Colombe d’Or is well-known because it was started as a small inn in 1920 by Paul Roux and his wife Baptistine, and has remained in the family ever since.
Over the years it became a watering hole for many of the famous painters who had chosen the South of France as a place to live and create their works of art.
As many of these now famous artists were not always able to pay for their food and lodging, they often traded such necessities for some of their artistic works, so much so that the walls and garden of the current Colombe d’Or are now more like a museum than a restaurant.
Former guests included Picasso, Matisse, Miro and Chagall.
All of them have literally left their legacy on the walls of the Colombe d’Or in exchange for a night at the inn or a few good meals.
Today, the restaurant is a lovely stone house with a roaring fire in the winter and a beautiful terrace with a grand view in the summer.
I have been there often in both seasons, and each has its own charm.
Most recently I dined there with friends for lunch between Christmas and New Year, and, as it happens, it was also my birthday.
We indulged in the famous Hors d’Oeuvre Colombe d’Or, which is a huge trolley containing many small plates of Mediterranean delicacies, including wonderful fresh plump sardines, tomatoes Provençale with aubergine and breadcrumbs, delicious celeriac salad, candied onions and raisins, marinated peppers, and a huge basket of vegetables and sausages and many more that I cannot recall at this moment.
Most of us believe that just eating the Hors d’Oeuvres is enough for a very satisfying lunch.
We went on, however, and had a Cassolette d’Escargots à Bourgogne, which is a casserole of snails in a delicious Mediterranean tomato sauce, and Dover Sole, beautifully prepared in a traditional fashion, as well as Loup de Mer poché sauce Mousseline, which is the freshest of sea bass prepared with a perfectly light Mediterranean mousse.
I always choose the same dessert at Colombe d’Or. This is Vacherin glacé, which is a delicious meringue and raspberry sorbet cake that is light and sweet at the same time.
It is a perfect way to conclude a perfect visit.
Quite a brilliant birthday lunch, don’t you think?