Nice Is Nice – Either Way Its Nice
Behind Nice’s impressive cultured front are earnest artists, street markets and an endless tide of tourists
We had planned to leave earlier in the morning for our daytrip to Nice but got underway a little late from Villefranche-sur-Mer, with just enough time to grab a baguette before running to catch the bus.
Nice is nice but didn’t “Wow” us.
Across the busy avenue which parallels the promenade is an impressive row of up-market hotels, restaurants, condominiums and even a couple of casinos … and of course McDonalds.
The columns and moldings around the oval Royal Salon are accented with 24 karat gold and between columns are large portraits of France’s Royals.
Continuing our stroll down the promenade, the odd sprinkle of rain was felt before entering a park built atop the riverbed which once divided France from Italy.
We wove our way along narrow streets and peered in windows of art galleries, clothing boutiques and what seemed to us an overabundance of pastry shops and restaurants.
From the market awnings we scampered up yet another narrow laneway and took refuge in a gelato [Italian ice cream] shop. We took our time choosing from the 96 flavors on offer. What would you pick? Thyme, tomato, basil or, perhaps, rosemary, poppy or lavender? What about fig, mango, pear or almond? For those who can’t decide between an ice-cream or after-dinner liqueur here you can order both in the same scoop.
The rain slackened a bit and we maneuvered our way back to the bus depot for the ten minute return ride to Villefranche-sur-Mer; our hotel was a short block from the bus stop. We stopped on the way at a small vegetable and fruit grocer plus the bakery to pick up some items for a picnic dinner.
First on our to-do list upon arrival in our lodging was to open the French doors to the balcony’s view and spread a few crumbs for the dove that visited us this morning.
HOTEL LE PROVENCAL, Villefranche-sur-Mer–
A lovely two-star boutique hotel ideally located 10 minutes’ walk from Villefranche-sur-Mer train station or beach and only a block from the bus to/from Nice. Rooms are clean and the staff is welcoming and helpful. Their breakfasts are serve in the garden. Book early to secure a room with a view over old town to the Mediterranean … one of several reasons to choose Hotel le Provencal in Villefranche.
Address: 4 Avenue du Marechal Joffre 06230, Villefranche-sur-mer
Phone: 04 93 76 53 53
Email: On website contact page