It’s a warm and sunny day as we head off from our hotel for a stroll towards the main beach in Nice, France when we sight our first eye-popping and memorable image; a giant bare derriere belonging to an enormous nude statue of Apollo that is centrally located in Place Massena. Well, he’s not completely nude, he’s carrying what appears to be a cape and is wearing a crown.
Leaving Apollo behind we continue our walk along the renowned Promenade des Anglais that frames Nice’s main beach with its sparkling turquoise water. The beach is filled with people lying on daybeds under blue and white striped umbrellas whilst others are lying on towels on a pebbly beach that looks more like a recently demolished building site, that is, compared to my local beach at Bondi with its soft golden sand.
Continuing towards the end of the beachfront where the popular Castle Hill look out is located, we decide to embark on the reasonably challenging stair climb up to the top, where the rewards are beautiful sweeping views of Nice and the Cote d’Azur as far as the eye can see. Or there’s an elevator available to get you to the top in a less sweaty fashion.
From this vantage point, you can see where a multitude of luxury cruisers are moored. From the high hills behind the moorings and surrounding the marina are some of Nice’s most exclusive properties, where celebrities including Elton John, Johny Depp, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Tina Turner, as well as an array of notable local celebrities have properties.
From there you can also look over the very charming Old Town that is located just off the end of Promenade des Anglais. To get there we walk through an historic archway that leads to a picturesque piazza surrounded by old and decadent looking apartments that you can only dream to own. Monday is antique market day and it’s filled with people looking around for a bargain. Every other day there’s a buzzing colourful and vibrant fruit, vegetable and flower market that runs from 7:30am to 6pm.
We continue on to explore the labyrinths of cobbled stoned streets that make up Old Town. They’re filled with an exquisite variety of stores that sell everything from clothing to foods, such as the popular local dish Socca; a delicious pancake made of chickpea flour, water and olive oil that is cooked in front of you on a very wide castiron pan. Also on offer are a wide variety of spices, sweets, various delis, butchers that sell whole pigs and plenty of bars to unwind and have a cool drink. It’s hard to not want to try everything on offer and we certainly give it a good nudge. We’re only in Nice for a few days and each time that we visit Old Town it turns into our own personal food adventure.
By the end of our few days of gluttonous feasting our belt size moves up a notch or two but somehow each day we manage to keep enough room available to consume an ice cream filled macaroon from the cutest little hole in the wall bakery that specializes in these magical desserts.
Another highlight of Old Town is the Cathedral Sainte-Reparata. This is one of the oldest and most ornate churches in the city, and is located opposite the town’s most popular and delightful piazzas which is buzzing with locals and tourists eating and drinking. While there, we’re entertained by local street busking acrobats as well as a passing parade of energetic Indian dancers and musicians who are dressed in colourful and vibrant costumes.
Our schedule only allows us to be in Nice for a few days and reluctantly we leave this charming and historical sea-side city and continue our French adventure.
WHERE TO STAY:
Hotel Lepante – hotellepante.com
HOW TO GET THERE:
Vicky Gilden at Rose Bay Travel
(02) 9371 8166