Paris and Nice notes

We took an an excellent trip to Paris (six nights) and Nice (three nights), May 23-June 2, ’05, arranged by France Vacations (Chatsworth, CA; 800/332-5332 or Round-trip air from San Francisco to Paris, Paris to Nice and return via Air France plus hotels in Paris and Nice and all airport transfers cost $1,649 per person.

The trip went without a hitch. All the airport transfers were on time, personnel were polite and the luggage was handled cheerfully.

Hotel Les Relais de Paris Republique (blvd de Magenta) in Paris’ 10 arrondissement was satisfactory, and Hotel Splendid (Avenue Victor Hugo) in Nice was truly excellent, though its Continental breakfast was a bit skimpy and most everything was cold, including the scrambled eggs. We had very gracious service at both hotels.

At Bistro Romain Re (at 17 Place de la Republique plus elsewhere in France), we had mediocre food and service that would win the gold medal of the rudeness Olympics. Otherwise, we were treated extremely well everywhere we went.

A real treasure is the restaurant Lou Bellagio (24 rue Meyerbeer; phone in Nice. The atmosphere was delightful, the food outstanding and the service impeccable — friendly, helpful, gracious. We had a lovely meal for about €25 (near $30) per person. Particularly excellent was the veal in mushroom cream sauce — a beautiful, large slice of tender, well-trimmed veal in a delicious sauce. The scallops, too, were wonderful.

On our second visit, the owners treated us to complimentary aperitifs, a large platter of vegetables and several rounds of after-dinner liqueurs. Ask to meet the resident dog, Romeo.