In this series, we are interviewing members of our club, so that you can get to know each other a bit better. Today we talk with Gwen Rocton about her life and work in the region.
What brought you to the French Riviera? How long have you been here?
We moved back in 2020 due to the pandemic. We took over a lovely English tea room in Normandie, which was great, but the kitchen became too small when we extended to a bistro-type restaurant.
While looking for a different location, we came across a site which gave us the perfect opportunity to move to Cote d’Azur.
We love how beautiful and mountainous it is, it brings back some memories of the Caribbean to some extent. Where I am from and Michel lived for many years.
Could you tell us about your professional career? What do or did you do for work?
We have worked in the hospitality industry internationally for many years. For most of these years, I was a guest relation manager.
And Michel, an executive pastry chef then, later on, become an executive chef including lecturer for a prestigious culinary school.
Together we have traveled the world providing our services to many celebrities for which we are grateful.
What does the company that you work for do?
We run an auberge/restaurant in the Majestic village called Aiglun 06 in the Alpes Maritimes.
The village is very famous for hikers and cyclists. Its beautiful rivers can only be described as a dream. with its fresh turquoise water.
We provide customers with dishes using fresh produce from local farmers as much as we can.
We believe in working directly with farmers and local suppliers. In this way, we are helping each other to create a sense of community.
We are working on different projects to bring more locals to the village. For example, organising retreats and seminars.
Our cuisine is influenced by our travels so you will get different flavors from different countries. Our menu will surprise you each and every time, as we change them every week.
We go the extra mile for our clients while providing them with a comfortable stay in a beautiful atmosphere.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
This is not our first business, we started by providing hotels and restaurants with desserts, bread, and pastries on the island of St Lucia where Michel worked and train many now pastry chefs.
He was an offsite pastry chef for over 5 years, then opened a small cafe on the island which did very well until the 2008 recession came, which forced us to close and go back to being employed.
We love the challenge of having our own business, it gives us a chance to really showcase what we can do and believe in.
What would be your best advice to others thinking about living or working on the French Riviera?
We would say, with the beauty of this part of France you cannot go wrong. Proceed with caution, meaning try to be unique and be ready to go the extra mile, while providing extraordinary service as there can be a lot of competition.
Try to stand out as much as possible. If you think you have a service to offer, believe it and don’t give up.
There are lots of things happening in Cote d’Azur. Especially new businesses with interesting people and concepts. You will never finish discovering.
So please be open to trying new things even if it may seem strange to you. If you are not willing to try or make that trip you might just be missing out.
Fun facts about Gwen Rocton!
Since when do you live on the French Riviera?
We have been living here for 7 months.
Where are you originally from?
I am from Saint Lucia and Michel is French, from Normandie
What is your favourite wine?
I do love the imperator red from Saint Julian du Var.
What is your favourite spot on the French Riviera?
Still exploring. For now the Promenade des Anglais. It was always a dream to walk it.
What French word, expression or sentence do you find very difficult to pronounce?
Too numerous to mention.
If you are looking for a place with a difference please consider coming to explore our beautiful Auberge and village.
It is a perfect gateway for friends and family. We can also hold events in our beautiful restaurant with a perfect view of the mountains. Though it’s a winding road we promise you that the trip won’t be in vain.
We are a friendly bunch and will make your experience a very comfortable one. After seeing where we are you will be sure to tell your friends.
Do try our homemade Caribbean Rum punch and Ti punch with my secret ingredients when you are here.
Please don’t be afraid to send special requests with advance notice so we can better serve you and do not hesitate to contact us with questions and queries.
We promise to answer as promptly as we can.
There is a lot of history in this village which you will find on our website, we also have a book about the village on the property which is available for clients to read.
Hope to see you soon!