The reality of Nice France
Alright how should we describe Nice France for my educated and cultured tourists from China and Australia and America and South America and Canada and the Middle East and Cape Town and Ireland and Scotland and England and Russia and India and Asia...I didn't mention Siberia although I do have people from Siberia who google me and they are actually very cool people, pun intended! Love to give my opinion and experince to these Along with the smarties of India and the tech community and the Bollywood of India and the military stationed overseas who love to see the cities they live near on the one day they are allowed to venture from the base!
I love to tell my people that a culture and community is "safe!". Especially and we need to talk about the very bad day of, Bastille day two years ago. The people are finally recovering they say and the restaurant owners and the provincial bars of which there are many say that they are starting to see tourists the last 3 months come to Nice although it is low season. Perhaps that is the feeling of the city. It is a little on the edge. I found it charming in the baseness of the city and although many internationals live here and visit here, it is definitely a French city.
Talking with the police and military of which you see many, especially wandering down the Avenue where the main trolley number 1 runs up and down at, they seem very young and very aware of all that is happening around the people in the city. "You know it is France and the French are French. I am born here and although I try to help the refugees and the immigrants I know that there is a big cultural difference. We as a government try to talk to the Muslim community and say to the people, do you want to be French or do you want to be Syrian. The difference is a country. Syria isn't a religion. It is a country. Yet it is a country along with the 22 Arab states that the religion is Islam in varying forms. In Syria they say they felt more at home because the entire country was Muslim, yet here at France we are predominantly Catholic and yet we allow and encourage all religions. What we have done the last year is ask the Muslim community to let us know if they see something that bothers them. It they are praying in a Mosque for example we ask the community to let us know if the leaders in the Mosque are encouraging peace or not. If not we close the Mosque down and we hold their leaders or we deport them. France is a country that wants the immigrants to become French citizens, yet that means that their first loyalty is to France. For the Muslim community their first loyalty is to Islam and that is where the differences make problems. Yet in the last year we have closed and shut 82 Mosques in France. And we have not had many big problems the last year. It is all about talking to each other and letting each other know what you need." Is one BIG conversation I had and that is true that a country is a country and a religion is a religion. Yet if you are Amish you probably prefer to live in the rural country where your horse and buggy don't get hit in heavy traffic of a city. So, I guess it is about peace and about helping the community and about feeling wanted and comfortable wherever you choose to live.
The people unite to voice their sadness about the relatives who died on Bastille Fesiivities.
The above tragedy can not be forgotten, of course, yet the people do try to greet you to their city and yet unlike Berlin, where the East/West Wall and Holocaust is kept hidden in their feelings, the French people do bring up the Bastille tragedy in almost every interview saying such, "Well with what happened at Bastille day, do you know what happened on the Promenada?" etc. and so you are informed constantly about it and if you don't know they tell you immediately.
The people I interviewed are many in the 12 total days that I loved the city of Nice and its citizens. They have a witty sense of humor and the ones who allowed me to write articles about the businesses were very enthusiastic people who had tons of hope for the future. They said that they loved meeting the people from around the world and that they wanted to introduce everybody to Nice. The owners of the FROG restaurant are very gracious and kind, the Beer District's are two young guys who love beer and were being visited by beer distributors who were Muslim and we all tasted the craft beer they brewed when I was there and they were totally fun and nice. The Socca is a cool food better than the fast food burgers, and the wine bars and Cuban /Creole French happy hour bars are great too.
The first year that Nice is on the site and of course you should come to the city and have fun at the Beach and have a great time exploring late night bars and clubs and drinking red provincial wines and eating the native Nice food. You shall love it and can stay at the international hostels or the 5 star Hyatts! They have it all and with a 1.50 euro bus ride or 4.50 euro train ride you can visit Monte Carlo Monaco in 15 minutes!
The huge flower tributes the Bastille Massacre brought along with the people to pray to the victims of that day. The reality of this tragic day, is the reason that I remind myself to allow the French to be a little shy, reticent, saddened when talking to the citizens and when asking to write articles about the entreprenuers making Nice a lovely city to visit in today's world. The memory haunts the people and when I see this photo I feel very bad and wish the world would honor Nice and visit. That is why I choose to come to the city 3 times and to try to write about it. I succeeded a little and astonishingly more than I thought I would. I found fun people and fun things to do. I hope you do to.
Some of the tourists and students I talked to in Nice said that they didn't know if they mentioned their sadness for this Nice event if it would be considered a faux pas and I said that the French would appreciate it. The tell you in a way as if you might not really know what happened in their city and they wanted you to be aware of it. "You DID know what happened in Bastille Day, right?" and you say yes I know I saw it on the television I am so sorry and they say "Merci" and chat with you.
I stayed at the International Hostel named Happy Culture Ozz, which is a one year old hostel, and found the French different than I imagined they would be since they talk about all kinds of subjects and are totally honest in a evaluation of something you say I was thinking about doing that and that and they will tell you immediately if "that is a lovely idea" or "no I don't think that will work." The front desk guys are great and very very happy to meet tourists from around the world. They have a great time with them.
The other item I found charming in a way is that every place and I mean EVERY PLACE that I interviewed I had people following me and immediately taking positions of work, such as going behind the bars unasked, putting on aprons and starting to wait tables, pouring drinks, assisting with bouncing duties, etc. and at first I was a little annoyed because they would take the owner away from the interview and pretty much my interview was over and I needed that interview, yet after awhile one boss when I asked about that fact if it is usual he said that I should feel special that they must trust me and trust the bosses of the places I chose to help them find jobs! Seeing it that way, as long as they let me do my interview and write a article about the bosses to promote the culture of the city, I started finding it rather sweet and charming that they trusted my opinion and now all had jobs! It was kind of funny actually after awhile and when I would see the people still working a couple of days since I smiled. At least I helped the Nice economy!
The important item in my being in a city is to bring the Capos, bosses, principles, etc to the world and the world to the cities. You won't have a job if nobody comes to your bar, restaurants, dancing bars, etc. and that is why I need to promote it. Yet once I do write the articles on the people I am very happy to see everybody having fun.
The best wine cocktail provincial French bar in Nice, Les Distilleries Ideales
24 Rue de la Prefecture Nice France
I don't know if it is because there are many locals here, or if it is the age old worn floors and adornments that make it such a cozy place, but I love to have a glass of wine every night here! Maybe it is the team, in the end, that make me happy to walk in the door since everybody is smiling and greets you and says hi and the team are always super friendly. Always.
Les Distilleries Ideales where the real locals come, real business deals are signed, and the tourists laugh with loving the conversations that they have with the French.
I met Taxil, Jocelyn,and her husband,Jean at the Michelin rated restaurant named Le Frog as I had wandered down the little alley from my favorite real provincial bar named Les Distilleries Ideales.
I walked in and am graciously given access to Jocelyn and Jean, as they sat down to eat dinner at the lovely Michelin restaurant. She gave me a cool French lesson on the real traditional French food and as I am awaiting dinner they gave me a lovely steak and as much white wine as I could drink! Loved.
I asked Jocelyn to explain the French cuisine to me. "Frog legs and Escargot are typical french items, as well as the Duck that we have on the menu. We have octopus salad and seasonal products such as the French Onion Soup that is only in winter. We have the special beef from the French farmers only and the fresh fish from the Mediterranean. "
I say that now I am starting to see the picture. "The souffles and creams are the complicated items of the French cuisine. When people think of the French kitchen, especially Michelin, they know that the preparation time is a little bit longer. It takes more time and more skill to make souffles, than pizzas for instance. Yet we have crepes that is only a real food that
is French." Alright, isn't it of interest to learn that I have been taught the basics of the French culture and its food from a Michelin restaurant! And such a lovely and simple teacher is the owner! Gracious and smiling at me in such a forgiving way as if I am a little faux pas urchin wandering in from a Spanish tapas bar named El Merkado! O hey wait I am!
Chez Pipo, 13, rue Bavastro, 06300 Nice
"My two people that it took me about 3 weeks to train, it is difficult to train a new person how to cook the Socca since it has to be in a 500 degrees oven and it has to be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, are Yann and Maugan. They have been here about 5 years now. The Stone brick ceilings and arches are a added bonus for me since they are from the 19th century and very beautiful. I added the additional 2 rooms about one year now, yet I wanted to keep the historical beauty and so I designed it exactly industrial style. Everybody thinks the industrial bar and tables and bar stools have been here forever since it matches the original rooms and that is the effect I wanted. Now families come and play with their children in the rooms here while drinking a glass of wine or beer and wait one hour for Socca in the summer. Before they had to stand outside and wait one hour. Now it is more of a bar area where you can eat Socca, too." says Steven as he shows me the different rooms. Gorgeous place, yet Socca is way too cheap. "Yes you can each have your own Socca and a couple of beers or a bottle of wine and at the most you will spend about 12.00euros to 20.00euros per person. The Socca itself varies from the classic, which you loved, of 2.80 euros to the stuffed with anchovies of 4.90 euros. It is very inexpensive and if you want classic pizza with carmelized onions on top, that is under 3.00 euros. It is a beautiful cozy atmosphere that is less expensive than fast-food for example, yet it is a must of the Riviera where some people that live here don't even know what it is. You must try it." he says and I eat the entire Socca!
The traditional Socca ovens, similiar to the Italian pizza ovens are set at 500 degrees!
"I especially love my house wine which is a Chateau Reva , a Rose, and very delectable," says Steven as he gives me a glass, and hands the bottle to his waiter who proceeds to pour 4 glasses for another table. The Rose wine flys off the shelf and soon everybody is drinking bottles of Rose wine. A old man wanders in to the room and starts telling me in a accent of French and Italian how he was born in the restaurant here at Socca 77 years now and that he has eaten Socca everyday for 77 years. He says that he is from Piedmont originally and that he has eaten pizzas and socca and that the socca is much better than pizza. He says he loves the wine and starts shuffling back to a strong wooden table to eat the socca and drink a couple of glasses of wine with his friends. Steven just laughs and nods. "Yes a lot of the locals come in everyday. The tourists are starting to find us and it makes me smile when I saw trip advisor the other day and a tourist from America wrote, it is a lovely food that is and isn't pizza and worth the trip to Nice. We ate Socca a couple of days when we finally found it and it is a must on the Riviera. That makes me happy." he says as he proudly shows me the review. I hope that my writing gives him many lovely guests.
"Basically, I bought Chez Pipo because I love to eat Socca and it is very healthy too, it is naturally Gluten-Free since it's base is Chick peas and the Socca recipes of specialty Socca that we have are all vegetarian. When the original owner opened it in 1920s, his name was Pipo and when we as people from Nice say let's go out we say let's go to Chez. Chez means to see our people. So, you are in a sense saying let's go to the house of Pipo, to Pipo's people." says Steven, the very young person who owns Chez Pipo the last 10 years.
Stephane owns Bay Side and La Havana in Nice France and has a VERY WILD LIFE to bounce from.
"I owned La Havana 17 years now and loved the Latin culture, to begin with and thought alright how aobut a Cuban place. It has Creole style food and Cuban Food and I mix the French culture with the Cuban." he says.
"Everybody thinks of Mojitos as the Cuban drink and of course we have Mojitos. I love the culture and thought that Nice would love it too. For me, honestly I have been everywhere in the world and I travel as much as I can. I have been to the Latin American countries and love the people. I love French Guinea and actually before I opened La Havana, I vacationed in French Guinea, yet it is very wild. There is only the river that runs through it and forget about laying on the beach in the sun. I have been in Senegal and opened a hotel there that is a experience, again that is untamed, with canoe trips down the rivers etc. I love adventure and I love to see the different cultures of the world. The Cuban bar has been a great experience for me and I have the Creole food from the Martinique region that adds the French flavors to the Cuban flavors. And yes we do have great happy hour there, too.! says Stephane as I say that I have enjoyed happy hour at La Havana a couple of times already! https://www.facebook.com/La-Havane-Nice-181232383338/
Located at : 32 rue de France, Nice
0493 1636 16
"About 5 months ago, the place next door was for sale and they thought of putting a Kabob Place in or some sort of fast food and I said that no I wanted a classy place next to mine and to save the image of La Havana I bought the restaurant here and made it into a Elegant Wine bar. WE have cheeses and meats and classic French wines and it is very cozy and sophisticated. It has been opened 1 and 1/2 months and due to the fact it is behind the water I named it Bay Side since it is on the bay." he says. It is comfortable in the Wine Bar, too and the wine is very good!
34 Rue de France, Nice
"I wanted a wine bar that had great wine, of course, and a variety of fresh provincial fresh food products such as the cheese and meat from the region of local farmers. We don't have a full service kitchen here, and of course, since it is France, we are still waiting for the outside tables, yet here we are! A cozy, more romantic place here where you can enjoy a quiet evening with friends. Next door is a little more lively, yet we are in a residential type setting and we have to keep the music low. I play whatever I want to play in terms of music, too." says Stephane. Does he miss the wild outdoorsy adventures? "Sometimes!"he says.
Nice is my newest addition, and honestly, I have always loved the French peole having had Paris on 8 years now, however, the French are well how do we say? French! Here at the funky more American think New York Village or as the owner, Henri says, "I went to San Francisco and fell in love with the industrial side of America with the Craft beers and came back and we opend Beer District at 12 via emmanuele here in Nice."
"Me and Paul took a couple of months redoing the interior, as most people do when they buy a new place, and made it very industrial, and very fun. We have beer games, we have music nights and we have sports nights and we love events so if you have a event let us know. We are learning. If you ask about the physical bar, the steel bar is ours, the chalk written descriptions on the blackboard everyday is our idea to make people feel comfortable asking about foreign beer, the heavy industrial bar stools are ours; yet if you see the skateboard on the walls and some of the decorations, you will notice that these come from the breweries themselves as gifts-the skateboard is from a American company. I am young, 28 and Paul is 24. We have been opened only 10 months now, and I am learning and honestly for me to have gifts from companies in America is a big thrill, from all the breweries, in fact and we are like, ALRIGHT!"
"When I wanted to learn English, I went to summer camp in North Carolina near Greensboro and I became a cook and made American breakfasts of omelettes and pancakes and scrambled eggs. I loved America and I learned about the Craft beers for the first time, and later went to San Francisco and found more culture of craft beers. When I came back to america I asked my friend Paul if he wanted to try the craft beers and we both said yes. Now you ask if I am happy? Yes and the reason you can tell if I am not happy we wouldn't do this any longer." he says.
People who know me know that all they have to do is look to the right to see my response...here is the picture of why I love the capos or patrons or bosses of Beer District, straightening behind the bicycle...all you have to do is love Albert and it is alright with me.
"I love the bar and we are learning everyday and honestly when we first opened the first month is crazy like o sh--! we ran out of beer, and where do we find new breweries and how do we change the tap lines, and now it is as if we have too many requests and all the beer companies want to come in and we love it. Yes it is a learning process and it took about 5 months to figure out how to not have stress attacks every second. We are open everyday except Sunday and on most days we stay open to midnight and 1/2. We do have music nights and sports nights, yet it is a industrial area and the residents insist on us keeping the noise down. We turn up the music and close the doors and have fun talking about the beer." says Henri.
"The craft beers are expensive and some guests ask me why a 50cl is 10.00 euros, and I tell them that if they go to the Garibaldi section of Nice they will pay 7.50 euros for a Heinekin that you can buy in the store for 1.50, yet here you can not buy the American IPAs or Craft Beers or Belgium Craft Beers from around the world in the stores and if you do you will pay the 10.00 euros. Here is a specialty beer pub with a industrial cozy feeling. People from the district come in after work and love to laugh and chat about the day and try a new craft beer and the tourists always find us!" If you want to find that cool place: 12 via Emmanuele or
13 Rue Cassini, 09 522 69 910.
The boys, Henri and Paul waiting for the crowds of people. "The people that come to the section here, which is very near the Harbor, are a mixture of locals and tourists and they very rarely are pretentious. They are happy to feel comfortable in the Pub we named Beer District and they love to ask us about the beers. As a matter of fact, the French are very used to Champagne and wine yet beer is a different story. They always ask us about the beer. Where does that one come from? Is it sweet, or bitter or deep or etc. I know every beer and I am very happy to tell about my beers. We have 16 on draft from around the world and about 70 bottles that we carry everyday. When a keg runs out, as today when you met the brewery guys from Toulouse, the new keg comes in. We had, of course, to taste many glasses today to make sure it is alright!" laughs Henri. I met Henri and the 2 brew masters today and as always, they are very happy, very casual and very simple.
BACKPACKERS and INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL TRAVELERS A GREAT PLACE TO STAY IN NICE
The nicest place to stay to meet internationals around the world is the OZZ hotel and hostel in NICE, France
Smart Concierges, Great Conversations, Modern Rooms, Comfy Lounges and lovely provincial breakfasts. The team is a very nice team. They are always happy and ready to help you all the time. The front receptionists are all young guys and the breakfast team is guys, too! They remind you of a happy fraternity team! Fun and friendly. Loved em.