Sounds, sand and shellfish: 48 hours in the South of France

Photo: Harry Ehrlich

When you look to the southern region of France, you’ll find the city that the French refer to as Nissa La Bella, Nice the Beautiful.

My travel pal Joe and I stopped there on our way out of Italy. We took a four-hour train ride from Genoa along the southern coast of Italy, through Monaco, and into Nice.

We decided to head to Nice simply because there was a family friend there and a free bed to stay in! For anyone trying to travel on a budget, you’ll often find destinations will be dictated by these happy coincidences…

Jonnie, a high-school classmate and decades-long friend of Joe’s parents, not only provided us with a place to rest our heads but became our tour guide as well.

Jazzing it up

Photo: Harry Ehrlich

After we arrived and had a customary glass of rosé, the beverage of choice for seemingly everyone during the summer in Nice, we headed out.

It was a Tuesday afternoon and Jonnie took us to a friend’s apartment. There, upon entering, we were serenaded by the sounds of a three-piece jazz band that was GOING AT IT.

I mean these guys were playing some incredible music. The atmosphere of the concert matched the musicians’ vibe. Large windows let in dappled light as the crowd in attendance took in the performance with glasses of wine in hand. It was evident that this was in someone’s actual apartment, as many personal artifacts were decorating the walls.

With the sun shining and the music playing, we enjoyed our first taste of the South of France.

Sand

Photo: Harry Ehrlich

Nice is located in the French Riviera on the southern coast of the country on the Mediterranean Sea.

Just a half hour from Nice’s city center in the neighboring town of Villefranche-sur-Mer, golden sand and turquoise waters greeted us. In classic French fashion, sunbathers weren’t wearing much, in an effort to even out their tans.

We stopped for a couple of hours of sunning, sand and swimming. The relaxation was welcome after having made our way through the quaint and winding streets of the city as we traveled down to the shoreline.

Shellfish

Photo: Harry Ehrlich

With all of the cool experiences we were able to pack into 48 hours with the help of Jonnie, the top experience in my book was eating at Cafe de Turin. At the Cafe, the three of us had an entire meal, comprised of only one thing: oysters.

Coming from Boston, I thought I knew about good oysters. But that was until I had the chance to experience these BEHEMOTH OYSTERS that looked like they had come from an alien planet. The largest, meatiest oysters I had ever slurped. The shells themselves weighed almost a half pound. Plus they were deep, making every oyster a meal by itself! As the line for a table took more than 45 minutes, we had worked up quite an appetite.

As we ate oysters, we drank rosé and enjoyed the warm evening air, confident Joe and I had made the most of our 48-hour stay in Nice. And I know it won’t be the last time I visit this exceptional coastal city.