le coupe de foudre, France has always been my home away from home. From the Parisian bistros to the idyllical luxury of Cassis, there’s nothing quite like refined sophistication offered here. They’ve just got the recipe right. A society derived from centuries of venerating the aesthetics and the simple pleasures in one’s life, the French do it best.
In my travels, I’ve spent more time than I care to admit revelling in the gentle hedonism of France. But now, it’s time to reflect. And, I guess, to share. After all, what’s the point of finding something good if you can’t share it with those you love.
So, my dear friends, here are my Five from Flynn’s for when you’re next heading to France.
Bistro Yard – Mont Louis, Paris
To start, we have this gorgeous little bistro in the 11th in Paris. Built on natural wines paired with exquisite modern French cuisine, Yard is where you’ll find me for my first dinner in Paris. Yes, the food is first class. But what keeps me coming back is the local crowd, the precocious staff and the gorgeous natural wines.
Calanque d’En Vau Beach - Cassis, Côte d'Azur
France’s best kept secret, Cassis, has a secret of its own. Hidden down the third Calanque, is one of the best beaches in all of the Mediterranean. Take a boat, some company and a nice bottle of gin and settle in for one of the best afternoons you can have without breaking the law.
Hotel Belles Rives – Juan Les Pins
Opulence in the Antibes, Hotel Belles Rives is one of the finest hotels in France if not one of the finest in the world. Far from the backpackers and the tourists, the jewel in the crown of the Hotel Belles Rives is the Fitzgerald Piano Bar. Masterpieces on the walls, a eclectic selection of cocktails made from the finest spirits and, of course, the signature view with a sunset that’ll take your breath away. Over a couple of whiskies at the bar back in 1997, Michael Jordan told me personally that it was his favourite hotel this side of the Atlantic.
Musée d’Orsay - Paris
I’ve never been closer to God than I was in the Musée d’Orsay. Boasting the finest collection of impressionist paintings in the world, the Parisian gallery is a must see whenever you’re in the capital. Situated in a converted railway station, view the timeless work of Matisse, Picasso, Seurat and more.
Airelles – Gordes, Luberon
A commune on the foothills of the Monts of Vaucluse, Gordes is the perfect destination for those seeking a different taste away from the coast in southern France. The medieval village and lavender fields offer an idyllic backdrop for the decadent local cuisine. My favourite place to stay is the Airelles, with one of the best spots in the world for a sunset Fernet-Branca.