Kevin and I woke up bright and early to head to the south of France. One taxi and a plane ride later, we found ourselves in beautiful Nice, France!
Flying into Nice was kind of crazy, the airport is right off of the sea. As you are approaching the airport, it looked like we were going to land in the water but at the very last second the wheels touch ground. Upon arrival, we headed to our hotel, Nice Exelsior to drop off our bags. The hotel was cute– a neat old building that had been renovated with a modern flair, and very clean. After dropping off the luggage we were eager to explore. We decided to walk down to the Promenade Des Anglais (Most famous stretch of beach on the riviera- according to some) via Rue de Jean Medecin because there was supposed to be great shopping. It turns out it was mostly tourist-y shops, and a Zara.. but it was a pretty walk nonetheless.
We walked along the Promenade Des Anglais, gazing at the palm trees, beautiful sapphire water, and crowded umbrella-clad beach.
Even though we left our swimsuits back at the hotel, we decided to head to a private beach club called Castel Plage to relax in the sun and enjoy some wine. It may have only been 11 AM, but hey.. its vacation!!
We were having such a nice time we decided to order some lunch.
We were a little nervous because we thought having such a prime location may mean the food may not be amazing, but we were pleasantly surprised! Kevin ordered a pasta with grilled octopus (sounds crazy, but it was delicious), and I ordered a seafood pasta.
Both were great, but true to form, Kevin’s was better.
After lunch, the riviera sun felt so intense, taking a dip in the mediterranean was a must! The only problem was that our swimsuits were back at the hotel, which was about a 25 minute walk from where we were. instead of doing the normal thing and taking an uber back to the hotel.. we walked to the closest store we could find, that would have a swimsuit, ZARA! I picked out the shortest shorts I could find for Kev, but the joke was on me. The only swimsuit in the store, in my “somewhat” size, was an electric purple one-piece thong swimsuit that I have absolutely no business wearing (especially after having 3 kids). The rosé I indulged in at lunch made me buy it :). You will never EVER see the evidence that I wore this suit… I wouldn’t want to make your sides cramp up from laughing so hard :).
We got back to Castel Plage, changed, and I ran into that water as fast as I could so nobody would be able to see my pale, white booty hanging out of my 90’s style swimsuit. While we were swimming in the crystal clear water, we noticed about 100 yards away was this diving platform built into the side of the cliff. It was calling our name, so we swam that way. In order to get up to the platform you had to climb onto rocks jetting out of the water, that then led to a staircase taking you up to the diving platform. Of course Kev was able to climb up easily. As for clumsy old me… not so much. While swimming toward the rocks, I got caught up in a group of pre-teens and one girl kept latching on to me every time the waves came crashing by. She kept pulling me under the water, in order to save herself from the waves. I was finally able to get some distance from her, and a GINORMOUS wave came crashing down onto me, slamming my knee into the sharp rocky slope. OUCH! I felt like giving up the whole stupid idea until Kevin ran full speed… launched himself off the platform, and swam by me while exclaiming “That was awesome, come on Stephi!!” (Me= eye roll). Well, now that he was showing off, I had to do it too! I took a deep breath and started swimming back towards the rocks. I waited for a big wave to pass and I hoisted myself up onto the rocky ledge, climbed the 20 stairs “Rocky-style” and made it to the diving platform. I watched a few people throw themselves off the platform and made the decision… now was my time! I ran full speed ahead, got to the edge of the platform and stopped cold! The fear set in. I mean, it was like 50 feet over the water ( might be a slight exaggeration, probably like 25ft). Some kids waiting on me starting staring at me like “come on lady, get out of the way”. I couldn’t let those punk teens see me cower! I walked back to the back of the platform, shook out my arms and legs like a professional swimmer/diver would before they compete, and took off full speed ahead launching myself as far off of the platform as possible! My legs flailed the whole way down until they smacked the water making the loudest noise EVER. I did it! Not graceful in the slightest, but it happened!
I played it off like the leg flop ( leg flop = belly flop, but leg version) didn’t hurt and we swam back to the pebble beach. There is no graceful way to exit the water onto a pebble beach, by the way. Rocks are sliding out from under your feet as your trying, then a big wave comes and slams you into the rocks, then the undertow pulls you back out and you try again and again, and again. I finally just got on all fours and crawled out like a wet cat, then limped back to my beach chair (remember, I slammed my knee against the rocks). We laid there in the sun, long enough for me to get the most hideous tan-lines ever, then we packed up and I limped 25 minutes back to our hotel.
For dinner, we were going to try a place we read about called Olive and Artichaut, but our hotel concierge acted like she had never heard of it and told us about her favorite place, this “hidden gem” called L’antica. We were excited thinking we were finding some cool local spot, that was crazy close to our hotel. The restaurant looked cute, and all seating was available (should have been our first “bad” sign), so we took a table on the outside patio. We were then handed our “English Menu” ( bad sign number two), and decided on an appetizer, the tuna tare tare with avocado. The appetizer came out and the tuna was grey..not pink, not dark pink like you see at the grocery sometimes, grey. It had some liquid-y guacamole smeared on top, and was garnished with bean sprouts that looked like they were 2-3 days past expiration. It was Lysteria waiting to happen. I felt like I had to at least take a bite because the owner/manager was so sweet and so welcoming, and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. So, I took a big ol’ bite of that grey tuna, and could not do even one more! Kevin was eating it just fine, until I made him stop for fear of a hospital visit. Then our main course came, an assorted platter of meat cooked in a wood-fired oven. I took a few bites, but I couldn’t get the image of the tuna out of my mind, so I just let Kev have the meat to himself. I filled up on the basket of french bread, which is always delicious. I will say, the enthusiastic, welcoming owner/manager did pick out a lovely bottle of Rosé. Who cares about grey tuna and funny-tasting meat when you can have french bread and rosé? Lesson learned… Never trust an English menu (while in France).
We walked down to The historic area of downtown Nice for some delicious gelato at Amorino, a chain, but always good! We needed something we could rely on after that dinner ;-).
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s adventures!
Where we went: Promenade Des Anglais, Castel Plage Beach Club
Where We Ate:
1. Castel Plage- perfect for a beautiful sea-view dining experience. Nice fresh seafood options
2. L’antica- service was great, food was not our favorite.
3. Amorino- great gelato, and if you get a cone, they shape the gelato like a flower 🙂 We ordered ours with a macaron in the middle 🙂
Where We Stayed: Hotel Nice Exelsior– Nice clean rooms, great price, a little far from the areas we were interested in seeing. Had a nice breakfast set up and cute breakfast area.
What I wore:
Blue dress: Tularosa
Sunglasses: Ray Ban
Earrings: Revolve- Georgia Earring