Like the Accidental Locavore, you would think that in a place like France, finding a simple breakfast — a good croissant and an equally fine cup of coffee — would be a no-brainer, however that’s not necessarily the case. Since we’ve been renting apartments the past two times we’ve been in Nice, our quest each spring has been to find the neighborhood café with the penultimate combination of croissant and coffee (bonus points added for locale and pleasant staff). This has been harder than you might imagine.
Last year, when we were situated over by the port, good croissants were easy and close, but the bakery was on a busy intersection, rather nondescript and had pretty miserable coffee. A bit further away (but on the way to the marchè) a touristy place had much better coffee and passable croissant. We could have compromised, of course, and had both the coffee and croissant à emporter (to go) but that seemed defeatist, not to mention losing the charm of sitting in a café and watching the neighborhood wake up. We had a great time that week, but the coffee/croissant nirvana was never reached.
This spring we were in a different neighborhood, but had the same goal. Although we could have cheated because this apartment had a good coffee maker, by the time you went out to find croissants (and climb up four flights of stairs), you might as well stay out, n’est pas?
In this new ‘hood, the croissants were generally pretty good, however the coffee was the culprit. That is until the third morning. Almost directly across the street from the apartment is Chez Maître Pierre, an artisanal boulangerie. Good, hot, coffee, not too bitter, not too much foam. Croissants light, flaky and buttery, available in chocolate, ham & cheese or if you really wanted a decadent start, with a pear filling, chocolate and almonds, their specialty. A group of regulars, along with a yippy dog and a flock of pigeons make up the clientele.
Being a full-fledged boulangerie, there were great-looking loaves of bread and other goodies, that as my husband says, must be good, as the patron keeps tasting them. We can vouch for the baguettes, which were so good, that we went from getting a demi (half) to the whole thing within a day.
Guess you know where we could be found the rest of the week!