Mmmm Waking up in our hotel room I was reminded about a French culinary joy, the French version of English breakfast. I love Italian food, a vero I do, but their breakfast is very different. Italian breakfast is usually just broiche and espresso. This is fine I guess but Sunday mornings just aren’t the same without eggs. Anyway, a full breakfast is amazing so I was determined to drag Tyler into the first place on the pedestrian walkway with decent prices.
The walkway in the morning was completely different from its night time impressions. The environ is still impressed in my memory now. The tang of the unsettled sea breeze assaulted my nose as soon as we left the hotel. The sky was filled with cumulus clouds; heavy blue-bottomed white beauties were slowly lumdering their way across the sky. The low rumble of thunder was echoing off the mountains behind Nice, as if the earth was murmuring a secret all around us. Looking around I saw the rain falling in fat happy drops, proud that they were the special few that escaped their clouds to land on the pavement, making the colours around us deep and vibrant.
It was impossible to be disappointed with the weather, because it made such a statement. I was too smitten with a thunder storm in December to be concerned about getting soaked, too busy drinking in the crisp, sweet sensory delights to think about umbrellas and future plans
As promised I dragged Tyler into the first promising restaurant and we took a seat on their sheltered, heated patio (it was fairly cool out). I saw the menu, mon Dieu I love French breakfast! Quick point here, I heard some negative things from some Canadians about how the French respond to Canadian french, mostly that our accent sounds akin to southern trash. However, no one’s attitude, anywhere in the world is going to put me off ordering my first coffee of the day! In fact it was the first thing I learned in italian; ‘io bisigno di un caffe’.
Alright ordering caffe wasn’t that difficult and the elderly gentlemen quickly switched to english upon hearing my accent and seeing Tyler’s polite smile as a response. This gentleman was a treat; our breakfast came with caffe but Tyler doesn’t drink caffe so he said ‘no that’s okay’, but the gentlman was trying to insist that it came with the meal. At this point I switched back to french to explain that Tyler doesn’t drink coffee! This gentleman immediately won me over when, not missing a beat, he suggested I just have two! Alors, when breakfast came my happy tummy sang like a meadow lark, eggs, cheese, fruit, fresh bread and baguette! I swear to God every french person is taught how to make bread and when they learn they are sworn under pain of death to reveal this secret to no one else but another french person. Our little french host continued his hospitalities, he had made sweetened figs with almond paste and was offering them to everyone. Coming back to us he asked me, for the second or third time, if I spoke french and I replied for the second or third time, yes but slowly. We then had a delightful chat about french caffe and his one server who had lived in Montreal. I believe the 4 of us stood there chatting away about Quebec and Nice and other nicities for quite awhile. Our host gave us true Niçois sentiments, ‘I cannot leave my Nice, I was born in the sun’. Nice hospitality 1, Rumours 0.
How I’ve managed to spend 5 paragraphs rambling about breakfast is beyond me but I assure you it was a fantastic experience. Our decision was to begin our day in Old Nice and the Flower Market.
Ah the Flower Market, it was something out of a painting. Our sky was still vieing for our attention, changing fat happy drops of rain for large flakes of fluffy white snow. It was brief but sent the Niçois into a flurry of activity and arriving into the market we saw a riot of colours and a riot of activity, as the vendors moved their flowers under their stalls.
The roses! Tiny pink buds, large white blooms, deep red splashing against bright yellow were at every turn. I couldn’t being to recall every flower I saw but it went from cacti to carnation, baby’s breath to blooming lavender and I walked up and down the stalls smelling and looking and savouring the visual equivalent of fine dining. It was here that I picked up hand crafted soaps and sighed with delight at the vendors with multiple jars of spices and herbs. I thought about buying saffron, even at 4 euro for a few strands it was a steal.
I wondered about the idea of a flower market like this in Canada. Imagine Torontians slowing down long enough to enjoy walking up and down the colourful rows! A flower market to me reflects that there is a society who doesn’t strive to fill every single waking hour trying to be industrious, glamerous or ridiculous. The simple act of buying fresh flowers each week and putting them on the table, arriving to a dinner party with fresh flowers. Literally the place to stop and smell the roses.