Travels in France: the Côte d’Azur (Part Two)

After we left St. Paul de Vence, we drove down to Nice for the day. We parked in a garage for the day and made our way to la plage, the beach. Since the beaches in and around Nice are pebbly, we decided that for one day it was worth it to pay the ~20 euros or so for the private beach. This way, we would have lounge chairs, access to bathrooms and changing rooms (important so we could change clothes and freshen up for dinner), and the option of ordering from the bar. We chose Plage Beau Rivage, located directly adjacent to the historic quarter of Nice.plage4We spent probably 4 or 5 hours there, taking in the views, reading, testing out the (freezing) water.plage_a1The whole time I felt like I was in a dream. I couldn’t believe I was really on the French Riviera. I felt so lucky.plage7 plage6 plage3 plage2 plage1 plage_a2

At one point we got sandwiches in town, and I had an incredible pan bagnat, which is basically a salad niçoise on a round roll. It was gigantic and fantastic. I ate a lot of tuna in France.

nice3

By mid-afternoon, we decided to leave the beach to explore Vieux Nice for awhile before dinner. The historic old town area was beautiful, more so than I even expected: narrow, pedestrianized streets, tall buildings in shades of yellow and orange and pink with shutters and flower boxes, lively street markets, bustling cafes with outdoor dining, many little shops…it was fantastic.

nice1 nice2  At one point I had speculoos ice cream: amazing.nice4 nice5 We stopped to share a carafe of rosé at Les Destilleries Ideales, and it was wonderful to sit at an outdoor table, watching the world go by and lingering over our wine in the late afternoon sunshine. Pure relaxation.nice6 We had dinner reservations at Bistrot d’Antoine, a place we read about ahead of time and I called to make our reservation. It was wonderful: a tiny little place with a chalkboard menu and incredible food and wine and bread. The bread alone was outstanding.nice7

nice10After dinner we wandered around the city more before calling it a night. I could easily have spent several more days just like this one.nice8 nice9 Up next: hilltop towns and a hike to Les Calanques.

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