Long Weekend in Nice

Getting up at 4am was no hardship knowing that we were leaving a cold, rainy Bristol for a weekend in the South of France.  Excited!

As we approached Nice airport we could see the runway jutting out into the clear blue sea and the familiar pastel colours.

Stepping out of the plane we were greeted by the lovely warm air, such a contrast to the non-existent British summer!

20 minute drive

Our flat was situated in Vieux Nice, a 20 minute drive from the airport.

We jumped into a waiting taxi, a smart black Mercedes with a friendly driver.  It cost us 30 Euros including a tip.

Nina was waiting to welcome us.  She spoke immaculate English. The previous occupants had only just left, so the flat needed cleaning. Did we want to leave our bags and explore? You bet!

First impressions of the outside particularly the front door and dark narrow stairs weren’t very inviting (next door to an Indian restaurant, called the Delhi Belhi!).  I needn’t have worried though.  It was just a typical small neat French appartement,  perfect for a couple of days in Nice.  All the basics were provided, no need to rush to the supermarket to buy toilet paper!

I chose this flat for its location. It didn’t disappoint. Vieux Nice is the old town, and we were in its heart, just behind the Cours Saleya and 2 minutes from the beach.

By 6am every morning, the whole area is buzzing with the sound and smell of market stalls being set up.  All sorts of colourful vegetables, fruit and flowers together with cheese, meats, bread as well as local soaps and oils.

The stalls begin packing up at 12.30. The a team of men arrive armed with powerful water jets to hose the place down. Then, enter the bars and restaurants to take over with their sunshades and white clothed tables.

Cours Saleya is transformed from market-place to eating-place in just an hour.

I didn’t realise that most of the beach in Nice is pebbles, although there is one small sandy area.  This didn’t stop us swimming in the beautiful clean blue sea every day. But it did make getting in and out of the water very painful – and very entertaining to watch everyone else!  We solved the problem for the kids by buying them some beach shoes which worked a treat – 10 euros well spent.

Of course the pebbles were an additional hazard for the Ironman France competitors (one of the reasons that we came to Nice in the first place) as they came out of the sea after their swim.