February 23: At the boulangerie

During a phone conversation the other day, a friend from London asked me to describe a typical day in our lives in Nice. I honestly couldn’t think where to begin. I’ve begun to yearn for a typical day, one in which stressful things aren’t run of the mill.

This is not Neasden: we made a pilgrimage to Ikea Toulon to buy furniture for one of the flats

This is not Neasden: we made a pilgrimage to Ikea Toulon to buy furniture for one of the flats

We’ve had a little spate of irritations recently, mostly relating to bikes and apartments. Joel’s bike was stolen from outside the gym. As he was trudging home dejectedly, he saw it chained up with another bike outside a mosque (which, I should note for the sake of balance, is behind a Catholic church). He was so furious he removed the wheels and carried them home. We went in search of the frame the next day, but it was gone. Shortly afterwards, though, he found a bike at the end of our street, with two flat tires and no lock. No one in their right mind would leave a bike unlocked anywhere in Nice, especially not at night, so we could only assume it had been stolen in the first place and dumped… After keeping an eye on it for a while – finders keepers! However, someone vandalised the tires on that one, as well as on mine, as if to slap our wrists for not handing the found one in to the police. (The police would’ve thought Joel was deranged for doing that anyway.)

The bikes are very minor stresses compared to the ones relating to builders, lawyers and estate agents, but you don’t want to read about them any more than I want to write about them. One day it will all be over and all will be well, right? Right?

On Mont Chauve, a popular biking spot overlooking Nice

On Mont Chauve, a popular biking spot overlooking Nice

If there’s one thing that’s typical in our days, it’s buying and briefly discussing a baguette. In our Parc Chambrun neighbourhood, we have three really good boulangeries within a few minutes’ walk, plus a remarkable one (Le Fournil, on Avenue Borriglione) within a quick bike ride. The baguettes are fairly easily identifiable. The one from The Fat Lady is fluffier on the inside than the one from The Rude Girls, which is heavier than the one from The Almond Croissant Place. Those aren’t the real names of the shops, of course. Customers have their individual preferences – some people always ask for one that’s bien blanche, or nice and pale. Sometimes The Fat Lady tells me I’m getting the last baguette, apologetically, as if it’s the one nobody wanted. I quite like the doughiness at The Rude Girls, but we’ve avoided there for a bit because they’re, well, they’re rude.  No chirpy Bonjour Madame there. We’ve had several discussions with people who live locally about the cost, size, colour, inner fluffiness and outer crackle of our neighbourhood baguettes.

Actually, the Rude Girls were probably only that way because they were about to lose their jobs: there was a big sign on the window yesterday saying that there had been a changement of proprietaire. I had to try the baguette, of course – I wanted to test Joel and see if he would notice it was new.

Robert Doisneau's photo of Picasso

Robert Doisneau’s photo of Picasso

There’s a famous photograph of Picasso with some bread rolls on the table in front of him, as if they are hands. I love that photo – I first saw it years and years ago. The rolls are actually a kind of bread called main d’Antibes, or Antibes hands, because they look so fingery. The new shop had something similar, labelled main de Nice, Nice hands, although I think they could actually call their version doigts de saucisses, or sausage fingers. The girl seemed so very not rude that I bought two. She was even wearing a jester’s cap, for the opening of the shop I guess, to show the neighbourhood she was a jolly sort of person.

I guess another typical thing in our days is that Joel and I are very silly together and we make each other laugh a lot about nothing, like trying to reproduce famous photos, but I forgot to mention that on the phone.

Not Picasso

Not Picasso

Not Picasso either

Not Picasso either


Joel did the 10 mile run on Feb 17 in 1hr 21mins!

Joel finished the 10 mile run on Feb 17 in 1 hr 21 minutes!


About Suellen Grealy

In 2011, a series of coincidences led my husband Joel, our cat Ted and me away from London, where we lived quite happily for 30 years, to Nice, where Joel grew up. While he and his sister ran their restaurant, I wrote a novel. Family being family, Joel and his sister no longer work together. Writing being writing, the novel lingers on... Meanwhile, we've found ways of living a completely different life from the one we had in London, including running our own restaurant together, 7 Villermont. The only constants are our Ted, our now-battered Peugeot, and each other. Everything else is a complete surprise
This entry was posted in Cats, Marriage, Nice, Photography, Shops in Nice and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to February 23: At the boulangerie

  1. Harriet says:

    Utter delight! Wonderful photos. And lucky you not being in London where it is freezing cold with scattered snow flurries. This winter has gone on too long…

  2. Thank you! But it’s never lucky not to be in London…

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