6 Nights in Nice
I had already wrote a post on me and the guys visit to Nice during the first week of Euro 2016, but after I had spent a little bit of time reviewing the post to be published the following morning news started filtering through on social media about the vile act of terrorism on Bastille Day. Obviously I could not publish the article the day after the attacks because it would be the most distasteful thing I can think of, especially as the scene of the attack featured a fair amount in the post I had written. So please forgive the lateness of the post below.
A trip to a major football tournament is something I have always wanted to do and until now the timing has never been quite right, mostly due to lack of funds! But around June last year me and 3 mates decided that this was our time, the Euro tournament was relatively on our doorstep and we had a year to plan, and with the emergence of AirBnB it felt as if we had more control to keep the cost of the holiday reasonable so everything fell in to place.
We flew from Manchester fairly early, as to make the most of the day as Nice was only around 5 hours away with a layover in Brussels. In fact, I was adamant that we were going to get these particular flights with Brussels airlines, I waited over a month for the price to drop to a reasonable level!
After our early start, obligatory airport beers and a solid nap on both flights we arrived in the Cote d'azur, you are struck by the famous blue sea as you come in to land. As we drove in to town you could see how amazing the streets are, I’ve mentioned in previous posts how much I love old style Mediterranean streets a Nice is no different. Although one word of warning, we pulled an absolute rookie error and didn’t ask the taxi driver how much in advance from the airport and he promptly charged us a nice round €50, when an Uber would have been around €35.
Our flat was perfect, a studio within a gated alcove right next to the port, next door to some fantastic restaurants, including the relatively famous ‘Jan’, we had no worries about our belongings being secure, there is no way you’d be able to find it without Google Maps!
I would really recommend staying in this section of town, you are right near the amazing harbour, where Nice’s reputation for being a millionaire’s playground is really visible – some of the yachts have to be seen to be believed, the high street and city centre are about a 15-minute walk inland, and you’ll will probably feel like doing some shopping once you arrived as everyone is so elegantly dressed, you feel a bit of a slob! I’ve honestly never felt underdressed for breakfast before.
The famous promenade is a stunning 20-minute walk around the coast which takes you past the striking Monument aux Morts, built in to the cliff side. There are a lot of joggers running along the coast line and when you reach the top of the hill before descending on to the promenade you can see why, the view is breath taking, the same stretch of shore you can see as you arrive in a place is even more striking close up.
As a bit of a confession, which won’t come as much of a surprise we spent most of our time sampling the local bars and watching football rather than taking in all the city has to offer, but it is clear there is a lot of history there to explore.
Bars and Restaurants
First things first, the bar scene in Nice is very expensive compared to most places I would tend to visit. Compare the €6-€8 beer in Nice to the £1-£2 beer in Colombia or the 50p beer in Sofia and you’ll understand my constant wince. Praise the Lawd that Euro2016 was pre-Brexit.
The restaurants, as you can imagine have a very high standard, there is a disappointing number of Italian/Pizzerias in the Old Town, I don’t know if this is purely down to catering to tourists or just the Mediterranean influence of the area, but I was a little taken aback by it. But if you are prepared to walk around and go down a few side streets then the food is class. My two picks however would be Le Frog and Le Maquis.
Le Maquis is bang in the centre of the old town and is of a more Mediterranean feel, I opted for the set menu and it didn’t disappoint, with the gazpacho being very refreshing and flavorful and my lamb shank main being some of the best lamb I’ve had. While Le Maquis is by no means cheap it is one of the more reasonable priced ‘fancy’ restaurants in the area.
Le Frog on the other hand is a unashamedly French affair, we ate here on our last night in Nice and so completely indulged. We shared two servings of snails and frog’s legs, the latter being a first for me, both were glorious and would definitely order frog’s legs again! I had rack of lamb for my main. I’m not usually big on lamb but in Nice they seem to be specialists, and like Le Maquis it was delightful. Two of my friends had the monkfish which they prepared as if it was a meat dish, they really loved it but it just struck me as an interesting direction, definitely one of keep an eye out for!
Anyway, obviously this post is late, but due to the attacks in Nice I wanted to wait to publish this, more out of respect than anything. Please don’t let what happened put you of going to this amazing part of the world, or anywhere for that matter. That’s when they win.
Cheers for reading guys,