Trip to Port of Nice

We’re currently rather limited as to how we spend our free time thanks to my husband’s ailing hip. He really can’t walk any distance. Typically if the weather’s as great as it was last week-end, we’d have been out for a long cycle. However, as that’s not possible, we decided to go into Nice for lunch.

Being creatures of habit, we’ve tended to eat at the same handful of restaurants but we’ve recently decided to branch out. Two of my crack team of cake tasters have an apartment overlooking the Port of Nice. This was a shrewd choice of location as the area will soon have its own tram connection into central Nice and, more importantly, the airport. We were there recently and it reminded us that there’s a couple of great restaurants, plus Cafe du Cycliste nearby.

My beloved dropped me off in Nice to run a few errands while he parked in the Port and bagged a table with a great view and an Aperol Spritz. I pitched  up later, chores done in a bit of a sweat glowing gently from the heat. I’d probably walked around 4km. As I walked around the Port I couldn’t fail to notice this massive boat parked – or should that be moored? – to one side. Unlike say Antibes, the Port of Nice, aside from the ferries, tends to be full of smaller boats and only a handful of million pounders.

This one seriously tipped the scales and, while I’m no expert, would probably set you back around two hundred million dollars. It probably belongs to one of the many Russian billionaires. Neither my beloved or I are boat people though we did once go round the Monaco Boat Show with one of his ex-bosses who had a yacht so I have a healthy appreciation of purchase prices, running costs and weekly chartering fees – way outa my league.

Charles Emmanuel III, Duke of Savoy, ordered the construction of the port back in 1749 for commercial purposes. Nowadays pleasure rather supercedes those interests. The harbour is surrounded by colourful facades, dominated on the west side by the Colline du Chateau which overlooks the port and Old Town. At the end of the port is the Notre-Dame du Port church. The west wharf of the port of Nice consists of Quai Lunel (which extends the Rauba Capeu wharf), the Quai des Douanes and Quai Papacino. The Rauba Capeu wharf is located at the eastern end of the Quai des Etats-Unis, itself an extension of the Promenade des Anglais. Rauba Capeu is a reference in Nissart to the wind which blows across the port and is strong enough to blow off your hat.

Boats aside, I love the colours of the buildings around the Port, they’re typical Niçois though it’s currently difficult to fully appreciate its beauty while it’s still largely a building site for the tramway.  I gratefully joined my beloved and slaked my thirst  with water before enjoying an Aperol Spritz.

Les Pecheurs is a longstanding, family run fish restaurant which has plenty of menu options for me. My beloved opted for a spin on a traditional Salade Niçoise and a side order of chips! I usually pinch one or two but they disappeared before I had a chance. I was torn between pointing the digit of doom at a lobster in the tank, the octopus or the dish of the day. I chose the last one, a seafood linguine where the pasta was perfectly cooked as was the seafood. There’s nothing worse than overcooked shellfish.

To finish, my beloved enjoyed a successfully deconstructed tarte tatin and I had some sorbet. It had been a delightfully relaxed lunch, in soothing surroundings, where I’d had a clear view of the open kitchen. I love watching the chefs work.

After a potter around Cafe du Cycliste admiring their extensive range of cycling wear, we headed back to the car and home to watch the final exciting kilometres of Il Lombardia. We really should do this more often maybe at least once a month, particularly once we’ve resumed cycling.