travel

2.    From Cannes to St Tropez

Where to stay Les Rosées, Mougins

Description: Manager Kilpérick Lhobet has renovated the 400-year-old mas with his mother. Danièlle, a talented upholstery designer.

Manager Kilpérick Lhobet has renovated the 400-year-old mas with his mother. Danièlle, a talented upholstery designer.

Mougins may be an overly picturesque ProvenÇcal village, but there’s nothing remotely twee about this sumptuous, four-suite guest house, tucked away on a country lane outside town. Manager Kilpérick Lhobet has renovated the 400-year-old mas with his mother. Danièlle, a talented upholstery designer. The main house is divided into a vaulted lounge (lime-washed walls, fireplace, tapestries) and a brown-tiled kitchen. High points include the honey-coloured Isadora suite (Lize Mineli once slept here) and a wooden shack with antique furnishings. If you book ahead. Lhobet will prepare a three-course dinner, and serve it on your terrace.

L’Auberge du Vieux Château, Cabris

Description: West of Grasse, Cabris is a sleepy mountain village once frequented by Sartre and Camus.

West of Grasse, Cabris is a sleepy mountain village once frequented by Sartre and Camus.

West of Grasse, Cabris is a sleepy mountain village once frequented by Sartre and Camus. The remarkable views of the countryside and distant, shimmering sea are reason enough to visit: but add to that a delectable three-course dinner and a pretty room to sleep it off, and the lure is compelling. Hosed in the vestiges of a medieval fortress, the four-bedroom Auberge du Vieux Château is surprisingly affordable, even in peak season. The young, Ducasse-trained chef, Francesco Pelucchini, creates flavourful Mediterranean cusine: main dishes include grilled beef served with cannelloni, and fish à la plancha with green beans. Simple rusticity rules in the bedrooms: rooms 10 and 11, with romantic baldaquin beds, both face south to the sea: room 14 has views of the hills.

Hôtel des deux Rocs, Seillans

Description: Coquelicot is lined with Napoleonic medals; top-floor Mimosa has great views of the countryside.

Coquelicot is lined with Napoleonic medals; top-floor Mimosa has great views of the countryside.

Seillans has been voted one of the prettiest villages in France, and Hôtl des deux Rocs is a charming, retro-chic country inn owned by a friendly young couple, Julie and Nicolas Malzac. The 17th-century mansion, with its restored stone faÇade and teal-blue shutters, is right out of Manon des Sources (there’s even a gurgling fountain in the square where meals are served). Each of the 13 bedrooms is different, whether swathed in soft-yeallow and orange Pierre Frey fabrics, or rustic with exposed-beam ceilings. Coquelicot is lined with Napoleonic medals; top-floor Mimosa has great views of the countryside. The chef David Carré, excels in satisfying, inventive dishes such as a spiced fish stew and a chocolate cake filled with warm caramel.

La Villa Mauresque, Saint Raphël

Description: La Villa Mauresque is an astonishing folly built in 1860 by architect Chapoulard

La Villa Mauresque is an astonishing folly built in 1860 by architect Chapoulard

Midway between St Raphaël and the red rocks of the Easterel, La Villa Mauresque is an astonishing folly built in 1860 by architect Chapoulard: two white neo-Moorish castles surrounded by flaming bougainvillaea in an acre of palm-and-pine-shaded park. The hotel was recently refurbished and its 16 splendid suites are named after artists and writers (the Henry Miller is in bold scarlet; the Rimbaud has a dreamy bathtub surrounded by bay windows; elegant Baudelaire has a tall, antique-brass canopied bed). Most chrming is the upper-floor Picasso suite, with its huge terrace and sweeping views. The more modestly priced bedrooms aren’t nearly as eye-catching as the suites, but guests still get access to equipment for water-skiing, scuba diving and kayaking, as well as a 98ft sailboat.

Where to eat La Tonnelle, He Saint-Honorat

Description: La Tonnelle, a vast seafood brasserie, opened in 2008 with a decked terrace right on the edge of the turquoise sea

La Tonnelle, a vast seafood brasserie, opened in 2008 with a decked terrace right on the edge of the turquoise sea

La Tonnelle, a vast seafood brasserie, opened in 2008 with a decked terrace right on the edge of the turquoise sea.  Headed by young chef Arnaud Ronxin, it promotes local specialities such as petite friture (fried fish) and Ronxin’s signature dish of lobster grilled with onions and wild rosemary. After dessert (try the Menton lemon sorbet doused with Lerincello liqueur), wander through the forest of green oaks. The island is only a 15 minute ferry ride from Cannes, but the city will have never seemed so far away.

Jilali B, Théoule-sur-mer

Description: Jilali B, Théoule-sur-mer

Jilali B, Théoule-sur-mer

Locals flocks to Jilali B for the affordable but refined Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, a mix of saffron fish soup, asparagus orange mousse, stuffed sardines and red mullet with hummus. Chef Jilali Berrekama’s highlights include homemade duck foie gras served with mango and a toasted brioche, and a slow-cooked shoulder of lamb with olives from the nearby groves. Desserts are mostly refreshingly light combinations of spices and fruit, such as the heavenly, rosemary-infused peach panna cotta.

L’Ecole des Filles, Le bar-sur-Loup

Description: L’Ecole des Filles still looks like the girls’ school it once was; a simple two-storey ProvenÇcal stone building with a cheerful yellow faÇade

L’Ecole des Filles still looks like the girls’ school it once was; a simple two-storey ProvenÇcal stone building with a cheerful yellow faÇade

L’Ecole des Filles still looks like the girls’ school it once was; a simple two-storey ProvenÇcal stone building with a cheerful yellow faÇade. Talented young chef Stéphane Lucas opened his restaurant here in March 2009. Meals are served in the courtyard, or in the cosy dining room with its kitsch animal knick-knacks. The menu features generous portions of seasonal dishes such as fresh split-pea soup and risotto with févettes (shelled broad beans), as well as terrific comfort food (pork roast with carrots and mashed potatoes).

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