Whenever I want a little taste a France while here in Italy for the summer, I head to a sweet little town on the Italian/ French border. Menton, is a pretty town by the sea. It has a pretty port. When I first visited Menton with my husband, I had the strongest sense of deja vu ... standing on the boardwalk overlooking the marina, I suddenly realized that it was not in fact deja vu, it was a real memory. The summer before starting college, I backpacked through Europe with a girlfriend, and miraculously wound up on a sailing yacht as part of the crew for 3 weeks.
It's a long story, but let's just say in those days two 17year old girls being picked up at the train station by a very old British Navy Commodore living in Monaco( with his family) was not a dangerous as it appeared....we crewed with a British based all male crew for 3 weeks, and what can I say it was a blast! I learned lots of useful things including smoking Gitanes. My girlfriend ( Judy) was a sailor and had sailed with her Dad on Lake Michigan for many years , so she got to do all the heavy lifting with the crew, while I cooked (well actually badly assisted the chef) in the beyond tiny galley below deck.
So the reason I remembered Menton, France that day was because it was always the first stop once we set sail to shop for the groceries at the outdoor market there many years ago.
Menton has a large casino, and a pedestrian walking street it has all sorts of interesting shops filled with wonderful food stuffs, an open fruit market a block long, and lovely outdoor cafes and restaurants.
I love to go there in the winter as well, I had a wonderful lunch there with my friend Staci in January! A great memory as it was cold miserable and raining and we ducked into a small seaside cafe along with all the locals and had a long leisurely lunch of hot steamy mussels in wine and a lovely bottle of red, and the most delicate creme brulee for dessert.
In the summer it is filled with Italian tourists strolling and sunning on the beach cove beside the beautiful Marina, with a breathtaking view of the mountains.
Deborah and I strolled for a couple hours, and ended up buying our dinner spread at the local food shops. Fantastic bread, handmade artisan salamis, and a selections of cheeses, along with some local French white wine.
The ride back to our flat is about 45 minutes, once home, we popped the cork on the crisp white wine and made our way through the cheese, and salami selection, along with thick slices of the rustic bread, a few olives and we were set for the rest of the night, recollecting our day. Bellisima!
Photographs by~ Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn