Mougins – Provence – AIpes – Cote d’Azur – France

Gastronomic Center of the Riviera

Another idyllic day on the Riviera, another authentic “perched village,” with wandering cobbled lanes and open-air markets that smell of fresh herbs and cut flowers. Mougins is particularly charming, despite having been discovered decades ago, and has remained surprisingly untrammeled.

Today it has become a gastronomic center for the Riviera as the home of Le Moulin de Mougins, the internationally renowned restaurant of Roger Verge, the master chef who helped put Provencal cuisine on menus around the world. (Picasso was the unrivaled local celebrity until Verge arrived.)

In an atmospheric 16th-century olive oil mill surrounded by palms and mimosas, Verge creates what he calls his cuisine du soleil; a traditional, simple, but modernized cuisine using the aromatic herbs, spices, and sun-ripened vegetables of Provence, mostly from Verge’s own garden. After 35 years, the affable chef and his wife, Denise, will pass the torch to the well-known Alain Llorca, who promises continued suc­cess.

A handful of guest rooms are available for people who refuse to eat and run. The decor bears the infallible touch of Madame Verge, whose aesthetic influence is evident everywhere in her husband’s hilltop empire.

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