Brûlerie des Cafés Indiens, 35 Rue Pairoliére
After a light breakfast and a short stroll to find your bearings, take a seat at this renowned family-run café in the Old Town. Founded in 1925 (and roasting its own beans from after the Second World War), Cafés Indiens is approaching its 100th birthday with style and panache. One of the captivating USPs here is the mixtures of tastes, notes, aromas and flavours. Yes, you can enjoy a gorgeous cup of whatever coffee you like, but how about flavoured mixes that include hazelnut, caramel, ginger, cardamon, and chocolate? Teas are served (chilled or frozen during summer months) as well as hot chocolate (traditional, Italian). One word: sorted.
Close to the port is Nice’s ‘Old Town’ area (Vielle Ville), which is an area that you really must wander around and through in order to appreciate the past in the present day. Think tiny alleyways, an abundance of antiques and flea markets and more bric-a-brac shops/stalls that you’ll have time to browse through. Think hand-made jewellery, Provencal herbs and spices, artists’ galleries, cafés, bars and restaurants. One of Nice’s most appealing Old Town (small) squares is Place Rossetti, which features Nice Cathedral, and Place Massena, which is the town’s central square.
Le Merenda, 4 Rue Raoul-Bosio
You want old-fashioned yet classy in Old Town? You got it with the tiny Le Merenda, despite its Bib Gourmand status, is so old-school it has chalk dust on the walls instead of paint. In other words, the décor (such as it is) seeps vintage appeal. Overseen by Dominique Le Stanc, the impressive regional fare includes chard pie, tripe á la Niçoise, and stuffed sardines. Word of advice? The restaurant is mostly offline: no website, no telephone, which means you won’t be able to pre-reserve a table. Book ahead in person, however, and Le Stanc’s wonders will never cease. (Cash only – no payment by card/phone.)
Marché de la Libération, Place Charles de Gaulle
Not so much a shopping experience as an overall holistic and well-being deep dive, the Liberation Market is a colourful cornucopia of fresh/seasonal/local produce that all residents (and some tourists) mooch around. The benefits for those who want to cook their own food is that the prices are cheaper than you’ll get in most of the town’s supermarkets. As for those who don’t wish to go near a cooker, pot or pan, even a casual browse is perfect for a choice selection of pastries to go with your morning coffee and more than enough options for lunch.
DINNER – 48 Hours in Nice
Le Bistrot d’Antoine, 27 Rue de la Préfecture
Try this excellent restaurant if you have a hankering for experiencing classic French food. Le Bistrot d’Antoine has all you would expect of a fully established foodie haunt: streetside tables covered with checked tablecloths and a level of flawless service that you last experienced when you watched dinner being served in a scene in Downton Abbey or Bridgerton. Classic (and authentic) French dishes are here to savour: confit ox cheek in a pot-au-feu, rabbit paté, cabbage stuffed with confit duck, and tartine of mullet. Such is the restaurant’s popularity, it goes without saying that you’ll need to reserve a table.
HOTEL – 48 Hours in Nice
Hotel Byakko, 6 Rue Miron
What do they say about location? This three-star hotel might not have sparkly bells and whistles, but the rooms are a decent size, and they’re clean and air-conditioned. The hotel also has a lovely 1st floor dining room that serves one of the best continental breakfasts we have experienced. Factor less than five minutes to Nice’s primary shopping avenue, Jean Médecin, and about 10 minutes to the Old Town/Promenade des Anglais areas, and the hotel is a very reasonable option for a two-three day stay.
Déli Bo, 5 Rue Bonaparte [Images from: FB]
For something a little more contemporary (and more appealing to the, shall we say, younger generation), try Déli Bo. It’s part always rammed hangout for the judicious visitor and part no-elbow-room get-together for the parading local hipsters. Those in the know recommend the café’s salads and sandwiches, but those in the very-very know reckon that the magic combo of delicious coffee and divine cakes is what makes this one a go-to joint.
PROMENADE DES ANGLAIS
Work up an appetite for lunch with a walk along the stunning Promenades des Anglais (Walkway of the English), which is Nice’s primary tourist attraction. Running parallel to the beach, it is a wide and paved path that stretches for seven kilometres. With palm trees, cafés, pop-up stalls and benches/seats galore you’ll have every opportunity to take the weight off your feet while gazing at azure seas and blue skies. And not only that – laneway arteries from the promenade lead to museums, parks, casinos and swish hotels.
Chez Acchiardo, 38 rue Droite [Images from: Instagram]
A traditional family neighbourhood French/Italian restaurant, Chez Acchiardo has been welcoming visitors and locals alike into its compact rooms since the late 1920s. To say it has a reputation for the three authentic cornerstones of a great place to eat (food, service, atmosphere) is an understatement, but, of course, it’s the food that will bring you back. We recommend any of the following: magret de canard, octopus with tomato sauce, filet de boeuf au beurre de basilic, and we also recommend you book ahead.
BAR – 48 Hours in Nice
Waka Bar, 57 Quai des États-Unis
Yes, there are more bars in Nice than you would ever manage to walk into and stumble out of, but if the sun is beating down, and you want a people-watching ringside seat directly opposite the Promenade des Anglais, then Waka Bar is a prime spot. Owned by a New Zealander (hence the bar name), there is a breezy islander feel to the place. It’s open until late (that is, after 2am) but when we visited it was late afternoon/early evening to experience a quieter atmosphere with a truly toe-tapping soul/R&B soundtrack.
About Me – The Author – Tony Claton Lea
I am an Irish-based freelance journalist/writer/editor who writes mostly on music, pop culture, film and travel for a variety of print and online outlets.