Monday, 28 September 2015

Interrailing the South of France: Nice

You know all the pictures you see of Nice? The ones with the crazy blue sea that looks like they've been Instagram-filtered to within an inch of their life? It turns out Nice really does look like that. Amazing.
Being the pricey city that it is, Amber and I decided to shimmy over to the far end of the Côte d'Azur for one night and one night only, but boy, am I glad we did. We stayed at the Hostel Villa Saint Exupery Beach which was perfectly located and absolutely adequate. (Hey, I'm not going to get too excited, it was just a hostel but it did the job perfectly.)

Two days in Nice was actually ideal. I could definitely have stayed longer, but we had enough time to explore the city and get a feel for the beautiful tourist-trap that it is.

And it certainly is a tourist-trap. But Amber and I were more than happy to join the throngs for a couple of days.
I loved Nice.

Perhaps unsurprisingly what with being so close to Italy and all, it has a distinctly Italian feel to it. It reminded me of Venice (well, without all the water), and definitely felt more Italian than French to me.
While we were there, we went on one of the free walking tours put on by our hostel which was a fab way to see the city. Well, the old town at least. But let's be real here: the old town is always the best part of any town, amaright?

Tall colourful buildings lined with shutters contrast with big open squares.
And of course, if you've got the money to spare you could do some serious damage in Nice. Chanel, anyone?
It's safe to say Amber and I stuck to window shopping. We also had a lovely little peruse of the food and flower market which was wafting out all kinds of good smells.
The best thing about Nice, however, has hands down got to be the sea. I mean, just LOOK AT IT!
The one bummer is that the beach is pebbly rather than sandy but I forgave Nice for that. The vibrant sea with its crashing waves more than made up for a slightly awkward clamber in and out whilst trying to keep my balance. It wasn't easy and it wasn't graceful, but it was worth it.
Man, I love swimming in the sea. And what totally blew my mind was how warm the water was! OK, it wasn't like a bath, but I'm used to swimming in the Atlantic off the West coast of Portugal so the Mediterranean felt super dreamy to this wannabe mermaid.

The city is right on the coast, which I love, and then its surrounded by mountains too. We made sure to climb up the hill to get a good view down over the bay.
Pretty damn beaut, no two ways about it.

And you may not be surprised to hear that Nice is equally beaut by night.
Strolling along the promenade with the sea reflecting the lights of the city and the moon was absolutely gorgeous.

We also discovered that evening that there's more to Niçoise cuisine than just Niçoise salad. I'm a terrible blogger because I didn't note down the name of the restaurant (apols, gang), but Amber and I dined at a lovely little place in the old town and enjoyed some of their local specialities...
The above? Those are beignets d'aubergine et de courgette. So essentially deep-fried courgette and aubergine, of which I am a big fan. I heartily recommend.

Post-dinner Amber and I accidentally walked past a bar that was offering glasses of Prosecco for 3€ during happy hour, of which remained approx. six minutes. We pounced.
I'm not sure why it was served in wine glasses but at that price I wasn't going to complain. Bubbles with one of my best gals in a beautiful, buzzy square. That's what holidays are made of, don'tcha think?

We also made sure to frequent a Niçoise establishment for lunch the next day, stumbling upon what was clearly a super popular place with a great atmosphere: Lou Pilha Leva.
 I had beignets again (srsly, try them) as well as something called socca:
It's sort of like a thick pancake crossed with a flatbread and made with chickpea flour. Although pretty bland, I loved the texture and it's great as an accompaniment to other more flavoursome things.

And before we knew it, it was time to hop on a train again! Coming up next on the interrail journey: Annecy! I think y'all are really going to like Annecy. Oh, and if you missed any of my previous stops, have a gander at Bordeaux, Toulouse and Aix-en-Provence too.

Thoughts on Nice? I thought it was pretty nice. *cracks up at own terribly unoriginal joke*


  1. This looks stunning! :D

  2. I used to live near Nice, in Frejus. I absolutely loved living so close to such a beautiful city, plus it has all the shops, bars and restaurants I ever needed. Ultimately I much prefered Nice to St Tropez and I was in the center of them both. Did you take a trip into Italy during your time there? I assume with Interrailing you explored a lot?

    1. Oh lucky you, Breanne! We actually only interrailed the south of France but it was still great. I'll have to do Italy another time!


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