Our week in the UK was just the first part of this trip. The next leg was a driving trip along the south of France, beginning with a brief budget flight to Nice. It was quite surreal, but very lovely, to land in sunny and dry weather after a week of rain in England.
The original motivation for spending a day and night in Nice was simply that I absolutely refused to start a driving trip immediately after a morning’s plane journey. Hence there was nothing on our itinerary except ambling away the day and then getting an early night’s rest. Without straying too far from our hotel along the Promenade des Anglais, I’d say we had a fun afternoon of ambling through a considerable portion of the picturesque Old Town.
An unexpected highlight came about when we went looking for dinner. James found some highly-recommended restaurants on TripAdvisor, but all were already full for the evening. So we asked the front-of-house chap at one restaurant if he could recommend somewhere good to eat nearby, and he pointed us to Le Bistro du Fromager (Facebook page). Which didn’t look like much at street level, but its main dining area was in a cavernous cellar with lovely stone walls. It was dimly-lit, though, and I couldn’t get good pictures.
Our waiter, whose name I think was Gregoire, was an absolute force of nature. At any given moment he could be slicing bread, taking orders, recommending wines… in French, English, or any combination of the two as needed. I asked Gregoire about the tagliatelle with parmesan, and ordered it based on his explanation: “The tagliatelle is handmade, we cook it in (some broth I’ve forgotten), then we toss it in a big wheel of parmesan before we serve it to you.” It sounded great, but nothing prepared me for the moment when he rolled out the massive wheel of cheese, poured brandy into it, and then SET THE THING ON FIRE.
Stuffed full of good food, we passed out early that night, which was probably a good idea since we had a lot of driving to do the next day. It was really hard to move on from Nice when the weather was so very perfect – fortunately, this was just the first of many pretty cities/towns along the south of France where we’d enjoy lovely sunshine and low humidity.