Shopping for a French Christmas

A little windy...and where's the sand?

Nice is nice. How many times have you heard that?  Even when searching Google Images, or things to do, “Nice” is a very hard search term to get any positive results from.  Add ‘France’ and it gets you a little closer.

Nice really is a great stop along the coast.  Neat old town, efficient tram system to move people throughout the city.  A population that doesn’t dominate the entire vista.  It’s not a small town, but similar to Florence in what I would like to call the ‘just right’ category.  Two issues that could be worked on though would be sanding the beach to replace some of those ankle-twisting rocks that line the coast and more dog poo collection, or city crackdown of some sort.  I am not the only one occasionally stepping in the brown stuff.

A fraction of the goodies we found here. If we only had the space to carry some of this stuff home

One of the surprising finds yesterday was a weekly antiques market down on Cours Saleya.  We walked by this street the day before and it was nothing but patio dining.  Another walk by, on a Monday, and the street was filled with what must have been close to 200 vendors all with goods for sale.  Broken pocket watches and lighters from many eras past.  Boxes of postcards, timeworn, stamped, and at one point before email they alerted family and loved ones of travels.  Model cars, lamps and silverware.  Books and screened posters.  Personal letters and corporate documents all in plastic sleeves.  Boxes filled with French francs, all being sold for one euro…which I found interesting because back in ’98 the exchange was locked at just under 7 francs to the euro.  Did these coins appreciate in value due to discontinuation?  Oh, I can’t forget the 1900’s coffee tables, radios and phonographs.  Oh how much fun we could have decorating a place with the goods here.  For those of you looking for a rough video walkthrough of the Nice Antiques Market, with english commentary, see the link.

Another day requiring sunscreen.  Definitely not used to this as at this time of year, we’re used to the grey cold, fireplaces, and the unending chorus of carols.  Here, the effort put into turning a seasonably warm location into something more typical of the season shown on television is surprising. Bring in the Christmas trees. Spray them down with some white fluff, that might normally be used to reinforce the loose gravel next to a roadway.  Add disco balls, a ferris wheel, and zamboni groomed temporary ice rink…and voila!  You’ve got a Christmas market.

Palm trees, fake snow and a ferris wheel. That sounds like winter, kinda.

The ferris wheel amazes me. It definitely wasn’t here last year in October. It’s an object that takes significant effort to assemble and operate.  It is a great focal point, and draws people in from all over the city as a beacon, and hey…we went for a ride.  In addition to the ferris wheel, we’ve seen your standard carousel and a netted-in area that parents were hauling their kids into.  From the top of the ferris wheel you can see that this area is simply an array of trampolines where kids are left for half an hour to burn off a little of that excess sugar ingested from  the cotton candy and mini-churros served with a side of Nutella.   Mmmm…Nutella.  Is there anything that couldn’t use an extra dollop of the sweet stuff?  Even cut with a little dark chocolate, it’s damn tasty.

For four weeks the city is putting on Noël à Nice, and based on Youtube hits during a search for the link, it appears to be happening annually.  Live music in the plazas, with only one small collection of out-of-tune carollers amplified in the corner.  One Santa making balloon animals both day and night.  Hot wine served alongside waffles dusted in icing sugar or marmalade.  More chachkas to be best used as stocking stuffers.

If you happen to consider an off-season trip to the south of France…definitely swing by Nice.


About stonerabroad
Inquiring mind...always interested in learning how things works...all things that is

2 Responses to Shopping for a French Christmas

  1. ronvanstreun says:

    Nice used to be one of my old stomping grounds and I love that place. I still have a few good friends that live there and I’ll probably be visiting in February!

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