The first time I visited Nice I had nothing with my but my childhood best friend and a backpack half my size. We hit up all the tourist spots, stayed in a hostel, and ended up driving the coast with a mysterious old man who owned a hotel before we hopped a train to Paris- but that story is for another time. Though I’ve been back to Paris since, something about the picturesque city of Nice stuck with me, and for years if anyone asked my favourite place to visit I would name it without hesitation. I couldn’t wait to get back, so when the opportunity arose a few weeks ago I was ready to hop on a plane right that second.
I wasn’t totally sure what to expect heading back to a place I had idealized for the last six years, but luckily “The California of France” exceeded my distant memories. A small tropical city right on the coast, Nice really does feel like a small town, and within days I’d established my favourite spots.
Scroll down for my top Pastel Picks in Nice //
Paper Plane // Being a vegetarian in France is extremely difficult, especially if you’re strict on seafood. Luckily, Paper Plane is like a glittering green gem hidden amongst endless pizza and white bread. This small cafe is so lovely, and it’s one of the only places to get a good healthy breakfast (try the avocado toast!)
Fennochio // If you followed my trip at ALL, on any platform, you’ll know that I lived almost exclusively on ice cream from this legendary spot. Each flavour has a little “garnish” in the case, which can include anything from a fruit to a tiny tiny can of coke, and the floral section (yes, floral SECTION) is seriously the best tasting thing in the entire world. You can make an ice cream cone that tastes like a bouquet. No lie.
Marche Aux FLeurs // If you aren’t sold on Nice already, this will probably win you over- there is a market bursting with fresh flowers (mostly peonies and roses I might add) every morning in the middle of town! Walking down this strip in the hot sun might be one of my favourite smells of all time.
Tote et Mamie Charlotte // In my books a visit to France isn’t complete without an epic cheese board or two, and the platter at Tote et Mamie Charlotte is seriously the best! It’s also served on a bed of lettuce, which trust me, you’ll appreciate after all the bread!
Banh Mei // This is strictly a lunch spot (as in they’re only open for lunch), but it’s wonderful all the same. Treat yourself to a delicious Vietnamese style sandwich, and pick up a home made bubble tea or two while you’re at it. This is the perfect place to snatch up takeout for the beach!
La Rotonde // In all honesty I didn’t actually eat here because it was crazy expensive and served almost entirely meat dishes, but I did pop in for a few sneaky photos and practically fainted. This is a carousel themed restaurant… need I say more?
La Maison Auer // In case you didn’t get your fill of sweets around the corner at Fenocchio, you can indulge in traditional candied fruits, macarons, and house made liqueurs at Maison Auer. This was one of my top spots to pick up treasures to cart home, and I’m still trying to save my chocolate covered orange peels to this day.
Cafe de Turin // If Fruits de Mer are your thing, there is nowhere better than this age old local tradition. Serving fresh oysters and other seafood since 1908, it’s a quintessential Nice experience!