Nice, France

I never take it for granted how bourgeois it is to go to a city just because I can. Which sounds like a pretty shallow reason, but I like to think that I was also guided by my unerring instinct for this sort of thing…because as it turned out, Nice was the perfect starting point for our travels and in more ways than one.

Nice is a very pretty town with a large proliferation of places to pass the time. There was the Marc Chagall museum for example, but mostly we just spent a lot of time in restaurants and cafes. I feel obliged to mention a particularly charming one on Rue Pertinax which served old-fashioned chocolat – every mouthful of the thick liquid will make you realise how woefully inadequate reconstituted hot chocolate is.

In my mind, Nice was the place in the French Riviera where fashionable English people spend their summers so I definitely didn’t expect an expansive beach with large grey stones that massage underfoot. How odd that people escape to a part of the world with a pebble beach. But I discovered that if you listen closely, you can hear the pebbles knock against each other as the ripples pass by – and it sounded very much like a natural symphony to my ears.

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