We sat in the bar of the grand, historic Negresco Hotel, eagerly awaiting our cocktails, madly sniffing away at our wrists. I love this scent! “Mine’s better”, counteracted Mum. In fact, I couldn’t stop sniffing and the reason was we were both wearing our brand new, self created perfumes to drinks this evening. Well, how’d you do that, I hear you ask? Go to Molinard.
Lucky for us Molinard is just around the corner. They have been making perfumes since 1849, though not from this swish shop, rather from the town of Grasse which we drove through yesterday and for a small price, you can come and do a perfume workshop.
Selecting scents from a range of top, heart and base notes, based on what smells good to your nose, we create a collection of scent testing strips. Then it’s a matter of picking them up and smelling them all together, removing or adding anything that seems out of place or missing. Next, the assistant puts together the dosages of each scent to make up the bottle and voila – your own scent!
Mine has tangerine, orange and praline scents among others and I just love it.
We are staying in a great location here in Nice actually, right in the old town. I’ve heard of people booking accommodation on Air B&B before, but I have never tried it myself. When I saw Luke Nguyen (Vietnamese TV chef from Australia whose family runs the incredible Red Lantern restaurant) exploring the streets of old Nice, I wanted to stay somewhere like that – in a little apartment, perhaps with a balcony, right in the thick of things. And that’s what we found when we went looking – Diane’s gorgeous apartment in Ville Vieux – ready and waiting for us.
We have a little grocery store on one side of us, a bakery on the other and we are not far from the Cours Saleya – the flower market, where we did our grocery shopping this morning. We are also not far from a little ice cream shop called Fennochio that makes Beer flavoured ice cream. They also have a bunch of equally as interesting ice cream flavours on offer and the only question is – how many times a day can I go there to make sure I tried all the obscure flavours without making myself look like an ice cream glutton?
Disguises? Pay some kid to go and get one for me? Get someone different to serve me each time? Turns out I needn’t have worried. Because at Fenocchio, you can get as many flavours as you like stacked on that there old cone, as long as it doesn’t fall over in the process.
For my first visit, of course I tried the beer sorbet (which just tastes like beer really and not very refreshing), but better than the beer flavour was the cactus sorbet – unexpectedly sweet and not very cactussy at all!
Now it’s around midday and all of a sudden, a massive BOOM reverberates around Place de Palais – around the whole of Nice as well. Don’t be scared, it’s a normal part of every day living in Nice and yes, it is the sound of a cannon. Story goes that Sir Thomas Coventry-More, residing in Nice in 1861, had trouble making sure his wife came home for lunch. She loved a bit of gossip and once she got out into the streets, there was no stopping her. So he petitioned for permission to set off the cannon each day to call her home to lunch. Even though the Coventry-More’s left Nice in 1866, the tradition continued as it does to this day. The cannon is dispensed from Castle Hill but if you happen to be in the old town centre when it goes off, you could be forgiven for thinking it had been shot around the next corner – it’s that loud!
Boarding the little Nice tourist train along the Promenade de Anglais, we take a quick trip through the streets until we reach Colline de Chateau (Castle Hill). Here we ditch the tram in order to stroll through the gardens and take in the amazing view of Nice from up high.
And so it is we find ourselves sitting in the Negresco bar. Our second drink comes around – complimentary because it has taken them 25 minutes to serve our six pieces of canapes -and we are still sniffing our wrists.