Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nice (n-ee-ce) was pretty nice (n-eye-ce)

Yes, I know I'm home, but you'll just have to put up with a couple more posts about what was the best vacation ever. No, wait. BEST. VACATION. EVER.

Nice (or maybe all of France, or all of Europe for that matter, I don't know for sure) is very different from Canada. Here are some random things I noticed:

  • Things are smaller (apartments, washing machines, refrigerators, supermarkets), and despite the crazy traffic and bus drivers who think they're driving in a Formula One race, life is slower paced.

  • Walking down the Promenade des Anglais, day or night, was the thing I liked to do best.

  • Best. Croissants. Ever.


Considering the above bullet point, it's strange that there are no overweight people here. Also, I have never seen so many attractive people in one place in my entire life.

  • Skin cancer does not seem to be a major concern in Nice. Everyone seems to be tanned to a deep toasty brown. Including the one woman we saw on several days down on the beach, clad only in a teeny yellow thong, a gold chain around her waist, and a Gilligan hat. Reading Emile Zola and eating nectarines, no less.

  • A real Nicoise Salad doesn't have any green beans or potatoes in it. But it does have lots of tuna, olives, radishes, tomatoes, hardboiled eggs and some anchovies.

  • Even though the Mediterranean Sea is salty and easy to float in

    I couldn't smell the sea the way you usually do at the seaside. But swimming in it will leave you all salty and with a bad case of Med Head until you shower.

  • Parking is a sport in Nice. People will park anywhere. On sidewalks. On corners. Double parking. You name it.

  • If you order anything with prawns (gambas) or shrimp (crevettes), be prepared to do some dissection. Most of the time in North America, shrimp are little pink commas of flesh when they're served to you. In Nice, they are cooked to a rosy red, but not peeled. Even in a curry sauce, you'll still see little eyes peering out at you, and little leg things waving.

    The upside is, that when you take the time to peel them, they taste better than any North American shrimp.

  • The Hotel Negresco is a truly fascinating place. The gorgeous architecture and eclectic art make it a place not to miss.

  • Wine there is really cheap and really good.

    Mostly we drank local varieties of rosé by the bottle, but we couldn't resist these single-serving glasses we found in the grocery store. Vive la France!

  • The default music type in any public space is jazz. It was playing on the tour boat we took to Monaco, and in those restaurants that had music playing. It was so nice. How nice was brought home rather forcefully when, on the long trip home, we ate lunch in a 'seafood' restaurant in the Newark airport and the soundtrack was Taylor Swift's greatest hits. Yeah.

  • You WILL gain weight in Nice (And Villefranche Sur Mer, and Monaco).

  • Oh. Yes. You. Will.

  • Banana split crepes. O.M.G.

    Warm goat cheese salad!!

    Moules et frites!!!


    I seem to have used up all my exclamation points.

    [I don't know why this is all different colours and underlined. HTML coding and I are not friends.]

    I think I would like to be dropped in a vat of Chantilly whipped cream. And left there

  • Lettuces, mangoes and nectarines from the greengrocers are ENORMOUS. And delicious. Really, really delicious.

  • The transit system -- the trains, trams and buses -- are clean and efficient and cheap. You can go a long way on the bus for a euro.

  • Even as far as Eze, which is probably the most picturesque place I've ever been.

  • This picture was taken from the boat from Nice to Monaco. You can see that Eze is perched right at the top of the mountain.

      So, to sum it all up, I can see why people retire to the South of France. Thanks, Dad, I'll never forget that trip.

      I can't wait to go back. Come on Lotto 649.


      1. OMG...So yummy, warm, beautiful and I am truly envious.

      2. The next time you go, I'm going with you whether I'm invited or not.

      3. Sarah - It was so much fun.

        Jen - It would be fun to go back there on a wife trip sometime.

      4. Anonymous3:18 PM

        Great stuff Al!!!!!