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Riviera Pebbles Blog: My Secret Nice Part 1: Musiciens

Posted on 9th Apr 2015 in Cuisine

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Paul and Jane's Rigoletto apartment in Nice's Musiciens quartier

My Secret Nice Part 1: Paul Petersen, Apartment Rigoletto, Musiciens

The French Riviera is perennially popular. And with postcard-perfect panoramas, year-round sunshine and miles of public beach, it’s easy to understand why.

But what about when you’re ready to lose the crowds? Part of the pleasure of travelling is to sample living like a local, from shopping neighbourhood markets to savouring a glass of rosé in a delightfully out-of-the-way café.

This week, Paul Petersen, owner of Apartment Rigoletto, shares what it’s like to be a resident of Nice’s Musiciens quarter, as well as plenty of insider tips.

“My wife Jane and I rented an apartment in Nice for three months in the spring of 2011. After six weeks, we realised that this was the ideal place to escape brutal New England winters! The climate, the friendliness of the people and a city large enough to offer urban amenities – without being overwhelming in size – were convincing attractions.

Another plus is the proximity to so many diverse places, such as Provence, Italy, the Alps, as well as the rest of Europe being only short flights away.

"The Musiciens quarter, where our Apartment Rigoletto is located, is not only incredibly friendly. It’s also truly a residential area. You get to know your neighbours. Even those who may recognise you only by sight don't pass without a "bonjour monsieur, bonjour madame."

"Nicole at Boulangerie Antonio et Maite (10 rue Verdi) reaches for the crustiest banette as soon as I cross the threshold. And she knows I can't resist the raspberry tart. The women at the supermarket pause to ask us how long we are staying, or to show us baby pictures. We feel very welcome.

"For lunch or an afternoon drink with friends, we love Le Verdi (5 rue Verdi). It is the crossroads and salon of the neighbourhood, and customers are always greeted warmly by Eric or Candice. They often have live music on Fridays. And there’s always a big neighbourhood party when the Beaujolais Nouveau arrives in November (third Thursday).

"People come from all over the city to buy special treats at Pâtisserie Le Vanillier (7 avenue Auber), just opposite. Or head three blocks south of here instead: Benvenuto (8 rue Dalpozzo) is a warm and intimate, authentic Italian restaurant. It’s completely family-operated: Dante welcomes you, Echristina cooks and Marco interprets the menu. Try the burrata on arugula to start!

"I’d also recommend the Maghreb markets on rue d'Italie. There are lots of interesting produce, spices and great butchers. Jane adores fashion shopping on rue Alphonse Karr, not too far away. But really, everything is walkable from Musiciens, from the promenade des Anglais and rue de France to place Masséna.”



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