Highlights of the day
Today had been planned for more than two months as a pilgrimage to the best food experience in Nice, lunch at the Michelin two-star restaurant of the Hotel Negresco, le Chantecler. By the way, a chantecler is a special breed of rooster which was developed in Oka, Quebec in the 1920s and known for being extremely cold resistant (which leaves me unclear as to its connection with warm and sunny Nice!).
The Hotel Negresco, the grande dame of Nice hotels with a prime location along the Promenade des Anglais, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and has received a fresh coat of paint and other sprucing up for its birthday. One feels like one is stepping back a hundred years into the jewel of the age, and the staff, dressed in period uniforms, help the illusion of a period otherwise long gone.
The wonderful meals which we have experienced during our first week in Nice were mere appetizers when compared to what was in store today at the Chantecler restaurant. A Michelin two-star restaurant, le Chantecler offered us a lunch experience we will remember for a long time. Appropriately called “Menu Plaisir” (Pleasure Menu), the three-course lunch actually included also a pre-appetizer course as well as a pre-dessert course.
The service, as one would expect in such a temple of gastronomy, was extremely well organized and efficient. One modern touch did make its way into the restaurant; I noticed that an elderly couple at the next table were busily taking pictures of the platters with their iphones, just as a Frenchman at another table was busy taking a phone picture of the bottle of wine he had ordered. Steve Jobs did change our lives and the world forever.
The lunch turned out to be a three and a half hour unparalleled affair (I know it’s tough, but someone has to do it!), which made it difficult for us to follow our plan to visit both the Musee Chagall and the Musee Matisse in the afternoon. Both museums are near each other on the hills of the Cimiez (pronounced like”See-me-hay”) district of Nice, along the same no 22 bus route; the walk between the two museums is less than fifteen minutes. Although the Musee Chagall offers free entrance on the first Sunday of the month (which is today), we elected to visit the Musee Matisse and leave the Musee Chagall for another day.
This summer, the city of Nice has organized a special program called “Un Ete pour Matisse” (A Summer for Matisse), in which works by Matisse are displayed in eight different museums of the city. The Musee Matisse itself has a special exhibition called “Matisse, the Music in the Work”, which I found most interesting.
Matisse was a very dedicated violin player. He once said: “I’m afraid that I will turn blind. A blind man must give up painting, but not music”. Most of the ten exhibit rooms in the museum were dedicated to works by Matisse involving music, with the room about his Jazz series definitely my favorite one.
Among the other works exhibited today, my favorite would have to be the Nu au Bracelet (Nude with Bracelet) dating from 1940.
Quite understandably, we elected not to go out for dinner tonight, and rather had an at-home dinner of salade nicoise and pissaladiere, a Nicoise pizza with caramelized onions, anchovies and nicoise olives.
Stay tuned to BonVoyageurs.com for more Countries of the World as we share our joie de vivre from around the world. Luxury escapes and city breaks to Quebec City, New York, Washington, Buenos Aires. In Europe, places like Paris France, Nice France, Provence and the Cote d’Azur (French Riviera), Tuscany and Florence in Italy, Rome, Napoli and the Amalfi Coast. In Asia, countries like China, India, Nepal and so much more!