You can’t help but be aware of the warmth and safety of Nice, a city where you can enjoy that rare freedom of being able to walk around at night with no fear of people as you thrill to the festival atmosphere of street musicians and street theatre in Place Rossetti, or getting lost down the many small streets with their abundance of interesting shops.
Superficially, Nice can seem like an expensive city, but it does not have to be as there is plenty to see and do for free. One of the most fulfilling things you can do here – and a great way to take in the feel and the atmosphere of this beautiful city – is to just walk around taking photographs. There is joy to be found here in every corner: relaxing in Jardin Botanique on a tree-shaded park bench to stay cool in the midday sun; or people watching from one of the many authentic cafes in true Gallic style! Just grab a coffee and a freshly prepared sandwich, then sit back on Promenade des Anglais and simply watch the world go by.
It has to be the Cote d’Azur, for my activity break of choice – idealy centred on Nice. And with budget flights accessible from most UK centres, it could hardly be simpler. Once you’ve settled into your accommodation and unpacked all your gear, you’re set – and winter is definitely the best time to go! After an early breakfast, drive north to Valberg, Isola or Auron for a morning on the ski slopes, followed by a lunch, before returning to the shores of the Mediterranean. Then you have the choice of cycle routes – leisurely along the corniche, or challenging and into the Alpes Maritime (Gourdon or Sospel, perhaps). And in the evening, what could be better than SCUBA diving with your buddies at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
La Zucca Magica is a little vegetarian haven on the French south coast in Nice, not a country noted for veggie restaurants! It’s a quirky place, every corner is filled with pumpkins, fairy lights and newspaper clippings of the larger than life chef - Marco. The restaurant is quite small and the tables are close together so it’s full of atmosphere and very sociable.
The restaurant only offers a set meal of five courses - you don’t see a menu, you just sit back and enjoy the ride! The selection changes daily as the chef creates inventive and tasty dishes from the fresh produce available with favorites including delicious soups, home made pasta and stuffed peppers, all full of flavour from the addition of local cheeses and fresh herbs.
The meal lasts all night, the service is good and many diners are greeted with a kiss by Marco. The meal isn’t cheap and booking is essential as its always full, but it’s a great choice for veggies and non-veggies alike, a real dining experience!
"La Zucca Magica" (The Magic Pumpkin)is a fabulous vegetarian restaurant in the South of France. Once you've got over the pumpkin themed decor, not really a design dream, you can settle down to an imaginative eating experience. There is no menu, you are served four or five courses of what is on offer that day. Marco, the chef, gets fresh ingredients daily from the local market so wonderful and varied vegetarian food with an Italian slant. The contents of each course delightfully explained by the waiter, in our case a mixture of French, Italian and English, his Welsh wasn't so good.
We went on my wife's birthday, towards the end of the meal the kitchen staff banged pans and sang happy birthday.
You need to book and this can be done easily via their website.
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