Tell anyone you’re going to Nice, and they’re sure to suggest you visit the Cours Saleya market in Vieux Nice, or the Old Town. Well, guess what – they’re right. You really, really should check out Cours Saleya, even if you’re not a big outdoor market fan. In fact, once you see Cours Saleya you can pretty much forego every other outdoor market in France. It’s that awesome.
Why? It’s a riot of luscious colors, heavenly smells and lively activity. It’s got some of the nicest vendors in France. There are plenty of cafes at which to rest your weary feet, grab some coffee and watch tourists and locals mix it up for as long as you’d like. And it’s the perfect time-killer before the day’s main to-do, which if you’re smart will involve having a long lunch followed by a lazy afternoon at a beachside bar.
So without further ado, here are some things to know about the Cours Saleya market in Nice:
It’s not always a food market. On Mondays, it’s antiques and bric-a-brac. And it’s not super-chic, either – you can find some great deals on vintage purses, kitchenware, silver, Art Deco prints, original paintings of every size, and more.
If you’re thinking about making any purchases at all, it’s worth it to pick up a woven shopping bag at one of the many stores that line the Cours Saleya. You know the kind – the ones that look like they should come with a bottle of wine and a baguette sticking out of them? They are super-handy, they don’t cost more than about 12 euro, and don’t worry; the French really do use them for shopping, so you won’t look like a crazy tourist.
If you’re purchasing foods such as meats or cheeses to be eaten immediately, don’t be shy about asking the vendor to cut it up for you. They are happy to do so – hey, a sale’s a sale.
Don’t haggle on food prices or on things like original paintings from the artist who’s selling them. For the antiques, you can haggle on the big-ticket items but the smaller ones have decent enough prices that it shouldn’t be necessary. If you really feel that something is overpriced, ask nicely if they’d take the amount you think it should be, and they will probably make a deal.
Stop at Chez Thereza for the socca, a half-crepe, half-pizza snack made from chick peas. You can sit at her little tables, or get it to go. You may have to wait, though, until her guy comes putt-putting up on his scooter with the socca on the back. Trust me, it’s worth the wait.
Most importantly, have fun! Relax and drink it all in. it doesn’t get any more French than the Cours Saleya market. And if you’re spending more time in Nice, here are some helpful links to check out!