Kerry Heaney

TRAVEL: Eat your way through Nice, France

If you want to know what the French eat at home, head to a market, especially Nice's famed Flower Market in the Cours Saleya, just a few blocks back from the Promenade des Anglais on the shoreline.

Despite its floral name, this market is bursting with local food and produce and is ranked by France's National Council for the Culinary Arts as being one of the country's special markets.

The marketplace flows up the middle of the street with two avenues of colourful stalls. Once you've had your fill, wander through the tight streets of old town Nice, particularly on the eastern edge, and hunt for souvenirs in the many shops surrounding the markets.

There's an impressive range of goods on display including wonderfully authentic marzipan fruits which are almost too realistic. You'll be tempted by the flavoured and spiced salts, preserved meats and sausages, fruits and vegetables from the surrounding countryside and Provencale-style pottery.

Unlike the markets I'm used to in Australia, there's not a huge amount of food to eat straight away, but the area is full of cafes. Be like the French and sit down to enjoy your meal with a coffee.

There's an age-old shopping protocol here. Put your selection in one of the silver bowls on the stall and the market stall holder will weigh the goods and charge you by weight. Obviously, like items together, please.

Artists selling paintings of local scenes are scattered amongst the stalls. They look original, but once you get them home, you'll find the 'watercolours' are actually just prints. Still, at 10 to 20 euros they make a souvenir that travels easily. My preference was for a selection of the intriguing flavoured salts on offer, but the additional weight was not something I could put in my suitcase.

The market is held Tuesday to Sunday morning, closed Sunday afternoon and Monday, from 6 am to 5.30 pm.

After all that market walking, you may want to soak your feet or refresh with a swim in the Mediterranean Sea from the Promenade des Anglais. The water is blue and clean, but you'll need beach shoes to help navigate the large pebble beach and into the water.

Nice is a great base to explore Provence and the Cote d'Azur.

  • Kerry Heaney was a guest of Trafalgar's Paris to Provence tour. Travel the world bite-by-bite on eatdrinkandbekerry.com.au

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