We were hoping to fill this blog post with our wonderful experience in Nice and how much we cherished our time there but we’ve been so saddened and disgusted by the attack so it’s been difficult. Our hearts and prayers go out to France and every person and family that has been affected – #PrayForNice.
The past couple of days in Amsterdam have been somewhat solemn and quiet as we’ve gathered our thoughts and gone through the “what if’s”, watched countless news reports, hugged and prayed for France. We are thankful and determined to keep moving forward and although we have kept our heads on a swivel since the day we left, we are on higher alert. This definitely hit “close to home” for us, but we won’t live in fear. Onward.
Nice is a beautiful beach town with a few hundred thousand residents. From the minute we got off the plane and into our taxi, we knew it was going to be a place we would love. The light breeze and bright blue sky drew us in and that was before we set our eyes on the breathtaking beach and crystal blue water! We were eager to have some downtime in the sun and that’s exactly what we did for our 8 days on the French Riviera. Our Airbnb was a small studio apartment on the 3rd floor of an old building that was a 10 minute walk to the beach. It had a small kitchen and a balcony that suited our needs perfectly.
The 2016 Euro Cup was hosted by France so the festivities surrounding the event were everywhere we turned. On top of that, France was in the semi-final and final game while we were there! Part of the Promenade had been transformed into a huge football festival with booths for food and games for all ages – even hamster balls and a human sized foosball table! Just like in Lisbon, there was a watch party set up with a big screen and thousands of people waiving French flags and cheering in support of their country. We had to wait to get into the watch party during the semi-finals and cheered for the home team with the locals and tourists when France beat Wales 2-0! Here’s a short video of the first goal. The final game was a few days later against Portugal and was a loss for France, but having spent a couple weeks in Portugal we weren’t really rooting for either side as we’ve really enjoyed both countries.
We didn’t eat out much but on our last night we enjoyed a great dinner at Le Bistro du Fromager where we dined in what felt like a very old underground wine cellar. Some people referred to it as a cheese cave, which sounded right up our alley. We had some fabulous fondue with vegetables, a great steak, amazing homemade bread and a bottle of rosé which is by far the drink of choice in Nice – we drank it everywhere!
One day we visited a quaint little cheese shop, Fromagerie du Carre d’Or and had a cheesy truffle experience! The sweet owner let us try numerous cheeses, some of which were homemade, before we decided on the the three we wanted to take home. Our dinner that night consisted of a perfect baguette, cheese, charcuterie and wine. Perfection. Another food favorite, while not what we had anticipated, was a doner kebab wrap from a random stand near our apartment called Yam-Yam. We stopped on our way home one night and couldn’t wait to get back for another. At $5 a pop, we were very satisfied and on budget! We also spent one morning at the large open air market (Marché aux Fleurs) where we got our first taste of socca, a thin, crepe-like dough made of chickpea flour, olive oil and water cooked on a large, round sheet pan. Jesse tried an orange blossom pastry which is another local staple.
The bulk of our time in Nice was spent at the beach and it is breathtaking to say the least. The temperature was always in the low 80’s with low humidity – pretty perfect for a week of sun and ocean. Through our research, we were prepared to tackle our first stone beach (literally zero sand) but nothing compared to actually laying and walking on it. To our surprise, most people laid out with just a towel and seemed to be pretty content. Many wore water shoes but we sucked it up and went barefoot and it wasn’t that uncomfortable. With padded towels, rafts and umbrella in tow, we took our daily trip to Blue Beach which was one of many public beaches to choose from. We swam, read, people-watched and looked for the scarce, colorful sea glass among the gray stones. Our final collection was small enough to take back home and will remind us of our time there. Nice, we will be back, and we will #PrayForNice.