In typical Yasmin fashion, my trip to Nice was far from smooth… a lost bag, potentially lost and then found passport, stolen makeup and treasure hunt for the Air bnb later, a sweaty mess, and even sweatier after climbing four flights of very steep stairs, I could finally relax and be on my fist real holiday in a long while.
The sun beat down in the south of France and whilst sunbathing and reading and generally doing absolutely nothing, it was nice to let my mind wander and mull over the last couple of years which seemed to have zipped by in double time in LDN whilst sunbathing alone, book cast aside and my eyes closed to the glare of the sun.
In the past four years, I lived in one lovely house and made 5 new friends on the river in Fulham, dated in secret, dated a married man, lived in a grotty flat with my then best mate in Brixton and ate fried chicken on the floor by candlelight and tins of tomato soup, threw some great parties and lamented our weed smoking neighbours. Now, I live in a flat share with someone who I see once in a blue moon!
I have had jobs in publishing, restaurants and PR, eat out more times than I can count, taken a million tube journeys, disastrous dates, danced in parks, thrown up in taxis and smoked in kitchens. Being out of the city I have loved and loathed to call home, that swallows all my cash, robs me of my sleep, enriches my cultural experience in life and still gives me a thrill to say I live there sometimes, lay on the other side of the channel and with no phone in hand to link me back, it was kinda nice to have an adventure not in London…
Here are my Nice highlights if you decide you need to get away from the city we love to hate and hate to love so, so much.
Staying in the old town just across from the famous cathedral meant that I was spoilt for choice when it came to restaurants. Being in the centre of the old town however, also meant that it was a tourist trap and being a bargainous northerner I am, stumbling on Chez Palmyre after reading some insider blogs on places to eat was a true treasure. A French local where the service isn’t silver and the butter salted, the tables cramped and the menu set; it was charming and the food was delicious. Authentic French dishes with clear med influences littered the menu. My main of chargrilled squid with buttery mash was spectacular. Three courses are 17 euros and there’s a queue for this place. Ring ahead or book ahead else you’ll be wishing you had. They don’t have a website but you can find their number to book.
Cours de Saleya
A flower market, vintage flea market and more importantly, fresh fruit and veg market, buy famous bars and blocks of pastel shaded soap in fragrant citronella or soothing shea, trinkets which may have belonged to Marie Antoinnette’s ladies and one-off pieces of furniture, or stock up on artisan jams and local honey, pickled olives and garlic. Or, like me, gorge on the fresh peaches, in season, so ripe and yellow, the sweet scent warmed by the sun beckoning you to pick one up and bite. And then eye up another. The market runs morning until 1pm. Listen out for the canon which signals packing up time and some bargains too.
Salsa at Lido Plage
Whilst i spent some of my time in Nice solo, I was also joined by friends along the way. On one of the balmiest of the nights I was there, the air sticky with heat and the salt from the crashing waves on our tongues, an old friend who I have hated as much as I have loved and a London constant like a thread knitting parts of my journey there together, joined me for a night of dancing salsa at the Lido Plage on the Promenade des Anglais. From glamourous chic French women, their simplistic faultless style at ease and jarring simultaneously with the salsa style of dancing, old charmers of men, suited and sharp and experts at leading, snapback capped street styled young men adding their own flourishes and gorgeous girls in tight tops joined together for dancing and cocktails which carried on late into the night. Classes and social dancing until late with one cocktail every Sunday for 15 euros Find out more here
All that sunbathing and contemplation meant I was absolutely frazzled to a burnt crisp on the beach! More than mahogany, I waited in the airport, my flight was delayed and by the time I made it back to Gatwick, the trains had stopped running, my new zen mindset had been destroyed and I forked out for a £50 taxi to get myself home and into my own rented lil bed.