The Charm of Nice – 5 Travel Tips

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Southern France is a known place to go for one’s summer vacation or just for a little getaway. Sea, sun, seafood and rosé wine – what more could one possibly desire, especially, if also a good book with you?

I have been in Nice several times and have always found it fascinating. Once you go a little bit beyond that obvious “too touristic” surface, you find a city full of local tastes and memorable moments.

Some of my favorite things to do in Nice:

Food shopping with locals

I always rent an apartment, so that I would be free in my comings and goings and also could do my own food shopping and some cooking, whenever I feel like it. It really gives you the feeling of living in that place and for me it’s so much more authentic than just a room in a hotel. I love to go over to local grocery and around-the-corner boulangerie (bakery) for fresh produce, to interact with sellers and locals and to come back to my apartment for tasting those simple, fresh and delicious local flavors. The baguettes are a known classic, so are all the pastries and fruits. I even managed to find a chips version of local chickpea snack socca – chips made of chickpea flour.

Walking and going to the beach in the promenade

Promenade des Anglais is really deservedly the most famous promenade of Nice. It’s impossible to resist its blue water for swimming, later on enjoying the incredible views around you while taking your sunbath. And for those not so keen on sunbathing, it’s a beautiful lively place to walk in the evenings or going for a run. I took very often the walking path from promenade to the port area of Nice – wonderfully picturesque, while also helping to loose some of those calories you can’t help to consume here.

Fragonard

This section is for perfume lovers, I must warn. I have been addicted for years to the perfumes of Fragonard, so every time when here, I try to stock them. I don’t even remember, what was my very first Fragonard perfume, perhaps Belle de Nuit, but by now I have tried and love quite many of them – Etoile, Ile d’Amour, Eclat, Diamant, just to name some of them. This time I bought again some of my old favorites, but also discovered a new one that I hadn’t tried before – Fleur d’Oranger. I’m really eager to try it, as a similar perfume by Serge Lutens has been among my very favorites and is about to end. There’s a Fragonard factory and factory shop a little bit outside Nice, in Grasse, but also a fully stocked boutique in Nice, in Cours Saleya, for example.

For those, who are not so keen on perfumes, there are really nice local products to be found from a variety of olive oils to herbs of Provence to handmade lavender soaps. And aren’t those Provence-style table cloth and napkins and other kitchen accessories just lovely? You quickly understand here, what’s worth to buy and what’s the typical products-made-in-China area, so definitely less is more.

Cours Saleya

The versatile market place of Cours Saleya is one of the jewels of Nice. It transforms itself from flower market to food court to antiques market to open air restaurant area. And though it’s not the most cheapest area to have your dinner (as usual, local cheaper spots can be found around the corner), at least for once it’s worth of dining, just to feel that buzzing atmosphere around you. And if not for dinner, one can always go over for a little aperitif!

Moules Frites

I’m not definitely saying something utterly new here, but the Belgian/French specialty of mussels and French fries (les moules frites) is definitely worth a try here. It comes in wonderful variety and often with homemade French fries, so it’s simply that one dish full of flavor that you can’t go wrong with. The most common ones come with cream and onions or tomato sauce and herbs of Provence, but I went this time for something different – moules au Roquefort and moules a Nantes. The first one had a crème sauce mixed with the famous blue cheese and the second one had the mussels immersed in the sauce of fish bouillon and bisque de homard. The taste of those is something not to miss for any food lover!

As usual, one returns (or continues her journey) sun-kissed and relaxed, totally mesmerized by the taste of seafood and other French tastes, from savory to sweet. And my French is again improved after some practice, love that beautiful language!

A bientôt, Nice!

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