We’ve recently returned from our nicoise style honeymoon, all be it eight months late! However this was a trip that uncovered a city rich in history, full of flavour and combines together a great mix of old and new. Nice is a Mediterranean foodie haven. One which will seduce all of your scenes, to the point you won’t want to leave. And why would you? With its wonderfully sunny climate, blue sea and warm hospitality you’ll be enticed to stay a little longer, as will your tastebuds.
Admittedly you could easily spend a week watching the world go by along the Promenade des Anglais and our hotel, Le Meridean, is very much the place to do just that. Boasting the best views of the beach front and the Bay of Angels from its roof top terrace restaurant it serves delicious food not to be overlooked and a proper French style breakfast to keep you fuelled throughout the day.
It didn’t stop there. Having uncovered countless beautiful gardens, churches, monuments and elegant architecture we also unsurprisingly discovered the city’s culinary specialities. Nice is a culinary adventure, with a coulourful and energetic vibe, there is no shortage of places to eat or drink.
As cliché as it sounds, on every corner there is a bolongerie selling freshly baked white baguettes, beautiful pastries and tarts, which frankly look to darn good to eat. On Garibaldi Square you’ll find Café de Turin, a fish restaurant, which has been selling an array of fresh fish and oysters for over 100 years, making for a great romantic dinner. It boasts a great traditional French atmosphere and really showcases what Nice has to offer in its shores to a very high standard. A freshly prepared Nicoise Salad is also a must and in the summer tiny artichokes and broad beans are added.
For food on the go La Socca, which is a very thin crepe made of chickpea flour and olive oil is a popular street food. Not for me however. Far too rich and heavy and you’ll need a glass of wine to wash it down. Just as well, as this is a region that does good wine, whether you’re in a beach front bar or wandering around the Old Town. Having visited an authentic winery and tasted some orginal rose, red and white wine made with grapes grown just outside of Nice, you get a feeling the wine grown in this part of France is produced with a lot of heart and passion. And it goes down very well. I can testify.
Nice is also renowned for it’s olive oil, made from Olives picked from November to April. Having done a thorough tasting of some of the best olive oil to have ever passed my lips, from extra virgin oil to basil as well as lavender infused varieties we made the executive decision to take a few bottles home with us. Drizzled over salads or asparagus, it will transform your dishes.
The market in the Old Town is also worth a visit on the tourist trail. Selling flowers, the freshest fruit and vegetables as well as preserves and soaps it’s bursting with colour and a variety of differnet exotic smells. Succulent cherries, gorgeous plums and the biggest figs you’ll ever see. Grab a coffee and people watch, you’ll not be disappointed
As well as fabulous food and wine Nice is also well regarded for it’s fragrances. In many of the shops and markets you’ll find wonderful perfumes and soaps, made from lavender and other herbs and spices. In fact you’ll find lavender growing everywhere and the scent will follow you too. We took an opportunity to visit Grasse, the world capital of perfume and enjoyed a guided tour of the perfume factory Fragonard. This was certainly a different feast for the senses and certainly opened my eyes up to the craft of perfume making. With only around 50 Noses (the term used to describe those who create perfume) in the world, the skill that goes into creating the perfect scent is not to be underestimated.
Without a doubt this is a captivating city offering so much for its size as well as a gastronomic playground bursting with flavours along every street you turn. And with a sea views stretching out huge distances, it really is a slice of paradise. A return visit for a milestone anniversary? I think so!