Posted by: vlibrizzi | July 26, 2009

Summer Road Trip: Nice is very nice

DSC_1252I know it’s a silly title…but it’s true. Nice is a really great city. We only stayed here one night, but loved every minute of our stay and hope to return soon. (C. is already hatching future French Riviera vacation plans).

We arrived in Nice yesterday morning to met two friends from the US for lunch. By coincidence, on the same day that we were driving to Nice, they were heading through town on their way to Monaco – so it worked out perfectly!  We ate outside at L’Univers Christian Plumail (a Michelin-starred restaurant that just happens to serve a very affordable lunch menu). I loved the monkfish wrapped in bacon, and C. really enjoyed the duck. There’s nothing like enjoying a bottle of rose outside on a bright, sunny day with friends.

After lunch, the four of us walked around old Nice searching for an ice cream place (Fenocchio’s) that serves 86 different flavors of ice cream—right up my alley! I was adventurous and tried a scoop of avocado ice cream, and it was, surprisingly, really good.

DSC_1197Later yesterday afternoon, we checked into our hotel, said “a bientot” to our friends, and went for a walk along the Promenade des Anglais. This long walkway that overlooks the sea was built by wealthy English tourists in the 19th century who wanted a place to walk along the sea. You can see some people in the photo to the left relaxing on one of the benches along the promenade.




DSC_1185As you can see in the photos to the left and below, the sea is a brilliant light blue, and there is no sand. Instead, Nice’s beaches are filled with little pebbles—not so fun to lay on when sunbathing, I presume.  We noticed that almost all of the beaches rented chairs.









DSC_1189Later that evening, we made our way back to the neighborhood where our hotel was to have some Italian food for dinner. Since Nice is so close to Italy (and even had the choice about a hundred years ago whether they wanted to be part of Italy or France….and chose France), it has really good Italian food.

We ate at a cute pasta place called Il Vinaino, and then , after dinner, we walked a block down to a great enoteca to enjoy a glass of wine before heading in for the night.



DSC_1226This morning, we grabbed two croissants at a nearby boulangerie and ate them on a bench overlooking the ocean. Then, we visited the outdoor flower and fruits marked on Cours Selaya. You can see some of the photos we took at the market below. The fruit was so fresh that we had to try some out, so we shared an apricot and a peach.





DSC_1213We then hiked to the top of Castle Hill to see Nice from above. Despite the name, there is no castle on top of the hill – it was destroyed in 1706 by the king of France who was asserting his authority over the territory. Instead, today there is a waterfall, two cafes, and children’s playgrounds. (You can see one of our photos from Castle Hill at the top of this entry.)





DSC_1243After our hike, we wandered the streets of Vieux Nice, stopped for a great pizza and salad Nicoise lunch at restaurant called Gesu, and then visited a perfume shop to test out some of the local fragrances. The town of Grasse, where perfume was invented, is nearby Nice, so there are lots of great perfume shops and museums in Nice. It was fun to smell all the local scents…for me…not for C.

We then hopped in our car and took a detour to quickly visit the town of Antibes before heading to the airport in Marseilles.

Sadly, we didn’t have much time in Antibes at all, but really enjoyed walking through the old town and seeing the great ramparts. It’s definitely a town we’d like to return to in the future.

Now, as I write this entry, we’re on an airplane headed to Dublin for the rest of the weekend. The only sad part of our trip to the Riviera was that we had to return Francois, our Citroen. To be honest, I got a bit choked up when we dropped the car off; we’ve had a lot of fun driving around in that car over the last four months.

But, now we’re on to Ireland, and then the US. It’s hard to believe that we’ve come so far already on this trip, but we’re excited for the last stop 🙂



  1. Valerie, looks great. I’ve enjoyed reading about your vacances…Stacey and I are hoping to be in Nice next summer, so I will have to hit you up for recommendations!

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