Postcards from Southern France: Old Nice by foot

One of the most captivating areas of Nice is the Old Town. Locals say that Nice’s heart and soul beat in the Old Town. The winding narrow streets, similar to corridors, are full of restaurants, coffee shops and local art boutiques.

People having dinner in Old Nice

People having dinner in Old Nice

The Old Nice is located between Nice’s Castle Hill and the Mediterranean Sea. Its Mediterranean architecture goes naturally with the Baroque churches and little squares. The houses’ owners hang their laundry in front of their windows. Very often one can spot some owners looking out the windows.

House on the street corner in Old Nice

House on the street corner in Old Nice

The Old Nice is very cool, even during the summer days, when the heat is at its peak. The cool effect comes from a clever natural ventilation system, which has been based on the houses’ configuration and orientation. It is amazing to see such a technique working for centuries.

One of the beautiful winding narrow streets in Old Nice

One of the beautiful winding narrow streets in Old Nice

The architects of the old times found natural solutions to beat the heat. The buildings have got openings that let the cool air from the streets get inside.

While the houses are painted in different pastel colours, they have got a common element: the window shutters in pale greenish blue, always ready to beat the sun.

The Old Nice is the place where Nissart, an Occitan language dialect, is still spoken, hence the bilingual street signs at the crossroads.

Bilingual street sign in both French & Nissart

Bilingual street sign in both French & Nissart

The Cours Saleya is a well-known part of the Old Nice. It is almost parallel with the Promenade des Anglais, another iconic lane, which goes hand in hand with the coast.

The Cours Saleya is famous for housing the Flower Market (Marché aux Fleurs), an emblematic market place. It is a pedestrian street where florists and craftspeople expose their products, from flowers, fruit, and vegetables to lavender, soap, perfume, garlic and the well-known Provence’s herbs.

Marché aux Fleurs

Marché aux Fleurs

The Market is open until midday, except on Mondays. The midday is the moment when the morning vendors leave to make room for the restaurants owners who expand their areas with tables and chairs ready to welcome their guests to eat.

What food we tried:

  • Socca, which is a sort of pancake made of chickpeas flour with water and olive oil;
  • Fresh fish and sea food;
  • Several pizzas;
  • Rizotto;
  • French onion soup, a soup with origins in Roman times. We were told that it is a traditional dish from Lyon area;
  • Fennochio’s ice cream;

We went to test the famous Fennochio’s ice cream. The shop has got an impressive collection of ice cream flavours, including lavender, rose, honey & pine nuts, tiramisu, chocolate orange, chilli chocolate, chocolate Ginger, poppy, jasmine, and avocado. The flavour collection also includes sorbets such as fresh mint, pinacolada, cactus, beer, tomato, basil and many more.

The Old Nice also houses a number of famous monuments: the Palais Lascaris, the Place Rossetti, the Sainte Reparate Cathedral and many others.

We could easily feel the perfume of both lavender satchels and Marseille soap. Little shops offer handcrafted ceramic, including cicadas, the symbol of the South of France.

2015_Nice_Iulie 1073

We bought some little symbols of the regions: lavender satchels, cicadas and some handcrafted ceramic items. We realised that we also bought some pieces of longstanding culture and traditions.

More postcards from Old Nice

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