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Discovering Nice, France
I took a noon flight from Phoenix to JFK and JFK to Nice, a 9 p.m. flight red eye. The 8+ hour of flying had me landing after 11 a.m. which was perfect to start the day.
A little about Nice
It’s France’s 5th biggest city with the second busiest airport. You can fly directly into Nice, and since Italy is 1 hour away (Nice is south west, next to Monaco), you will find a lot of Italian restaurants and influences. The iconic blue chairs line the coast so you can take a seat and take in the view, and there is a large pavement area that follows the seafront for casual walking, bike riding or running if you should want to do those activities. Old Town is a place to discover historic tall buildings, narrow streets, where boutique stores are located on the bottom as residences live up top. There is a large market area which is typically set up for selling spices, vegetables and flowers, and on Mondays turns to French antiques and collectibles. In the evening the market area showcases artisan shopping and plentiful restaurant seating to enjoy the cuisine in perfect weather. To learn more about Nice, visit their website here.
Are you ready? It’s gonna be a long one, here we go!
Day 1 – Italian lunch and rocky beaches
Here’s the main plaza which we walked through to get to the beach, Old Town – tiny boutiques and Massena Street – more well-known stores.
How’s this for a splash pad with a view eh?
Before we hit the beach, we had an incredible Italian lunch at Attimi. Since France is so close to Italy – only 1 hour away so there are many Italians and influences in France – lucky me, I got to eat French and Italian food!
Then it was beach time, I even changed into my swimsuit. Ahhhh.
Wait a sec…that doesn’t look comfy at all! We sure are lucky to have sandy beaches in the States, aren’t we?
The tourism office of Nice gave me a sweet souvenir, I finally understood it after the beach visit. Salt and pepper shakers in the shape of the rocks on the beach.
Hm, shopping instead you say? Just ask for Old Town, it’s quaint yet very large in size and oh so charming.
That night for dinner we ate at Luc Salsedo, where you basically just pick chicken or beef (or vegetarian) and tell them anything you dislike or are allergic to. The chef has a new menu every 10 days and he just whips something up for you! It’s a surprise dinner! I wish I had that kind of creativity in my kitchen.
We had some of Nice’s very own famous Socca chips.
Believe it or not, this fruity drink didn’t even have any alcohol in it.
This pretty and delicious thing was stuffed in a flower of a zucchini!
Day 2 – A Spectacular View of Nice
Woke up in this darling three star hotel, Grand Hotel Florence. Hotels include a great breakfast in the morning you shouldn’t pass up.
They even house some bees at the top of the hotel that make some honey – I’ve never been stung so I gave my camera to one of the nice and brave employees so I could show you.
A little market shopping at the flower and vegetable market.
Then a spectacular, famous view of Nice from the top of Castle Hill (Colline du Château). It’s free, open to the public and a huge park and botanical garden. The little French children have no idea how blessed they are, truly. I stood there listening to them speak French and kick balls around, my heart just smiled.
Back through Old Town to enjoy the narrow streets and bright facades. This architecture is called Sardinian. I’ll just call it perfection.
A delicious lunch and wine tasting at Compagnons de la Grappe who has an impressive wine cellar, having a bottle of $50,000 wine! So, who wants to go back and celebrate?
A little time to rest then back out for dinner!
The flower and veggie market turns into a night of shopping of accessories and other goods. Chairs and tables from restaurants as the French take their place.
Acchiardo Restaurant, is run by a 4th generation of the same family, since 1927. I also learned that night during conversation that it is not custom to ask for takeaway (leftovers to be boxed up), as that’s not something that makes restaurants happy, because they believe the meal is to be enjoyed there and fresh. Plus, you can always go out tomorrow for another delicious meal.
Oh, and the brothers are um, pretty handsome as you can see. I insisted on taking a photo just to show you. The French are just as beautiful as their buildings. You’re welcome.
Day 3 – Bus tour, museum and lunch with a view
Stopped in the Chagall Museum, a collection of 250 works.
Then a little walk through another market north of Nice, called (I think) Liberty Market or the like.
Stopped into Arleqeuin Gelati Italiani where the owners spoiled us with endless tastes of gelato and sent me off with a lemon italian soda.
Waited for the quietest tram in the world, you have to watch out because you might get run over if you run across the tracks. Be careful!
A divine lunch with a view, and the most comfortable breeze at Blue Beach Plage Restaurant. I felt like I walked into a Ralph Lauren Polo restaurant. All the men had white polos and sneakers on.
I had to take a photo sitting in one of the famous blue chairs that overlook the ocean.
All of the South France bloggers together! What a life!
Take a peek into my latest France home investment. Ah ok, so it’s a 5-star hotel, Le Negresco and the owner, an older lady lives there on the top floor. I don’t know why but I think of the movie Clueless.
Oh sorry, I was just practicing a welcome to my mansion pose. Check out this amazing carousel restaurant that is attached to the hotel.
Sooooo…this is art, so I’m going to just say that’s going to justify postsing this racey little piece of artwork. Hey, marble sculptures are nude so cut me a little slack because this is very cool. This sculpture made by Paul Pacotto rotates and there’s a light in the corner. As it rotates, the shadows change. Just watch it and notice that it changes. If he had a museum I would definitely spend all day in it! I would really love to buy one of his pieces. This was in a glass case on display in the hotel.
And then, we had to say goodbye to our sweetest Caterina (who speaks Italian, Portuguese, French and English and also used to live in San Francisco) who showed us around, took us everywhere, and translated on our behalf. My heart was so sad as I just absolutely loved her. We had to catch our car to Aix-en-Provence, as the Rail Europe was still on strike and our train was cancelled leaving ulterior methods which wouldn’t have been as quick as a private car.
Goodbyes have always been so difficult for me, but, we had to say them. We hopped in our car for a 2-hour ride west.
See you tomorrow in Aix-en-Provence, you’re going to love it!
Have you seen my 3 minute video tour of France? Click here.
Diana Elizabeth looks forward to visiting Nice again, what an experience – you can lay out on the rocky beaches by the way, there are chairs that are available for rent.
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