Bonjour Côte d’Azur

If asked, I’d say I’m more of a mountain person than a beach person.  I’ve had my share of beach holidays for sure- Jamaica, Maui, Aruba, Phu Quoc, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Bali, and so on.  On my first trip to Thailand 13 years ago, I even went to Koh Samui by myself and spent a week on the beach.  I probably spoke no more than a few words a day, and ended up reading several books and “roasting” in the sun.  While I enjoy being silent and quiet (savasana is one of my favorite yoga postures), I realized then that I wasn’t much of a beach person.  So when I found out we were going to be spending 3 days in the French Riviera I wasn’t sure whether I’d enjoy it.  In the end though, I was able to do a variety of things and had a great time.  I did put my feet in the Mediterranean and go swimming, but I also found plenty of non-beach activities in Nice.

I started each day by taking a walk or jogging up the Promenade des Anglais towards the port, watching the sun rise over the mountains.  The early lights turning the predawn indigo sky into shades of peachy pink and orange was so breathtaking it was hard not to stop every few steps to admire.  They not only changed the color of the sky but each ray seemed to reach out to hug the shoreline and warm up the buildings along the crescent shaped beach.  I meant to watch the sunset as well but somehow each evening I was occupied with one thing or another (I’m sure it was a cocktail of some kind), and never managed.  I’m sure the sunsets in Nice are equally spectacular.

After my morning jog I found the guys at the fitness center trying to work off all the pasta, pizza, and wine consumed in Italy.  They hadn’t yet decided what they were going to do for the day.  But Kevin was happy to accompany me in my walking exploration of Nice, so the two of us set off after our hearty breakfast.

We walked down the Promenaded des Angalis, going the other way towards the airport and looped back when we had enough of the hot sun beating down on us.  It was Sunday morning, and everyone seemed to be out and about.  The beach was already crowded with sun bathers and a line of people were waiting their turn to dangle their feet in the air over the crystal blue waters (parasailing).  There was a triathlon taking place and the final leg of the race was right on the promenade.  We watched the athletes with respect and awe, but I was thinking about whether I’d be hungry enough for lunch soon.  Ha!

We decided to walk over to Old Town and get lost in the narrow streets.  What’s more fun than just wandering around a new place?  We found a fun mix of old and new, modern and ancient, rustic and sophisticated; everything from contemporary installations and luxury high-end shops to cobblestone streets and flowerpots in windowsills.

I grabbed a gelato (lavender and dark chocolate) as lunch, and we walked and walked some more.

We randomly followed a path up and around, and somehow found ourselves exactly where we wanted to be- one of the entrances for the trails that led to Lou Casteu (le château de Nice) and Castle Hill.

This tall waterfall came tumbling down with a spray of cool mist, a nice spot for a mini break on the way to the top of the hill.

The million dollar (er, euro) views from the top were really worth a bit of perspiration.

Instead of retracing our steps to get back, we chose to take the path down towards the port where I started my day.  This route seemed not as popular and I knew we would have a longer walk back to the hotel, but it afforded us yet another view of Nice.

I took a quick swim after getting back, and we all went to dinner together and got caught up on our day (the guys went to the beach & shopping!).  I think there are enough photos for today so I’ll skip the food pictures.  Rest assured no one went hungry.  There was delicious French wine, amazing fish, lobster risotto, cheese plates, fancy desserts with elaborate sugar work, and even a soufflé.   I’d say it was a pretty full day for just wandering around…

 

Dinner at Le Bistrot les Viviers: 22, Rue Alphonse Karr, Nice, France

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