I’ve been wanting to visit Le Cannet for awhile now, but have put it off because it’s not directly on the train line. It’s a small artists’ village in the hills above Cannes. Its selling points as far as I’m concerned are the Peynet painting on the side of a building I’ve seen in pictures, a vieux ville (an old town), the Musee Bonnard and the fact that it isn’t Cannes.
It’s a simple 10 minute bus ride up the hill from the Cannes train station (#1 Le Cannet bus). I get off at the Town Hall/Musee Bonnard stop. It’s not the old town, but I suspect this is the closest the bus can get.
The quiet up here is a little disquieting Nobody is brushing against me. I don’t have to maneuver walking down the street. It’s practically deserted. Maybe the rapture happened on the bus ride up and all the good Christians were up here in Le Cannet. I’m feeling positively light-headed and I don’t think it’s the altitude. It’s probably some form of culture shock from having just been in the frenzy of Cannes 10 minutes ago. Well, either that or I’m hungry.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of food options. There are several cafes and restaurants with varying degrees of expensiveness. But before I eat, I have to scope out the village and make myself so hungry I don’t have to choose which restaurant to dine at, but rather eat at the one whose entrance I pass out in front of.
How can nobody be here? Granted, there’s not a preponderance of little shops. There are some storefronts where artists show and sell their work, but I’m a little afraid of them. I can’t imagine anything is in my price range and don’t want to insult some up and coming artist. Or break something. I feel the same way I used to feel about designer stores on Madison Avenue (which I got over, but it cost me dearly). But I digress.
The village is lovely. The Peynet “mur des amoureux” (lovers’ wall) is all I dreamed it would be. And there’s a funky tiny ancient church restored by Theo Tobiasse with the theme life is a party (an interesting choice for a church). The musee Bonnard is..pleasant, kind of like Bonnard’s work. I like it, would probably put one or two on my wall, but nothing screams “genius”.
Now I’ve passed from light headed to shaky and vicious.
Fortunately, I collapse in front of a small restaurant called Arts & Assiettes which is low on the price scale with a simple menu that doesn’t muddle my little brain with options. It’s not really a menu…it’s a plat du jour which today is a combination of daurade (some kind of fish), ratatouille, smashed blue (actually a vibrant violet that the photograph doesn’t capture) potatoes with persillade (a parsley pesto popular in these parts — the green and purple together are stunning! and a couple of cheese raviolis. Despite the fact that something on the menu lead me to believe I was getting veal, it’s pretty damn good and the colors are beautiful — a vision in Fauve. It’s all fresh, organic and grown locally. I just wish the daurade wasn’t staring up at me while I devour it, but I’m going to have to get over that. The French clearly don’t mind looking their food in the eye.
In all, I got a little culture and had a delicious typical provencal lunch in a quiet, charming medieval village overlooking the Mediterranean for a mere 12 Euro. If I were among the masses down the hill in Cannes, I probably would have paid 40 Euro for the same lunch (sans culture).
Filed under: art history, Cote d'azur, fine dining, france on a budget, tourism, transportation, travel, travel humor Tagged: | Arts & Assiettes, Cannes, le Cannet, mur des amoureux, Musee Bonnard, near Cannes, raymond peynet