The blue, azure shorelines of the French Riviera greets us from the windows of our long 8-hour train ride. We squirm with excitement (total tourists, i tell ya) at every sight of the sparkling ocean view. The scenic ride was very tiring but was well worth it for the sight of every riviera town or city, we passed by is beautiful. We arrived late afternoon, just as the sun was about to set. As soon as we stepped out of the station, it was like stepping into a movie set, the buildings looked like cupcakes, colourful in warm pastel hues, seriously everything, looks so, nice! (pun, intended).
We stayed in Nice for a good 3 nights, though it would have been perfect if it was a 4-nights trip. There is just a lot to explore, within the city of Nice as well as the neighbouring cities (and smaller nations) like Grasse, Eze, Cannes and of course, Monaco, of which, we managed to visit during our stay.
Our visit to Nice was a few months after the terrorist attack at the Promenade Des Anglais, a famous pedestrian area along the beach, which was adjacent to the main scenic route that passes through the city. I really thought that it was going to be hard to visit this beautiful city after the attack as a Muslim, wearing the hijab. However, my insecure sentiment is shared not only by other Muslims, but also by the white French as well, as they too are worried not only for their own safety but for their French Muslims as well! The attacked killed many French and people of other nations, including Muslims.
The trip to Nice, was a pretty random decision because we wanted to visit our French business partners in Grasse for our new venture into the perfume business. We based the trip from our conveniently located AirBnB apartment, which was part of this chain of homestays under the MyCasaNice company. It was a small studio apartment but suffices for us, a small family with an infant. I would have expected a lot of stares from the French as a hijabi, but oh boy, was I wrong, they were so used to us, that they greeted us with the friendliest smiles and a good ol’ “Bonjour!”. Later during our stay, we learned that the second biggest community in the French Riviera is the Arabs from Morocco (who speaks French, by the way), so you will feel right at “home”.
THE MORNING MARKET AT COURS SALEYA (OLD TOWN)
What about food, you ask? A PLENTY! There is so much to try in Nice, from the seafood paellas, to the common kebab outlets, there is so much to try in this city, especially at the famous morning market at Cours Saleya which is located in the Old Town area, which is where you will be spending most of your time too if you ever visit this city. Narrow streets leading you to vintage boutiques selling vintage Hermes, and patisseries with their freshly bake batches of macaroons, yes, only in France!
The Flower Market at Cours De Saleya (part of the old town) is opened every day except on Monday. It is a multi-cultural feast of everything handmade and authentically French.
It was my first time seeing quaint products like rose sugar, among many other things. Yes, you will find a lot of dried lavendar and rose petals here.
Some streets will lead you to nice restaurants, and ice-cream parlours that makes ice-cream in all type of flowery flavours!
Yes, you will not be able to resist the fruit bars baked freshly by the bakers at the market, and there are tons of varieties to choose from! Don’t forget to try the Socca, a street food made of mashed chickpea (vegetarian).
Macaroons just about anywhere and everywhere. Some are pretty expensive, some are okay…if you walk into the patisseries, be sure to look out for “broke” macarons that the pastry chefs will sell at 50% off, still tastes good to my Malaysian bud! haha
We believe just about anyone, will love Nice. The relaxed environment, with many activities and places to visit, a variety of unique products to shop for and daily excursions from the city (of which I will share in the next post). The old town itself is a labyrinth of narrow streets with different things to explore such as home-made soap boutiques and ice-cream parlours, you might spend most of your time here like we did. We went to explore the area for two-days in a row!
And here is my short amateur (family) video, ahhh yes, if you don’t already know, this is my spare time hobby! 🙂 Until the next post, thanks for reading!4