The international resort of Nice, France, which I visited recently, was host to the American armed forces in 1945, serving as an official rest and recreation centre. The French termed the newly-arrived guests les restées.
Hotels, restaurants, and terraces filled up with sunglassed personnel in khaki, both men and women, seeking R&R after the Normandy invasion and push east.
A brewery in Nice was enlisted to make American-type beer for the restées. A Coca-Cola bottling plant was set up as well. Information is sparse on the brewery aspect, but it was part of a network of breweries the U.S. Army established in liberated areas as it moved east.
Presumably the plant was leased temporarily from the French owner, one of the numerous French breweries active in the South before the war.*
The story of America’s “invasion” of balmy Nice was colourfully set out in Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald in late 1945. A trademark humour threads the piece, perhaps reflecting both Aussie and American insouciance although the title, “Americans Play at Luxury”, hints at some envy.
A sample passage:
Hotel proprietors, maîtres d’hotel, and waiters, some of whom crossed the Mediterranean during the occupation, are coming back, too, and serving, with not so much grace as before the war, meals made from American Army rations to men and women. Dining is olive drab beneath high ormolu and gilt ceilings. It is significant that the president of all the chefs of Nice (M. Sauvan) is cooking for enlisted women. He isn’t even in supreme control. He is working under the direction of a woman sergeant …
There is no substitute for reading the full account, so by all means do so. I’ll add simply that the term ormolu was completely new to me, but no longer due to this fascinating explanation.
*[Subsequent note]. I later did a series on U.S. Army breweries in North Africa, Italy, and elsewhere in Western Europe, but never found the one in Nice. I think it is possible a brewery in Italy supplied American troops on R & R in the French Riviera.