Fabulously NICE

Thursday, 5 September 2013
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You've probably noticed that I've been MIA on the blog for the past week. I'm still fairly active on Instagram (drop by and follow me there). I only have internet connection back at the apartment and opted not to pay the earth for a few measly megabytes on my cellphone. Lately, we've been hopping from town to town on Bus 100 which weaves along the coastal line of the French Riviera from Nice to Menton but stopping at Cap St Jean Ferrat, Villefranche sur mer, Beaulieu sur mer, Eze and Monaco. The bus fare is ridiculously cheap at 1.50€ per journey regardless of how far you travel.  The view is insanely spectacular especially when the sun begins to dip below the horizon.


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If you're an heir to a multi-billion organization, an oligarch, self made gazillionaire or have a license to print money, I suggest you buy one of these villas perched on the hilltop overlooking the sea. The apartment we rented would fit nicely into one of their bathrooms. I bet their closet is bigger than my bathroom.


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Though I'm not much of a sunbather but a stroll down the Promenade to the old town to grab an ice cream from Fenucchio is a must. I gather the 30 minute walk back to the apartment will burn off the extra calories from the 2 scoops of gelato. After all, there are 90 flavors (my favorites are caramel and lychee) and the daily intake is part of my "research" for the blog. It's a tough job being an ice cream critic but someone's got to do it (says the lady who now has to hold her breath in order to button up her shorts and hoping she doesn't pass out from the lack of oxygen).


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You know the book "French women don't get fat" ? Well, their pigeons are just as scrawny too compared to the obese well endowed ones in the UK. I bet their diet is completely different to the ones that roam around in England hoping for chips and battered fish - meaning the French pigeons don't snack between mealtimes and they eat smaller portions of whatever they've scoured from the ground.


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My friend, Tiphaine insisted that I must try socca, a Provencal dish which is essentially a pancake made from chickpea flour (photo above). We also tried farci or otherwise known as stuffed vegetables. We stumbled upon the busy Lou Pilha Leva on 10 rue Collet in Vieux Nice (old town). The sardine beignet and farci were tasty. I didn't mind the socca though I can't say I'm a fan. We had 3 dishes for 12€ which is a bargain considering how expensive eating out can be in Nice. I've been largely uninspired by the food there especially the mid priced restaurants. For those of you who've been to Nice before, feel free to recommend any restaurants in Nice.


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If you're bored of the sand, beach and sun, there's always shopping. The big 3 - Hermes, Chanel and Louis Vuitton can be fond along Avenue de Verdun. In fact, there are 2 Hermes stores if you're a fan of the brand. The second can be found at 9 rue de la Bufa (which is on the street parallel to Ave de Verdun). Head over to Monoprix, Nice Etoile and Galerie LaFayette for decent shopping that won't break the bank.

As a child growing up in Borneo, I used to devour Enid Blyton books. The stories of Famous Five or Secret Seven who spent their summer in incredible places filled my head with dreams of one day, perhaps.....someday, I might be able to see Europe. I can't help but feel a sense of wonder that we can nip over to Provence or any other places in Europe for that matter so easily and inexpensively. I hope Lil L will appreciate the privilege of traveling to so many places at a tender age of 7. An opportunity neither her parents nor her grandparents have.





26 comments:

  1. I thought the same too for my boy, about 'appreciate the privilege of traveling to so many places'. Our currency is not strong, but we still travel one or twice a year. Your picture is too beautiful. We will be there soon! (wishful thought*)- I Ying

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    1. Who knows you may have an opportunity to come over to Europe soon, I Ying. Ringgit is the pits especially with the corrupt government.

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  2. I don't know how old you are but I, too, read all of Enid Blyton's books when I was 10-11. Books that I borrowed at our school library. Now I'm 57 and I have been travelling to Europe 4 times. My first trip when I began to work was a trip around Europe. I visited Nice in 1979 with my husband and we had a room with a view. Great pictures and beautiful memories for me.

    Joanne, Canada

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    1. Hi Joanna, I'm 40 but it's amazing how timeless Enid Blyton books are. This part of France is absolutely spectacular. I hope you make it back to Europe again.

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  3. Had to stop and drool at your cheese photo!!! lol at your oxygen limit lol
    Great photos......want to go NOW!!!! xx

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    1. Oh yeah.....all the cakes and ice creams went straight to my gut. Thankfully, I'd packed "loose" shorts which were starting to feel pretty tight!

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  4. You always take the most beautiful photos Marlene! Nice looks like the perfect get away and I had to laugh at what you said about the pigeons :)

    Take care,
    Daniella xox

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    1. Thanks, Daniella! I gaped in disbelief when I saw the pigeons. I'm so used to the ones that had to be put on a diet.

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  5. Beautiful photos, food and sceneries. Love the way u travelled too, Marlene. Wish I can pack my bags now and take lil A along to meet you all. After all I'm not back at work yet meaning I could travel!

    Guess more uphill climbs for photo takings then you could eat more ice creams too? :)

    Jen x

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    1. It's so much easier to travel like this when they're about 3 or 4. The younger they are, the more junk you have to lug around!

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  6. I never get tired of looking at photos of French produce and pastries! But it is making me hungry. ;-)

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    1. The pastries and cakes were my staple diet in Nice. Imagine if I live permanently in France! I'll probably tip the scale at 100kgs.

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  7. Happy memories of reading those same books under my bed covers .. ....loved them. Lovely post & gorgeous photos.. Need to return to the south of France went as a single girl many years ago....xx

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    1. It's incredible how many of us used to read Enid Blyton. You'll have to return to South of France again. I went as a single girl and then with my husband and finally with our little girl. It's a different experience each time.

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  8. Oh these pictures are just divine! Provence was a stop on my study abroad trip that I was not sure I'd like, that I ended up falling in love with! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. It's not hard to fall in love with Provence. Glad you have the incredible opportunity to study in Provence. Lucky you!

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  9. Amazing pictures !! Enjoy and post more pictures, we're waiting ! ;-)
    Lamia
    http://www.ginger-chocolateandhoney.blogspot.com

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    1. Lamia, I have thousands of photos that I managed to fill up my 32gb SD card!

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  10. Marlene,

    what lovely pictures! And it's great you can go off exploring the coast, sounds like a perfect holiday.

    Can I just say - €18 for a kilo of cherries?! It's super dear, no? (sorry, it's a hobby, yes let's call it a hobby :) to have a nosey around supermarkets and markets when I go abroad, your Sainsburys and Waitrose is always on the agenda when I'm in the UK :)

    Me thinks it's kinda like here (I'm Croatian) and everything at the seaside is 3 times (at least) more expensive then in the continental part. Dubrovnik would be the best example.

    And very envious of all the ice creams flavors - I hope you manage to sample at least half :)

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    1. I know!! €18 for cherries is outrageous. Which is the reason I HAD to photograph. Food is generally more expensive in Nice than Paris. I haven't been to Dubrovnik. One day.... so many places to travel.

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    2. Marlene,

      there are tons of options apart from Dubrovnik, Zadar for example which is very pretty, cheap flights from UK (there's Ryanair, but also BA and Croatia Airlines) plus it's close to at least 3 national parks Plitvice, Krka and Kornati (all beautiful).

      I'm not a travel agent :) but if you and your family ever decide to visit, just gives us a shout, I'll do my best to help you out if you need any suggestions etc.

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    3. Thank you ever so much for your tips. I may take you up on the offer and probably bombard you with a million of questions if we ever make it to Croatia. I wish I have the freedom to jet off on a long weekend but it's not possible these days dealing with school terms etc.

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  11. Marlene I can't tell you how utterly stoked I am to see your photo's of Nice on your blog! Literally my travels are by looking through your gorgeous photo's (and day dreaming) at the moment. I'm glad you did something really special and memorable for your birthday.

    x Mandi

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    1. Mandi!!! So glad to hear from you. You can't imagine how privileged I feel that we got to Nice within 2 hours from London. I'm still in awe of the fact that it's so easy and inexpensive to travel within Europe.

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  12. All the goodies! It seems like Nice really caters for your every whim. What a beautiful way to spend your birthday xoxox

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  13. Mralene, these images are so beautiful! It's really experiencing your travels through your pictures. Will be leaving for Monaco tomorrow, so these pictures of you got me all excited!

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