Just in


As with the rest of our party I was delighted to be travelling again and to be back in Nice at my favourite time of year.

The season begins in April 15 and early May on the Riviera becomes busy and crowded with the twin attractions of the Monaco Grand Prix and the Cannes film festival.

Mind you with a hot Easter, Nice was crowded too mainly with Italians.

It helps a lot that we know the building where we habitually stay and Nice well.

We have a new flat owned by an Italian family.

Judging by the decor it was mainly occupied by an elderly lady but her family tried very hard – and succeeded – in leaving it clean, tidy and well appointed.

The crucial feature as with our previous flat is the double balcony with superb views over Nice.

We soon fell into our normal routine of me doing the early morning run to the boulangerie for croissants and baguettes and the marvellous fruit market at Cours Saleya.

I was greeted so affectionately by my favourite stall holder Therese and her family and was delighted to see her again.

My father came here in the late 1960s and made the early morning trip then.

Although we have visited our favourite restaurants and are going to the Colombe d’Or today (I will leave Daffers to do them full justice in her reviews) I enjoy just as much taken on the balcony a cold lunch of octopus and ham and celeriac salad with one of those enormous tomatoes with truffle burrata, all obtained that day from the market washed down with a chilled rose, our favourite is La Rasque.

To our left tourists traipse up the steep stairs to the Chateau, which has the best views of Nice, to our right is the splendid Baie des Angez and the arc of the city alongside it.

Nice tends to be the arrival point for visitors to Monte Carlo, Cannes and various delightful resorts in between.

My father observed each has its own charm and personality which is one reason why the Riviera remains eternally popular.

Of course it was once a winter resort and it was only after a English visitor turned back from Italy because of the plague that its summer popularity started.

Indeed in the north of Nice is the Hotel Regina – named after Queen Victoria who stayed there

Another reason is the French make a better job of preserving their national identity than us.

There are no large supermarkets to drive the Cours Saleya out of business; no Starbucks to replace the charming cafes with terraces.

Visitors flock to both.

Rather incongruously, as we had our evening aperitif on the balcony, we heard a terrific din which was a march along the Promenade des Anglais (built by convicts under the supervision of an English cleric, hence the name) in support of Ukraine with a leader blaring into a microphone and others chanting.

To an extent it deflated our idyll to be reminded of conflict on this very continent.

There has always been a strong Russian presence on the Riviera and indeed the French authorities are seeking to freeze Oligarch‘s mansions in desirable areas like Antibes.

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About Robert Tickler

A man of financial substance, Robert has a wide range of interests and opinions to match. More Posts