Short holiday break in Nice, May 2007

Sunday 27th May 2007

Next trip July 2007


inside La Cambuse, Bolide on kneeLa Cambuse, 5, Cours Saleya, Old Nice Very brief trip this time but the highlight was lunch at La Cambuse, more info below, a restaurant recommended in Rick Steves' Provence & the French Riviera 2006 which turned out to be very good. Here's the link to see this book, the 2007 edition is also now available: Rick Steves' Provence and the French Riviera

We left the rain in Liverpool to arrive in Nice around 10pm for a 2-day quick visit. In spite of two heavy suitcases, more presents for the studio, we caught the express 98 bus as we are on an economy drive. A taxi at this time of night with luggage is likely to be about 35 euros as opposed to 4 euros each for the bus.

The 98 express bus came on time 22:23 hours, handy to know they run so late. People needing the the train route, the 99 express bus also need the 98 at this time of night and to tell the driver who will go on to the train station after the Gare Routiere. As we are so used to the bus terminating at the Gare Routiere (bus station) we forgot to ding the dinger and we were on our way to the train station before we noticed. In our defence, we thought the driver was taking a long route around because of all the tramworks. The driver pulled over reluctantly on Felix Faures to turf us out and we had even further to lug our stuff.

Apartment still looking smart with its new paint job. Very late so we just faffed about a bit, unpacked a bit and played on the computer, connection is working this time, no word from the daughter who is away on a school trip in Normandy. The main reason to coming here for such a short stay is to keep an appointment on Tuesday morning to have awning installed on our balcony.

Monday 28th May 2007

Warm sunny day but felt cold due to unpleasant cold blustery wind all day. It was enough to make you seek out the sunny side of the street, the shadowed Old Town was very cold. Had a long-sleeved top, long skirt, but not enough, had to add a jacket later on. Unpacked all the goodies for the studio.

bathroom makeover The bathroom looks much better with new towels, mat, shower curtain. We brought along a poster for the flat, it was meant to go in the main room but we decided it looked better in the loo. We have a large empty wall that need something pretty big to fill it, our little poster looked a bit lost there. I am considering buying this to fill the space.

We needed a frame, a simple clip frame, this proved hard to find but eventually hit the jackpot at Habitat in Nice Etoile. Bought a very smart frame, held together by magnets, paid about 30 euros, not too bad. Very heavy so we took the bus back to the Port.

Dufy's 'May in Nice' Here's a close-up of the poster, it's appropriately Raoul Dufy's 'Nice in May'. The actual location is at the back of the Old Town in a building called La Treille. La treille means 'climbing vine' and the vine is still there.

Since about October 2006, La Treille has been a centre of information about historic Old Nice, with guides to the churches, walks based around the Old Town etc. It's open most afternoons and you can pop in and pick up a couple of leaflets for self-guided tours and to find out information about guided tours for example, there is a tour that concentrate on Baroque churches in Nice. I think many of these will be French commentary only. The staff are very friendly and enthusiastic and were giving out free cherries when we went by.

The opening times are Monday to Friday 14:00 hrs to 19:00 hrs. This spot appears to be a favourite place to sit and sketch. Another artist painted La Treille, in a naive style:

naive painting of La Treille

I couldn't quite make out her name, Elizabeth something. I think it's popular with artists because it's off the main street and there's a small square to sit and work in relative peace and quiet.

Laverie Bea, rue Pairoliere, Old NiceAfter five years use, we decided it might just be time to wash our quilted bed throw before packing it away in our cave for the summer. It's large and padded and didn't fit in our washing machine so we risked the local launderette, Laverie Bea, in rue Parolière where they had extra large washers and driers. The launderette was clean and fresh and the machines looked new. There's a first time for everythingThe large machines are 8 euros a wash and the regular sized ones are 3.50 euros. It was empty so we had time to suss it all out in peace. All the machines and dryers and even the detergent (0.8 euros) and conditioner (0.8 euros) were paid for in the same pay machine, the centrale de paiement that took coins and notes. You just key in the number for the machine you wanted to use and paid the total, change is given. The washing machine or whatever comes to life and you programme it as normal. Instructions are mostly French with a bit in English, it's all fairly starighforward though.

During the wash, we set off for a walk to the sea. The private beach Castel Plage at the foot of the Chateau Hill was already set up for the summer. The beach near Castle Hill, Old NiceThe typical Niçoise style buildings you can see in the background are La Perouse Hotel and to the left is La Suisse hotel. As you can see, it's about the best location for a hotel in Nice, La Perouse is pricey with a pool but La Suisse next door is much better value and seems to get consistently great reviews on The blustery strong wind kept most people off the beach, we walked along the Prom for a little while but quickly sought the shelter of the Old Town where we froze in the sunless shadow. Monday is antiques and bric a brac day at the CoursForgot it was Monday and went to wander through the fruit and flower market of the Cour Saleya, Mondays are Antiques and bric a brac in the Cours, not really my thing, I always forget it's on a Monday. It was also a Bank Holiday in the UK and although not an official French holiday, many businesses and restaurants were closed.

After the wash, we used the dryer, you get about 8 minutes per 0.80 cents pay, we needed about three goes. We hung it out to finish off on our balcony. It was really quite painless using the laundrette and we would be even quicker and slicker next time. I am tempted to use it for the weekly bedsheets and towels wash which are a pain to dry in the studio and small balcony. It could easily be combined with a cheap lunch at any of the places along rue Paroliere, Rene Socca, Chez Christian, Bar de la Bourse, La Mama, you could nip in to feed the dryer very easily. At the least, you can buy an English paper from the Tabac opposite rene Socca or maybe crack on with your postcards. My only warning is that there was no-one about should things go wrong although sign suggested that someone is usually hanging around to help. If you are in Nice for a couple of weeks, this is ideal to have a quick launder of beach towels etc.

Tuesday 29th May 2007

fancy new awningmore room and privacyAwning installers arrived promptly and we had a sad moment as we threw out our yellow parasol that served us faithfully for the last 4 summers, seems such a long time since we brought it back from Ikea in Toulon. The awning is better though and makes the balcony feel bigger plus we must have been a source of irritation to our opposite neighbours; at least we now match everyone else.

To celebrate a good job done after five years, we went to La Cambuse restaurant in the Cours Saleya. The Cours Saleya is the heart of the Old Town and probably the most visited part of Nice. As a consequence of this the market is lined with restaurants either which spread out across the Cours once the market is over. This is a typical tourist hotspot and it's difficult to choose a restaurant that is good value, good service and good food. today's special, poisson rougée for meLa Cambuse looks a little self conscious amongst the tourist trap restaurants who have to compete cheek by jowl for custom. We have hardly noticed it as we don't really ever eat on the Cours, it never seems like it would make good sense. However, the recommendation in Rick Steves' book describes La Cambuse as a "small island of refinement, with cuisine for those who want to eat on cours Saleya without sacrificing quality" is spot on and we had a great lunch. Husband chose 'brochette de magret de canard et gambas sauce aigre-douce' and I had the day's special; 'rougets à la provençale' which is red mullet. Specials and main courses are around 18 euros, a half litre pichet of red wine is 9 euros. Bottles of wine start around 19,50 euros and a Bandol was 26 euros. Puddings are around 8 euros. Our bill for 2 mains, a half pichet of wine, one pudding and a coffee came to about 56 euros, about twice what we usually pay so a bit of a treat. We would definitely come back and it's nice to have a decent restaurant on the Cours to recommend. We noticed Theresa, another institution of the cours, Chez Theresa's fast food store in the market has sold Socca for years, recommend La Cambuse to a group of people and she brought them to the manager to arrange an evening meal. La Cambuse is found at 5, Cours Saleya, tel number 04 93 80 82 40.

Later on in Hermès, the assistant said that La Cambuse was very popular among the locals. homemade tarte tartin for puddingSo, if you want the atmosphere of the cours combined with excellent food and good service, you know where to come. It was too windy to eat outside although we did try for a few minutes. Inside with banquette seating along one side, we could both people-watch to our hearts' content.


Iheartfashion said...

I'm so envious! I haven't been to the South of France since I was pregnant with my first-7 years ago-and I can't wait to go back. Beautiful photos.

AllaboutNice said...

iheartfashion - Thanks for your comment, my daughter was about 5 or 6 when we first started coming to Nice - in spite of being a city, there is a lot to see and do with children. My daughter is 12 now and has just started fitting the Agnes B 'Lolita' range of clothing, good job the sales are on at the moment! She has inherited my love of shopping, lol. When she was younger, a day on the beach or at Marineland was her favourite thing, she still loves the beach but would prefer a 'hotel pool if there are shops nearby' You must try and re-visit Nice with your family.

Anonymous said...

La Cambuse was a special treat
some 30 years a go...
Lately I have tried it again and found it mediocre and expensive.
Go up the street and cross the old
town - find Christian Plumail and get
some real imaginative food at an
affordable price....
One Michelin Star and you can eat
cheaper here than most places...