France, August 2019 (Part 2)
As with all of our trips, the majority rules when picking the places we visit while on vacation. I was pushing for Normandy and well.... the south of France it is!! The ladies always make great choices by the way! I will get to Normandy one day! Our very short flight from Paris to Nice was easy and the Uber quickly transported us to meet our host in town. By the way, the Ubers we took in France would be considered Uber Black in my neck of the woods.
We really like using Booking.com and Air BnB's, in Nice it was Air BnB. During our search we found a few options in and around Old Nice and the port. We ended up about 2 blocks outside of Old Nice and this area turned out to be picturesque and perfect, 2 blocks from the beach and a 15 minute walk to the Port de Nice. 4th floor, a/c, elevator, balcony and all the amenities! When we met our hosts on a street corner near the beach we were very thankful our daughter speaks a little French when they gave us directions to the apartment 2 blocks away. Making our way down a side street we were so happy to see the host catch up to us and said he'd show us the place, merci beaucoup for that!
Once we stowed our bags and freshened up we hit the ground running! First an outdoor lunch a block down from the apartment, offering the largest and tastiest Croque-Monsieur! not the grill cheese sandwich my mom used to make! and my first 1664 lager, which I grew to love, even in cans at the beach!! After lunch we moseyed down the lovely Promenade du Paillon and into the largest Old Nice square Place Massena, home to the Fountain du Soleil "Fountain of the Sun".
From there we headed towards the beach and Promenade des Anglais. The entire area of course was incredibly beautiful, but smelling the salt air and seeing the dark blue Mediterranean Sea again was worth the price of admission! As we crossed the road to the promenade we noticed a small squad of soldiers patrolling in orderly fashion, I approached one of the soldiers and said "Merci for your service" he grinned and nodded which told me he understood my appreciation. The views up and down the wide promenade were truly amazing.
With cold water in hand we walked along the water taking it all in. We steadily worked our way around to the Port de Nice. Weather was perfect, high 80's during the day, but that SUN! As we approached the port we passed a couple beautiful monuments, WWI Monument aux Morts at the base of Castle Hill and a French Revolution Cross, so much history represented in hundreds of beautiful pieces of art in and around Nice.
The marina at Port de Nice was full of boats of all sizes, from the colorful traditional fishing "sharp" boats to super yachts, largest being the S/V Ilona at 242 feet long, 40 foot beam, equipped with helo! We watched her depart the dock and head out to sea. I enjoyed this walkabout very much!!! There were plenty of shops and cafe restaurants around the marina, but we decided to explore Vieux Nice or Old Nice some more, they have shady streets, the SUN!!
We were near the shore when we entered Old Nice to explore. We simply meandered along the beautifully tight and colorful car free streets lined with all sorts of shops and cafes. At some point we happened upon the 17th century Cathedral Sainte-Reparata which sits on top of the original 11th century cathedral, beautiful. We kept heading north then west on the streets thinking we'd end up close to our apartment at the promenade, but quickly learned the streets veer slightly east and ended further up from our apartment, no biggie, lots of good steps logged! It was really fun stepping back in time on these streets, that's what we enjoy about Europe, serious history!
It was very late in the afternoon and the SUN still a blazen, so we decided to grab our bathing suits and head to the beach. Of course we found some cold 1664 lager cans near the beach and put them in my dry bag! One bit of advice (TomB) for these rocky beaches you probably want water shoes. Flip flops got us to the edge of the sea where we laid our towels, but getting in and out of the refreshing water was comically painful on our feet! A 30 something guy from Ukraine came to me as I struggled into the water smiling and pointed at his shoes he bought there for 10 euros across the street. Really great conversation with him in the water. We were on the beach from around 6-7:30pm and so was everyone else. The positive thing about a rocky beach of well tumbled rock is that you have no sand to deal with at the end of the day!
Dinner time!! it was late for us, maybe 9:30pm by the time we showered...many places in Old Nice were booked up, but we found a nice small Italian restaurant, La Tapenade, on a side street with an open window seat. The food, wine and atmosphere was perfect. The waiter spoke as much English as I do French, thankful for our daughter once again. We finished the night with my favorite dessert, a large tasty Panna Cotta! Great ending to a great day!!
To be continued...............