On our first morning in Nice, we debated whether to simply enjoy a relaxing day at the beach, or to walk around town. We opted for the latter and fueled up at a nearby crêperie, where we had delicious strawberry and nutella crepes and the waitress called me “princesse.”
After our sweet start to the day, we headed to the Cours Saleya, which on most days of the week is a historic, famous flower market, but on Mondays is an antique market with stall after stall of precious antiques, beautiful art, handcrafted furniture, and exquisite silver cutlery and serveware.
We spent much longer than we planned wandering through the stalls before heading to the Promenade des Anglais for cocktails with a sea view. The promenade is a wide, paved area for pedestrians and bicyclists that stretches for miles along Nice’s beautiful beachfront. After refreshing ourselves, we walked up the promenade to Parc de la Colline du Château, a park on a hill with spectacular views of the city, the sea, and the port. We enjoyed a stroll around the park and took in the beautiful views before heading back down to meander through the city.
We walked through Place Garibaldi, which is enclosed by bright yellow apartment buildings with trompe l’oiel adornments, and which is decorated with beautiful trees with hot pink, fuzzy flowers. From there, we walked up to the modern art museum and then headed back into the heart of the Old Town. On our way, we stopped by the shop of a local water color artist who painted not only Nice’s famous sights, but also construction sites, gas stations, and other everyday sights around town. She was a lovely person and embodied what I perceived to be the feeling of Nice – appreciative of the beauty around her, not terribly concerned with the passage of time, and simply enjoying where she was and the company of the people around her.
In the Old Town, we stopped in the beautiful, 17th century Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate where we took a moment to sit in silence, pray, and give thanks for our wonderful vacation, and then wandered through the cobbled streets of the old town before walking back to the beach area.
After getting our fill of wandering through the streets of the Old Town, we thought we would try to see if we could get tickets to the Eurocup game, so we headed over to the vicinity of the shuttle buses that were beginning to ferry fans to the stadium. We met some interesting characters and came very close to purchasing some tickets, but ultimately decided against dropping several hundred dollars on a whim. Instead, we had a beautifully romantic dinner on the beach at Ruhl Plage. By candlelight, we ate delicious food while watching the Nice oceanside slowly transform from bright turquoise to dark blue, and enjoyed one another’s company away from the sights and crowds of the city.
After dinner, we walked to a nearby park that was playing the Eurocup game on a huge open-air screen. We stood in a large crowd of people and watched the last ten minutes of the fairly exciting upset match, with Iceland beating England. It was a perfect day of experiencing Nice, seeing some of its historic sites, appreciating its natural beauty, and enjoying the unexpected excitement of the Eurocup match!