02 April, 2011

Nice Journal - Spring 2011 - 11

Local School's Vide GrenierSaturday, 2nd April, was the date of the "vide grenier" (literally "attic emptying" or jumble sale) at the school across the road. So the playground was full of trestle tables piled with bric-a-brac and dozens of parents sorting through what was on offer. Unlike a playground full of kids, however, no noise at all reached us from all this activity below!

I made coffee at nine and we got talking. We even had a second cup of coffee each which we took onto the lounge to continue our conversation. As a result we had to make a quick breakfast and an equally quick getaway to be out of the building by 11:30. We got off the tram at Opera and bought Perry a potted Jasmine plant from his favourite gardening store. Then we walked straight through to the sea front and walked all the way round to Foresta in the warm sun on the promenade. We arrived at Perry's at around 12:15.

After some discussion we agreed that we'd eat in Vieux Nice before visiting the Palais Lascaris. So the three of us walked up Segurane to Garibaldi and spent some time looking at the artwork on display there. From there we walked on down through the old town and out onto the Cour Saleya. We waited for more than ten minutes at Bistro Romain but nobody acknowledged us, let alone offered to seat us, so we walked on and out onto the seafront where Lisa and I had been just over an hour before.

We fetched up at Le Bellanda on the Quai des Etats-Unis. We sat outside in hope of sunshine even though the sun was obscured by clouds at the time. We consulted the menu and Perry went for the scallops, Lisa for a stockfish stew and I chose the daube with gnocchi. From the wine list I selected a Bandol Rouge which turned out to be thoroughly excellent and we got through 1.5l of Badoit between us (more than half of it drunk by me!).

All judged the food to be first rate. The daube was dark and rich, unlike the one we make at home, and had two substantial pieces of beef. Very tasty and perfectly accompanied by the floury gnocchi. At dessert time, Perry and I both had the tiramisu (which was pungent and moist the way I like it and had cherries on it and so was the best one this visit since the one at the Vesuvio on our first day more than a week ago now) while Lisa chose a concoction of "white cheese" (seems more like some kind of yoghurt) with fig jam and honey which she really liked but of which she could eat no more than half. Coffee to finish, of course, and Perry allowed us to pick up the bill.

There had been some sun in fits and starts so we didn't rush to finish but at last made our way back into Vieux Nice. Our first port of call was at the Eglise St. Jacques "Le Gesu" in Place Jesus on the Rue Droit where we dutifully looked at the decoration and the painted saints before moving on to the Palais Lascaris.

Salon des SaisonsThe Palais Lascaris is a 17th century town house in the rue Droit in the centre of Vieux Nice. It houses a collection of musical instruments and documents from the archives of the Gaveau, Erard and Pleyel companies famous from the eighteenth to the twentieth for their pianos, harps and reproductions of older instruments. In addition to these collections the painted ceilings, tapestries and art works of the Palais itself are very attractive. The house is on four or more levels (of which the bottom three are open to the public) and a feature of the architecture that struck me wad that, although all of the rooms themselves are fully enclosed the staircase that connects them is open to the elements. I guess in a predominantly warm and dry climate this is not a problem. Anyway, the building and its contents are fascinating and it was well worth a visit.

Foreign Legion Recruiting OfficeAfter the Palais Lascaris, we continued a little further along rue Droit and the turned right to climb a stepped street (possibly the rue de Four) to place St Augustine where we looked around another church full of Saints: Eglise St. Martin - St. Augustine. From there we descended rue Sincaire, past the Foreign Legion recruiting office, down to the familiar environs of rue Catherine Segurane and thence back to Perry's.

Perry had done a lot of walking and stairs this afternoon so it was understandable that he was too tired to be shown anything on the computer as previously mooted. So we agreed to come early tomorrow and do the computer work before lunch. After some discussion, we agreed that the Musée des Beaux Arts would be our final cultural objective of this visit.

After we took our leave of Perry we walked back along the Promenade as far as a bar called l'Eden on the Cité du Port section of the Quai des Etats-Unis. Here we sat on the early evening sun for over an hour while sipping a couple of beers each. It was a nice atmosphere with fewer tourists than in the Cour Saleya and we both found it to be very relaxing.

Eventually it was time to continue our stroll along the front and up to the tram stop at Opera. Once back at Gorbella we both went up to Monoprix to get supplies including steak haché for tonight and a chicken for tomorrow.

Lisa duly made a dinner of the steak haché with the rest of her vegetable gratin and some fresh salad leaves. This was as delicious as it sounds and very satisfying.

I cleared up after the meal and we settled down to bed. I tossed and turned for several hours but finally got to sleep for a while before Lisa's alarm went off at 8:30am.

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