelona, I can absolutely recommend Jordi Atal's Cinc Sentits for an over-the-top experience (and an english-speaking sommelier). You can certainly find more about them online, but basically this is high-concept cuisine integrating profoundly Catalan ingredients in novel ways. The restaurant is rather austere, but you'll likely be utterly focused on your plate. To give you an idea, our little amuse was a shooter of maple syrup, with a touch of cream, and sabayon of cava (Catalan sparkling white wine), with a sprinkle of coarse salt at the bottom.

      There's a lovely little restaurant where I had the most sumptuous octopus prepared sous-vide, not far from Cinc Sentits, and drat, the name escapes me. I'll come back if I think of it again.

      The Cote d'Azur is likely to be clogged with traffic in high summer, even if in the south the school holiday won't yet have begun. I'd take the train as well--and I would avoid Cannes. Lyon is a excellent city to wander, and has loads of excellent restaurants, many of which are gastropubs that are more budget-friendly than the parisian ones...Have a good trip!

      4 Replies
      1. re: tammyps

        Yes, but there is a reason the Cote is crowded--- it's quite a dreamy place, the palm trees, and the high views of the Mediterranean are quite soothing for the soul. Lyon is interesting, but it doesn't have the cache of the coast. Ahh, just thinking of the walking path along the Littoral of Cap d' Ail. Mmmmmm.....

        1. re: menton1

          With a few exceptions, ie La Napoule, the towns right on the Cote never had much to offer for me. The old town of Nice is wonderful to stroll, otherwise, Monte Carlo, Antibe, Cannes, St. Tropez are always congested, lined modern non-discript buildings and rocky beaches. The charms are in the hill towns above the Cote: Eze, Cagne sur Mer, Vence, Mougins, Grasse.

          1. re: PBSF

            Try the towns East of Nice. Villefranche, Beaulieu, Cap d'Ail, St Jean, Cap Martin, and (of course) Menton. Very dreamy. Yes, beaches are not white soft sand, but some locals love them. Nice to look at and/or dine on though.

            The hill towns you mentioned are very touristy and congested, Eze in particular, VERY ticky tacky. Agree about Vence, though.

            1. re: menton1

              Another idea:
              If seeing the Med is an absolute must but scads of people is a minus, then you could consider Collioure/Banyuls, aka Cote Vermeille, which are what much of the Cote d'Azur was like 30 years ago...Much more scaled down, accessible locals, great wines and wineyards directly on the water. Again, here no Hawaii-style white beaches, but a charming sense of wildness on much of the coastline and down-to-earth villages. Lodging is basic, more affordable and there are some good restaurants, though the choice is sparser, given that bling is more drawn to St. Tropez et al.

              Also Cassis is a notably beautiful exception to overcrowding and overdevelopment of the Cote d'Azur. A stone's throw from Marseille, and a trip through the calanques a must!