Sunday, 24 May 2009

Cours Selaya, Nice: By Day and By Night

On a recent weekend in Nice I was taken aback by the Cours Selaya. This broad street is market by day and frenzy of restaurants by night, with the central stalls becoming outside seating. In fact, I am not sure I have ever seen so many restaurants on one street. The large, beautiful ochre-coloured building pictured right sits up high at one end and dominates the street. I was warned that it was a tourist haven, but although there were plenty - it also seemed to me to have the entirety of the population of Nice shopping, eating, sauntering and drinking.
I was impressed by the intense regionality of the food offering. They really only sell Nicoise dishes and in the market you can have any type of olive you like, so long as it's black (see the extraordinary selection on stall below left).

By day the restaurants are pumping out Pissaladiere (a pastry-based Pizza with confit onions, anchovies and olive) and Socca (chickpea pancakes). Then by night, out come the aioli (poached cod, hard-boiled egg and raw vegetables served with an eye-wateringly astringent aioli - below) and the seafood platters. With so many restaurants the competition is intense and an element of showmanship is evident - not to mention hard-selling from the restaurateur's prettiest daughter as you pass. Although not a purist's gastronomic destination, and just a tad on the tacky side, there is enough of beauty to make it worth a detour when in the neighbourhood.


  1. I spent a year near Grimaud, near St Tropez. The standard of food isn't high, at least in the mid-price range.
    Too many pizzerias.
    Yet to find a decent aioli. Le jas de Robert is a pretty little restaurant with a good marché au puces on Sunday mornings but their aioli is horrible.
    Great ice cream in St Tropez.
    I must write a post on my time down there soon.

  2. I should perhaps have said that the quality of cooking is not the highlight (sound familiar?). There is one restaurant in Nice - La Merenda - which everyone raves about. However it is not open Saturdays and Sundays so we missed it.

  3. Lovely post. I spent a few days in St Tropez and it wasn't as good as Cotignac, where we stayed. I still loved the area though.

  4. Well my last visit to St. Tropez was in my tenth year I believe - didn't really appreciate it then! Thanks for inducing yet another aioli craving...

  5. Oh, oh, oysters. Supper now looks very disappointing having read this post.