Lately, facing the constant barrage of nauseating political news,
life has felt like an interminable tug-of-war.
Sick & tired of feeling sick & tired, I zeroed in on
the perfect prescription -- no doctor or pharmacy required.
If you feel the need to escape the escalating chaos,
consider making your way to the capital of the French Riviera.
Going to Nice is like finding $100 stuffed in a purse
you just bought at the thrift shop.
It's only a hundred bucks, but it feels like you've won the lottery.
That's Nice, the winning ticket where urban energy meets ancient charm
in an utterly fantastic medley of old and new.
First, a secret. I didn't even go to the beach.
While that might shock many who dream of toasting their buns
on the sexy shores of this Mediterranean superstar,
I can assure you, even a beach baby like me wouldn't dream of lying
inert when there's so much to see and do in the city.
My most recent visit brought more surprise and delight than ever before.
Sure, in seasons past, I had seen the famous Promenade des Anglais,
Hotel Negresco, and the unforgettable Cours Saleya Market.
But that had been a quick trip and this time I was in need of some quality
time -- a slower clock -- enough easy hours to concentrate on blue skies,
unconventional art and icy glasses of rosé.... the simple pleasures
that help us disengage from the partisan merde at home.
Setting off with a diverse list of museums and special walks,
my first order of business was as French as it gets:
Eat and drink without a shred of moderation or guilt.
With that said, we headed straight toward one of the best markets
in all of Provence, the Cours Saleya.
Surrounded by inviting café terraces, this open-air market
sort of sums up all that is Nice.
Where else can you find a block of buildings so vibrant and bright their colors compete with the mouthwatering lemons and tangerines at market?
to local herbs and spices, soaps, olives and every variety of vegetable
to make your very own soon-to-be-world-famous ratatouille.
*a chickpea crepe that's much more delicious than it sounds
On Mondays, the market turns its attention to antiques and must-have "stuff" in
a very eclectic and laid back brocante* setting; we happily joined the throngs.
Come to think of it, maybe I should have looked harder -- perhaps that purse
embracing the hidden $100 bucks was amongst all the other tempting treasures....
Henri Matisse at the far end of the market.
Linger mindfully here, there's much to absorb.
It's a tangible escape from the ho hum routine back home,
a time & place you'll long "play back" when you need it the most.
Think about it.
You're standing in the same light that inspired the great artist known
as one of the most influential pioneers of the modern era.
And who knows, the next Matisse may be standing nearby admiring the
same artichokes and eggplants that feed your optimistic search for inspiration.
Perhaps this is what they mean by "food for thought".
"There are always flowers for those who want to see them."
Just a few blocks from the Cours Saleya and the Old Town (La Vieille Ville),
you'll run into the cheerful Promenade des Anglais.
Though first constructed in the early 1800's for privileged British
sunseekers in search of escape from the never-ending winter damp, today's
version is as hip and adaptive as the latest techie gadget in your pocket.
It represents the virtual definition of Nice: young-at-heart and playful to the core.
No matter if you're eight or eighty, everyone is here to breathe the fresh sea air
and soak up the Cote d'Azur's famous sunshine.
Whether you like to stay on the move or just sit and watch "the show",
the Promenade des Anglais is a must-do in a city that is full of choices.
Cyclists, runners, grannies and kids line the walkway, reminding us that
the original "Prom" has evolved as far from its 19th century aristocratic roots
as possible, making its down-to-earth incarnation accessible to all.
describes the more modern and trendy new construction.
The streets overflow with Riviera style.
You'll sense a strong dose of Italian dash nearly everywhere.
There's a good reason for that.
Nice belonged to the Savoy region -- part of the loosely configured Italian state -- until
1860 when France came calling.
She was the prize in a bargain brokered by Napoleon III, leading France
to lend Italy a hand in her fight against Austrian invaders.
It was a good trade.
Mediterranean red-orange roofs, orange trees and palatial hotels complete the dazzling picture of this beautiful city; she hardly shows her age.
Speaking of sumptuous beauty, do your best to walk into the Hotel Negresco,
where you'll be rewarded with over-the-top decoration -- a mix of
Belle Epoque glamour and contemporary jubilation.
Who knows, you may run into one of your favorite celebrities in the lobby or bar.
The Negresco has attracted mountains of famous visitors over the
years -- including the Beatles!!!, the Rockefellers & Vanderbilts,
Salvador Dali -- cheetahs in tow! -- Coco Chanel, Ernest Hemingway,
Marlene Dietrich, Liz & Dick, Elton John.....
And don't forget to look up at the famous pink dome on your way out,
said to be designed to evoke the image of a beautiful breast --
as they say, only in France.
you need more, there is no end to the possibilities in Nice.
Avenue Jean Médecin is a shopper's paradise -- including Galleries Lafayette
and a vast array of unique boutiques.
Locals enjoy nearby Place Masséna, particularly at night when its seven statues
are illuminated, bringing a play of light that is unforgettable.
A statue of Apollo -- the god of sun & light -- stands sentry on the square,
reminding all that getting to know Nice is like capturing lightening
in a bottle -- if only for a day.
the Promenade du Paillon and Le Jardin Albert 1er.
Green Nice will bring a smile to even the grumpiest traveler's face.
For another WOW moment, head to Cathédral Russe, the St. Nicholas
Russian Orthodox church, said to be one of the finest outside Russia.
Onion domes, orthodox icons and incense were a welcome sight
to wealthy Russians wintering in Nice.
Czar Nicholas II had the church built in 1912, a great
spiritual source of pride for the community.
Exuberantly ornamental, it claims to be the largest Eastern Orthodox
cathedral in western Europe.
when in Provence, that goes double.
It's pretty tough to find a bad restaurant here but as always, I like
to rely on someone local for an authentic recommendation.
Since the French love to talk about food,
it's easy to gather a number of good suggestions.
Adrian Leeds of International House Hunter fame -- who divides her time
between Paris & Nice -- has offered high praise for the cooking and animated energy
of Bistrot d'Antoine in the center of Vieux Nice.
From the appetizer to the dessert, we were more than happy.
And the best part is, you can eat to your heart's delight because when the
party in your mouth is over, you'll walk it all off
getting "lost" in the magical streets of the old town.
If you're an art lover, this city is heaven on earth.
Musée National Marc Chagall really does offer you a ticket to heaven -- the
Old Testament kind -- with art that is filled with love and wonder.
Musée Matisse is on a completely different playing field, a colorful
and sometimes outrageous party that will leave you breathless.
We will definitely visit both of these in future chronicles of The Paris Effect Blog.
In case you missed it earlier, I've written about a special museum in Vieux Nice
called the Palais Lascaris, a treasury of art and vintage musical instruments:
I hope you're able to visit all these venues to your heart's content.
Anne Lamott, American Novelist & Social Activist
If you've come to Nice to unplug from all-things-unpleasant at home,
you've come to the right place.
Lighthearted and jubilant, you'll walk away with a renewed lease
on life, with love planted firmly in your heart.
Sunny-side up Nice is truly a prescription for joy.
"The cure for all the ills and wrongs, the cares, the sorrows and the crimes
of humanity all lie in the one word "love".
It is the divine vitality that everywhere produces and restores life."
Lydia Maria Child, 19th Century American Abolitionist & Women's Rights Activist