Nice…Even When the Weather Isn’t So Nice
My week in Nice has come to an end and by the time you read this, I’ll be back in Gray Paree. Rain and cloudy skies are on the horizon for the City of Light and I wonder now how it ever got that nickname. While we had torrential rains here on the Côte d’Azur on Monday, by mid afternoon they were done and the sun came out to render the Mediterranean Sea a beautiful aqua blue, as is its norm.
That afternoon, I ventured in the downpour to Villefranche-sur-Mer with Interior Designer, Laura Poirier, to see a project she’s working on for our clients. It’s a large and spacious two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in a big building on the Basse Corniche just past the old town of Villefranche — on route to Beaulieu-sur Mer and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat — with terraces front and back. The views from the living room and master bedroom are what Riviera dreams are made of.
The water of the sea was rough and crashing against the walls of the port at Villefranche, the boats in the harbor bobbing around like toys on bath water, the skies a dark gray, but that didn’t matter. With a daily view of such magnificent scenery, one might never leave that heavenly spot looking down on what the earth has given us. The coastline from Nice to Menton never ceases to thrill me. And while I love living in the heart of it all, Nice, it’s all there for the pleasure of enjoyment at any time. It’s no wonder that so many people who once were drawn to Paris have succumbed to the sensual beauty of the Côte d’Azur.
Sunday I made my traditional excursion to the Cours Saleya, not to make any purchases, but just for the atmosphere of the marketplace, in spite of the Coronavirus threat looming over all of our heads. The Musée de la Photographie Charles Nègre and the Galerie du Musée at 1, place Pierre Gautier is one of my habitual stops, to see the latest exhibition there, but this stop also had a special purpose — to renew my three-year museum pass offered to all residents of the municipalities of the Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolis 18 years old and older (young people under 18 are admitted free of charge to museums and galleries).
It’s easy to get: just bring in two supporting documents — an identity document (valid national identity card or passport) and proof of your address that is less than three months old (such as a utility bill). Present yourself personally at the reception of one of the museums or municipal galleries (except the priory of the Vieux Logis) with the documents and your personalized pass will then be issued to you on the spot, valid for three years.
At the Musée de la Photographie was Jacques Borgetto’s “So close to the sky, Tibet,” on from February 15 to May 26, 2020. A quick visit to the city website lists all the current exhibitions in the area. So, you see, while Paris may be the Capital des Musées in France, Nice has its share of art to discover. Artists flocked to the region enamored by the way the sunlight reflected on the varying landscapes and inspired them to paint what they saw…such notable artists as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse, and Edvard Munch, etc., etc., etc…the list goes on and on. When the wealthy discovered it as a popular vacation and retirement spot, the cultural center for art thrived.
The culinary arts are another favorite pasttime — not cooking, but enjoying someone else’s, particularly the talents in the local restaurants, of which there is no shortage of great dining spots. I’ve discovered a few new restaurants this past week, of which you might want to make note for your next excursion to Nice and vicinity.
Bar des Oiseaux, at 5, rue Saint-Vincent, in Old Nice is one of Armand Crespo’s best and serves a three-course lunch for 20€ that is worth 40€. He’s the best restaurateur in Nice and you can count on any one of his establishments, especially for the price. Learn more about him and his bistrots here.
Chez PapaChez Papa on rue Bonaparte near the Old Port was a first time for me, but won’t be a last. This is where Mayor Christian Estrosi chose to dine alongside us. My dining companion ordered a bun-less burger, to which they didn’t roll their eyes too much, and then happily served up a gorgeously presented burger with salad and fries.
Oînos is a new Greek restaurant in town, steps from Place Garabaldi on rue Cassini, that gets thumbs up from my friends who spend a lot of time in Greece. And does now from me after enjoying a very copious meal there that sent me home with leftovers. (I’ll be enjoying it again later today on the train back to Paris.)
With every trip to Nice, I find myself eating my way through the city and enjoying it more with each adventure. If you want even more restaurant suggestions than these few here, read a past Parler Nice Nouvellettre® for the inside scoop!
…and then don’t be shy about letting me know others you’ve discovered, too, for my next time in town!
A la prochaine…
Editor of Parler Nice
(dressed for the rain)
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