As well as travel, food is one of the essential components of a good holiday. Dining on the best local cuisine creates cherished holiday memories that can transport you back to a meal shared in the Mediterranean sun long after your tan has faded. If you want the finest gourmet cuisine in the most beautiful of European settings, then the South of France is the place to be. Enhance your fine dining experience by arriving in style with a luxury helicopter transfer. A number of exclusive restaurants have helicopter landing spots that set them apart from the competition and allow for fast and convenient transfers directly to their grounds. Here are five of the best restaurants that welcome helicopter transfers in the French Riviera:
- L’Oustau de Baumanière, Baux de Provence.
L’Oustau de Baumanière is a unique restaurant that takes advantage of its location amongst the stunning vineyards and rocky outcrops of Baux-de-Provence. It was founded by Raymond Thuillier who converted a sheep farm at Les Baux into the luxury hotel and restaurant that still stands today. It has remained in the family ever since with his grandson Jean-André Charial taking over as the head chef in 1969 and he is still president of the premises. The restaurant has gained two Michelin stars and an army of admirers who love the bold flavours, elegant dishes and shaded terrace in its beautiful setting facing the Alpilles.
- Les Gorges de Pennafort, Callas.
Les Gorges de Pennafort is a Michelin-starred restaurant famed for its terrace and views overlooking the canyon of the same name. It has been managed by Chef Philippe Da Silva for the past twenty years and he ensures that the food is equally as enticing as its location in the heart of the Var region of the Cote d’Azur. His culinary prowess is clearly displayed in the refined dishes he creates, such as langoustines cannelloni, foie gras ravioli and truffles perfectly matched with an appropriate wine or champagne. The multi-course menus are popular and allow for a leisurely experience inside the chic restaurant or out in the stunning manicured gardens.
- Chez Bruno, Lorgues.
Chez Bruno specialises in truffles and does it better than anywhere else in the region. The one-star Michelin restaurant is a truly local family business, with the charismatic Bruno running the show. Bruno has become a legendary figure in France and serves more of this exquisite delicacy than any other restaurant in the world. He has been running this iconic restaurant since 1983 and has started to expand the business on an international scale. The picturesque Provençal town of Lorgues is an idyllic backdrop to sample the truffles, which come with simple accompaniments such as potatoes and pasta since they complement its complex flavours. The produce is locally sourced and served in the gardens during summer and inside by a cosy roaring fire in winter.
- La Bastide de Moustiers, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.
Provençale cuisine is the order of the day in celebrated three-star Michelin chef Alain Ducasse’s acclaimed restaurant. Set in an upmarket country inn, the chefs at La Bastide de Moustiers lovingly prepare and reinvent local dishes. Lavender bushes and olive trees enliven the rural setting and make this Ducasse’s countryside home from home, the interiors of which he helped to design himself. The menu changes daily in accordance with the produce available in the hotel’s vegetable garden. Immaculate table service, mouthwatering cuisine and fastidious attention to detail ensure that this secluded hideaway rivals the finest restaurants in London and New York.
- Tahiti Beach, Saint-Tropez.
Tahiti Beach is one of Pampelonne’s finest dining establishments and the epitome of St Tropez’s vibrant and glamorous appeal. The presence of a helicopter landing spot makes this beachside restaurant instantly alluring. The atmosphere is relaxed and the staff go out of their way to provide a friendly service in tasteful surroundings. The food is consistently good with a selection of freshly caught fish and other dishes that have Mediterranean-international origins. A second restaurant, Le Sakura, serves Japanese Teppanyaki in an open style kitchen. Visiting Tahiti’s restaurant can be a fun all-day experience since it’s right on the beach and hosts parties as well as having fantastic sea views.