The city is gorgeous, of course… a level of gorgeous that’s hard to comprehend, with the charm of Provence and the grit of a bygone Atlantic City Boardwalk all rolled into one.
We spent days lazing on the beach, diving in the turquoise waters and stuffing our faces with out of this world food that is as much Italian as it is French.
But Nice is also a huge city, with all of the accouterments.
Normally, we wouldn’t mind… but something failed us in our planning (a myopic focus on the family portion of the trip, maybe) and we didn’t have the time to really do the research… we just wanted a romantic getaway, and the Nice of Old Town (the one in the pictures) seemed like the perfect place.
… this wasn’t entirely that Nice. Sure Old Town is very quaint, but for every delicious restaurant there are five frozen-food tourist duds, and for every beautiful corner, New York City lurks just around the bend. I knew it was a big town… just not quite as big as it was.
So we were disappointed, but we were also blown away… blown away by the beautiful architecture, by the amazing sorbet, the striking blue waters, and the pasta that melts in your mouth.
We took midnight walks along the boardwalk, and watched children play in the fountains in the middle of town. We perused every delicacy imaginable, and found inspiration in the intricate shops.
All in all, we loved every moment.
Since you know how much we love food, I’ll say that ultimately, the city can probably be summed up in three dinners.
Our first, chosen in haste and hunger on a jetlagged hunt for food, resulted in as much satisfaction as you’d guess. Sure, the menu looked great and the service was friendly, but the food had as much flavor as a cardboard box.
Our second, painstakingly chosen after our first terrible experience, was as unique and as delicious as we’d hoped… though maybe a little (okay a lot) heavy on the cheese.
The last, we stumbled upon on another night of desperation… hoping just to find something decent to eat. Maybe we were just hungry, but it was a blessing… perfectly cooked pasta, seafood fresh from the boat, and a beautiful outdoor atmosphere we’d grown wary of after our first bad experience and a review or two suggesting we’d best avoid the terrace. (A sentiment proved wrong again and again, though I’m sure it rings true overall.)
The city is one that, upon looking back, I realize needs a plan – a well-researched itinerary, much like the one we had for Ireland – so as to assure you don’t miss its incredible sights or stumble into its (many) less-desirable restaurants.
… but even with that well-researched plan, sometimes the most incredible experiences come as a complete surprise. Sure we stumbled into one or two bad meals, but that one incredible moment scrubbed them clean.
… sometimes, we’ve learned, you just have to stumble to find your way.