I’ve featured many films and their locations on this blog, with one of the recurring themes being the importance of restaurants and food in the history of the area.
Deals have been done over countless bottles of champagne, while expensive meals have formed the basis of breaks between filming and evening soirees. Below, you’ll find a short list, in no particular order, of some of the most memorable Côte d’Azur France restaurants that are worth searching out.
La Reserve Restaurant in Nice
While in Nice I passed La Reserve de Nice restaurant at 60 Boulevard Franck Pilatte, one of the most popular locations for locals and visitors, with its stunning views across the water enough to make any meal a memorable one.
Jean Dujardin starred in the 2005 comedy, Brice de Nice. Brice’s favourite film is Point Break and he’s keen to copy his hero, Bodhi (Patrick Swayze), by swimming around the shore of Nice. In the film, Brice can be seen preparing to set off into the water from this spot.
Visit La Reserve website.
Hotel Le Roquebrune in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
The town of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin is home to the Hotel Le Roquebrune, which was once a must-visit restaurant for stars and filmmakers. Over the years they hosted names such as Frank Sinatra, Sean Connery, Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock and the original owner’s daughter, Mrs Marinovitch, now runs the establishment which has been converted into a hotel.
Mrs Marinovitch told me some fascinating stories about her celebrity guests, which I captured in this short video.
Visit the Hotel Le Roquebrune website.
The African Queen in Beaulieu-sur-Mer
Gilbert Vissian’s chic brasserie, The African Queen on the port of Beaulieu-sur-Mer has been part of life on the Côte d’Azur for over 40 years. Baudoin, the Belgian king, loved to lunch on a grilled meat or fish in the sun, and Bono, the lead singer of u2, always stops off when staying in his villa at Eze.
Visit The African Queen website.
La Chèvre d’Or restaurant in Eze
Eze is a small village located around 11 kilometres from Nice and is perhaps best known for it’s connection to 1955’s To Catch a Thief. The village was built in the 12th century, but it was in 1953 that Robert Wolf was seduced by La Chevre d’Or and decided to convert it into a restaurant.
In 1957, the restaurant was placed the media spotlight when Walt Disney visited. In 1960, Bruno Ingold, South African consul in Monaco and advisor to the Prince of Monaco, went into partnership with Robert Wolf to develop the hotel side of the chateau which only had six rooms. The hotel continues to expand to this day in the heart of the village.
Princes and Princesses, politicians, actresses and actors such as Lauren Bacall, Marlene Dietrich, Humphrey Bogart, Roger Moore and Tony Curtis have all stayed at La Chevre d’Or.
Visit La Chevre d’Or website.
La Mère Germaine in Villefranche-sur-Mer
La Mère Germaine restaurant was frequented by all the major stars on the Côte d’Azur: its visitor book boasts signatures such as Rita Hayworth, Liza Minnelli, Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot.
Visit La Mère Germaine website.
The Palme d’Or Restaurant in Cannes
Every year during the Cannes Film Festival, the exclusive Jury dinner is held at the two star Michelin restaurant, La Palme d’Or at the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez.
Christian Sinicropi creates a menu dedicated to the Jury President’s filmmaking career. Each dish is served in a specially designed ceramic piece on the theme of a movie. “L’arbre et reverie” and “La danse du haut de Forme” were created for Tim Burton in 2010 in reference to the movie Alice in Wonderland. In 2011, Taxi Driver and Casinowere served to Robert de Niro (see below).
Visit the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez website.
La Colombe d’Or restaurant in St-Paul de Vence
This is the legendary Inn where painters and poets stayed from the 1920s onwards. In the 1940s, it became a favourite film star haunt.
During the Cannes Film Festival and when filming on the Côte d’Azur, actors, directors and producers would seek out Saint-Paul de Vence, a haven of peace far from the hustle and bustle of the coast. La Colombe d’Or became a refuge where they could relax and have fun between takes.
Regulars at the famous Saint-Paul establishment include Curt Jurgens, Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, Line Renaud, Romy Schneider, Vittorio de Sica, Michael Caine and Liza Minnelli.
Visit La Colombe d’Or website.
Hôtel du Cap Eden Roc in Antibes
Near the town of Antibes is the famous Hôtel du Cap Eden Roc, which has welcomed film stars through its doors for decades. It’s particularly popular during the Cannes Film Festival, with guests such as George Clooney, Robert Redford and Steven Spielberg known to have visited. Looking further back, movie legends such as Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Gary Cooper and studio head, Jack Warner, resided at the Eden Roc.
Visit the Eden Roc website.
Chez Nounou in Vallauris Golfe Juan
Nounou restaurant is famous for a number of reasons. Firstly, its authentic fish cuisine served in the marvellous setting of the bay of Golfe-Juan and secondly its ceramic tile fresco measuring 4 metres by 3 and the fountain designed by the late actor, Jean Marais, a regular of the establishment. The restaurant is frequented by many famous actors, in particular during the cannes film festival.
Visit the Chez Nounou website.
Moulin de Mougins near Mougins
Not far from the centre of the town of Mougins is the legendary Michelin-rated Le Moulin de Mougins restaurant and hotel. Located within a 16th Century mill, the restaurant has welcomed many film stars over the decades, including director David Lean, who married there in 1990.
On entering the building it’s possible to see the handprints of dozens of famous chefs, while the windows of the restaurant are covered in signatures of celebrities including Sidney Poitier, Dustin Hoffman and Sylvester Stallone.
Elizabeth Taylor was once a regular visitor to Le Moulin de Mougins, hosting an annual charity dinner which Sharon Stone subsequently took over.
Although it was once best known as a pirate haunt, the small town of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat became popular with film royalty in the 20th century, when the building of the The Grand Hôtel du Cap Ferrat brought celebrities from around the globe to the coastal area.
The Grand Hôtel has welcomed dozens of stars through its doors, with Nicole Kidman most recently visiting while shooting her 2013 Grace Kelly biopic, Grace of Monaco. Other famous faces to visit include David Niven, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and Jean Dujardin.
Visit the The Grand Hôtel du Cap Ferrat.
Top image – La Palme d’Or restaurant –création C. Sinicropi (Inspiration Lincoln: Steven Spielberg meal) copyright @J.Kelagopian