Eighteen years ago, when I was but a wee lass in college having her first tour of Europe, I and my then-boyfriend landed in Nice. We visited no museums. We had little money. And yet, the memories of those few days have stayed with me all this time. Returning to Nice after all this time was educational. Literally. I lucked out in connecting with Caterina Prochilo, the multi-lingual press coordinator for the Nice Côte d’Azur Convention & Visitors’ Bureau, who was kind enough to show me a side of Nice I hadn’t experienced all those years ago. Here’s what I learned…

Les Deux Garcons

If you haven’t read MFK Fisher’s Two Towns in Provence, I highly recommend it. One of the towns is Aix-en-Provence, a bustling, cheerful town that I’ve visited before. On this trip, my friends and I fortuitously landed at Fisher’s favorite restaurant, Les Deux Garçons, where she and her daughters dined regularly, watching the people rush by on the Cours Mirabeau. The restaurant retains its old-school charm (with a bit of reticent snobbery too, I believe), and is still a great perch for people-watching.

You hear the term “stepping back in time,” but you can’t truly grasp the meaning until you experience it yourself. I first visited Paspus, a mountain top across from Saorge (and a cool 2400 in elevation), two years ago when my mountain man invited me and my family up for a picnic. We were in awe of the place, but it wasn’t until I returned on this trip that I really absorbed the place and its story. I’d read that Paspus was on the salt route from Nice to Tende in the 12th (I think) century. Salt was a huge commodity then;…

Bonjour. Bonjour! It might sound like the start of Beauty and the Beast, but you’d be surprised how much one little word can transform your travels, especially in small towns like Saorge. It might open the door to a sweet old lady marveling at how “you young folks” don’t need layers on a chilly morning while she’s bundled to the nines. It might warm up the room when a trio are the only other diners in the restaurant, and when the stoic Italian owner Bruno makes a joke, “okay, madame gets all the fries and you get none,” you feel free to make…