I am in Nice for a few days, a wonderful mix of work and family, all bathed in Mediterranean spring sunshine, good food and happy encounters.
You’ll hear more about my happy encounters in a few days, but today time is short so I thought you may like to see a few of my favourite spots in this city that was my home for several years, many many moons ago.
And one place in particular holds a special tie for me. The Plongeoir, or the ‘diving board’. A restaurant perched on a rock protruding from the sea shore, a little way down the coast line from the port. This area is a favourite with the native Niçois, a place to enjoy an aperitif or a meal, and soak in the sunshine, watch the boats bob in and out of the port, and for those who are brave enough maybe even take the plunge from the top board.
This unusual rock formation had its true glory time at the end of the 19th century, when Nice was an essential stop over for any self-respecting aristocrat, taking the Grand Tour. At that time there were plenty of glamorous visitors from all over the world, and the restaurant on the rocks looked quite different.
Isn’t that a wild piece of architecture, I love it! This was the chic place to eat, the restaurant of the hotel La Reserve, part pagoda, and part boat. And yet another reason for me to regret not having been born one hundred years earlier!
The boat and pagoda eventually fell apart, and in the 1940’s the diving boards were built and for many years it looked like this. It is a little known fact that one of my first summers in France was spent right here, running a pop-up restaurant and private beach on the famous rocks … oh boy, the times we had! ….. the energy that I had! ….. but that my friends, is a story for another day!