· By Jeff Masquelier
Old Nice and Older Bicycles
Last fall, Lisa and I drove from Paris to Nice with a stop-over in Lyon. We stayed at a hotel on the west end of the Promenade des Anglais but spent much of our time at the east end of the strip for the great restaurants, markets and the unforgettable charm of the old town built largely in the 1700s.
A cab ride felt too quick to enjoy the coastline and a walk felt too long to get to where we were going, so we opted for the rentable bicycles that were smartly located at intervals along the promenade. What we didn’t know is that every ride would be an adventure, and navigating the 20km round trip would become a game all its own!
Finding two bikes that released from the kiosk was the first challenge, followed by rides with broken seats, stuck handle bars, cantankerous pedals, flat tires and the final test of finding open berths for the bikes when it was time to park.
One late night ride stands out. After a favorite meal (and wine) at Attimi in Vieux Nice, we biked late at night back to our hotel. Stollers, skaters and other bikers gawked at us as Lisa wrenched her unruly handle bars to keep straight while I low-rided my bike like a chopper with its faltering seat. We cracked up the entire way and somehow did not crash over the rail to the stony beach below.
About Vieux, Nice
Vieux Nice is the city’s vibrant old town, with narrow cobblestone streets and pastel-hued buildings where shops sell Niçoise soaps and Provençal textiles, plus meats and cheeses. A daily market on pedestrian street Cours Saleya offers produce and flowers, and busy pubs and outdoor eateries serving specialties like socca crepes dot the area. Leafy, hilltop Parc de la Colline du Château has grand city and sea views.