04 March 2016
Just as soon as we arrived in Nice’s airport, we were picked up by (name), in a black van. The road to the hotel laster for about 15 minutes, during which we admired the landscape and enjoyed some warm sun. Obviously, we were not aware of the fact that those would be the only sun rays we’ll get to enjoy during the four days we spent in the south of France.
We checked in the city center at a hotel called Montaigne & SPA, located at number four on the street with the same name (Rue Montagne, Cannes). The four stars hotel has been recently renovated in the Art Deco style and its central location (close to common transport stations, Croisette or rue d’Antibes and obviously, the beach) positions it on spot #50 among all of Cannes’ hotels.
My first impression of Cannes would form as we were having a delicious lunch at JW Grill Cannes, on rue Croisette, by the seaside. That was the moment our trip really begun. Here we met Gordona, our team’s coordinator. We had been chatting via email for weeks, yet I still had to put a face to the name. After we arrived at the restaurant I did what bloggers usually do and that is: ask for water, plug sockets and the Wi-Fi password; those were followed by a glass of white wine and countless chatting about the islands that you could see gracing the horizon: Ile Sainte-Marguerite, Ile Saint-Honorat, Ilot Saint-Ferreol, Ilot de Tradeliere. The four islands belong to the Lerins archipelago, which, in turn, belongs to Cannes. The first dish came: a mushroom foam with foie gras. Meanwhile, the wine glasses were filled again and our guide tells us about St Marguerite island, where you can find an eucalyptus tree forest (just imagine the scent), however its main attraction being Musee de la Mer, a maritime museum. Built in the ancient fortress where the man with the iron mask lives, or at least so the legend says, the museum holds a series of underwater archeological discoveries which date from ancient times. Our mind was wandering, yet we were at the same table at JW Grill.
After the mushroom foam I went for a risotto flavored by sepia ink, chorizo emulsion and mediterranean shrimps, a dish you’d better try out when in Cannes. #delish Right after lunch we strolled through Cannes, visited the new convention centre and the docks – filled with white boats, all of them carefully aligned – to finally get to Musee de la Castre, where we saw the most beautiful seascape.
The sun was going to set just a few moments after, so we hurriedly snapped a few photos and then got lost on the narrow, colourful streets of the city. In the few moments allotted to shopping, I bought a pack of Marlboro Golds, some gas for my vintage Dupont lighter and an SD card. I realised that I left it back home, with Mike, in Cluj – but that’s another story.
It quickly got dark, cold and damp; a slow shower ensued and we were hurrying to our hotel to get ready for diner. After a hot shower and a cup of coffee, I got my blue shirt on – from my very own collection, yes – a zara leather jacket, blue suit pants and a pair of white, comfy Converse shoes. I slicked my hair back with gel, and there I was, in the lobby, half an hour early. I ordered a Martini Bianco from the bar. I nodded yes when the barman asked me whether or not I wanted ice and told him to hold the lemon. I payed, left the room swiftly to get to the terrace and lit a cigarette. I smelt a quirky, springy scent – sweet flowers. It made sense, the terrace was surrounded by Japanese honeysuckle flowers. You know, the kind of flowers that you’ve seen in front of your flat and got a sniff of during those summer nights when you couldn’t sleep. Was it still raining though? Would it rain again? It was such a warm February night, and above the terrace, birds were trilling so beautifully. I sipped some martini and got a whiff of my cigarette. Soon, Cosmin (aka Tudi) was arriving, followed by Gordona and our guide. We were talking about the restaurant where we were about to have dinner, still waiting for the girls to get to us. Slowly, we were headed to the city centre.
Maître Renard is a tiny restaurant in the city centre, the second place in which we ate that day. The menu is handwritten and it includes foie gras (obviously), salmon, fish with lemon sauce and veggies, champagne and a special dessert: flaming creme brûlée. I don’t really eat sweets, however Gordona insisted that I try this speciality. They serve it in three different small ceramic bowls and in three different combos. We drank champagne, chatted about french cuisine, Cosmin played the piano and at one point I ran outside to take a photo and enjoy the night view of Cannes. I called mom and taught her how to use Snapchat so she could see what I’ve done that day, since we shot and saw many wonderful places. That’s how our first day in Nice ended. We got back to the hotel and spent two hours reading Madonna’s biography, written by Mary Cross. I fell asleep thinking of Cote d’Azur and the days that would follow…
Enjoy the photos: