Nice

My Nice

by Anne Maxfield on July 15, 2016

I cried myself to sleep Thursday night.

I cried because my happy place will never be the same.

Nice, with its endless stretch of azure water– a view unbroken, unspoiled.

Soon to be marred by security devices.

Which will be deemed necessary, but will protect nothing.

Accidental Locavore My Nice Pebble

The sound of the famous Nice pebbles (one of which sits in front of me now) tumbling in the sea.

Muted.

A view that I would close my eyes and picture when I needed to sleep after a tough day.

Changed.

Shadowed by the spirits of the dead.

Accidental Locavore Green and White Tulips

Suddenly, I understood what makes people leave flowers.

I want to go and leave flowers.

I want to leave flowers, not at the site of the massacre, but by the American Consulate where on September 12, 2001 the French had placed flowers and a sign that read “Aujourd’hui nous sommes tous Américains” (today we are all Americans).

Tears ran down our faces and we’ll never forget it.

I want to go to Nice and comfort the people who have always been so kind to me.

Accidental Locavore Nice Building

I’m crying for a place I’ve wanted to make my home since the first time my feet hit the pavement of the vielle ville.

Since I first laid eyes on the incredible colors….  Of the buildings – that yellow with a touch of ochre (never duplicated here). The amazing azure of both sea and sky. The brilliance of red peppers and deep purple artichokes. I’ve needed to live there.

Accidental Locavore Red Peppers in Nice Market

Is it hate that drives someone to mow down hundreds?

Or a testosterone-driven need to leave in the ugliest way possible?

Kill indiscriminately.

And leave a legacy that will last.

If we let it.

Accidental Locavore Promenade des Anglais NiceI’ll be back in Nice.

Will I stay another month or longer?

Will I live there someday soon?

How long will it take before I can close my eyes and see the long stretch of beach without seeing horror?

And most importantly, will it still be my happy place?

 

 

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La Fin

by Anne Maxfield on February 29, 2016

Accidental Locavore Nice at NightIt’s always at the end of a trip that you discover stuff you wish you’d known before. On the next-to-last day in Nice, the Accidental Locavore discovered that if you hit the good bakery just at 12:30, the baguettes are blissfully warm! If I didn’t have a lunch reservation at one of my favorite restaurants, Le Victor Hugo (another last day discovery on a previous trip), the bread would have been covered with one of several cheeses I’d collected. And if Victor Hugo was open for dinner…

Accidental Locavore Green and White TulipsAnother idea that occurred to me on the way to the marché, was that I should have been looking for events etc. on Meetup. Duh. One of my goals there was to build a network, but it’s difficult when you really don’t have a starting point. I’m also used to the old France, before smart phones. People had conversations in restaurants with whoever was sitting next to them (or at least their dogs). Now everyone is so involved with their devices (also guilty) that they’re in their own little worlds (and the dogs look bored).

Accidental Locavore Sausage and PolentaChecking out a couple of AirBnB apartments for future trips would have been a good idea and it would have been fun to see some real estate. There were a couple that looked good in the pictures, but I’d want to know exactly where they were before committing for a month.

Accidental Locavore Fountains in the ParkMy last lunch was at a tiny wine store, not far from the Promenade du Paillon, a beautifully rebuilt series of parks, dividing the old city and the beach from the rest of the city. They’ve got a great selection of biodynamic (organic) wines and a small area in the back with marble tables and funny Formica chairs you may remember from kindergarten. There’s a plat du jour but only at lunch, otherwise, it’s just cheese and charcuterie (never a bad thing). That day it was Figatellu a Corsican sausage, slightly smoked, and served over polenta, with some poivron for color. So simple and just amazing—I’ll be back!

Accidental Locavore Along the MedLike tomatoes in August or wine at lunch in France, some things are just better sur place. I’ll take home with me the memories of walking along the beach by the Promenade des Anglais, hearing the tumbling of the rocks in the sea. I’ll wish I was one of the insiders at Safari, getting bisous from the waiters who have been there as long as I can remember. And if I was a resident, maybe even bisous from the women at Victor Hugo and the crew at the boulangerie.

Accidental Locavore Golden PotatoesI’ll come home and wish the potatoes had flavor, the bread had crunch and the cheese, ah well the cheese. But I’ll also know that I’ll be back, and soon!

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Picasso, Matisse and all the Others

by Anne Maxfield on February 4, 2016

Accidental Locavore Arp EggOne of the promises the Accidental Locavore has made herself is to look at more art. Being in Nice, you’re surrounded by it but there are always special places to check out. Since I didn’t have a car this trip, I’ve been exploring on and with public transportation, which has been easy to figure out (and the locals are always helpful).

Accidental Locavore Antibes Old CityThe Picasso museum in Antibes is always a good excuse to wander the old town, hit the market and drool over the building where Picasso worked. You just have to watch your timing as they close very promptly for lunch at noon. Accidental Locavore Steak Tartare in AntibesMore than a few good places to eat and my husband’s favorite place to taste artisanal pastis always makes it a must-go. It’s an easy and quick train ride.

Accidental Locavore Matisse MuseumBack in Nice, the Matisse museum is another place to picture yourself living and working in. More of a traditional Niçoise maison it’s an easy bus ride from “downtown” up into the hills. There’s an archaeological museum next door and across the street is an amazing beaux art building, the Hotel Regina (and Matisse stayed there too). Accidental Locavore Hotel ReginaIf you’re a fan of Chagall you can trot down the hill to his museum, but I’m not really so I haven’t.

Accidental Locavore Russian ChurchOn foot, I made another attempt at the Russian Cathedral. The last time, we were shocked to find it closed on Good Friday, but I guess it is a different calendar. Which reminds me, on the BBC recently the Archbishop of Canterbury was calling for a fixed date for Easter. What do you think? Makes sense to me. Anyway, this time it was open (I checked before leaving) and is just stunning! If I knew more about Russian icons, I might have appreciated the hundreds of them inside, but the tile work on the exterior made it all worthwhile.

Accidental Locavore Foundation MaeghtA trip to the South of France wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Foundation Maeght in St. Paul de Vence. It’s such a special place and at this time of year almost devoid of tourists (as actually all the museums have been, including Saturday at the Matisse), making it even more tranquil. The show that was up wasn’t one of their best and I especially missed seeing my favorite Giacometti, but it’s the exterior that is my favorite part. Again, this was an easy bus ride (but an uphill slog to the Maeght) and I had plenty of time to wander the streets of St. Paul. Accidental Locavore St Paul de VenceNow that I know how easy getting around is, my next trip I’ll be heading out of town even more. Corsica anyone?

 

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Markets, On and Off the Beaten Track

by Anne Maxfield on January 28, 2016

Accidental Locavore Liberation MarketThere’s something everyone always searches out when they’re traveling. For my father, it’s hardware stores, for the Accidental Locavore, it’s markets. And when it comes to markets, the one in the old town of Nice is pretty much the standard. Beautiful flowers, perfect produce, it’s hard to find fault with it. However, I’ve known for a while about the “real” market in Nice–where the folks who live there shop. It’s in Liberation, one stop north on the tram from the train station. I hopped on the tram the other day and went up to check it out.

Accdental Locavore Purple ArtichokesWhere the Cours Salaya market is fairly compact, the one at Liberation ambles on for blocks. It’s almost exclusively produce and there’s a lot of repetition, but if you look carefully you’ll find treasures like these beautiful purple artichokes. Prices are lower too, but if you figure in the tram ride it’s probably a wash unless you’re stocking up (something that most French people never do).

Accidental Locavore Scallops

Down a side street, you’ll find fish mongers selling everything from the tiniest anchovies to whole fish to scallops still in the shell. It’s supposed to be the best place in Nice to get seafood and you can easily see why.

Accidental Locavore Lots of Lettuce

I took home a couple of the purple artichokes and some lettuce to go with a roast chicken from the local butcher. Like a lot of purple food, once cooked, the artichokes lost their color, but were still delicious, a little more citrus tasting than the ones we get at home.

Accidental Locavore Antibes Market

For sheer variety, there’s always the market in Antibes. Very dog-friendly, as you can see, there are a huge variety of goodies to choose from. Along with produce, you’ll find some great charcuterie, local products like olive oils and tubs of tapenades.

Accidental Locavore Olives Antibes

I’ve been on a mission to find green olives with garlic like they have at Le Passe-Plat. Although I still don’t think these were quite as good, I seem to have eaten half the container already (and am looking for an excuse to go back to Antibes for more).

Accidental Locavore Cheese Vendor Antibes

While the cheese guy was easy on the eyes and the cheese was good, I resisted and went on to find Frank a bottle of pastis from his favorite place and had a great lunch of steak tartare and frites.

Accidental Locavore Steak Tartare in Antibes

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