When I got up this morning the sky was grey and thunder could be heard in the distance. I wasn’t sure whether it had rained or was going to rain. I hoped for the former as D and I needed to pop down to the market to get some food for lunch and dinner today. We’ve been cautious with our purchases this week as we leave Nice on Friday afternoon for a week.
This got me thinking about how different my lifestyle is now that we’re in France. Years ago, before buying my condo, my younger brother and I had talked about living closer to the downtown core. Financially, if we could have made it work we would have done it. For us, the idea of being able to walk to the grocers or to the market was attractive. We wanted to live, shop, and work within our community. But, Toronto is a fairly expensive city and finding a decent 2-bedroom condo in a decent neighbourhood was out of my budget. The idea of community living was pushed to the side and we found ourselves just on the edge of the city, between downtown and suburbia, needing a car for in order to get the simplest things done.
Living in Nice has resurrected that dream for me.
With approximately 350,000 inhabitants, Nice is France’s 5th most populous city after Paris, Marseille, Lyon, and Toulouse. These 350,000 people live within a land area of 71.92 sq km. By North American standards Nice is not a big city. And I think it’s why I like Nice so much. I like the availability of resources and services such as public transit, shopping malls, banks, theatres, and museums that come with living in a big city. What I like more is the community feel.
D and I go to the market at least twice a week. We have our favourite fish monger who now recognizes us — I think he thinks we only buy/eat mérou. In Cours Saleya we visit pretty much all the stands but we buy most of our fruits and veggies from one vendor. (We certainly haven’t tried all the produce available at every single stand; however, we haven’t been led astray yet so why fix it if it ain’t broke?) We know where to go to get good, free range chicken. Today, we purchased some lamb from a butcher shop in Vieux Nice and, let me tell you, we’ll go back for more!
This experience isn’t dissimilar from how we did our grocery shopping in Toronto. We bought non-perishables from the neighbourhood big box chain but, every Saturday morning, D and I would go to the St Lawrence Market for our fruits, veggies, meats, fish, and eggs. I absolutely loved this experience. We had our favourites, of course, and could do our entire shopping in 15 – 20 mins. I loved that we ate according to what was in season: cucumbers in the summer were replaced by squash in the winter. The best part for me? Being able to ‘play’ with all the produce, with carrots that come in colours other than orange!
So, I’m feeling the market love. It’s helping me to spread my wings a little and to experiment more. (I won’t be eating tripe any time soon though.) And, with the cooler weather ahead I have plans for soups this winter and perhaps I’ll try my hand at rabbit stew too.