LA MERE GERMAINE Rémy BLOUIN, the present owner of the place, has kept the former name because « La Mère Germaine » has a story linked to History. Here it is. In 1925, northern France born Germaine Halap settles in Villefranche and marries Louis BRAU in 1938. They both decide to open a restaurant facing the sea. They call it after the cook’s name: “La Mère Germaine”. During WWII, Villefranche harbours US Navy warships in large number. La mère Germaine welcomes the crews in her restaurant and, soon, friendly relationships are established between her and them, whatever the ranks.
She becomes a mother to them, protecting them, waiting on them hand and foot and telling them moving or funny stories. Her reputation is growing fast and the restaurant becomes an outstanding place owing to the unparalleled qualities of its chef. “Mom Germaine”, as they used to call her, is a celebrity in the US Navy. Every ship that calls at NICE surroundings has got the word. Her fame is such that the Navy calls on an American film-maker to shoot the unrivalled caring and charming lady’s story. When the US SALEM cruiser was to leave, “Mom Germaine” was entertained with all the honours due to a person of her rank by the battalion in presence.
If the US marines were La Mère Germaine‘s first fans more were to come! In 1959, Jean COCTEAU starts redecorating the Saint Pierre Chapel, a few meters away from the restaurant. Jean COCTEAU and Germaine become close friends. From then on, famous people drop in, one after the other, to such an extent that Germaine herself is turned into a celebrity quite like her clients!!! The Golden book is still consulted today. It reveals most prestigious names of guests that tell an anecdote or express their admiration. Germaine had two daughters. The elder married a US Marine and left with him. They have a large family of five children and still live in the States.
The younger stayed in New York for some time, but was soon back home where she married Rémy BLOUIN. They have two children. Germaine’s husband, Louis BRAU was absolutely intent on perpetuating his wife’s work and memory. He managed to inspire his daughter and son-in-law with the desire to do so, since they both have the special taste and generosity necessary for the job. The family frame and tradition have been kept intact to this day. Rémy BLOUIN has succeeded in respecting the family tradition as well as in making the restaurant a renowned place. This tour de force is brilliantly orchestrated. One can savour all the local specialities, fish soup, grilled fish, bouillabaisse and so on.
But, the owner never forgets that clients are hard to please. So the most delicate savours are on the menu as well as the most sophisticated meals created with innovative culinary technics. Thierry BLOUIN, Germaine’s grandson had an extension of the terrace built on the actual quay, a few centimetres from the water. Having lunch or dinner there means enjoying a unique situation and feeling permeated by Villefranche’s unequalled essence. One never goes to “La Mère Germaine” by chance, it is filled with regulars. If a tourist comes unexpectedly, he will always retain the memory of a place where gastronomy has letters patent of nobility.
Titulaire de la carte professionnelle délivrée par
la Préfecture des Alpes maritimes 10555 (5952T)
Caisse de garantie GALIAN n° 26864, 89 rue de la Boétie, 75008 Paris
TVA intracommunautaire FR 473839 50003 | déclaration CNIL n°1768278