Even with its colours, flavours, and heat headaches, the Cours Saleya markets in Nice’s vieille ville doesn’t get nearly enough credit, nor the attention, that it deserves. For most, it’s an accidental discovery – a wrong turn somewhere while looking for Parc du Château or that famous Negresco or that ridiculous gelato dealer boasting over 150 options (faced with which, your brain goes into overdrive and you end up ordering chocolate…).
I, on the other hand, have a fascination with market temperaments in every city. For all its romances, the majority of Paris’ marche aux fleurs on Île de la Cité is haughtily quiet and underwhelming, save a few gloriously overflowing and otherworldy stalls. And, having now exhausted Morocco’s medinas of note, with their constant sell sell sell, beautiful silks, orange juice and animal heads, I seem to have lost the desire to shop altogether. Cours Saleya is somewhere in between. There is something homemade and makeshift about the set-up (granted, once the stalls shut down at lunchtime, restaurants are quick to fill in the gaps with outdoor lounging tables), and the produce. All my systematic price comparisons and cost per kilo calculations are long lost somewhere up the street I don’t remember – the vendors are far too friendly (and thus pressing) for me to loiter, weigh up decisions from afar, second guess, or walk away altogether.
As a result, I sound myself with half a kilo of marinated artichokes, and Alex with the same weight in charcuterie.
I guess we have to buy just as many berries to balance out the salt, right?
Round the corner, away from the noise, find a corner, plant your feast, chow it down, be thankful that you didn’t choose body-con when rummaging for things to wear that morning.
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