Day 78 – Nice, France
Nice is NICE!! Really, nice.
Since we have a relatively small ship, we were able to dock right in the small harbor of Nice. As much as I would categorize our last port, Genoa, as a gritty working seaport, Nice is on the other end of the spectrum – it just exudes an atmosphere of relax and enjoy!
I guess they have a Hop On Bus here, but we decided it wasn’t needed and just walked into town around the harbor.
These beautifully painted boats are for fun, not working fishing boats. They are powered by small inboard engines and some also have oars and a small mast and sail. We watched a family of 4 maneuver their boat out of the last row, and putter out of the harbor for a day at sea – what fun!
We continued our walk around the harbor and eventually reached the beach area known as “Promenade des Angles”, so named because in the early days of tourism in Nice, this walkway was favored by the English for long walks around the beach.
In the middle of the promenade is a small statue which is a replica of the Statue of Liberty.
A block off of the promenade, next to the flower market, we found an el fresco breakfast place and enjoyed people watching while having breakfast. They serve salad with breakfast here – really quite good. A note here – if you travel in Europe, it is not possible to get a normal American cup of coffee. Espresso, yes – coffee, no. Even if you order an “Americano”, it is just a thimbleful of very strong coffee. Oh oh – I am on a cruise around the world complaining again.
We strolled through the flower market, wandered through the old town area, and found a bicycle taxi.
Our cycle driver was a young lady from Germany, who had been in Nice about five years, having originally come to study French. We were concerned about her peddling these two chunky bodies around, but Nadya assured us the bike was electric motor assisted.
We booked Nadya for an hour and she promptly peddled us into the main square of the “new town” area, containing fountains, sculptures, and the tracks of the ultra modern tram which services Nice, and was always full every time we saw it.
Nadya next peddled us into the old town area, describing interesting sites as we traveled through streets almost too narrow for the bike.
She stopped for a brief visit with this friend of hers, through his window. He was baking a pizza like treat called Socca – a flat bread made from chickpea flour. We couldn’t get a sample, as he is a wholesale baker for several shops in the market. Nice chat, though.
We passed through several plazas, with open air seating and a big variety of foods for sale, including this ice cream shop which Nadya claims is the best in France. Several hundred flavors including one that tastes like beer.
A crowded meat market in old town – Nadya claims it has the best prices in Nice – thus the crowds.
The fish prices must be less of a bargain.
After an extremely enjoyable hour tour, Nadya dropped us at the base of the large hill (mountain?) that lies between the harbor and the town. We had noticed it all day, but were apprehensive about the hike to the top. Fortunately, Nadya showed us where an elevator to the top was located and dropped us right in front.
The views from the top were spectacular.
Including the view of Elton John’s home atop the mountain across the harbor.
We opted for the pathway down off the mountain rather than the elevator, which brought us down to the harbor. Walking around the harbor, we found a sidewalk café (actually an Irish Pub) and had a local beer and some nachos.
We headed back on board the ship to get ready for sailing to Barcelona, tomorrow. This has been our first opportunity to really explore Nice, and it impressed us both greatly. Some places we visit fall into the category of “glad we saw it, but not coming back”, but this place falls into the category of “glad we saw it, when can we come back for a couple of weeks?” It is a very special place.