Friday 4 October 2019

Nice 21-28 September 2019

September 20th 2019

My birthday! I can't believe the age I now am, I certainly don't feel it inside. It's also tinged with a little sadness as inevitably I think of my mother on this day too. But this birthday was different from the usual as I spent it in a b & b near Newcastle airport as I was heading off to Nice early the next day. It was called Stone Cottage and was basic but clean, handy and really excellent value for money and I got a very warm welcome too.

September 21st

Up early and drove the short distance to the airport, parked the car and got the shuttle to the terminal. The plane left on time and for most of the journey we had clear skies, I saw London below with the Thames and the O2 gleaming in the sunlight. Such a big city looked small from that height.

Our gorgeous terrace
We landed on time in Nice, it was cloudy and there was a little rain. Debbi also arrived on time and we got an Uber taxi (much cheaper than the normal fare) to our small apartment building, Les Nereides, east of Nice on the slopes of Mont Boron overlooking the Mediterranean. We were met by Madame Anselmo who showed us round the accommodation. It was as gorgeous as it looked online.
We went shopping for groceries and had a steep but short walk uphill to the supermarket. We had so much stuff my foldaway trolley gave up the ghost so we decided to get an Uber back to the apartment!!

That evening we ate in and had a little birthday celebration for me Debbi gave me a card and nice pressies and we had wine and prosecco.

September 22nd

We decided to have a lazy day today, the weather wasn't too good and we were tired from yesterday. It was good to relax and chill. We did go out with the purpose of getting a pizza for our evening meal but when we got to the shop it was closed! But we had food in that we had bought so I made a nice meal for us and we had a lovely evening.

September 23rd

View on the walk into Nice
Today we walked downhill into the city with beautiful views of Nice, the mountain backdrop and the huge blue Baie des Anges glimmering in the sunlight.
We walked round the port and went to our favourite patisserie Serain Cappa but it was closed on Mondays! So we went on into the nearby old town and wandered it's myriad of streets and alleys full of shops and eating places. We   had delicious pizza for lunch at a restaurant calledLa Mama.

Nice Old Town
Afterwards we wandered on and I went into the cathedral which was very beautiful and ornate inside.
We then stopped off for a yummy raspberry meringue and coffee in one of the squares of the old town and relaxed and people watched.

After that we made our way back to the bus stop so we could catch the bus home - it was all uphill and our old legs just can't cope with that anymore! We had bought ten bus trips online which was really cheap (all local fares cost 1.50 Euro which is cheap but this ticket made it one Euro per trip.)  It took us a while to fathom out how we had to validate them when we got on the bus but we managed fine and in no time we were off on our way home. There is a bus stop right outside of our apartment so that was perfect!

Tuesday 24th September

Villefranche-sur Mer
 Today Debbi was having a writing day so I decided to go to Villefranche just along the coast from where we are staying. I got the bus and once there and it looked very beautiful on the hillside on the sweeping bay with Cap Ferrat in the background. I walked down to the old town which was smaller than that of Nice but similar in many ways. It was also much quieter which made it very atmospheric. One part was 14th century covered alleys that reminded me a little of Edinburgh. There were many cafes and restaurants in the harbour area, the whole place had a relaxing feel about it.

Nice Cathedral Opposite


Afterwards I got the bus back home and then later we decided to go into the city for our evening meal. We waited ages at the bus stop until a kind English tourist told us there was a bus strike that day! So we ended up getting an Uber into the city. We had no firm plans on where to eat but eventually found a place called La Claire Fontaine in Place Rossetti  in the old town that had a very reasonable set menu. Our table was right beside the fountain and overlooking the cathedral, all so picturesque! We enjoyed our meal, it wasn't five star but good value for the price we paid and it was a lovely evening.

Wednesday 25th September

Today was our lazy day which we have on every trip we make together, a day of just mooching about, taking it easy
Fountains in Nice
and eating and drinking where we fancy. We got the bus into town and where we got off was a fantastic art shop which felt very old and very French. The easels were cheap compared with home, paint and brushes about the same price. Our first stop was the Brewdog pub which is one of Debbi's favourite watering holes. We walked past a park and fountains on the way there, very lovely, Nice has a lot of fountains. 

After a drink in Brewdog we then walked up  to Gaglio restaurant on the edge of the old town which we had seen the previous night and thought it would be good for lunch. It was rather windy and we had to re-position plates, glasses etc to stop the tablecloth whipping off!

Me in Gaglio
Unfortunately the cheap lunch was finished but the lamb and mash we had was not too pricey and delicious.
After this we walked to our favourite patisserie and had some of their lovely, creamy ice cream for afters! We looked at the cakes and said we'd come back to take some home.

We crossed Garibaldi Square and had a pichet of rose wine at L'Augume and just chilled and watched life pass by.

We then bought 4 cakes and got the bus home. For our tea we just had cheese, baguette, crackers, pate and other nibbles along with wine. The evening was spent relaxing and enjoying the most beautiful view our terrace had.

Thursday 26th September

Creative Day
Yesterday was our lazy day and today was going to be our creative day.  I'm an artist and Debbi is a writer and we decided to try each others art. Unfortunately you need a lot of kit for oil painting which wasn't practical so I brought items to create cyanotype instead.  Cyanotype is created by mixing two chemicals and brushing the solution onto paper, letting it dry. Once dry, under false light, you either place objects on the paper or create a picture on an acetate to put over the paper. Then you weigh it down with glass and place in sunshine for around 15 minutes. Then the picture is set by soaking and washing the paper in cold water and then left to dry. You end up with a picture that is white where you have placed articles or lines and the parts open to the sun turn a beautiful cyan colour. 
It was 1pm so we opened some wine (for artistic inspiration) and I prepared the paper and put it in a cupboard to dry. Then Debbi did a writing exercise with me that consisted of her giving me an opening sentence followed by random prompt words every minute for 15 minutes which I had to incorporate into what I was writing and I had to write non-stop. I enjoyed it a lot and it's amazing where such an exercise can take your writing.
I Love Baguettes!
We then went out to forage for plants to use for our cyanotype and then made our pictures inside before taking them onto the terrace to magically change in the sunshine. Then we washed them and let them dry, they turned out ok! I did another writing exercise which ended up totally different from the first. After that we just kind of chilled and had more wine whilst drinking in the stunning view.
The rest of the day we just relaxed, talked, listened to music and scratched our mossie bites! The one downside of being by the water was the mossies, the other two times we'd been to Nice we didn't get bitten at all.

Friday 27th September

Our last day already and we were going to spend it in Nice shopping. We got the bus into town and first stopped at the
Salt/Herb Shop
wonderful patisserie Serain Cappa, where the cakes are a work of art. We'd hoped to have our favourite cake, meringue chantilly, each but there was only one left! We decided to share it and also bought a millefeuille that looked delicious to share and we had espresso to accompany them. All wonderful, the meringue especially was light as a feather and the cream so tasty.
Soap shop
We then went into the old town to look around the shops. I bought some soap, savon de Marseille, that has real plant oil in it and smell delectable. The choice was amazing, hard to choose which to have. We then had along look around a fantastic shop that sold flavoured sea salts and herbs and spices of all kinds. We both bought some of the salts, it's just something you don't get here.  I also bought a grinder for the salts. 

Le Barbecue, First in Again!
We sat in a bar in Place Garibaldi just enjoying the ambiance afterwards. Then we went to to our favourite restaurant Le Barbecue, which actually is a Portuguese establishment, not French. It is quite small and set in a stepped alley off the main lanes of the old town. The setting is very atmospheric, surrounded by the tall buildings that are home to locals.

We had a very reasonably priced set meal. Cod and shrimp fritters to start, followed by a huge, tender steak with roasted veg and potatoes. Dessert was the famous Portuguese custard tart, Pastéis de Nata, which was warm, the puff pastry melted in my mouth and the custard was delicious. Another great meal in Le Barbecue, it never disappoints. 

Place Garibaldi
We walked up to Place Garibaldi which looked beautiful all lit up and we soon got an Uber home. We stayed up later than we should have as we didn't want our holiday to end. But we knew we were lucky to be able to have a week in this paradise. This apartment was the nicest accommodation we've ever had on our many trips together. We both needed a nice relaxing holiday and as we'd been to Nice twice before we had done all the touristy things and so could just chill and this time enjoy all the things we love so much about Nice and France. And on our last night we got a great farewell too as we watched an amazing firework display at the tip of Cap Ferrat which we watched from our terrace.

Sunset Over the Baie des Anges

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