The French Riviera, as you can imagine, is gorgeous. As are the people, as is the food and generally, as is life in the Côte d’Azur. We arrived in Nice around two in the afternoon. The sky was bluer than blue and the first thing we had to do was have a refreshing Gin & Tonic at the Hotel Negresco along the Promenade des Anglais. We ignored the fact that one set us back 16 euro and focused on the beach view instead.
We strolled down the Promenade and any side street that we saw looked interesting, we took. The entire Promenade is about 7km or roughly four to five miles long. Really though, I did not notice as there were far too many beautiful things taking my attention away from my surely aching feet. We walked through gardens filled with flowers and eventually made our way down to the spot we had been craving all along; the beach.
We rented two chairs, towels and umbrellas at a hotel bar on the water and spent the most lovely three hours listening to the tide crash along the rocks. Several times we looked at each other and said, “Is this truly happening now?” It was and it was glorious. The water though, was freezing. Normally the water isn’t comfortable until August, but my husband got in anyway. He took a few cautious steps and then just fell backward into it, letting the cold saltwater wash over him, baptizing him of all the ‘American’ sins he has commited while living stateside. In all seriousness though, his rationale was the he wouldn’t have the chance to take a dip in the Mediterranean come August so he had to do it now. He wanted to go back to his roots and we both tried to feel like each moment in France wasn’t going to be our last for awhile.
We then headed towards the city center for an apertif before dinner. It was as we were rounding a corner that we ran into Adrian Brody filming what appeared to be an ad campaign. There were murmers of it being for Chanel, as he was in a tuxedo and looking quite dashing, it very well could have been. A model down the street was dressed in high-fashion with three Dalmatians in tow. We decided to try and get a table inside the cafe where Mr. Brody was sitting having a cocktail, we casually walked right past him as we made our way into the cafe. We made brief eye contact and it was brilliant.
We stopped into choclate shops, shoe shops, wine shops and before long we were hungry again. After turning left and right down different paths, we ended back in the Old City. There we found the most charming restaurant, filled with locals and tourists alike. It was small, only seating about nine tables. It had a wood-beamed ceiling and was quite cozy, little candles dotted each table and the waiters only spoke French. We feasted on Beignets de Fleurs de Courgettes (Zucchini flowers), Fettucine aux Cèpes et champignons de Paris (Fettucine pasta with cream sauce and mushrooms) and Mousse aux deux chocolats maison (Homemade Chocolate Mousse) and it was all divine.
Walking back to the car, after the most perfect day, was bittersweet. I was already nostalgic for places in Nice I had not yet seen, and sad to say goodbye to a city that I never thought I would love so much. I looked around and tried to memerize the way the water splashed over the side of a fountain, the faces of a beautiful French couple taking their dog on an evening stroll, how the scent of the sea was still in the air a few blocks away and how being in France made me feel. The sun was just setting as we made our way to the car and I promised myself that I wouldn’t wait too long before returning again.