There comes a time in a pandemic era after getting all of the requisite shots, playing it safer than most, still getting sick twice, and watching everyone else carry on like nothing is the matter that one throws one’s hands in the air and books a trip to the south of France. I actually have to give Britt full credit for being the one to say eff it and book the flights. It was our first real vacation since the outset of all of this virus madness. We flew into Nice via Stockholm. Both airports were really clean and modern. There is a tram line in Nice that goes right to the airport, so we were able to just walk out of the terminal and hop on the tram to our hotel. We stayed at Le Méridien Nice, which is right on the beach. I would recommend it even though it was undergoing facade work during our entire stay. Being the off season, there was actually a ton of construction going on around town. But it wasn’t anything that was enough to detract from the experience. The weather was mid-60s during the day and a bit cooler at night. I was able to get away with a t-shirt during the day when the sun was out, but carried around a hoodie in case I found myself in the shade. Evening was light jacket weather.
The area of the city near the beach is relatively small and very walkable, including the “old town”. After taking a short nap, we were able to explore most of it the day we arrived. Even in the off season, the bars were lively on Friday night and there was plenty going on. The fact that we arrived during the middle of Nice’s Carnival probably had something to do with that. The main square had been transformed into a large stadium with all kinds of floats, decorations and a giant ferris wheel.
Our first night in Nice we grabbed a drink at Babel Babel. The vibe was awesome. They had a DJ spinning funk and soul on vinyl. We returned a few nights later for a late dinner. Click through for a crappy cell phone shot I took while we sitting at the bar. We can highly recommend Babel Babel based on drink, food, vibe and location. The spot is right on the boardwalk overlooking the beach. We did not eat there during the day, but they have an upstairs balcony where you can eat facing the boardwalk. Next time!
Our second day in Nice was the only overcast day of the trip. We trekked east along the boardwalk, then up a series of staircases through a park on Mont Boron. From the top, you can see all of the way to the airport on the west, and look straight down into Port Lympia on the east.
Port Lympia was really cool in its own right. The boats there (super yachts and small sailboats alike) are a sight to behold. We walked a path along the top of the breakwater to a lighthouse to the end and back. Even with the overcast conditions the water was a beautiful deep shade of emerald.
Something really important to keep in mind while in Nice, lunch ends at 2:30. We had planned to hit a Socca spot called Chez Pipo for lunch. It is on the Port Lympia side of Mont Boron. We rolled up around 3:45 and were SOL. We tried to dip into 3 or 4 other cute looking spots in the area with the same result. Ultimately we grabbed a couple of sammies at the corner boulanger. We did make it back to Chez Pipo another time though, and it was not only awesome, but insanely inexpensive.
Speaking of food, I think that our favorite dinner in Nice was a place called Peixes. Here are a few lowkey cell phone snaps of the interior. Britt and I sat at the bar (as is our preference when it is just the two of us). It was cool to watch the chefs prepare all of the ceviche and other small plates right in front of us. We had oysters, tuna tartare, octopus paella, cod. Here are some snaps.
Here is a list of spots that we hit and would recommend–
- Babel Babel – Food or drinks. It’s right on the beach at the edge of the old town. Had a vibe that could have been North Brooklyn. Food and drinks were excellent, and everyone who served us there was very nice, and even cool.
- Wayne’s – Live music, a lot of local beer on tap. Very lively. Didn’t try the food, but it looked decent. A lot of college aged people.
- La Baieta – One of the restaurants that is actually on the beach. Awesome sunset location. Heavy Miami vibes. Didn’t try the food, but the service was good, and can’t beat the view. I didn’t link to it, because they don’t have a proper website, and honestly all of the spots that were right on the beach seemed fungible.
- Chez Pipo – Excellent Socca, pizza and tapas. Very inexpensive. Go early, or be prepared to wait in line.
- The terrace at Le Méridien Nice – Some of the best hotel food that I have ever had. Also an excellent view from the roof of the hotel.
- L’Ecurie – Good vibe. Pizza was good. They had some awesome pepper infused oil.
- Les Distilleries Idealis – I didn’t link because they don’t have a website. Excellent selection of beer. We dropped in twice. Great vibe. I always love a place that gives you olives and nuts when you order a drink.
- Le Shapko – Live jazz. Need I say more? It is like the Rockwood meets Fat Cat. We got there early. By the time Midnight rolled around the place was extremely lively.
Here are some additional snaps of Nice, including some crappy cell phone shots.