Culinary & Cultural Tales

Dispatches From La Riviere –
The Mediterranean Arc From Spain To France To Italy

We're Paris travel experts, and we share our love of the city – and what to do while you're here – at our online travel resource, Paris Insiders Guide. But, we also love the ambience and the culinary cultures of the rest of France and of its two Mediterranean neighbours, Italy & Spain.

In this collection of tales we share our excitement, our adventures, and our discoveries. 

Allons-y !  Let's go!

– Diane & Mark


Starshine on Gigondas

He got the call on a Saturday at 11:45 AM, just when noon service at L'Oustalet was about to begin. Chefs across France had their fingers...

Seaside Sunday Lunch in Málaga

The fact that it was Sunday didn't set off any alarms for us, even though we know, love, and even write about the tradition of Sunday...

Gran Hotel Miramar – Casa, Sweet Casa

“Oh look, there’s a sign to the hotel we didn’t stay at," Diane casually points out as we walk through a lovely little park on our way to...

On Roman Restaurants

We had a lively response from our readers following our misadventures at Osteria Fernanda. • Tom from The Cotswolds wrote – "TripAdvisor...

The Forty-Dollar Comb

If there's a Siberia in Rome, we were in it. Our young and enthusiastic guide on a food tour had enthusiastically recommended Osteria Fern..

The Day That Saved Rome

We started Rome too hard. But then, in the space of a single day, our attitude went from "Rome? I'm not so sure." to "Rome? It's eternal !"

Two Restaurants and a Funeral

The bell in the clock tower chimed twelve times. "S'il vous plaît, nous allons observer une minute de silence, suivie par La Marseillaise."

The Aix Incident

When traveling, from one day to the next, you face the Great Unknown. What will the next place be like? Will we adore our new hotel or...

The Two Best Things About Sète

Here are the two best things about Sète, a French port town on the Mediterranean : The Marcel, with chef Fabien Fage at the helm, earning...

Two Weddings and a Cave

There are caves near the Basque town of Sare. We came, we saw... then we went for lunch. Arranging lunch in the French provinces is tricky..

Au Pays Basque

We are in the heart of Basque Country and it's not normal France. Here, the history, culture, and unique language go back millennia

Bordeaux's Place Pey Berland

Even in a city full of lovely spaces, Place Pey Berland stands out. Here you find the 19th-century Hotel de Ville, museums, Café de France..

Ten Great Things About Bordeaux

Bordeaux may be the best-kept secret in France. Or at least, it was kept a secret from us. In twenty-plus years of visiting France a...

Another Day, Another Bell Tower

Tired of not having a bell tower to toll the hours for us (see 6:24 AM), yesterday we loaded up the family and moved four hours north to...

Un Pneu Crevé à Sablet

When he was younger we liked to play Mille Bornes with Alexandre. It's the French card game where you try to be the first player to rack...