Chez René Socca, Nice, France

I just went back and stayed with magdelena for the first time in far too long. Nice has changed a great deal since I’ve last been in 2011 – they’ve finished a tramway downtown, and also completed a “Coulée Verte” (Green Path), which leads from the Promenade des Anglais up to the “Vielle Ville” (Old Town).

My suggested walk – one of several – is to start out at “Jardin Albert 1er” (bottom-left of the map), wind your way northeast up the Coulée Verte – it’s almost all pedestrians – making the “Musée d’Art Moderne” (right-center of the map) your destination – it’s about a 20-minute, leisurely stroll, with plenty of time for pictures, sightseeing, etc. (you’ll want to take your time and see all the neat things to see). Then when you reach that area, cut over to where it says “Nice Chapelle du Saint-Sépulchre,” and get lost winding your way through “Vieux Nice” (Old Town), heading back the way you came.

Right around where you’ll first cut over into Old Town, there’s a legendary restaurant / carryout called Chez René Socca which you should locate on your GPS. Now, this place isn’t a great restaurant – you stand in line, and order when you get to the front, and if you want to eat inside, you walk across the alley with your food, and grab a table (it will be obvious). However, they have *all* the classic “Nissarte” dishes: First and foremost, Socca, and this is *the* place to get Socca – it’s as good as anywhere in town. But they also have halfway-decent renditions of other dishes that you’ll only find in Nice: Pissaladière (a square of “pizza” made with caramelized onions, olives, and anchovies), Tourte de Blettes (a savory-sweet pastry made with (believe it or not) *Swiss Chard*, raisins, and powdered sugar on top, somewhat mediocre Pan Bagnat (a Salade Nicoise on a bun), and Poivrons Farcis (stuffed peppers). If there are two of you, go ahead and pig out, and get all five of them, so you can see what these dishes are like – other than the Socca, these aren’t *the* best representations of the dishes, but they’re okay, and you can try them all during one meal – you’ll be absolutely *stuffed*, and won’t be able to finish, but your bill will only be about $20-30, and little “ballons” of rosé are about $5 at the tables across the alleyway.

After lunch, wander the streets of Old Town, and go shopping, strolling, and picture-taking – make sure to see the Cathedral, and then when you get back, walk along the Promenade des Anglais, which runs along the Baie des Anges (the beach which forms a crescent). It’s a great, unhurried way to spend a few hours, and won’t be exerting at all. You’ll get a great taste of the city by walking along three parallel, *very* different routes: the Green Path, Old Town, and the Promenade along the Beach.

If you only get one thing at Chez René Socca, get one order of Socca to split between two people – if you get it to go, they’ll put it in a little cone, and you can eat it while you’re strolling – the socca really is good here, and it’s made in the traditional fashion.

Screenshot 2016-10-11 at 21.36.57

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