La Colombe d'Or, St Paul de Vence

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La Colombe d'Or website

lunch last year at La Colombe d'Or

We have been coming to La Colombe d'Or for lunch every year, sometimes twice a year since 2003. Just within the entrance, there is a large sculpture of a thumb by César. It's been a good height marker for our daughter over the years:

Five year's growth against César'sThumb at La Colombe d'Or Restaurant

If Thumb looks familiar, chances are you will have seen a gold version outside the Mayor's office in Nice this summer:

La Colombe is one of our favourite places and lunch there has become an annual pilgrimage every summer.

We always start with the famous hors d'oeuvres - we share one between two, followed by roast beef, which is prepared for a minimum of two persons. My husband sometimes chooses the rabbit stew - a speciality of La Colombe.

Here are the menus from 2006 - they remain much the same each year:

I wrote a review for this restaurant earlier this year for Riviera Pebbles - here is the link

The following clip lasting about three and a half minutes is a selection of photos from lunches at La Colombe that date from 2008 back to 2003:

Last weekend, La Colombe d'Or was the subject of a small article in the Financial Times. Here is the direct link and I have also copied and pasted the complete review here:

Lore of the Colombe d’Or

By Rowley Leigh

Published: August 15 2009 02:53 | Last updated: August 15 2009 02:53

The Colombe d’Or is a love-it or hate-it sort of place. If you hate it – and some do – it is because it is a celebrity-ridden, vulgar sort of joint with overpriced, ordinary food in an overpopulated, touristy village in a much over-visited corner of the south of France. However, if you love it, you don’t care about any of these things because a lunch there is a kind of privilege that has to be experienced at least once.

A lot of peole visit the hotel without ever seeing what it is most famous for: the art from the likes of Matisse, Braque and Léger that is dotted around the place or the large Calder mobile by the swimming pool. This bounty is said to have been given by the artists as payment in lieu for meals and sojourns in the hotel.

Even the disparagers have to concede that the hotel’s splendid terrace is a good spot to dine – “un endroit fleuri et ombrageux”, as Michelin would have it, although I doubt if its reviewers would have much more to say on the subject of La Colombe d’Or. The food is unpretentious in the extreme and, in choosing a main course, it is probably prudent to stick to a simple grilled fish, which will not disappoint. To start, of course, you must have the hors d’oeuvres.

I daresay old Colombe hands eschew the hors d’oeuvres, a bit like habitués of La Tour d’Argent would never have the duck. They are not cheap and one can only eat – and I speak with some expertise on this point – a fraction of them.

The service starts slowly with a lady of mature years who brings a few saucissons sec to the table and cuts them into thick slices . Besides the saucissons, a magnificent basket of raw vegetables – artichokes, radishes, cucumbers, carrots and celery – is presented before the hors d’oeuvres proper appear in profusion.Among their number are sardines en escabèche, chickpeas, celeriac remoulade, black pudding, rice, couscous, potato salad, lentils, artichoke hearts, aubergines and squid. It is a banquet.

I tried to copy the idea some years ago when revamping a restaurant we had purchased. It didn’t work: the restaurant was too small and the customers just didn’t get it. Ten years later, I tried again at Le Café Anglais with a list of 15 hors d’oeuvres before the starters proper. This time it caught on. My thanks to La Colombe are long overdue.

Rowley Leigh is the chef at Le Café Anglais

The famous hors d'oevres are amazing, definitely share one between two though - it would be enough with the bread, saucisson and basket of salad, veg, even hard-boiled eggs as a meal in itself plus the salty anchovy mayonnaise.

We love the place, the food is very simple, nothing special but the atmosphere is magical. It's the highlight of our summer holiday, we usually book lunch there during our last week in August.

We take the 400 bus from Nice and visit the Fondation Maeght modern art museum and sculpture, this year until 8th November 2009 - 'Miro et son Jardin' first, then lunch at La Colombe followed a very mellow wander around the perched village of St Paul before sleeping off lunch on the bus back to Nice.

To make a reservation at La Colombe d'Or:

Tel: 00 33 (0)4 93 32 32 80 02 or email:

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