gLOVEme: a touch of luxury and extravagance

20170308_0707145 Rue du Marché, 06300 Nice, France

http://www.gloveme.net/

Nothing illustrates the difference between French and Italian approach to fashion like “gLOVEme”, an Italian boutique in Old Nice, specializing in gloves. The French generally look at clothing as a long-term investment and prefer their most expensive pieces to be of neutral colors. Flamboyant and extravagant, Italians refuse to be practical and revel in bright and cheerful hues.

“gLOVEme” is one of those stores which are difficult to pass by. The lively colors of their gloves, handbags and belts beckon you in. While inside, you have a hard time focusing on one specific item, you want them all. The boutique sells high quality artisanal products, designed and made in Italy. Crafted using the finest materials, the gloves are unexpectedly affordable for luxury accessories. Trying them on, on your own, is not allowed. The shop assistant will take you through a ritual of careful handling fine leather.

My most memorable experience in the shop was an opportunity to create my own belt. After picking the material, color and buckle from the samples on display, I was measured by a shop assistant who immediately began creating my belt right in front of me. Fifteen minutes later, I was a proud owner of my personally designed belt. I have been a loyal client ever since.

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Terres de Truffes: truffles anyone?

11 Rue Saint-François de Paule, 06300 Nice, France

http://www.terresdetruffes.com/index.htm

There is consensus that everything with truffles tastes better, whether it’s a salad, a pasta dish or just roasted nuts. Nobody understands this better than the French. Considering truffles are found predominantly in France and Italy, there is no end to creative imagination among French chefs to monopolise on this gastronomic advantage.

The restaurant “Terres de Truffes,” located in Old Nice, caters to those of us who are obsessed with truffles. Truffles are featured in the menu from appetisers to desserts. A small boutique is part of the restaurant where you can buy their house-made goodies. Perhaps the best way to experience this restaurant is to go for a fixed-priced menu which is reasonable and makes a good introduction to cooking with truffles. Relax and enjoy these underground mushrooms, rated among the world’s most expensive delicacies.

Parfumerie Molinard: a sensuous workshop

20170309_08115420 Rue Saint-François de Paule, 06300 Nice, France

www.molinard.com/

Creating your own perfume at Molinard is like designing your own jacket at Chanel. It’s an experience to remember and to share at numerous dinner parties. Overcoming initial intimidation of the very idea of combining different ingredients, complementing and contrasting, to create your own unique scent, you plunge into the task at hand with the passion it deserves. To make sure you don’t do anything crazy, a fragrance expert is around to help you. After an introduction to the basics of perfume creation, she is there to guide you through the labyrinths you never thought you’d find yourself in.

Perfumerie Molinard was founded in Grasse in 1849 by Hyacinth Molinard. Since then it has become a staple mark of Provence.  Boasting Queen Victoria as a client, it employed the services of such famous glass makers as Lalique and Baccarat to create its perfume bottles. In fact, in 1939, at the New York World Fair, Molinard’s bottle for the “Kiss of the Faun”, created by Lalique, won the award of the most beautiful bottle in the world. Among the perfumery’s accomplishments is the creation of the first women’s Oriental fragrance, “Habanita”, designed for femmes fatales (who else?).

At the end, I did not use the perfume I created but gave it to my aunt, who appreciated it because it came from her favourite niece, the way parents appreciate hand-made school creations of their children. However, the feeling of excitement while having an opportunity to touch the art of perfume creation, even briefly, remains with me, and always will.

Eglise Notre-Dame du Port: a cool activity for a cool Sunday afternoon

20170302_0733338 Place de l’Île de Beauté, 06300 Nice, France

One of my favourite Sunday activities in winter is visiting Eglise Notre-Dame du Port where the local Orchestre d’Harmonie de Nice holds their weekly concerts. Built in mid-19th century in neoclassical style, the church is an impressive structure both inside and outside, towering over the port of Nice. The recital starts at 3:30 pm and goes for about an hour and a half. The concerts are free, and the smart locals manage to get the best seats by showing up early. Mind you, it does not really matter where you sit since the acoustics is very good and there is plenty of space in the church.  If the weather is not cooperating, it is an unbeatable place to be.

Chez Miqueu: the taste of Old Nice on the run

20170305_06282733 Rue Pairoliere, 06300 Nice, France

http://chezmiqueu.com/

As a resident of Rue Pairoilere, otherwise known as the “belly of Old Nice,” due to the abundance of restaurants, bakeries, butchers’, cheese and olive shops, I am always on the lookout for authentic and reasonably priced places. “Chez Miqueu” is one of my favourite new additions to the gastronomic fabric of the street.

It is a tiny place offering such traditional Nice dishes, as pissaladiere, pan bagnat, ratatouille and petit farcis Nicois. What is astonishing for this small takeout is the consistent high quality of its food. You try some and come for more. In fact, their “poulet roti” (roast chicken) with thyme and honey is my all-time favourite in Nice, while the stuffed sardines and tomatoes got me addicted to the point that I often have to buy some on the way home from the beach. It is a good place to keep in mind when your friends descend upon you unexpectedly and you have to dish out something local. Your wallet will not suffer, and they will owe you big time.

Pizza Pili

20170302_06391224 Rue Benoît Bunico, 06300 Nice, France

One of my favourite Nice experiences is grabbing a bottle of rose or a bubbly, a pizza at “Pizza Pili” and heading for the beach. Like many of the residents of Old Nice, we are fiercely loyal to this tiny pizza place with a huge selection. 7euros will get you a freshly-baked pizza made to order in front of your eyes. My personal favourites are seafood, aubergine and provençal.

Sitting by the sea, watching the setting sun and evening ferries leaving for Corsica, sipping wine and nibbling on pizza makes you think again and again that the best things in life are free, or almost free.

Palais Lascaris

20170302_063536 15 Rue Droite, 06300 Nice, France

Palais Lascaris in Old Nice is an easy and pleasant museum which, in my books, should not be missed: it is an integral part of the city’s history and can be covered in half an hour, if time is an issue. Built in the 17th century for the noble Vintimille-Lascaris family, it is a fine example of baroque architecture. The entrance and the staircase with statues are truly breathtaking, making it worth visiting if only for that. The paintings, frescoes, tapestries and furniture upstairs provide a glimpse of cultural life of Nice in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Palais Lascaris is an art and music museum. It houses the second largest collection of musical instruments in France. Temporary exhibition space downstairs adds yet another dimension. All in all, a very pleasant experience.

Les Deux Canailles

20170301_0832226 Rue Chauvain, 06000 Nice, France

www.lesdeuxcanailles.com

I discovered “Les Deux Canaiiles” by accident.  My Facebook friend, a son of a famous restaurant owner in Nice, was very complimentary about it. So I knew it would be good. French cuisine with a Japanese twist also sounded enticing. Add an excellent location in the centre of Nice, close to the Old Town and Place Massena, and the gastronomic field trip was ready to go.

As to be expected, our visit was a big success. The chef Tsumoru Takano served us personally, providing information about the food and making the experience more intimate. Each dish was a piece of art both in terms of gastronomic creativity and presentation. The fixed-price lunch was a deal. A word of warning: make it to “Les Deux Canailles” sooner than later before the prices go up after it gets its Michelin star.

Les Distilleries Ideales

 

 

24 Rue de la Préfecture, 06300 Nice, France

http://www.lesdistilleriesideales.fr/

Whenever you pass “Les Distilleries Ideales,” whether it is day or night, it is always busy. Strategically located on the corner of two busy streets of Old Nice – restaurant and boutique-rich rue de la Prefecture and artsy rue Droite – it attracts both tourists and locals with a good selection of beers, wine, and cocktails. The bar looks distinctive and full of character, both inside and outside. Very French indeed.

You can sit outside and people watch or have an intimate conversation inside, listening to music. Any choice is good. And, of course, asking your husband to meet you there during the bar’s happy hour, from 6 pm to 8 pm, when you arrive loaded with shopping bags and a depleted wallet, will bring only indulgent smile to his lips. A win-win situation, no matter how you look at it.

Acchiardo: yet another neighbourhood restaurant

20170302_06380438 Rue Droite, 06300 Nice, France

“This is where locals go,” said a French friend of mine, pointing to “Acchiardo”. The restaurant easily tempts you even if you are not familiar with the place – a quaint French exterior, reasonably priced local cuisine, and a never-ending stream of locals going in and out, an important sign for those of us concerned with finding authentic local food. Coupled with a good location in the heart of Old Nice, it is no wonder that it is also popular with tourists. The Acchiardo family have been running the restaurant for almost a century. One can often spot Mom and Pop at the counter near the entrance watching their dashingly handsome sons acting as waiters. The place is particularly known for their escalops, with some portions being quite big. There are no major culinary discoveries but the good quality of food and the friendly service make you feel at home. And what can be better than that?