A couple of days ago became a landmark day for me, on my journey around the globe. I was heading to the south of France with Karine and we were heading for Nice! This incredibly famous French Riviera City I had heard so much about. I had seen it in movies and heard about it from friends who had been there. It was going to become a reality for me. I was pretty excited about it too I must say.
Visions of blue and white striped umbrella’s along the pebbled coastline filled my head. A plethora of European super cars lining the streets, incredible fashion and beautiful people everywhere. Well, that was what I thought.
Boy, did I get a surprise. It was only a little bit of this and a lot of very very “normal”. The surprising and very comforting thing about Nice is that it is not to dissimilar to many other coastal cities I have been to. It’s a little like Sydney’s Bondi Beach on steroids and no where near the amount of blondes.
The food here is a fusion of both cultures and the alfresco dining is just simply incredible. We stopped in for breakfast at “Pain et Cie!” (Bread and Co.). It’s a really stylish cafe right near the Cours Saleya Markets (the town square flower market) and the brunch was great. Coffee is definitely Italian inspired, aromatic and strong. It was a great start to the day and we knew we would be wandering the streets for a while so it also helped our energy levels.
Strolling through “Old Town” Nice was an experience second to none. Narrow alleyways barely separating the small outlets and eateries on the street. Washing hanging above your head on makeshift clothes lines strung up against mustard and euchre coloured buildings that date back a few centuries or more. It is truly beautiful and inspiring.
Passing a small plaza we decided to stop in at the very famous Fenocchio. This master ice creamery has been operating here since 1966 and I have to say the flavours are incredible. I tried a scoop each of fig and chilli chocolate. Oh……My……..God…..You cannot not go to this bastion of chilled delights. It really doesn’t get any better than this.
We then walked down the “Promenade des Anglais” where the beach is a field of beautiful polished and rounded pebbles with turquoise water lapping at the shores. There really are blue and white striped umbrellas in partitioned bars and restaurants along the waterfront. The architecture is a fusion of Italian and French. There are impressive villa’s in the affluent areas and then you have typically simple houses across the suburbs. Apartments are definitely the most affordable and abundant form of dwelling in the city.
Be assured this place is divine! Finally making it down to the Balearic Sea on the southern coast is a bucket lister for me. This was a wonderful first day in Nice and one I will remember for a very long time.