Henry Poon's Blog

European road trip 2022 – day 2 – Nice

We quickly learned that restaurants here follow very strict meal times. Lunch rarely starts before 12:00 and dinner rarely starts before 19:00. It’s not like places in North America that often open at 10:00/11:00. For tourists like us who are up early, we just had to get use to that.

We spent the morning at the Cours Selaya market in the old town. Several websites described it as a combination of a flower market and flea market, and maybe we were in the wrong place or something, but we only saw the flea market. I’m not sure what people find enticing about a flea market because to me it’s as if the stuff that people are selling at the market is old antiques they’ve kept in their basement for decades. Occasionally, there were vendors selling art, but it was mostly antiques.

The vegetation here is very Mediterranean. It’s not temperate at all. There are palm trees everywhere, olive trees, and green spiny heat resistance shrubs.

For lunch, we visited a local Michelin star restaurant, L’eau de Vie. I’d say it was good, but not Michelin star good…

Later in the day, we visited the Marc Chagall Museum. Marc Chagall was an artist who live in Nice for some time. I’m not huge on art, but visited the museum upon the insistence of my travel partner. While the work was beautiful, it was difficult for me to appreciate it in more depth due to my lack of literacy in the fine arts. On top of that, the main theme of the art in the museum seemed to be scenes from the bible, which I’m not too familiar with either.

We spent the rest of the day walking around the city seeing other landmarks like the Hotel Negresco, and the Saint Nicholas Cathedral. The Hotel Negresco is considered a landmark in the city and appears on many postcards. It’s essentially a really fancy hotel with its own private beach for its guests. The interesting part of the Saint Nicholas Cathedral is that it’s Russian Orthodox. This raises the question of why there’s a Russian Orthodox cathedral so far away from Russia. By the end of the 19th century, there was a sizable Russian diaspora living in Nice, partly owing to the good relations built up by the Russian nobility. Another cool fact is that the cathedral belongs to the Russian Federation.

An unfortunate consequence of all the time spent outside resulted in many mosquito bites. I was honestly surprised and how relentless they were considering it was the middle of the day. I’ve only remembered them showing up at dusk.

Eventually we made it back to Place Garibaldi, the main city square in Nice. The great thing about European cities is the massive public spaces that are pedestrian only. It reduces the amount of car exhaust so much and gives ample space for restaurant patios. It’s nice to just sit at the patio and enjoy the colour scenery all around, from the colours of the buildings, the windows, the balconies, or just simply people watch.

We ended the day with a fantastic lobster dinner. It was even topped up with a flambé of Jack Daniel’s. It’s not the best whiskey in the world, but a flambé is cool, especially on a lobster. I wish I could remember what the sauce was made of…

That’s it for day 2 of our trip! Our packed itinerary only allowed us to have a short two day stay in Nice. Tomorrow we head elsewhere!

More photos of Nice here

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