Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mougins: our 7 day "home"

We selected Mougins mostly due to the availability of an affordable and comfortable apartment (Le Club Mougins). However, we found being near the Mougins Vieux Village to be a perfect place for a week-long stay. While we were there for 7 days and took many day trips out to other areas, I'm grouping all of the information and photos of Mougins here.

As mentioned in my overview of our trip, our apartment suited us perfectly. We had an easy walk down to the grocery, a little patisserie and the bus stop to Cannes. There is also a little l'emporter (take out) restaurant just outside the grocery where homemade meals like roasted chicken, veggies and pastas such as lasagne were available for very few Euros. We stocked our dorm-size fridge with juice, wine, milk, water and so forth. Our apartment folks had left us with starter groceries consisting of a large bottle of water, milk, coffee and tea. Having our breakfast in the apartment daily was not only a cost savings, but time savings.

If you web search information about Mougins, you'll find that it is renowned for great restaurants. We had three meals in village restaurants. On other occasions, we either ate during our day excursions or had meals at the apartment.

We had two evening meals at Resto des Arts. The three-course 25E fixed price menu offered a nice selection of Provencal specialties. The soupe au pistou (a veggie soup with pesto) was a perfect, yet almost too filling, appetizer. My husband also tried a goat cheese salad as an appetizer. The filet de boeuf (beef filet) was very good. It was served with au gratin potatoes and a wonderful aux jus. My husband raved about the filet de loop (sea bass) served with a light, basil cream sauce. For me, the highlight was the plate of petite farcis a la provencale (stuffed Provencal veggies). The desserts were, as expected, just divine. The desserts vary, but we can recommend either the chocolate cake, apple tart or chocolate mousse.

One evening, a local soiree took place. The locals came out, dressed in white, to sample appetizers and wine setup outside the restaurants. A jazz band played, some boules were played and it looked like a grand time for all.

We also dined at Le Rendez-vous de Mougins. We had another fantastic three-course meal here at a price of 19 Euros. I enjoyed homemade ricotta raviloli, filet mignon with polenta, ratatouille and gnocci; followed by an awesome chocolate cake.

When we wanted wine, we usually ordered a half bottle. Local wines were very good and less expensive than Diet Coke. I think the only time we had Diet Coke was buying it in a large bottle at the grocer. Otherwise, we ordered Badoit or San Pellegrino sparkling water to go with our meals.

There has been much concern about the exchange rate of USD to Euro
. We found the food no more expensive than in the United States...IF you ate local products rather than US products. A three-course gourment meal with wine in our hometown of Chapel Hill usually costs more than what we paid in France. For the price of one glass of nice wine here at home, we could share a half bottle in France.

The old village of Mougins, Mougins Vieux Village, is small, pretty, quaint and quiet. It's a pretty place and I think it's that way for the locals, not the tourists. The folks there are very friendly and hospitable. Children play in the tiny streets (closed to traffic except the occasional taxi or delivery). Dogs are a big part of French life. Some provide quite the entertainment such as a little terrier who loved to roll a wine cork to a person for a game of fetch.

If you visit Mougins, there is ample free public parking just outside the old village. Mougins is easily accessible from the A8, exit 42, following the signs to Vieux Village.

From our home base in Mougins, we traveled as far west as the St. Tropez peninsula. We took a bus to Cannes. We drove to Cap d'Antibes. We drove to the hill town of Gourdon and the valley town of Tourettes-sur-Loop. Those day trips are covered in separate entries.

NEXT: Peaceful Island walks near Cannes