The Port

The Port (3)

The port of Nice, also called Lympia, is a postcard. Here the huge cruise ships visiting the Mediterranean Sea combine with small colourful fishing boats and luxury yachts owned by the wealthy. All with backdrop of a vibrant blue sea and buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries in orange, ochre, terracotta and other pastel colours. It is pure Pictorialism.

To enjoy a little tour of this area, we recommend you head to the innermost part of the port, in Place Ile de Beauté. If you are looking out to sea, behind you, you will see a relic of the 19th century worth visiting. Here, surrounded by small and slender neoclassical buildings, you will find Notre Dame du Port, in the same style as its adjacent buildings. It was built in 1840-1853 by architect Sasserno and it is famous because once all those who set sail offered their prayers to the Virgin for a good journey and a safe return to harbour. It was declared a historical monument in 1991.

Now look again out to the Mediterranean. If you want to take some nice pictures of the fishermen's boats, head left and walk about 400 metres through the Quai des Deux Emmanuel to the Quai des Docks. What you will see is picturesque.

Now retrace your steps and walk across, around the castle hill until you reach Place Guynemer. You can admire beautiful yachts that symbolise a lifestyle. From this square, in addition to having a beautiful view of the harbour, which improves further from the hill, you will find the War Memorial. The construction was created in 1928 in the old quarries to respect and honour the 4,000 people killed in the First World War.

And now, if you have come this far, one last detail. Walk a little further along the coast to the west, along Quai Rauba Capeu. Just before reaching the Quai des Etats Units, on your left you have a big sundial carved in the ground. But to know what time it is, you have to stand on the smiling face of the sun where the lines meet and see where your shadow points. Funny, isn't it?

If the walk has given you an appetite, feel free to head to one of the restaurants you have passed, especially those with boats of fishermen we have already seen. Local food is purely Mediterranean and is strongly influenced by Italian food, so there are plenty of vegetables, fish and olive oil.

If you have time, be sure to try the ratatouille, which has nothing to do with Disney, but an exquisite local delicacy made with vegetables. And if you are in a hurry, ask for a pissaladière, which is a type of Italian pizza with onion confit, anchovies and sardines, but without tomato. Whatever you choose, the first course you have to try is the classic Niçoise salad. It is an excellent combination of the best of the Mediterranean: tomatoes, green and red peppers, capers, egg, anchovies, olives and other things depending on who prepares it. Of course, you cannot miss a generous splash of olive oil and a few fresh basil leaves.

These dishes, like Nice and its port, are a delicacy.

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