At some point last week I realized that my last 4 or 5 posts were about food or drink. I do like to eat and pairing good food with good wine is just a part of my life. Besides, I do like sharing with you the yummy foods and places to eat them. In the course of all this sharing I’ve connected with others who obviously share my obsession. One such creature is Bread is Pain, whose blog I love. Some of my favourite posts are when she has a conversation with France. BiP (we’re that close that I can use only initials to identify her) recently awarded me with the Versatile Blogger Award.
The rules of the Versatile Blogger Award states that I am to share with you 7 things about myself. As I’d previously received this award back in 2010 – and I shared all the interesting bits about me! — I’ve decided instead to share with you 7 things I like about Nice. Let’s call them the 7 Cs of Nice. (There are no photos of food in this post.) Here goes…
Museums, art galleries, the annual jazz festival are just a few CULTURE bits that define this city. The museums cover various styles and periods, from the Roman ruins (Musée d’Archéologie Nice) to contemporary works (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Arts). Entry to the museums in Nice is free — yes, free as in gratuit, no charge, go on in and have a look around! The free entry may not include special exhibits or for guided tours but the rest of the museums are yours for the viewing. If the jazz scene is more your thing, the annual Nice Jazz Festival, 8 – 12 July 2012, is a summer-time favourite which features performances by many international and renown jazz artists. Continuing with the live music, how about the Nice Philharmonic or a night at the opera. And that’s not all. Check out Nice Tourism‘s website for more information.
One of my favourite things about living in France is the food. Sure, everyone has heard of canard à l’orange or boeuf bourgignon. But how about CUISINE typically niçcoise such as socca, pissaladière, beignet de fleurs de courgette, la poutine (no, my Canadian friends not that poutine), la daube niçoise, la salade niçoise, lou pan bagnat (I like saying it with a pseudo Italian accent), les petits farcis niçcois… Probably not, eh? It doesn’t end there however. Nice’s cuisine is influenced not only by foods typically Provençal (ratatouille, fougasse, and la soupe au pistou) but also those from across the border, in Italy (la porchetta, la panisse, and raviolis). What’s not to love?
There’s no Punxsutawney Phil, no Wiarton Willie. In fact, Groundhog Day passes unnoticed by the French. They have their foibles but following a large rodent’s advice isn’t one of them. They refer to the calendar on this item. For me, spring starts when the Nice CARNIVAL begins. I know it’s not logical and I’m weeks ahead of the spring equinox but I can’t help it. By mid-February, the flowers are starting to bloom and the winter rains give way to sunny skies. For me, the carnival represents this change, and somehow Mother Nature seems to be of a similar mind.
CHRISTIAN – I’m not talking about religious affiliation; I’m talking about Nice’s mayor Christian Estrosi. (No, we’re not yet on a first name basis.) He is, indeed, one of the reasons I like Nice. M. Estrosi is the kind of mayor I like (and this has nothing to do with his politics). The little I know I appreciate. And perhaps it’s his directives for the city that I like. M. Estrosi seems to understand the need for viable public transit and the advantage to have pedestrian-friendly and environmentally friendly green space. As France’s 5th city Nice needs to step up and represent. Nice is not a large city — in North American terms it’s quite petite — but there is always something going on. Nice, and by extension the Côte d’Azur, is home to many conferences and exhibitions and therefore needs to be welcoming to all the visitors to the region. Foreigners have enough to deal with in visiting Nice (language, customs, etc.) so making the city pedestrian-friendly with public transportation options (at a very decent price) is very attractive.
Mediterranean – get it? The MEDITERRANEAN SEA. When I first told people that we were moving to France they quickly assumed that we were moving to Paris. And why not? It’s Paris. Paris is the city of lights. All those restaurants, the absolutely beautiful architecture, the romance… Hell, it’s PARIS!!! But Nice has the sea. I could sit and watch the water, listen to the waves as they break before washing up on the beach, and contemplate my life…or what to make for dinner. The other benefit to living near the sea: the temperate climate. After 30 years of sub-zero winters I relish these green winters and spring’s early arrival. And in the summer, the sea provides a cooling effect with sea breezes and calming winds.
The COLLINE du château is one of the best look-out spots in Nice. From the top of the hill you have an uninterrupted view of the Baie des Anges, the Promenade, and the rest of the city. Nice’s beauty is revealed in the contrast between the blues of the sea, the ochres and the yellows found on many buildings, and the verdant green of the palm trees. At night, the view is equally lovely: the lights along the Promenade sparkle like a jewelled border along the sea.
The tony neighbourhood of CIMIEZ is a great spot if you’re dreaming of buying a home with a view. This area of Nice, located on three hills in the north-east, was also home to the world’s royalty, including Queen Victoria who had her summer home there. As a result, much of the neighbourhood’s architecture includes belle époque villas and palaces which have since been converted into apartments. Cimiez is also home to the Roman ruins — visit the museum for a little history on the birth of Nice — as well as the église des moines franciscains and the Musée Matisse.
So what are you waiting for? Isn’t it about time you visited Nice?