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Riviera Pebbles Blog: My Secret Nice Part 5: Nice Port

Posted on 12th Oct 2015 in History


Bonaparte's south-facing living room, which overlooks pedestrianised Place du Pin

My Secret Nice Part 6: Gary Gubbins, owner of Apartment Bonaparte in Nice Port

The French Riviera is perennially popular. 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 Gary Gubbins, owner of Apartment Bonaparte in Nice's buzzing Port district, shares what it’s like to be a local as well as plenty of insider tips.

“Around a decade ago, I was living and working in Paris. I was looking to buy an apartment. However, prices in my neighbourhood were extremely expensive.

"On a whim, I hopped aboard a flight to Nice. After doing a little online research, I visited Apartment Bonaparte. I had a coffee on the port and was sold immediately on the view and the locality.

“I still love walking down to the port in the morning and enjoying a coffee in the sunshine. In the evening, I head over to the eastern side of the harbour and find a nice sun-trapped terrace like the one at Ma Nolan’s. From here I can sip a beer whilst watching the sun come down over the Colline du Château.

"I have never tired of that view. I also love that you can catch the bus at the port and be Villefranche-sur-Mer within 5 minutes. If you are feeling energetic, the coastal walk via Coco Beach is also a joy.

“The Port area has changed so much in the last ten years. There are lots of new places to dine, but one of my favourites has always been Au Vieux Four (1 rue Emmanuel Philibert) near my apartment. It’s been family-owned for generations, plus it offers great food, good prices and the locals adore it.

"I also love the new café and restaurant Le Comptoir Central Electrique. A former electrical shop, it’s very hip but also very friendly, and I like the fact that I used to buy my bulbs there. They did a fantastic job on the renovation.

“Many locals still live around the Port neighbourhood. There is a real feel of community, whilst still being very much at the centre of a great renaissance, as well as the positive influence that the tram, rue Bonaparte area, and port renovation have all brought.

"With all this upturn in the area, there is no doubt that there is still loads of value to be had.”


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