Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Nice is NICE

After visiting my relatives in Germany, I headed to the south of France to meet up with my Duke colleague, Ashley and her friend Neely. We met in Nice to hold a writing retreat where we could work on our upcoming conference papers while also exploring a bit of the southern coast.

We rented an apartment in the heart of Nice. Our flat was located just steps away from a wonderful, daily farmers' market. So, every morning, we set up off with our reusable tote bags to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables. The market consisted of itinerant farmers' stands as well as a covered market area. The cherries were to die for....sadly, cherries in the States just do not live up to those in Europe.

We also had fun trying out some new cheeses and all of the wonderful treats at the local bakery. I was a fan of these adorable little pig shaped cakes:

When we were not writing, we headed off to the beach.


At one point, we took this historic choo choo train ride up to the old citadel to look down on the city. The view was stunning. The water along the Bay of Angels was so vibrant and expansive.

One evening, while winding our way through the ancient city, we passed by a really famous gelato place called Fenocchio. They have the most interesting gelato flavors: violet, cactus, rose etc. Now, you might be wondering why we were having gelato in France. Well, there are some people in Nice who would argue that the city is more Italian than French. When you walk through the city's streets, you would be hard pressed to disagree with them. Most of the restaurants serve Italian food and many of the food vendors are Italian. For example, when we shopped in the covered market by our house, I ordered our cured meats etc. in Italian! Interestingly, once you travel 20 miles west along the coast, you are most certainly in France. Nice appears to be the exception along the south coast.

One day, we decided to take a short trip to a neighboring beach town of Antibes. This ancient town was absolutely charming and a nice break from the cosmopolitan bustle of Nice. The beach was so sandy (quite different from the pebble beaches of Nice). The town, too, was a real treat. The stone facades, blooming bushes, and friendly people were incredible. We had a lovely dinner and then made our way back to Nice.

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