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 Peillon–Peille–Sainte 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.
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.
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).
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.
I 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.