Perched villages in the Cote d’Azur

Peillon village
Peillon

With the french border just an hour’s drive from Albenga, the one thing I really wanted to do was to have a leisurely lunch at one of those cute little bistros out on a sunny terrace with views all around. Well, we got all that (minus the terrace) when I mapped out an all-day drive that would take us to some pretty villages high above Monaco along the Cote d’Azur.

Departing Albenga around mid-morning, we took the route of PeillonPeilleSainte Agnés in order to have that lazy lunch before anything else. Les Plaisirs fit the bill as a small, cozy restaurant serving traditional cuisine. Two menus, 19€ (entree+plat or plat+dessert) or 29€ (entree+plat+dessert), so we opted for both plus 1/2L of the house white and split everything between us. The chef and waiter were one and the same. There were only 3 occupied tables on the last Friday of the year but our entire meal was truly un plaisir.

entree@Les Plaisirs

I don’t recall what the chef called this entree, only that he described it in french and english. The filling was ground veal and it had delicious texture from the cooked and raw veggies.

Les Plaisirs

The best braised lamb stew that I’ve had in my life. Initially I had ordered something else for plat but the chef was fresh out and brought a double-serving of MotH’s plat selection – in this large pot! And as if that wasn’t enough, it was accompanied by 3 very generous sides of pureed potatoes, green beans and braised endive (not shown).

vegetable sides@Les Plaisirs

After all that wonderful food came dessert (I had baba rhum). A slow lunch exactly as I had hoped to find and money well spent.

dessert@Les Plaisirs

Peillon in the distanceI forgot to mention that Peillon will come as a delight when first spotted from the main road at the bottom. I knew it was a perched village but I wasn’t expecting it to be that perched. A winding road with lots of tight turns leads visitors up, but it needs to be backtracked in order to continue on to Peille and Sainte-Agnés (below). This village dates back to the 11th-century and admired from afar, is breathtakingly awesome. It is considered among the most beautiful medieval villages in France and hosts a lavender festival in July.

Sainte Agnés

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8 thoughts on “Perched villages in the Cote d’Azur

    1. Rowena Post author

      Gotta get back there…but maybe add Spain to the itinerary. I was just watching a NR: Spain episode on youtubie where Bourdain drinks wine from a porron and eats grilled green onions in romesco sauce. Now THAT sounds like fun.

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    1. Rowena Post author

      Let me tell you, I always get hungry drafting a food-related post. And then I stick a spoon in the peanut butter jar to stave off the hunger pangs.

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  1. Anne

    Thank you for showing us this wonder place, definitely worth going back to this area and exploring more , we loved it. I did go to Monaco for afternoon, it was a sunny day in November, and very surreal for my husband as he normal is there with work with Formula 1. This time the place was empty apart from the locals 🙂

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    1. Rowena Post author

      This part of Liguria is now a favorite. I always thought the other side, Riviera Levante, was prettier and while that may be true (Portofino, Cinque Terre, etc.), the beauty is on the coast and doesn’t go inland like it does with the mountain villages in Riviera Ponente. Off-season is really the best time to go, as you’ve already experienced.

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