Fancy a fabulous night out? Head to Concrete
If you have time to take in a bit of Parisian nightlife, then head to Concrete - one of the hottest nightspots in Paris. Extremely clever by design, Concrete is a three-level boat with a roof terrace that is permanently moored on the banks of the Seine.
The city’s first nightclub to be awarded a 24-hour licence, Concrete has evolved since its inception five years ago into an ideal haven for house and techno lovers looking to party into the early hours. The club is renowned for billing some of the world’s most-respected techno DJs and it prides itself on keeping its music underground. Given its popularity the queues are always long, so come equipped with plenty of patience; it’s definitely worth the wait.
Port de la Rapée
Where to stay - Generator Hostel Paris
So, where does one rest one's weary head after an amazing night out hitting the tiles? The Generator Hostel. I know what you're thinking, hostels don't exactly scream 'luxe', but Generator Paris is no ordinary hostel - it provides cool and comfortable facilities that are perfect for a whistle-stop city break. Located near Niemeyer’s iconic French Communist Headquarters, Generator Paris is just a few steps from Canal Saint-Martin and Buttes-Chaumont Park and only a 15-minute stroll from Gare du Nord train station.
The true pièce de résistance of the hostel is its stylish, rooftop bar, which is luxe through and through. Up here you can enjoy the Paris cityscape, while overlooking the magnificent Montmarte district, as you sip a superb selection of fabulous cocktails.
In addition to great cocktails and views, Generator Paris offers a wonderful night’s slumber. After a restful sleep, you can tuck into the complimentary breakfast, which is a bit of a mad dash, but the quality is good and the people-watching over a croissant is excellent given that the hostel attracts an eclectic mix of guests from around the world.
9-11 Place du Colonel Fabien
*During my visit to Paris, I was hosted by We Like Travel, Paris Region Comité Règional Du Tourisme, Generator Hostel and Concrete. All opinions are my own.
The capital of the French Riviera and the second largest city after Marseille on the Côte d'Azur, Nice is a gorgeous town where the shimmering Bay of Angels stretches as far as the eye can see. One can understand how it has gained its nickname of ‘Nice la Belle’ (Nice the Beautiful), thanks to its stunning looks and its perfect climate with 300 days of sunshine annually and no precipitation.
Both a grand city by the sea and a beach-lover’s paradise, Nice is the interesting cousin of sophisticated Cannes. Boasting a thriving café culture and creative and cosmopolitan residents, it attracts a wealth of visitors including the discerning Riviera jet set.
As you explore the city, taking in the pastel coloured apartments and houses, you’ll often discover quirky touches, such as a pair of mannequins surveying the beach. Juxtaposed with blatant signs of wealth, thanks to a thriving marina bursting with expensive yachts and 21st century tall-ships, and its unique charms become evident.
Top 5 things to see and do in Nice
Where to stay in Nice – Hotel Bougainville
Named after 18th century explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville, this charming hotel which is part of the Happy Culture Collection, has stacks of personality. Its design depicts the classic Masonry Belle Époque style and the flora and fauna décor found in the guest rooms is cheerful and inviting.
Rooms from €79-103 per night.
Villa Bougainville by HappyCulture
29, avenue Thiers
Where to dine in Nice - Sentimi Restaurant
The food at this buzzing Italian restaurant is out of this world. Much to my satisfaction, everything was smothered in garlic and the turbo charged flavours were divine. Try the local ‘Soca’ beer made with chickpeas, which pairs perfectly with pizza and is crisp, delicious and refreshing. Plates from €12.50.
2-4 Place Garibaldi
Getting around the Cote d’Azur
The quickest and most luxurious way to travel from Nice to Paris – Voyages SNCF
There is only one way to travel from France’s Cote d’Azur coast to its capital and that’s by the seriously speedy SNCF train service. These deluxe trains can take you to a variety of locations along the coast or to Paris (which is only a five-hour journey and the scenery along the way is extraordinary).
Rocket Train - The sound of Nice
To help get you in the mood to visit Nice, I’ve created a set of tracks inspired by my fantastic travels (click on play below). Enjoy!
For more information, visit: http://www.frenchriviera-tourism.com
Paris by day is an intoxicating place. After arriving by train, I started my day with brunch at Thierry Mark’s new restaurant L’Etoile Du Nord, which is adjoined to the bustling Gare Du Nor international terminal.
Breakfast at the exquisite L’Etoile Du Nord – the perfect start to the day
Designed as a ‘space for life’, this contemporary concept restaurant aims to excite travellers with fresh ingredients served in a relaxed brassiere setting, making it a far cry from the cuisine one would typically expect to receive from an eatery within a train station.
Considering the simple menu is curated by a world-renowned chef, the dishes are amazingly inexpensive. Within the restaurant, there are small touches that are tailored to travellers, such as ample space to store your luggage while you dine. The décor is light and airy and the staff are young and enthusiastic, making for a pleasant experience.
I enjoyed the Le petit-déjeuner du Zinc (€21), which included a choice of pastry, a plate of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and baked beans served in a lovely mini saucepan. The fromage blanc with seasonal fruits and organic muesli was also glorious. All of this was accompanied with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a short macchiato – a great way to start the day.
After a heaty meal, I spent my day exploring the city, taking in the wealth of interesting boutiques and the unique street acts, alongside the classic attractions such as Musee Du Louvre.
After a long day exploring the city, the sweet scent of the Perfume District paved my way to one of my favourite Parisian hot spots - Hôtel Costes - an exclusive establishment that offers some of the best people watching in Paris.
Where to stay in Paris – the remarkable Hôtel Costes
The hotel is discreetly located on a main road. If you didn’t know what was inside, you would walk straight passed it. But I think this is the intention to maintain its distinction away from the madding crowds.
Once inside, the hotel oozes style. On-site facilities include a pool, spa, restaurant and bar. But everything here is far from the ordinary. The hotel even has its own amazing perfume range, with a range of stirring fragrances.
Music is also central to creating a special vibe within the hotel, with carefully curated compilations live streamed through the sound gallery. I’ve been a long-time fan of one of their resident DJs Stephane Pompagnac, whose unique blend of lounge, electro swing, acid jazz and deep house has spanned 21 compilation albums since its inception. You can get a taste of the music offering at Hôtel Costes here: https://hotelcostes.com/#/en/costes/54/life-at-costes/55/music/
One of the best bits of the hotel is the flower adorned, sun-drenched terrace, which is always packed with an incredible assortment of interesting characters. As I glanced across the terrace, an impeccably dressed woman with a poodle under her arm caught my eye and made me smile - it was perfectly Parisian.
Room options include mini, standard, deluxe and duplexes, which overlook the terrace and penthouse suites. Rates from €500 - €1500 a night.
Keeping the spirit of Paris alive
Although my time in Paris was short, the memories were sweet. After my return home I compiled a set inspired by my visit, which takes me back to this sensational city. Listen to my compilation here:
*While I was in Paris, I was hosted by Paris Region Comité Règional Du Tourisme. All views are my own.
Follow me on Instagram: mrbenricci
So much is said about French food - its flavours, colours and quality and the renowned chefs that train the best-of-the-best worldwide. The UNESCO Gastronomic Meal of the French is a precious accreditation. In 2010, the United Nations Educations, Scientific & Cultural Organisation declared French cuisine as a world heritage. And so they should. Everything you taste in France is delicious – even the simple everyday foods we pine for. All this being known, there aren't enough words to describe just how good French cuisine is - regardless of where you dine.
La Mome Restaurant
6 Rue Florian, 06400 Cannes, France
My favourite dining experience was at La Mome, which is the perfect place to visit when you fancy a sophisticated meal. Set abreast a lovely side road, bustling with other bars and restaurants, this unique restaurant is run by twin brothers who take their business very seriously and run an incredibly efficient ship. Everybody at La Mome is beautiful from the staff to the diners. You can eat inside – which we did – or en plein air. Either is sublime.
12 Rue Louis Blanc, 06400 Cannes (open every day from 10am - 1pm)
One of my favourite foodie memories from my visit to the Cote D’Azur was visiting Marche Forville (Forville Market) and speaking with the local traders as I tried the local delicacies.
While at the market, I tried the award-winning Miel de Montagne, Jean-Loius Lautard, apiculteur (apricot) honey (€10). Although it was pricey, it was well worth the money as it couldn't be more local given the apiary where the bees produce this honey is in Cannes proper. I also sampled the Huile d’Olive Vierge Extra Non Filtre olive oil by Maison de l’Olive, which was particularly delicious and comes in a sleek silver tin (€8.90).
Another local delicacy to try is socca, a salty flatbread made from chickpeas, which is prepared in a wood-fired oven. It is naturally gluten free and is very wholesome and tasty.
Expand your culinary horizons for a tasty and memorable holiday
These experiences are just a small taste of some of the foodie magic that can be found Cannes, so while you're there, ensure you get your taste buds exploring - it's all part of the adventure of discovering a new destination.
*During my visit to Cannes, I was hosted by @Visitcotedazur, Palais des Festivals et Des Congres Cannes and We Like Travel. All views and opinions are my own.
The first thing you notice upon arrival at this monastery built in 400AD is the welcoming and serene birdsong. It’s a still and beautiful place with many perfumed flowers in bloom, exquisite carvings and ornate architecture.
Here, reflection and history are in the air. I’m certainly not religious, but somehow the Abbaya de Lerins of Ile Saint Honorat creates a sense of peacefulness.
The monastery is home to 30 Cistercian Monks, renowned for their wine-making expertise and secret alchemy between grape varieties and the terroir.
The monks harvest around 12 hectares of wine on the island. Initially, they grew grapes for communion wine, as it was cheaper to produce than importing from the mainland. Perhaps the taste was so good – and the white wine is particularly distinctive and delicious – that they decided to make it into a commercial business.
The wine produced at Lerins Abbey is the envy of many vineyards across France because they are unable to replicate the same wonderful taste on the mainland, which is down to the unique growing conditions of the island. During summer, sea temperatures average around 26 degrees and only 11 degrees in winter. This means that Ile Saint Honorat boasts a unique weather system that is imperative to how the grapes routes develop and the affect of the water they use for the wine, which is sourced from a unique natural underground spring.
Tourists are able to purchase a bottle of wine for a lovely souvenir. Prices range from €35 to €200. Wines on offer include:
If you forget to buy your favourite wine at the monastery, you can also purchase it at 1862 Wines & Spirits (5, Rue du Marechal Joffre, 06400, Cannes). The shop is run by trained sommeliers, so you are in good hands. I ran out of time on the island, hence the tip!
In addition to wine producing and tasting, Lerins Abbey on the Isle of Sacred Wines also offers spiritual retreats and conference facilities.
For more information on Lerins Abbey, visit: www.abbayedelerins.com
*During my visit to Lerins Abbey I was hosted by @Visitcotedazur, Palais des Festivals et Des Congres Cannes and We Like Travel. All views and opinions are my own.
Forget what you know about Cannes. True, it stands out as the Cote d’Azur playground for the rich and famous. But on closer inspection, Cannes has lots more to offer than millionaire playboys, their live-in super-yacht crews and helicopter jet setters.
Surprisingly, Cannes is not as big as you might think; only 74,000 people live there all year round. But what it lacks in population, it more than makes up in red carpets, film festivals and sophisticated architecture.
What to see and do in Cannes
Cannes Old Town
Wandering around Cannes is a must. Head to the Old Town to the Musee de la Castre, (Le Suquet, 06400, Cannes) to take in the wealth of lovely old buildings, the castle, local cafes and charming boutiques.
Murs Peints - ‘The Painted Walls of Cannes’
The Municipality of Cannes decided that a few of its everyday buildings were not quite up to scratch, so they commissioned murals to be painted on a selection of walls across the city. The murals celebrate famous screen legends, singers, comic book heroes and adored French celebrities including James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Batman, amongst others. There are 14 locations to explore, which are all very walk-able over an afternoon. Plus, it’s a great way to see parts of the city off the typical tourists’ trail.
Cannes Waterfront and Boulevard Beaches
The Port of Cannes is a glitzy marina. But Cannes’ contradictions are reassuringly human. You can even enjoy a Segway tour if you’re brave enough and you have no shame! Somehow, Segway and Cannes doesn’t sound like a marriage made in Heaven, but watching tourists waving at each other while donning helmets and smiling knowingly is well worth a laugh!
The cafes and beachfront bars are worth checking out and are perfect for people-watching and glimpsing Cannes’ eccentric characters. As you take in the views of the super-yachts and tall-ships, which probably cost more than some countries GDP, you're enchanted by the sound of sails in the marina.
I was amazed to spot Indulgence, a boat from a local marina in Poole Harbour, near my home in Bournemouth! But, after a short walk past these skyscrapers-of-the-sea, you come across a selection of very friendly and professional ferry service providers that will escort you to a little-known island paradise, just a 20-minute's boat ride away, making it a must for intrepid explorers, history fans and lovers of fine, organically produced wine…
Ile Saint Honorat
Deemed 'an oasis of tranquility that's close to the hustle and bustle of Cannes', Ile Saint Honorat sits just a mile offshore from the Port of Cannes by ferry in the glorious sun-drenched Mediterranean. It is the largest of the four islands that make up the Lerins Islands. At just 1.5 kilometres long by 400 metres wide, you can explore the island in under a day, making it a must-visit destination. You can catch the ferry via Planaria.
To book a ferry, visit: http://www.cannes-ilesdelerins.com
Ile Sainte Marguerite
Ile Saint Honorat's sister island, Ile Sainte Marguerite, also drenched in history and intrigue, famously hosted the mysterious Man in The Iron Mask as prisoner from 1669 courtesy of Louis XIV. Many films have been released over the years about this fabled tale, including the 1998 version, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons, Gerrad Depardieu, John Malcovitch and Gabriel Burns.
Ferry services to Il Sainte Marguerite also depart Cannes regularly.
La Tonnelle Restaurant and Cafe
La Tonnelle is the first place you come to once you disembark from the ferry. It’s a cafe and restaurant that opens every day year round. We didn’t eat here, unfortunately, but there is a lovely view of the harbour as you walk past the eatery that’s a perfect spot for a picnic and a glass or wine as there are public benches in the welcome shade, where you can take in the splendid views.
Le Chateau de ile Saint Honorat
The Castle of Ile Saint Honorat is more than 1,000 years old and is a 15-minute's walk from the dock. It still stands tall and strong today, having been expertly preserved and protected by the local municipality. Originally, it was built as a defence from the Spanish, Saracens, Genoese and pirates and marauders en route to the mainland. Remnants of conflict can still be seen today as evidenced by the World War II gun placements found across the island.
During one spell of its history, because the attacks were so frequent and violent in nature, the monks had to move their prayer and monastic rituals from the abbey to within its fortress walls. This adds a unique charm to the atmosphere of this now popular tourist attraction. Remarkably, the marble stone steps still glisten and are more than safe to walk to the ramparts where the 360-degree views are remarkable.
Not only can you spend time enjoying the wonder of the glistening sea on one side, but it also overlooks both Lerin's Abbey and the monk’s vineyards. While we were there, you could hear the bells ringing in the gentle breeze.
Where to stay in Cannes - The Okko Hotel
This chic 4-star hotel with its all-inclusive business concept, which gives every resident access to the top-floor Club and a five-star departure lounge where you can sunbathe, catch a movie or pour a free glass of wine, has turned Cannes’ cosy hotel market on its head.
The Okko is perfectly situated to get everywhere you need – be it beach, boutiques, brassieres or boats – all within a short 15-minute stroll. One of our favourite perks was the 24-hour help-yourself bistro offers the finest local produce to tantalise your taste buds.
Here, you are pretty much guaranteed a wonderful night sleep, thanks to blackout curtains and noise-cancelling windows that ensure a peaceful slumber. What’s more, the staff are friendly and accommodating and the view from the sun terrace over the city is sensational.
Rooms from £122 during peak season (July and August) including breakfast.
The Sound of Cannes
Inspired by my visit to Cannes, I’ve compiled a mix of jazz, electronica, unplugged acoustic and beach house featuring Nina Simone, Air, Roy Ayers, Toto, Dexter Wansel, Maxi Jazz, Grace Jones, Vanessa Paradis, Daft Punk, Bebel Gilberto, Gerado Frisina, Miguel Migs and Re:Jazz. Click play (below) to listen…
During my visit to Cannes I was hosted by @Visitcotedazur, Palais des Festivals et Des Congres Cannes and We Like Travel. All views and opinions are my own.
A great attraction of the luxurious Hotel Le Saint James located in the quaint village of Bouliac, some 20km from Bordeaux, is the cooking class offered by Celia Girard, sous-chef to 2-Michelin star chef Nicolas Magie.
The ‘classroom’ is in a glassed annex next to the hotel, which features a modern kitchen designed by Poggenpohl. The course can accommodate up to 12 cookery students at one time and is designed for people of all ages, including children.
All students are given a bright pink apron to wear while they listen attentively to Celia, a charming teacher with a great sense of humor and endless patience. Thankfully, she doesn’t get upset if her students don’t know how to cut an onion properly or if they throw salt instead of sugar into the mix for the famous Canneles! She simply makes amends and starts afresh with a proverbial French shrug.
Like chef Magie, Celia loves fresh products and when possible locally grown produce. Contrary to Chef Magie, however, she is a great fan of butter and often says ‘more butter’ which I still think of fondly when I reminisce about the course.
During the lesson students are shown how to prepare a three-course meal including starters, canneles and a main dish – which was a gorgeous fillet of hake wrapped in fig leaves with a topping of figs, hazelnuts and grapes (click to download the recipe).
Overall, I found the course great fun as I learned to easily prepare gourmet recipes and improve my cooking skills all while enjoying the company of other budding cooks in a professional, yet relaxed environment.
The cookery course costs €85 (for preparation of a three-course meal).
A symphony of art and comfort
I’m not normally a fan of minimalist hotels. How often have I banged my knees on all those sharp edges, tried to get up from a beautiful but uncomfortable chair or twisted on a rock-hard mattress because it’s supposedly good for your back. That being said, since my visit to the Saint James, I have been converted.
Located in the tiny hill-side village of Bouliac, some 20km from Bordeaux, the hotel is a masterpiece of modern design that has it all - tradition, vineyards and top-notch services to cater to guests’ creature comforts.
From a traditional farm house to a modern hotel
Originally one of Bouliac’s most beautiful 18th century farmhouses, Le Saint James Hotel was converted into a hotel and restaurant in 1989. The masterminds behind the project were none other than Chef Jean-Marie Amat and famed architect Jean Nouvel. Their intention was to create an oasis of calm and luxury only a short hop away from thriving Bordeaux.
But, it is much more. Nestling between just two hotel-owned vineyards, which produce the hotel’s signature Merlot and no more than 600 bottles a year, the Le Saint James is a work of art.
Inspired by the tobacco plantations which once grew there, Nouvel took over the design of tobacco barns and left the outside ‘rusty’. Intending to open the entire complex to nature, he added four pavilions connected by airy walkways. You get the impression that the hotel has more windows that solid walls. Where ever you look, your eyes rest on green. Lawns, hillsides, the vineyards… it’s difficult to imagine a more relaxing atmosphere.
Unique touches throughout add to the charm of this hotel
Art continues throughout the hotel with photography exhibitions and specially designed sofas and armchairs in the foyer, bar and rooms.
Each of the 18 rooms and suites is designed differently. One room features a motorcycle sculpture, another a Jacuzzi and mine a sofa shaped in the form of a baseball mitt! What they all have in common are huge windows, which open to nature. The ceilings and beds vary in height to give you a feeling of actually sleeping in the clouds. There is ample space to dress and to sit at a desk or to enjoy breakfast in your room.
The bathrooms are a delight, too. The tub and shower were modern and functional but without the need of a degree in engineering to operate the taps and I enjoyed the complimentary products by Hermes.
Enjoy gourmet cuisine prepared by two Michelin star chef Nicolas Magie
Of course, food and wine are a key focal point of the region and this is evident at the hotel, where two Michelin star chef Nicolas Magie is in charge of the kitchen. His delicious creations can be enjoyed either in the glass-fronted gourmet restaurant or in the form of snacks served throughout the day in the elegant bar or the terrace overlooking the pool and the vineyards.
What to do during your stay….
Learn to cook French cuisine
If you love French cuisine, then you can’t miss the exclusive cooking class offered at the hotel - Côté Cours where you can learn the secrets of French cuisine in a fun and entertaining way, decked out in pink aprons.
Become a wine connoisseur
Once a month, the hotel hosts a wine club where guests can learn about – and drink - local wine, accompanied by special creations from Monsieur Magie.
I loved the welcoming atmosphere, where all guests are made to feel like family and guests with children are given the choice of three toys, which they can keep. During my stay, the staff were on hand to accommodate every necessity. I can’t wait to one day wake up in the clouds again in this heavenly hotel.
All images courtesy of Le Saint James Bouliac.
Located on the banks of the River Garonne, Toulouse is the capital city of the southwestern French department of Haute-Garonne as well as the Midi-Pyrenees region. Known as La Ville Rose, reflecting the blush pastels, pinks and terracottas of local brickwork, Toulouse is a photographer’s dream. Throughout the day, the architecture changes its hue with each passing minute from dawn to sunset.
The Toulouse metropolitan area is the fourth-largest in France, after Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Here some quarters of the population still speak 10th century Occitan; others focus with unabated passion on the here and now.
Where to stay in Toulouse
During our visit, we stayed at the Mercure Toulouse Wilson Hotel, breathing in as we squeezed into its underground car park where the ceilings were low enough to touch. This centrally placed hotel is only a few short steps from Wilson Square with its parade of designer shops, multi-screen cinema complex, ornate fountain, and carousel, complete with kaleidoscopic ceramic horses.
What to see and do in Toulouse
There are a plethora of landmarks and tourist destinations to occupy your time in Toulouse including: The Basilica of St Sernin, Place du Capitole, Les Jacobins Monastery, Musée Saint-Raymond, Antiquities Museum of Toulouse,
Musee des Augustins, and the Pont Neuf.
We particularly enjoyed a visit to the Chateau d’Eau, a water tower which has been converted into a photography gallery. Founded by French photographer Jean Dieuzaide in the 1970s, this unique space is in itself as fascinating as the exhibitions.
Another must-see tourist destination is the Canal du Midi. Originally built to boost export opportunities for 17th century wheat, wine, textile and salt producers, it is now a place where visitors can hire leisure craft for boating holidays.
Other activities we enjoyed during our holiday included rummaging for second hand bargains at a bustling Sunday street market, tapping our feet to music as we ate tapas at a jazz cafe, and cheering with rapturous enthusiasm as more than a thousand rugby fans tried to break the world record for creating the biggest ever scrum in the Place du Capitole!
The vibrant spirit of Toulouse is as alive as ever
While the tourist destinations we visited were impressive, it was the sense of exuberance, vibrancy, youthful energy and artistic verve that most seduced us. Toulouse boasts one of the largest student populations in France, and it’s evident that it beats to the rhythm of the young and adventurous.
Breakfast in Toulouse
During our visit to Toulouse, we had our fair share of breakfast croissants, mopping up the flaky bits with our fingers as they fell to our plates. No jam, no honey, no butter, no preserves, nor savouries were required as accompaniments to this sweet manna from Heaven. They saw us through from breakfast till lunchtime, with maybe a mid-morning espresso or two in-between.
We told ourselves we needed the caffeine as there was much to see and do in cosmopolitan Toulouse. Secretly though, we delighted in just hanging out at cafes people-watching. Toulouse is a hotchpotch of personalities and temperaments, a multicultural mix; more friendly than Paris, more edgy than Nice, more chic than Marseille.
Lunchtime in Toulouse - The start of a love affair with luscious Labneh…
On the day that we visited the café on the Rue Gambetta, the sun was at its height and it was 33 degrees outside when we spied a long line of people queueing for take-away orders. Inside was a clutch of tables surrounded by shop and office workers tucking into exotic salads, Lebanese breads, and galettes filled with varying combinations of spinach, garlic, herbs, spices, aubergine, houmous, marinated chicken, onions, tomato, and cheeses.
The French are renowned cheese makers but that day it was not a classic camembert, a piquant brie, a rustic Roquefort or a nutty Comté that tempted me. The one I went for was not even French. It was Labneh from Lebanon. Labneh is a traditional Middle Eastern delight made from strained yoghurt, which is essentially their version of cream cheese. It might not sound the most palatable choice to select from the gourmet menus that surrounded us in the sizzling capital of south west France, but the labneh, cucumber and mint wrap we ate hit the spot - a refreshing treat on a scorching day.
Longing for labneh…
Since our return home, I have searched for labneh at delicatessens and cheese shops, but my enquiries have prompted puzzled looks until now. I have found a Lebanese deli on Kensington High Street, where the owner delighted in telling me how to make a labneh wrap using cucumber, olives and mint, which I plan on eating in the garden during the summer months when I’m in need of a self-indulgent lunch break.
I’m aware that it will not taste exactly like the wrap I had in Toulouse, but then holiday flavours do not travel well. That feeling of gratification, delectation, is as much in the moment as it is in the ingredients.
Debra Greenhouse, freelance journalist
We've rounded our favourite places to inspire your visit to France.