Nice. It’s really nice.

Of the cities on our honeymoon that I had never been to [Barcelona, Nice, Siena, Amsterdam and Brussels], I’d say I had the most preconceived notions and skepticism about Nice. I pictured something out of a Fitzgerald novel: beautiful, expensive people doing beautiful, expensive things in expensive cars and expensive swimsuits along the coasts of the South of France. We purposely made our stay there shorter because we feared it would be too… wait for it… expensive. Our [and perhaps the popularly perpetuated] idea of Nice turned out to be very wrong, and we were actually terribly disappointed with the brevity of our trip.

That’s not to say we didn’t have a moment of panic. Our taxi from the train station to our villa was a new model Mercedes with a leather interior and some sort of fancy-pants computer built into the dashboard. And the ride was expensive. But once we got to the villa, run by an adorable man named Nicolas and his [tiny] pup Mischka [and this hairless cat that immediately decided I was a person-of-interest], we felt comfortable and ready to tackle the city.

After an awesome breakfast in the morning [laid out by Nicolas] of cereals, breads, and confiture de châtaignes – a jam made from sweet chestnuts [HOLY. CRAP.], we made our way to the [daily] street market that ran for blocks and blocks down the main street from our villa to the water. If you can’t tell, we love markets. We found one in almost every city. The Nice market is brought to you by the letter FIGS. They were unbelievable, and I housed them on the beach. There were also delicious zucchini flowers and white peaches. I drooled all the way down the street. Market produce is the best.

But then you get to the beach in Nice and it’s pretty much the most phenomenally gorgeous thing EVER. Figs, what? I forgot my camera that day, but here is a Google Image link to photos. Have at it. None of them even come close to accurately capturing the coast so I’m sure I couldn’t have, either. Nice is situated along the Cote d’Azur [blue coast], and once you look at the water you can see where it gets its name. Contrast that against the white pebble beaches and throw in some hills dotted with gorgeous villas and palm trees, and you’re basically going to want to die there. I swam out into the sea and tread water for what felt like an hour just being a creeper and staring at stuff. To top it off, it was so peaceful – no spring-breakers, no hecklers – just people with books and children and glasses of wine. I might have found my place of retirement… sorry, Charlottesville.

As if it couldn’t have gotten any cuter, we started our evening at a wine bar called Cave de la Tour, a little hole in the wall where you can sample about 20 wines by the glass, or fill up your empty bottle from their personal oak barrels.  The interior is lined with picnic tables equipped with chess boards. It’s too cute to miss if you’re in town. And go for the rose wines. That was the one piece of advice I got before going to Nice, and it was so spot-on I have to pass it to you.

SADLY, our recommended dinner spot was “closed for summer vacation” [apparently the time to go on vacation is NOT during summer vacation], so we wandered and argued until we found something else. The result of said wandering and arguing was largely successful, as I finally got my salad niçoise and we shared a 500ml [2/3] bottle of a delicious rose. Unlike some of the ones I’d grown accustomed to in Virginia, this rose was BIG. It was full of apricot and peach and was not at all bitter. And oh, the niçoise:

Beautiful lettuce, red peppers, canned tuna, niçoise olives, everything I dreamed it would be. And yes, I dreamed about getting this salad in Nice, as cheesy as that sounds.

The next day ended up being a rest day for us. Shaun’s Barcelona sun poisoning turned into a chest cold that was exacerbated by the heat, and he was slowly passing it to me so we opted to stay out of the sun. In the morning we returned to the market and picked up the freshest tuna and salmon, searched far and wide for a fromagerie, and spent the afternoon alternating between coffee shops and wine shops to pick out the perfect wines for dinner. My stint as a denim-clad waitress at Bourdain’s French-American bistro* left me with a lot of knowledge about fancy French wines that I was so excited to finally put to good use. The beauty of those fancy wines? They’re just normal wines in France, and we were able to snag some beautiful bottles I could never dream of affording in the states.

We cooked dinner out on the villa’s terrace: rare tuna and salmon with a white peach and brie salad, and a half bottle of one of my most favorite pinot noirs in the world. I loved it even more after it withstood the test of time and Shaun’s taste buds. He reconfirmed its awesomeness.

farmer’s market FTW.

i. love. this. wine.

And for dessert? No big deal or anything, just the fresh grapes and kiwis growing outside on the terrace at the villa. Picking them myself was an added bonus.

lol, omg, wtf.

Seriously, how do you NOT want to live there forever? We didn’t have the option [I think the hairless cat would have eaten me if we overstayed our welcome], but oh boo, we had to head to Rome. Whine, whine, whine.

What the heck is up with the denim, guys? It killed me. So tacky.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categories: Travel, Wedding


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: Tumblr:


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