Tour of Provence – June 11-21, 2017
Day 9 – Visit to an olive mill near Grasse, and lunch at Jacques Chibois’ Michelin star restaurant La Bastide Saint Antoine in Grasse, and a visit to the Fragonard Perfume museum and shop.
We visited the Opio olive oil mill which dates back to the 15th century and has been run by the same family for 7 generations. The tour sounded interesting, however, I wasn’t feeling well enough to take photos or take in much information – we were shown around the mill and told about the old way of making olive oil. This is one link for the olive mill. The others bought olive oil and other gifts in the shop.
We then went to lunch at La Bastide Saint Antoine Michelin star restaurant in Grasse. It was as good as the 2 star we went to – the waiters just didn’t wear gloves as they did at Paloma.
This is what their website says about it:
A feast for the eyes. An incredible view of a deep blue ocean. A bright manor house surrounded by bougainvilleas and bignonia. A rural terrace nestled in a floral garden with lime and chestnut trees providing a cool shaded refuge in the summer.
This was a fantastic meal – I loved every bit of it (not that I haven’t loved the other fabulous lunches we have had) – maybe it was the setting and the fact that it was cooler than it had been when we dined at the other Michelin star restaurants – Les Gorges de Pennafort (1 star) and Paloma (2 star) or maybe I was feeling a bit better – my coldy tastebuds meant that even though I enjoyed the wine most of the time, I am sure that I wasn’t truly appreciating it.
Then 3 dishes of sweets nibbles came out – lychee jellies on the left, mini friands, and lemon tarts (I think). Top right are pistachio macarons – and they were divine – the best macarons I have had this trip – or ever! Then there were 3 madeleines on the silver tray.
You had to look carefully at the door signs before going into the toilets!
The covers of the menus – the left is the cover for Le Menu du Dejeuner – lunch, and the one of the right is the wine menu.
We arrived at 12.45 and were having coffee at 3.45 but by the time we had spoken to the chef (not Jacques Chibois – he was away) and looked at the gift shop (and I did buy something!) we didn’t leave the restaurant until 4.45 pm!
I have learned that the first Michelin star is all about the food. Then the second Michelin star is about the environment which includes the restaurant and the staff and the service – of course, the food has to be better as well.
After that we visited the Perfume museum and shop, Fragonard. This is one of the best perfumeries and the museum was interesting, but again, I didn’t want to buy anything, and the others did, so I sat and waited – I was rather tired by then, my cold having made a reappearance and making me feel as though I have cotton wool in my head – not the best for trying out perfumes.
A useful tip from the Fragonard salesperson – keep perfume in its box in the dark and cool. The best place is actually the fridge. It will last 10 years that way. The very worst thing to do is to put perfume bottles in the bathroom with humidity and heat and light. Wait until you have empty bottles and then put those on display in the bathroom,
The others went to look at the Fragonard clothing shop while I waited in the car – the car park closed at 5.45 and was locked so I was very pleased to see Corinne turn up at 5.40! The we drove around Grasse trying to find a car park so we could pick up the others who were now buying clothes – it was interesting seeing parts of Grasse that I hadn’t seen – there are parts of the town that aren’t very nice anymore – evidently it is where the refugee Algerians live.
It was nearly 7pm by the time we got back to the hotel. Needless to say, we weren’t planning another fancy dinner. Corinne had organised a ‘picnic’ to have where we were staying – it came in hampers complete with a menu!
It was fun and we were all happy to just sit and relax and drink wine out of our plastic wine glasses!
And our new waiter….. Corinne!