Day 2, Nice to St Paul de Vence

10:24 AM AirplaneFoodCritic 0 Comments

Dear Nice, I apologize, you are very pretty after all.
I have a little apology to make to Nice. Today, it was much more like I had originally expected. But first I shall tell you about our adorable hotel, Hotel Victor Hugo, Nice, France It is well situated just a few blocks from the sea and walking distance from the museums (that we didn't go see but if one wanted to one could) and walking distance from the Old Town. Our room was pretty large with a big bed. It had it's own bathroom and even a little kitchen with a mini fridge and a kettle. I loved that it was fully stocked for any wine drinking needs anyone might come across. I mean, it IS France after all. When it was time to go to bed last night we went to close the big French doors that open onto a lush, green park. We tried but they would not close. Being jet lagged as we were, we kept trying to close them but they kept hitting the side of the bed. There was absolutely no way we were getting them even slightly closed without moving the whole bed. Moving a bed in a hotel was just a weird concept to us so we left the doors open. Instead, we closed the shutters outside. Luckily they locked. It let in much more light and noise the next morning than we would normally like but we had ear plugs and blindfolds to put on when the sun began to come up and when the workers started to leaf blow what sounded like the entire green park starting at 6am. The downpour and rain we heard all night was so soothing that it made up for any morning noise anyways. I do not know what they expect guests to do with those doors but it was cool and refreshing all night and I loved it.
A much better day today in Nice, France

When we opened our room door to go to breakfast Cosette was there to greet us with wagging tail. We had a typical French breakfast which is half the reason I even come to Europe. There were two types of bread and both were just amazing. They must have been baked only hours before we ate it. I ate so much bread. There was ham and several cheeses, lots of jams, croissants, yogurt and fruits. I had some of everything including yogurt, fruit, bread, a few cheeses, coffee, orange juice, meats and cereal. While we ate we chatted with Gilles, the proprietor of the hotel. His sweet little dog who greeted us as we opened the door to our room and escorted us to the breakfast room sat by me and looked as cute as possible so I would give her some ham or butter.  We were not supposed to but of course I totally did.

We packed up our stuff and went to visit the market at the Marche aux Fleurs. Normally the Marche is a food and flower market but on Mondays, which is today, it is an antique bazaar. I was very excited about looking at all the cool antiques. We stopped to chat with the Gilles again. We talked for quite a while so by the time we got to the Marche it was 11am. We walked up and down the market looking at all the silver, china and prints and paintings. There were chandeliers, antique toys, costume jewelry and much more. We were interested in many things but only browsed. The sun was out today finally. Yesterday, when we arrived, it was overcast and warm which made it super muggy and grey. We got pretty hot walking up and down the outdoor market so after shopping we went to the beach.
The view of the green park from our hotel room at Hotel Victor Hugo, Nice, France
The sea was popular today. We figured there must have been some sort of weather advisory the previous day and that is why no one was in the water. It was all a go today though! People were everywhere. Sunbathers, swimmers, picnickers, families and us. The husband dropped his shirt and shoes and was immediately in the water. It was such a brilliant, bright blue color. It was awe-inspiring. I sat on the shore and watched our stuff while he floated around in the small waves. People kept showing up. I had a front row view when I sat down but after a few minutes there was a group of 11 or so teenagers squealing in the waves. I started to get jealous of the hubs so I stood up and signaled to him I needed his help to get down the little 3 foot rocky drop off so I could wade in the waves. I was wearing a white skirt...again...but I just didn't care if I got wet. The water felt so good. We wished we had put on our bathing suits this morning but it was so grey the day before that we assumed it would be another  lonely beach day. Just wading in the Mediterranean was wonderful though. It made up for my bad impression from the day prior.
The husband swimming in the blue sea

We headed back into the market area to get a gelato before we grabbed the car. We both got a scoop of marscapone and a scoop of white chocolate. Then we drove up into the hills towards our next hotel in St. Paul de Vence. It took a few wrong turns and a few steep turns but we didn't have too much trouble finding our hotel, the Hotel Masseuges. This hotel is about a 15 minute walk from the actual town of St. Paul but it is isolated and feels just like a private resort. It is a sprawling Italian style villa with trellises of grape vines, fig trees and citrus trees. Our room is on the second floor with two balconies. The doors were both open and a cool breeze was flowing through. We loved all the trees and fresh air. The floor made of tiles that were cool under our feet and the bed was a crisp linen. We immediately put on our bathing suits.
Marche Aux Fleurs antique market in Nice, France

There were two cats that greeted us as we headed down to the pool area. We had a lot of fun swimming in the pool. It was set in a ring shape so we could swim around and around. We played with some pool toys and jumped in and out of the deep end. I was giggling like a child it was so fun. It felt incredible to wash off the heat of the day. Much like the sea, the pool water was a perfect temperature. After lots of swimming we laid out in the sun on big, cushy chaises. We wandered around the grounds finding little treasures like a gypsy caravan, a hammock that was hidden in the surrounding vineyards and a volleyball court. I left the hubs in a chaise to take a shower. When I came back I found him asleep in the shade. You could say we were pretty relaxed.

We gussied up a little and walked the little path into town. The town of St. Paul de Vence is super darling. It is all encircled by rampart walls that get lit up at night. We got to town at about 5pm and walked all the tiny, narrow, cobblestone streets. The cobbles were even adorable. They were placed in little designs like flowers and sunbursts. There are no cars in the town. There is no car that would even fit in the streets of the town. You could almost reach out and touch both sides of the street with your arms. That is how narrow the streets were. And then there were even narrower side streets. I took all kinds of photos up little alleys and steep stairways. All the walls are covered in climbing vines. Many of the stone walls are the original ones placed there in the 1300's. I bought a couple magnets and the hubs got a postcard.

There is a cemetery at one end of the town that had the grave of the artist Marc Chagall.  There were all kinds of rocks placed around it with writings and drawings on them from fans. Most of them just said "I love you". It was sweet. After walking a lot we sat down for dinner at a restaurant that bordered the ramparts where we could watch the sun set. The husband had a veggie lasagna and I had fois gras with fig jam and brioche. We split a bottle of local rose and I had a little glass of Sauternes. It was quite romantic as we watched the sun go down. After dinner we walked the ramparts one more time looking at the place all lit up. The little alleys were now dimly lit with little lights and the rampart walls were lit up by big flood lights.

We walked back up to the hotel and had a great night's sleep.

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