France Travel Update: Nice & Monaco
It’s day numero trois in France, and I am full. Well, not so full that I haven’t been able to manage a double scoop of gelato or molten chocolate cake after every meal (including lunch) thus far, but let’s just say any fears of hunger on this trip were thoroughly assuaged in Nice and Monaco.
View of Monaco Harbor. We elected to forego purchasing a first home in Wisconsin and find a friend with a yacht to move in with instead. This plan is golden.
I know what you are thinking—gelato is Italian! And so it is, but Nice, a bustling city on the French Riviera, is so close to Italy, you can practically smell the bolognese. The cuisine here bears much of that influence, (happily) including gelato.
Or, maybe you were thinking that a scoop of gelato sounds prettttty n-i-c-e right now, which is what I think about 45% of the time I’m awake. The other 55% is occupied with…
SOCCA. A specialty of Nice, socca is a spongy, peppery, and positively addictive chickpea crepe. It’s cooked until blisteringly hot in a wood oven, absolutely dripping with olive oil, and while it’s considered a street food, it’s one of the best things I’ve eaten in France so far. We ordered one to share, then immediately realized that neither of us were willing to part with a single bite.
Hers and his socca (wood-fired chickpea crepe) at the outdoor market in Nice.
In addition to socca, the Nice market has graciously stuffed me with strawberries, cherries, figs, sausages, cheeses, olives, and apricots, as well as a few other vegetables I impulse bought because they looked to pretty to leave undevoured. Regular readers of this blog know that I have a serious love affair with farmers markets, and the freshness and diversity of the produce here has been one of my favorite parts of the trip so far.
One small side of one stall, among dozens at the daily market in Nice.
Olive-you a lot. Best olives of my life, period. I ate some for breakfast this morning. Don’t judge.
If only I looked this good first thing in the morning.
Les fleurs! In addition to an abundant selection of produce, Nice also boasts the largest flower market in Provence. I stuck my face in these bouquets 2.5 seconds after Ben took the picture.
In addition to our market finds, Ben and I each claimed a favorite dish in the city:
My pick: Just-caught mussels steamed in white wine and shallots. I already miss them.
Ben’s pick: PIZZA. Mine’s the one with the egg on top because…I don’t think I need to explain this to you. If you are with me on the whole runny egg + cheesy melty pizza divine combo, you are with me. If you are not, please try it. Then, let’s split a pizza. Actually, let’s order two pizzas and split a bottle of wine. High fives.
Right now, I’m having a terrifying realization that I’ve only posted half of the food we’ve eaten in the last 48 hours. Someone cut me off (please don’t.)
All this eating can really wear on a person, so Ben and I have also been taking time to relax and soak in our surroundings.
Albert I Park, Nice.
Wandering along the streets of the old city of Nice.
Sipping rosé at 3 p.m…because we can.
Strolling along the Nice boardwalk beside the sea.
Stopping at a bakery, because obviously all that walking made me hungry.
We also took a day trip to Monaco, the playground of the rich and famous, home of the famed Monte Carlo casino, and site of the Grand Prix.We marveled at the palace, then selected a yacht or two we’d be happy to cruise home to mom.
As you read this, we are onto the next stretch of our journey—driving through the hilltop villages of Provence. I have images of French story books, roadside vineyards, and sipping pastis in lazy mountainside cafes. After all, this map looks like a sure guide to success, right?
Thanks so much for allowing me to share this first leg of our French journey with you. Santé!
For more French travel updates: Like The Law Student’s Wife on Facebook (don’t forget to double click the “Like” button and select “Get Notifications”), where I’ll be posting quick blurbs of what we are up to each day. I’m also sporadically posting on Instagram when wireless connections cooperate, so you can catch a few shots there too.
Ready to go to France? Start right here with these other French travel posts: