A Travellerspoint blog

Day 9 Nice, Dimanche 15 Août, 2010 - Cannes

sunny 24 °C
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Today is not only a Sunday, but a holiday as well. The holiday is called Assumption Day. “It’s the day on which the Greek and Roman Catholic churches celebrate Mary’s ascent to heaven. In Orthodox churches, called the Dormition of Theotokos and commemorated on Aug 15 or 28. It’s a holiday in many Christian countries.”

Woke up to alarm at 8:00 am. Really restful sleep and felt refreshed even thought I didn’t fall asleep until 1:30 am or so. Finally forced myself to stop blogging and go to bed at 1:00 am. Margy had a good night’s rest as well. It is now day 5 in Nice and we are more than settled into a routine.

And best news is that it was a beautiful sunny day. No more rain.

Had breakfast in our room today. Tea the British way, muesli and yogurt and two slices of bread saved from yesterday morning. It was toast now as the bread dried out but the jam made it bearable.

Had a shower, blogged a bit and off to Cannes for the day. Walked to the Gare Routière to get the 200 bus to Cannes. Bus schedule is less frequent as it is a Sunday. Bus was leaving at 11:00 am and then another in half an hour. We were lucky and got on the 11:00 am bus as it was still loading at 11:10 am and didn’t end up leaving until about 11:15 am. Bus was pretty full and we stood for a while but was lucky to get seats as some passengers got off. Quite a few passengers stood for much of the trip.

The trip to Cannes took about 1 ½ hours and we went through quite a few cities on the way. Antibes was the main city we travelled through. Scenery was nice but mostly cities and so not lots of water or views. We did have the water on the left for a while and we could see the train line which is how we arrived in Nice.

When we arrived in Cannes we got off the bus a little too early but then we just walked to the beach and it was only about 5 minutes away. We had to go through two sets of glass doors in a building to get to the road where the beach was. Beach was very busy as it was a perfectly hot day today. Quite windy but the temperature felt like it was about 24 degrees and more when the wind was not blowing. We didn’t know if the wind was just the weather in Cannes, but found Nice to be the same when we got back around 8:00 pm.

Anyways we walked along the promenade in Cannes for a while. Here the sand is silky and we did not walk on the beach and should have. The water was the same azure blue as in Nice but it seemed even bluer. Must be the higher taxes paid in Cannes.

We soon came upon the “Petits Trains Touristiques de Cannes” which is a little open air train that you can go on for sightseeing tours. We got on it for 10€ each and our tour would take one hour. The tour would take us along La Croisette as well as Vieux Cannes (Le Suquet). This is the the city’s new and old neighbourhoods. We saw the famous hotels such as the Carlton, Palm Beach, Palais Stéphanie and Hotel Martinez. We stopped for five or ten minutes in old Cannes where we could take panoramic pictures of the city. Definitely something to do when in Cannes.

After getting back to the promenade de la Croisette, also known as La Croisette, we walked around to find our restaurant for our late lunch. It was now just after 3 pm.

We were going to have a late lunch/dinner at the Astoux & Brun but before we got there, I spotted a restaurant called Chez Freddy. Yes it was partly the name Freddy that caught my eye, but more so because their menu had paella on it, and that was a dish I definitely wanted to have on this holiday. It was a perfect time of day to do so as well. We had only eaten our nectarines since breakfast and we were famished. I happen to like the word “famished” and thought this would be a good place to use it as that was how we felt.

We each had bieres and then had our main courses. Margy ordered the Salade Fruit de Mer and it was a hot or warm salad with a generous amount of seafood for 16.00€. I had the fish and seafood Paella (Paella Mariniere) from Chez Freddy. Open 7 days a week and located at 65/67 Rue Felix Faure, Cannes, France. Very tasty and filling and costs 24.50€. A lot for one person and best if shared. I was really hungry and couldn't eat it all. The Paella was pretty perfect. There were a few mussels and prawns that could have been cooked a shorter time but the variety and amount of seafood was astounding. Check out the picture.

Our waiter’s name was Willy and my guess is that he is Vietnamese. He was fluent in French and English. As I felt we had special service I gave him a Loonie and then explained that it is worth a dollar and is our Canadian coin. He was very touched and happy and told me he plans to go to Toronto in 2011 to see his cousin. It would be his first trip.

The other waiter seemed very French and was a bit stern and formal with Willy but within a short time he warmed up and they were having a good time working together. That was really nice to see. This other waiter was an older gentleman who obviously had a lot of experience and was just guiding Willy. Both were very professional and excellent servers. The windy weather really wreaks havoc with table settings. Table clothes flew off and some restaurants had bowls face down and wine glasses laying down crossing at the stems.

After eating such a filling meal we went to walk it off and went to take more pictures of some of the murals that we had seen earlier while on the train. I love the murals as they are so wonderfully done. My favourite is the one above the bus station. Some of the characters on that mural are Jessica Rabbit, Batman, the Joker, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlie Chaplin, C3PO, R2D2, Laurel and Hardy and Mickey Mouse.

We also went down the narrowest street in Cannes, the rue saint Antoine and saw the oldest restaurant as well. Auberge Provençale da boullau and established in 1860.

Saw many famous stores, the usual, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Miu Miu (didn’t see one in Paris or Nice), Salvatore Ferragamo, Fendi, etc.

Went to a few souvenir shops as well. Nothing spectacular and then we headed to the Palais des Festivals located on promenade de la Croisette.

We went into the Tourism office of Cannes where Margy picked up a couple of maps and a directory of Nice. I went, what else, shopping of course, and bought something for a special son as well as myself. Love the movies, gotta get something from Cannes. Yachts were way too pricy and really hard to pack and then where would I ever store it.

As we were in Cannes, we would have to walk the red carpet, and so we did that, and took each others pictures. It was good fun to do so. We also checked out a lot of the handprints of the many stars who had been to Cannes, John Travolta, Charles Bronson, Whoopi Goldberg, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sharon Stone and Dennis Hopper to name a few. Just think we are walking the carpets where many of the great movie stars and celebrities walked.

We got the bus back to Nice at 6:30 pm and got off at the stop closest to our hotel around 8:00 pm. Came back to our room and sliced up a whole melon and we ate it all. It was perfectly ripe and juicy and surprisingly easy to open with a pen knife.

Decided to not see the fireworks as we had had a pretty full day. There are fireworks in Nice every night at 10:00 pm.

By the way, our return trip to Cannes for two people, 4€, priceless.

Posted by Sydney324 14:38 Archived in France Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Day 8 Nice, Samedi, Août 14, 2010 - Rain in Nice

rain 22 °C
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We set our alarm clock for 8:00 am. I had slept very well last night and I really needed it. Woke up once around 4:00 am but went back to sleep quickly. The temperature is good and the beds are firm and fairly comfortable. We did close the windows all night due to noise and left the fan on all night.

Sometime in the night it did rain. Not sure how much but I did hear heavy rain showers. When we looked out this morning it was still drizzling.

We got dressed and left our hotel. We passed the Beau Rivage hotel where Henri Matisse had slept in 1916 and Antoine Tchekhov in 1891. We walked back to the same restaurant for breakfast. We liked it there, and so that was enough for us. This time I had 2 fried eggs and bread and tea. Eggs either came this way or boiled or in an omelette. No bread here is toasted.

Margy had muesli and yogurt along with some bread and tea. After breakfast we went back to the flower and food market which is right next to the restaurant. Today was a big shopping day. We purchased two varieties of tomatoes, a chèvre frais a la ciboulette (goat and chive cheese) as well as a hard cheese, Tome de Vache which was made from cow's milk. Yummy. We also purchased a melon and some more nectarines.

We kept getting showers to very heavy rain and most of it was heavy, so as a result of this rain, we did lots of shopping at the market with the intention of bringing it back to the hotel. Having a fridge in our room made all the difference. We also had a kettle.

I purchased some soaps, lavender, olive and apricot. Some Herbs de Provence which generally has a mixture of the following herbs: rosemary, thyme, oregano, lavender and savory.

I also purchased truffle olive oil. I am pretty sure it was a 60 ml bottle, and my cost was a mere 6€. Truffle olive oil back home on Commercial Drive was something like $15 to $20 for a very small bottle. This will be something special. This particular seller won the Médaille D’Or Paris 2010 for their olive oil. From them I also purchased a four pack of a variety of tapenades and pesto and a second one of a variety of flavoured mustards. I could not help but keep thinking about Michael as he would have loved the food, the variety, the freshness and the sheer enjoyment of it all. Everything he ever taught me about cooking and food I remember now when I shop. He always said “Sweetie, quality not quantity.”

We found more sellers that were more like a craft market just outside of Old Nice. They were only a few feet away from a fish market. There we met a very nice lady who is a painter and her work has now been reproduced on beautiful tin boxes. Yes, of course I bought some of these. So did Margy as she also found them a beautiful souvenir or gift. Artist’s name is Françoise Valverde.

As we ducked in out of the rain we found the Brasserie des Chauffeurs where Margy had a tea and I had an Americain Cafe. We had a nice chit chat and went back outside. The rain was still coming down fairly heavy. By this time even with umbrellas my jacket was pretty soaked and Margy was smart and had a rain cloak but her sandals were soaked and she rolled up her pants as they were soggy.

According to the Weather Network's statistics on the weather in Nice, they average 307 hours of sunshine in the month of August. You do the math, that's lots of sun.

Because we had decided to have breakfast in our room tomorrow and for some of the other mornings, we also went to the grocery store and purchased tea, muesli, yogurt and milk at the grocery store.

Back to our hotel for a while and I slept, like a log, sawing logs. By the way our hotel is in an amazing location for what we are paying 80€ per night. We are surrounded by designer shops and just across the way on the main street is the Hotel Plaza.

We passed a cool candy store that had a lot of candy marzipan figures as well as some that looked like it was made of marshmallows.

We had dinner at Restaurant Le Milo's which is located not too far from our hotel. Their menus were in English, French and Cyrillic.

We ended up drinking two 1/4 carafes of Rose wine with our meal. We only ordered one at first as we were not certain if we wanted that much. As it had been such a rainy day I knew I did not want a cold drink but wine.

We came here as I really wanted to have moules, which is mussels. I had the simple basic version cooked with garlic and white wine. They make their moules in a variety of sauces including curry. It came in a black pot with the words “Les moules” on it and Margy taught me the way she had been taught to eat mussels. You get a mussel, either one that has no mussel in it or you eat this first one with your fork. After that you pinch the empty mussel shell and use it like tongs to take the mussel out of another and so on. I think this is too cool. It's like nature's chopsticks. How great is that!

Dinner was reasonable. Mine, moules marinieres was 13.90€ (yippee!! I just learned how to use the “€” on the keyboard as I am using a British keyboard), Margy’s salad, Halles which was like a chef salad as it came with shaved meat like proscuitto, prawns, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado and mozzarella 12.50€, our wine was 9.00€ and the total came to 35.40€. I learned a day or so ago that all prices include tax and tip. If you wish you can still leave a little tip on top of it, a euro or two. This particular bill had everything split up. At home our new HST tax is 12%. We shouldn’t whine as the tax here is 19.60% for alcohol and for food is 5.50%. Maybe that’s what we need at home.

After dinner we just walked back to our hotel and called it a night. Lot more talking and unwinding and then to business as I had lots of blogging to do and did for a couple of hours. Getting caught up.

Posted by Sydney324 01:22 Archived in France Tagged shopping Comments (0)

Day 7 Nice, Vendredi, Août 13, 2010 - Eze

sunny 23 °C
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We got to the Gare Routiere in the late morning. This is the bus depot where all the buses start and end all their trips in Nice. There are schedules for each individual bus route and there are many maps and information booklets. You can help yourself to them. Everyone is very helpful here but English may be limited.

We went to check with a woman at the information desk to find out which bus goes to Eze. She said to take the 82 which was due to leave in about 3 minutes. We raced to the bus and made it just in time as there was still a line up of people waiting to board. We were lucky and got two seats at the very back of the bus. Some parts of the bus had 4 seats together and you had 2 seats facing 2. Our trip was to take 30 minutes.

Buses are really cheap here. It is only 1 euro for 74 minutes of travel time. This can be broken up between the bus and the tram and the buses going out of town. You can also buy a 10 euro pass as well. If you want, this pass can be shared with more than one person which is what we did. We just inserted it into the machine twice when boarding. You can also buy tickets on the bus from the driver.

The scenery on the way to Eze was breathtakingly beautiful. Amongst the trees you saw wide views of the French Riviera. Boats were just sitting in the water which was so very blue. The bus travels up a winding road and goes steeper and steeper until you reach the top, which is the Village of Eze, an ancient medieval hamlet.

The bus arrived right on schedule, about 12 noon and dropped us off in front of Galimard. They are a Parfumeur en 1747 and have locations in the town of Grasse as well as Eze-Village. You can find out more about them at www.galimard.com. Next to the store was their perfume museum. There we got to see ancient perfume bottles as well as a variety of perfume bottle labels. Jars of the different flowers used in perfumes were on display as well. The museum is free and you go on your own.

The Galimard showroom had a very large selection of all the products that they manufacture. Prices are very good and anyone who loves scent would be hard pressed to leave empty handed. I purchased some eau de cologne, patchouli and grapefruit/pamplemousse. I also bought a lemon soap shaped like half a lemon and smells amazing.
The modern Eze has many gift shops as well as restaurants. Based on the Rolls Royce and other expensive cars in the parking lot, some of the restaurants are visited by the very well heeled. We climbed to the top of Eze where the remains of a castle demolished in 1706 stand. The top of the Village of Eze is 429 metres above sea level.

We saw the Chapel of Sainte Croix which is also known as the Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs and dates back to 1306 and is the oldest building in the village. We did not go inside as it didn’t appear that you could.

We did walk around a cemetery there and some of the newest residents only arrived about 5 years ago.
We did try to see the Church Notre-Dame-de l’Assomption but it was not open. The building began in 1764 and was consecrated in 1772.

The roots of the village date back to a time when the goddess Isis was worshipped. Another church in Old Nice had Egyptian figures in an enclosed courtyard.

Before climbing to the very top we walked through the Exotic Garden which was designed in 1949. The garden contains agaves, aloes, surges and cactus. There are hundreds of them and throughout the garden are lovely sculptures of women by Jean-Philippe Richard. All the sculptures had names and a sign with a comment in French which was also translated into English. One that I particularly like is “Margot – Follow me young man and you shall know all my secrets...almost”. I thought it was most empowering and French.

We took a rest on some wood loungers in front of a fountain that we happily dipped our tired hot feet into. It was great. I even mediated for a bit and probably could have easily meditated for 30 minutes as it was so calming being there.

After we walked back down to the bottom of the village we also went to the Fragonard gift store. We never did go to their perfume store as it was quite a bit further off where we were walking. There is however a company close to the Fragonard gift store where for about 90 euros you can drive a Ferrari for 15 minutes. The prices go up for the amount of time you wish to drive your Ferrari. We did see a sign about this as well.

We just missed the 82 bus to go back to Nice and had just settled onto the bus bench to wait for another 82 which wasn’t for about an hour. A young man came up and started to ask Margy a question in French about the next bus to Nice. Not one to let anyone suffer, she asked if he spoke English. He was relieved. About 5 minutes later another bus with a different route number arrived that would be going to Nice and we all boarded.

Turns out the man, Lucas, had just done the Ferrari test drive and really enjoyed it. We talked some more and found out he is also from Vancouver and so it was nice to meet a fellow Vancouverite. He was here on a tour and they were heading to Barcelona tomorrow.

We said our goodbyes when the bus arrived at the Gare Routiere and took the tram to the stop closest to our hotel.

We got back to our hotel to get our luggage and check into our room. Very nice new digs. We were on the fourth floor and had a large room. Three single beds, a large bathroom with shower, kettle, fridge, phone, dresser, wardrobe, two sets of windows and a television. The decor was very nice. Walls were textured and painted yellow. In fact lots of places so far in Nice remind me of my kitchen back home. Those walls are textured and white and I do have yellow paint but have not gotten around to painting the walls yet.

I unpacked for a bit and then lay down and had about 20 minutes worth of sleep. I needed it badly. It was now around 5:00 pm.

We spent some time on the computer and got ready to go for dinner. We went back to Lou Pilha Leva which is the socca place we like in the old part of Nice. For dinner we shared some more socca, beignets de courgettes and tourte de blettes. We had the savoury version of the latter. It is a pie like item made with swiss chard and is very good. I had a biere and Margy had a glass of red wine. We looked at a few stores in the area after dinner and slowly made our way back to the hotel. Exhausted as we had walked a lot today.

Posted by Sydney324 15:53 Archived in France Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Day 7 Nice, Vendredi, Août 13, 2010 - New Digs

semi-overcast 17 °C
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End of the week already and I only arrived in France a week tomorrow. The time has gone by way too fast. I want it to slow down even though our pace has been relaxed but we have been doing a lot. Today we need to check out of Chez Brigitte and walk to the Hotel & Hostel Paradis which is located between Louis Vuitton and Emporio Armani. Now, how rough is that. That’s like being at a dinner table with Brad Pitt on one side and George Clooney on the other. I could get really used to this.

Woke up at 8:00 am as the alarm was set. We got all of our luggage packed in preparation for checking out of Chez Brigitte Guesthouse. When booking accommodations, I had wanted to stay here as it sounded very charming and quaint. We were not disappointed. It was the perfect start to our time here in Nice. We said our goodbyes to Brigitte and her little dog, Mishma. Mishma came to visit us in our room and decided that pink was really her colour and so she lay on my yoga mat for quite some time.

The view from Brigitte’s kitchen was of many other buildings, most of which were at least 1 century old. I loved the textures and colours that gave the buildings so much character.

Took the elevator to the main floor as she is located on the 4th floor. The elevators here are generally narrow and long. It feels quite strange at first and you can understand the practicality of having it shaped like this. We could see from real estate ads that it is at a premium, yet we were told by our travel guide Herbert that 70% of the population of France resides in and around cities and so there is still a lot of farmland. France is a very agricultural country.

We walked to the tram with our luggage as it would be easier to manage if we could transport it for some of the distance. Our station to get on was Gare Thiers. On the bus shelter at the top were the words “J’aime pas attendre.” I liked that. It was handwritten in white on black as if it was a chalkboard. This was part of a series of ads which I saw on other bus shelters.

Pulling suitcases on the streets here is not too bad. Mostly smooth and there are dips in the curbs so it's easier to manoeuvre. It did help that it was early in the day, 9ish, as well it had rained and so the air was nice and cool.
We arrived at our new hotel after walking for about 10 minutes. This will be our new digs for the next 6 nights. The Hotel & Hostel Paradis located on Rue de Paradis. As it was still early in the day our room was not yet vacated. Check out time is 11:00 am. We would have our room by 12 noon.

We left to go have breakfast at the same restaurant again. This time I had the Saumon Fume. I wanted a brunch like breakfast. Also ordered tea noir. My meal came with a nice mesclun salad, (a combination of mixed greens, dandelion, roquette, chicory, purslane, bitter lettuce and chervil. Just like the organic greens that you get at home in Vancouver.) some tomato quarters and fried potatoes. I had expected fresh potatoes. They were little rounds and tasty but they were hashbrowns. It was nice to have the salad and the smoked salmon was a decent portion and good. No ketchup like in North America and I wouldn’t dare ask for it either.

Margy ordered tea as well, but green and she had a traditional breakfast of bread and jam. The bread basket had a variety of breads as well as baguette portions. Jams were a variety of strawberry, plum, apricot and a few other fruit ones. We finished breakfast around 10:00 am and then went back to the flower and food market. We would walk through here on the way to the bus station, the Gare Routiere.

There was a seller who sold sandwiches as well as freshly made Socca. I don’t think Socca can be anything but freshly made as it would not taste good if it were left to get cold.

We checked out more stores and shops and went into another Church. Eglise Notre Dame de l'Annonciation. This was the type of Church I had expected to see in France. It was baroque in style and ornate. Murals, lots of gold, angels and figures.

We checked out some more stores and then headed to the Gare Routiere as we wanted to get going to Eze before the day was over.

Posted by Sydney324 14:51 Archived in France Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Day 6 Nice, Jeudi, Août 12, 2010 - Old Nice

sunny 35 °C
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We had decided to sleep in this morning and so we never set an alarm the night before. I first woke up around 8:15 am and needed to stretch and did a mini yoga practice on the mat. Fortunately there is a large carpet on my side of bed and next to the carpet is the window. After my yoga practice I actually fell asleep. I soon woke up and put myself back to bed. Dozed some more and woke up shortly after 10:00 am. Looked over at Margy and she was blissfully snoozing so I went back to sleep. Before I knew i,t she woke up saying it was 11:00 am. We were both groggy from having slept in so very late but we obviously needed it as we had had some very busy days. We got ourselves up and moving though.

Beautiful, hot and sunny day. Temperature of 35 degrees. Not much breeze except in certain parts.

We headed to the flower and food market located in the old part of Nice, about 10 minutes by foot from our hotel and close to the promenade. We took the tram which took hardly any time, maybe a few minutes. We got off at the Opera stop. The market looked just like everything I saw on my DVD about France. The bounty of fresh fruits, set out in tiny little baskets. Nectarines, apricots, grapes, raspberries, bananas, peaches, pomelos, melons, strawberries, figs and more. Each one had to be labelled as to where they were grown. Some of the sellers are farmers but many simply purchase all or some of their produce from wholesalers.

There was a large abundance of fresh flowers, plants and even cacti. Roses made of wood petals as well as artificial flowers. Cheeses of every variety. Soaps, lavender and lavendine. Lavendine is similar to lavender and its scent is stronger and lasts longer. As well, it is not prone to disease which the Lavender plant is.

African men selling wooden figures. Olives, all different varieties and colours. Olive oils, herbs and spices as well. There was a table full of nothing but garlic still bound together as they grew. There was also a lot of baked goods. Truffade pralin, palmier, and a triangular shaped slab of almonds like an almond granola bar but with just almonds. There was also a seller with all varieties of dried mushrooms.

There were also many selling varieties of fish and seafood, mussels, prawns, oysters.

The market is open daily from about 7:00 am to 1:00 pm although at shortly after 12, we did see a few sellers packing up already.

We went to eat at a restaurant known for their great breakfasts. It's called Le Pain a Table. They had tables outside the restaurant as well as in another section beyond that which was covered in a clear plastic tarp. The restaurant had a very old world quality to it. You sat at wooden tables and wooden chairs. Most of the tables inside the restaurant were long and could seat 8.

In their windows they had gignormous macaroons as well as strawberry tarts which were square shaped slices and looked very yummy. They also had rows of rows of jams, condiments, olive oils and probably some vinegars and mustards.

As it was too late for breakfast which they serve till 11:30 am, we ordered lunch. I had the calamari special which came with salad and homemade tartar sauce. This tasted totally different than what I have ever eaten, as the mayonnaise was thick, I suspect homemade, and the pickles in it were a fair size and very crisp.

My salad was a nice variety of mixed greens and tomatoes. The dressing was creamy but not heavy and had mustard grains in it. Very tasty. Margy had a salad nicoise. We both had biere to start and espressos after we completed our meal. Very strong coffee but good and I was able to get a decaf one. The woman that worked there who appeared to be the owner or manager was dressed all in white and never did anything quickly. She just sauntered along. Time was of no essence. There was a waiter there that was quite the character. He had a mostly shaved head and just bangs that were pouffed up like a pompadour. He wore a Chinese beanie cap with the long braid. I suspect that this might even be his real hair. Quite the character. We later saw him zipping along on his bike.

Before breakfast we bought some nectarines and apricots from two older Frenchmen. My guess is that they are in their eighties. Your fruit is weighed and then put into little paper bags. Like the ones they use at Starbucks for your pastries.

After breakfast we headed towards the Promenade and walked along a street called Promenade des Anglais. It was along here that we looked at the many beaches. All the beaches in Nice are pebbly beaches, not silky sand. Some sections of the beaches belonged to the hotel opposite it. You could also pay around 15 euro to rent a spot on the beach but the amount of time you got varied. The Palais Lido Plage offered massages on the beach. How nice is that. They were a 10 minute oil massage for 22 euro. There were restaurants on the beaches as well. These restaurants looked pretty high end and we caught sight of a bar that even had a few cement Indonesian Buddha heads on the counter.

We then went into Le Sanctuaire du Sacre Coeur. I lit a candle just because it felt right and then deposited my donation for the candle into a slot on the wall.

We saw an olive tree planted in memory of heroes and the sacrifices they had made. Surrounding the olive tree were lavender amongst flowers.

We went to the bus station, the Gare Routiere where I practised my French with the lady at the desk asking her for bus routes for where we hoped to go. She was very helpful and nice.

We stopped for tea at La Bella Fornarina, a patisserie which said under their name specialites regionales. In France they don’t automatically give you milk and here you have to pay 50 cents to get a creamer full of milk. Also ate a Chapeau specialtie which cost 1 euro. Our two teas cost about 4euro15each. Pretty expensive cup of tea.

Walked more through Old Nice and saw the Charcuterie Ghibaudo which had a whole pig in the glass case. They were just slicing portions off of it as people ordered. Passed a butcher shop and then a glass case which was filled with “sauté de Veal” and “gigot d’agneau”. Thought about Jeremy, you would love this son.

Went into a clothing store called S'meralda, pret a porter feminin. Had a good time here trying on clothes. It has been along time since Margy and I went clothes shopping together. Bought myself the dress which is popular in this area or at least in France.

As we continued to go into the shops in the winding streets that were like narrow alleys, we found a store called Epices Girofle & Cannelle. Check it out at www.girofle-et-cannelle.com.

They had two stores side by side. One sold lavender and all sorts of soaps. We did not spend time there but focused on the store that sold spices. We found an amazing array of salts and spices. Sold in tubes, containers or by the gram, everything you could possibly want was there. There were salts from many different regions. As well they had a large variety flavoured salts. Some of the varieties were salt with lemon and coriander, salt with basil, olives and sundried tomato. They sold spices which were stored in large glass jars, turmeric, paprika, candied ginger, crystallized violet petals, rose petals, and mint. There was a large assortment of teas as well.

There was a large metal bowl full of star anise. They also sold a variety of sugars.

The manager or owner asked his assistant to let us try some balsamic vinegrettes. We went to the back of the shop where there was an array of balsamic vinegrettes on a counter and mini spoons. This was quite the treat and we felt like honoured guests. With each balsamic, he explained the process that went into making that particular one.

The price of the one I liked was 34 euro. Very tempting to purchase but how to bring it home safely. There was a bottle of balsamic that was aged for 100 years and selling for 650 euros. Mind boggling but the art of balsamic is truly an art, like fine wines or brandies. One, we were told was aged for 7 years and then another 4 years and during this time was rotated from different barrels made from different woods. Had a most enjoyable time at this shop and then we were off on our travels.

We had to use a restroom as it had been quite a few hours. Unfortunately, like many cities, there are not a lot of public washrooms. We ducked into a bar and used theirs and they were not so happy with us. We had gone to a patisserie earlier to have tea and use their toilet but they did not even have a public one.

We walked towards the Port of Nice and there we saw quite the yachts as well as many a fishing boat. There was also a ferry that sailed from Nice to Corisca if one should decide to do that. Each of the yachts had to fly the flag for where they were from as well as the flag of the country they were currently moored in. We only noticed one yacht that had a sign that it was available for charter. Many of the yachts were from London.

After we spent some time wandering around the Port we turned around and started to head back to Old Nice to find a place to have dinner and then head back to our hotel for our last night. I was not able to book more than two nights at Chez Brigitte and so tomorrow and for the next 6 days we would be staying at the Hotel and Hostel Paradis.

We came upon La Taca D’Oli which is a restaurant recommended to us by our hostess Brigitte and which says on their business card and menu “Specialities Nicoises”. Prices were reasonable and we got there about 7 pm. We were not overly hungry and ordered aperitifs, Margy had one which was made from walnuts when they are still young and green and I had a biere. Yes, thirsty again. Easy to get dehydrated here. Still drinking water but not enough. When you get water at a restaurant in France, they give it to you in a tall carafe. Very sensible as you get lots of water and they don’t have to refill you every few minutes. We also each had a glass of the house red wine. They don’t call it that. Here it is called "pichet du patron" which roughly translated is the wine suggested by the owner. Before we received our basket of bread we were given some pissaladière which is an onion tart with anchovy fillets and black olives. I really like this very much. It was cut into four squares and each had an olive on top. The olives were amazingly good. Not too salty and just perfect.

For our entrees, Margy ordered the gnocchi daube which is a beef stew sauce and I ordered the seafood salad. Mine was listed under starters but it was a perfect portion along with a couple of pieces of bread I was not too full but just right. After dinner we decided to walk back to our hotel so that we could walk off our dinner.

We passed more entertainment including a gold pirate that looked a bit like Johnny Depp as well as like Herbert, our driver from Paris Vision. Perhaps he has a side job, Herbert that is, not Johnny.

Back to the hotel by 10:30 pm for really needed showers as we were hot and sticky from our day out. I have found that I need to wash my hair daily at the end of the day, otherwise I don’t think I would be able to sleep. Despite the fact that there are four bedrooms here, we have managed not to really have any wait times for either the bath or toilet.

Posted by Sydney324 15:27 Archived in France Tagged food Comments (0)

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