I had the pleasure of spending a week in late September in a most charming place. La Parare is a chambre d’hotes on the outskirts of Nice (about 25mins from the sea side), which has no more than four individually designed rooms and a magnificient location.
Each and every one of them has a different theme, dominant colour, and thus very individual character. Sydney and Karin van Volen, who run this guesthouse since more or less six years now, constantly change this and that in every room. They managed to redecorate the old bergerie in a way that makes the best of the old stones, while introducing modern touches pretty much everywhere. The rooms are splendid and make you feel at home right away. For those who enjoy calm, relaxing places, this is not bad at all and comes at a very reasonable price.
The interesting part about the house’s location is that it is very close to Monaco, Nice, Eze, Menton, Cannes, without being anywhere near any touristy spots. Rather, it is nestled in a small hamlet in the arriere pays, and benefits of a most quiet region and a very pretty view.
Twice or three times a week Sydney and Karin organise a dinner at which those, who want, eat at the same table and spend around 40euro (drinks included). During the week I stayed there, I cooked three meals for the 8 guests with the outstanding products of the Riviera. I had found amazing loup, rouget and poulpe, which were among the finest fish I have eaten so far. The beauty of a fish, just caught that same morning, is unbelievable: Its firm and tasty flesh is miles away from the rather uninspiring fish most restaurants sell.
Amongst other great stuff, I found a lovely lady who produces and sells a few different varieties of tomatoes and other vegetables in Nice, and who had some of the finest courgettes I have found up to now. This region really remains one of the most interesting and stimulating food areas in Europe, and dare I say, in the world. Cooking here is a joy, and even an amateur can produce some finer dishes, as not much has to be done to those jewels.
Whilst being there I obviously used my time to (re-)discover some of the restaurants in the area.
In the following weeks, I will post my reviews of the restaurants I visited, so stay tuned.
After my week in this lovely bit of France, I was more than sad to leave. This region just has so much to offer: Outstanding products, restaurants, museums, landscape and many more things…