NICE IS... FEELING ALIVE
Piers McEwan and Kreete Pruul live in Portsmouth, England where they met some four years ago whilst Kreete, originally from Estonia, was studying at the university there.
Kreete now works in digital marketing whilst Piers works in higher education and is also a freelance writer and has his own blog I got addicted to straight away.
Piers and Kreete enjoy travelling together, walking and the simple pleasures and moments in life. They have a soft spot for the culture and landscape of France and already have thoughts on when their next jaunt across the channel will be. I am happy to share their impressions which you'd love to re-read again.
There are some places on this earth you visit that you wish you could be returned to in an instant and that you crave to see once again, immediately. Nice, France is one of those places. Having recently returned from Nissa La Bella, I find my attention constantly returning to the magical time I spent there, that I will certainly not forget in a hurry. I use the word magical but in some ways it’s hard to describe the city because words do not do it justice. Some places just have soul, their very own heartbeat, that indescribably wonderful feeling you can only feel by being there, in the heart of the city.
From when our plane touched down adjacent to the brightest blue sea I’d ever seen, I knew that Nice and I would get on very well. Indeed, the sea and the promenade were places we made sure to get a glimpse of every day. Each morning, we walked from our 1930s apartment at the port towards the beach. The walk is up a very slight hill but we were rewarded each morning as we rounded Quai Rabau-Capeu to the most spectacular view of the ocean stretching out to the horizon line. That view never got old; I could easily have stayed there most of the day with a coffee in one hand and a book in the other. The views from the water itself were equally beautiful, though. We’d float on our backs with the sun for company, watching the steady stream of planes taking off, guessing which airline each was.
I should add that I skipped a key part of the morning in the proceeding paragraph. Prior to our long stroll along the promenade, important decisions had to be made first and foremost; one croissant or two? Pain rustique or classique? Maybe another croissant? It was a good dilemma to face each morning as we hurried ourselves along Rue Arson in the early sun to Boulangerie Lagache. Breakfast would then be taken atop our small balcony to the sound of the Nicois populace waking up around us. This had to be our favourite time of the day with the coffee warming our throats and the sound of jazz spilling out of a wireless radio.
When we weren’t enjoying the sights of the promenade, we’d most likely be found in the heart of the Old Town. A stop off at our favourite bar, Le Comptoir Central Electrique, was always a must en route. We’d then either grab some street food or if something more substantial was needed then we’d opt for restaurant Carpe Diem located on a hidden backstreet in the Old Town. These tucked away streets had a life of their own and came alive at night; they were the one place you wouldn’t mind getting lost in. But it was Nice as a whole that came to life to an even greater extent in the evening. There was again that indescribable buzz which felt welcoming, exciting and full of opportunity all at the same time.
The only place in town to fully understand this was from the lofty heights of Castle Hill. Just a quick climb from the beach, this platform provided the perfect view from which to see the night light up as people below us drank, ate, sang and danced until the first sign of sunrise.
Some places you are happy to leave as you think about returning home. But not Nice. No, as we took a cab back to airport I felt a bit empty to be leaving that beach, that sun, that food, those people, behind us. But as our flight home took off under the pinkest sky, revealing the whole of Nice below us, I was just glad that we had been introduced to this utterly unique city full of charm and soul. And it was at precisely that point in my mind that I knew we’d return one day; to a place that felt like home, a place truly imprinted on our hearts and a place in which we both truly felt alive.
Piers R S McEwan
Instagram - @piersmac
Twitter - onethinkingman