Recently, I had a writing assignment for which I had to pick a city and create a schedule for a day trip, as if I were showing it to a friend. For the assignment, I actually picked my home city, Milwaukee, which made me very nostalgic for cheese (a little weird because I’m in France, right?) and for beer gardens (not for beer though, I’m not a big fan, Milwaukee just has some nice beer gardens). However, now I would like to show you Nice through my lens.
Why not start the morning with a nice, easy hike? A hill stands in the middle of Nice, separating the port from Vieux Nice. The farther up you climb, the more beautiful and extensive the view. And not only is your perspective on this beautiful city a sight for sore eyes, there is also a lot to see on the hill itself! As you walk up, you are likely to run into mosaic tile patterns and scenes from ancient Greek history on the ground. There is also a cemetery open to the public, ruins from a chateau that was once occupied at the top, and a beautiful fountain that I’m sure has been seen through every Instagram filter.
My original plan was to do this in the late afternoon/evening because since arriving here I have always wanted to see a sunset from the top of this hill. However, I have since been informed that the entrances close around 18:00 or 19:00 for the night. My informant, who shall remain nameless, had the misfortune to find this out by experience.
The French may eat a later dinner, but noon is still lunch for everyone. For lunch, we can have a simple meal along Cours Saleya, the large market in Vieux Nice. We can find great sandwiches and snacks in this area, while also being able to look in awe at giant oranges and rows of olives. There are also plenty of vendors with soaps, oils, art, and household plants!
It wouldn’t be right to go to Cours Saleya and not get Fenocchio’s, which is the best French gelato you will ever have. They’re in the heart of Vieux Nice and have every flavor you could ever want. Lavender? Yup, and it’s delicious. Cactus? You got it. Avocado? Why not. About 10 flavors of chocolate? Probably. One of my goals for the end of the semester is to try all of their flavors, which is ambitious both for my limited time and for my wallet.
We can take the rest of the afternoon just to stroll around Vieux Nice! The winding streets are full of small boutiques for all sorts of things. Some of my favorites are the shops that sell only olive oils and tapenade, but most of all the cat store. I’m sure this lovely place has a name other than the cat store, but that seems to fit. All of its merchandise is cat-themed, but that’s not even the best part. If you look closely, a fat, furry gray cat sits right by the register counter, looking absolutely majestic.
This is the French time for goûtée, one of my favorite times of day because it is essentially a built-in snack time. We can go to a great café called “Émilie’s” where they sell scones the size of a human adult head. Enough said.
For the remainder of the evening, I would recommend heading down to the beach and just taking in just how blue the water is. We’ll probably need a break after all the walking we did, anyway.
Now that we have reached an acceptable dinner time, we can head to a restaurant called “Les Hussards” which is close to the quarter I live in. This is a very typical French restaurant with incredible pasta made in house! (Don’t worry, I found that out right away. Living a French semester hasn’t changed my love for pasta.) In addition to their daily menu, they also offer a plat du jour at a reduced price! Either way, we will be eating very well because...when in France.