Yesterday was a relaxed but rather sad day for me, as it was our last full day in France. It began with a walk to the port in the early morning sun, then we backtracked along the Promenade des Anglais and across to the Cours Saleya, in search of a light breakfast. We soon spied a busy café on a street corner and decided to give it a try. The interior reminded us somewhat of cafes at home – the breakfast fare was just what we needed and the coffee was excellent.
As we walked back up the Cours towards the Tour Bellanda beside our hotel, the flower market was getting into full swing, and fruit and vegetables sellers had set up their colourful stalls too. We were very tempted by the fresh fruit so ended up with a feast of fat, juicy apricots, plus melon and pineapple.
Soon we were ascending the many steps up to the Tour Bellanda, but we discovered there was so much more to it – the Colline du Chateau offers not only panoramic views, but as we climbed higher, we saw shady walking tracks, tranquil resting spots and the glorious hilltop park, which is obviously popular with fitness devotees. After our descent back down to the road and climb back up the four flights of stairs to our room, we devoured most of the fruit we had just bought – all those stairs had made hot and hungry again.
The sun was still blazing down, but there was more to see, so after a showering we set off again, using Rick Steves walking guide of the old town, much of which we found we had done already. I had decided to take in the shops on my own, so we split up then, with Phil returning to the hotel to escape the midday sun. I had a wonderful time, leisurely looking at all the colourful wares on display in the old town, and shopping in the modern area near Galeries Lafayette. I found a lovely gift too, as I retraced my way back through the bustling old town streets to the hotel room.
Next, it was time to address yet another thing on my bucket list – a swim in the Mediterranean, so on went the togs and jandals. Footwear is essential since the beach is not sandy – rather, it is covered in quite large stones. I can see why the locals wear Crocs to the beach now! After warming up on the hot stones amidst a bevy of topless bathers, I took the plunge! The water was so clear, so blue and so very warm – just lovely – tick!
After drinks in our room with Roger and Frances, we went off together in search of our last dinner on this brilliant French adventure. The Italian influence percolates through the city, not least of all, in the cuisine, but we thought French would be apt for our last night, and we found what we were looking for in the colourful Cours Saleya. The balmy Nice evening was over too soon – we had to return to the hotel to pack.
We have all adored Nice. It has such an infectious energy, vibrant colour and a tangible vibe – and glorious weather of course. Phil and I certainly intend to return a third time and we will head directly for Room 44, in Hotel Suisse…. our own personal Tour de France has come to an end and it has been one of the best months of my life. I will carry so many treasured memories of the country I would love to call my second home, but our heartstrings are telling us it is time to get moving, back to our gorgeous girls and their beautiful babies … But first, a few days in the Cotswolds and Los Angeles …