by Melinda Gallo

Enjoying Nice

During the conference in Opio, I had talked to many French people there who told me that Nice wasn't that interesting to visit. They said that the vieux Nice (old town in Nice) is interesting, although dirty, but that the rest of the city wasn't appealing. Most of them suggested that we go to Cannes and Monaco instead. This morning, we decided to stay in Nice to walk around and visit as much of it as possible.

Living in Florence :: Enjoying Nice

We began our day once again with croissants, a café crême (caffè au lait) and a thé au lait (hot tea with milk) at the pâtisserie/boulangerie (pastry shop/bakery) down the street.

We walked toward the vieux Nice after breakfast where we saw the marché aux fleurs (flower market) with many colorful flowers and green, healthy plants of all types. We strolled past restaurants with beautiful terraces leading out onto the pedestrian area around the market. The interiors were stunning and if we weren't so close to the Mediterranean we would've had lunch in one of them.

Instead, we decided to go along the Quai des Etats-Unis (the United States waterfront) where we looked out on the green-blue water hitting against the rocky beach. Because it was only noon, we decided to board the "hop on, hop off" bus for a tour of Nice.

The bus took us around the port, through a posh residential area on a hillside overlooking the beach, past the Musée d'art moderne et d'art contemporain (Modern Art Museum), many lush gardens, as well as the Chagall and Matisse museums. We also went by the stunning Negresco hotel.

As we drove past the palatial houses with pristine gardens surrounding them, Dave and I both again thought about how nice it would be to live in a home that overlooks the water below. The picture I took here was taken at one of the high points in the residential area where the homes were located.

After our tour, we walked along the Promenade des Anglais to look for another restaurant on the beach where we could hear the water crash against the rocky beach and take in the wonderful sea air.

It was quite windy and the water came up pretty close to the restaurant. We enjoyed our meal as we looked out on the water. The different colors of the water fascinated us both. We could see dark blue, greenish-blue, green, light green, and white when the water crashed against the shore.

After a delicious lunch, we walked along the shore, but it was windy and became quite cold. We felt it was better to walk away from the water, so we wouldn't be so cold. We walked down rue Massena, which is a pedestrian shopping area.

For our afternoon snack, we sat down at a bar on the rue Massena to have crêpes.

To walk off our hearty snacks, we shopped some more and I guided Dave back to Monoprix so I could purchase a few groceries to take back to Florence. They seem to have a lot of American products that we've never seen in Italy, like Tropicana orange juice and Kettle chips, but we didn't buy any. We did, however, find some Cheddar cheese that we'll be trying to take back to Italy with us. We bought a box of Ziploc bags, which aren't easy to find either. I bought some crême de cassis for Simone, two toothbrushes for myself because I haven't found any with soft brushes in Florence, and a couple of reusable shopping bags that I'm hoping will be handy when I'm shopping at my mercato.

Dave and I also walked around the Nice Etoile shopping mall, which was quite crowded. At one point, Dave asked me who the person was who was surrounded by numerous photographers and many people taking pictures with their cellphones. I couldn't see the woman at first, but I did take a few pictures myself.

We couldn't get that close to her, but as she went along collecting money for the Croix-Rouge (Red Cross), we went the other way. We needed to go downstairs and because the crowds were all around her, we walked over to the elevators instead. While we waited for the elevator, a beautiful blonde woman walked past us. She was only a few feet away and I wanted to take her picture even though I didn't even know who she was. I felt awkward about pulling out my camera to take a picture of her, so we just waited for the elevator and hopped in when the doors opened.

A woman got on and commented on how busy it was out there. I asked her who the woman was and she said, "Adriana Karembeu." I looked her up on the Internet when I got home and found out that she's a Czech supermodel living in France. She is as stunning in the photo as she is in person.

We had a great day in Nice and walked around many of the shopping areas and markets as well as along the coast. Dave and I really enjoyed Nice and liked it even more than Cannes. Of course, we didn't see a lot of Cannes, but the feel wasn't as appealing to us as Nice was. We both especially loved the large walkway above the beach and the wider streets, the pedestrian areas, and the open markets.

Ultimately I have realized that no one can give advice about whether a place is enjoyable to visit or not. It really depends on how you feel when you're walking around and visiting it.

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