A popular summer destination on the French Riviera since the 19th century, Nice’s climate is warm and breezy from April until November, and rarely suffers from the scorching heat like its busier neighbour, Marseille.
Once a part of the kingdom of Sardinia, the city may disorientate international visitors who will discover there a particular hybrid of French and Mediterranean culture in the Italian-looking architecture of the vieille ville. While upmarket properties outside the city are prized for their views across the bay, many locals tend to favour the belle époque apartments around the Place Garibaldi near the port.
For an authentic taste of ratatouille, the French “peasant dish” of stewed vegetables made famous by the Disney film, head to a little restaurant called La Merenda, on the doorstep of the old town.
Taking its name from the old Niçard dialect for a light meal or snack, La Merenda was opened by local chef Dominique Le Stanc when, having given the Hotel Negresco’s Chantecler restaurant a couple of Michelin stars, he decided to devote himself to reviving traditional local cuisine.
Try the famed petits farcis Niçois (small stuffed vegetables) as an appetiser, with a glass of chilled Provençal rosé wine.
Be warned though: La Merenda does not have a telephone — or card machine — and reservations are best made in person. Politicians and movie stars don’t seem to complain. It’s easy enough to drop by after a tour of the Marché aux Fleurs on the Cours Saleya.
Photographs: Inge Johnsson/Alamy; Emmanuel Charlat/Alamy; Maurice Rougemont/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images; Hemis/Alamy; Dreamstime
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