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Nice Etoile is Nice's main shopping mall, situated in the heart of the modern shopping area of the main street av Jean Medecin.
The only other malls of note are TNL in the suburb Riquier (home to a giant Carrefour) and out of town CAP3000, near the airport.
Opened up by an atruim to natural light , whizzy lifts cast as scifi-style pods glide silently up and down the interior walls, escalators, chandeliers, modern hotel-style seats, and atmospheric deployment of pink and purple lighting. Oh and shops. Not to forget the purpose of a mall. Shops.
What to buy: Nice Etoile is home to dozens of frock-shops including C&A (yes, you read correctly, "C&A". A marque I thought had been despatched decades ago to a home for aged and retired retail brands, but still live and kicking here) and many shoes, bags and other girly essentials. Also for domestic lifestyle enhancement there's Habitat (even more expensive in France), and Maison du Monde should you feel a need for a pair of green and orange scented candles.
Eating needs are catered for by several establishments ideal for casual coffee and pastries, and the icecream kiosk is actually rather good, as well as being cheaper than the standard tourist tarrif.
And there's parking for serious shoppers.
What to pay: French priced for locals. Which means fashions generally inexpensive, everything else a bit fierce.
Updated Aug 8, 2009
Address: Avenue Jean Medecin
...and join the yacht set with this high quality wonderful clothing range from Saint James.
Saint James is a French clothing company that originally started in Normandy in the north of France and is home to the famous Breton fishermen's sweaters.
The Nice branch of Saint James is appropriately sited on Ile de la Beaute right by the Port of Nice. This small and lovely shop has a limited range of smart casual clothing. The colours and cut have a nautical slant - lots of whites and navy and plenty of stripes. The women's clothes extend from basic tops, shorts and trousers to knitted suits and linen dresses. The men's range is mostly cotton tops and gorgeous chunky wool sweaters - the husband looks particularly Cary Grant-ish in his. The collection reminds me a bit of the classic Ralph Lauren sport style but at less cost.
If you are near the Port, well worth a visit. The window displays are very good (like most French shops) and the prices are also displayed so you can suss things out before entering the shop if you're a bit shy. Closed Sundays and lunchtimes.
What to buy: This mid to high- priced clothing would appeal more to the mid-30s plus age group I should think.
However, at any age, if you want to buy a classic stripy French T-shirt you are in the right place - Saint James has a gorgeous lightweight striped cotton boat-neck T-shirt with three-quarter sleeves. These tops come in a range of colours, although for me, the original navy and white stripe is the best. These tops start at around 20 euros and are available for children as well as adults. My husband and daughter have a T-shirt each (see photo left) and as chief launderer in the family, I am happy to report that the tops wash and wear very well. Also, in my humble opinion, they are infinitely more tasteful and desirable as a T-shirt than the tacky 'I love Nice' touristy T-shirts for sale in the Old Town and Cours Saleya. They would make a great present for back home too - classic French - style, from France.
What to pay: The Saint James website (reference given below) is very informative and can give you a full description and photographs of all the clothes in the collection. You can order a catalogue too. The only draw-back - no prices are given but as a very rough guide, for ladies, individual items are priced approximately between 40 and 150 euros each and children's tops start at about 15 euros.
Updated May 13, 2004
Address: Saint James, 11, Place Ile de la Beaute, Nice Port
Phone: 04 92 00 01 91
Chocolates, ice cream and cakes - all made in the traditional style.
What to buy: The ice cream made in the French traditional style is exquisite, and outstanding value. Normally only Italians make ice cream this good, but this original French producer has managed to rival it.
Written Feb 28, 2004
Address: 21 Rue du Marche, Vieux Nice
Should be titled 'a scarf costs HOW much'?
Hermes (pronounced 'er-mezz', with a French accent) is a world-recognised leader in luxury goods. Originating as saddlers in Paris, many of the newer designs still reflect the equine beginnings.
Under the recently appointed artistic director, Jean Paul Gaultier, it will be interesting to see how he exerts his personality onto the new range.
Hermes in Nice is on avenue de Verdun behind the Albert 1er Gardens just around the corner from rue Paradis and very much at home alongside all the other designer shops here.
OK, it IS expensive but have you noticed how chic those French women look ? have another look - they accessorise nearly all their outfits with a scarf, tied beautifully and the scarf is from, well, you've guessed it. If you can brook the expense, one luxury item that is perfect and will last a lifetime (you WILL take care of it at that cost!) is good value. The French may get a few things wrong, but their sense of style is beyond reproach. Theirs is a motto of 'less is more' and they apply this philosophy to their outfits (though not to the prices!)
What to buy: Scarves mainly. Hermes is very fashionable at the moment, a fact over which the staff are slightly disparaging; Hermes has always been a classic name in France and rises above the vagaries of fashion. Anyway, it IS popular right now and their classic handbags, the Kelly (Grace) and the larger Birkin (Jane) both have several years' waiting lists. And at several thousand euros a bag, you need this time to save up. (Either that or hot-foot it to Ventimiglia market in Italy on a Friday morning where you can pick up a decent copy for under 200 euros) tip: try www.bagladies.co.uk too.
In Hermes, you can also buy ready to wear clothes for men and women plus leather goods, jewellery, shoes, towels, beachwear and perfume. The new perfume for women, 'eau de Merveilles' is rather good actually (hope the husband reads this)
The staff in Hermes are always very helpful and friendly and will spread out any number of scarves to admire with no pushiness. You do need to have the scarves spread out to take in the designs. There is a very clever one at the moment (in the window but I don't know for how long) called 'cheval surprise' - horses theme again. An apparently random pattern contains about 15 horses, some with riders, and you can start to pick them out after a while. This design has a few different colour variations and comes in scarves, pareos (sarongs) and even some of the clothes.
I am sure you will find something covetable here. Have a look, they don't mind if you do not buy. The sales are good in Hermes, although in Nice, the scarves are never in the sale -they don't need to be. Sales are in January and July and the you may pick up a bargain in the clothes, shoes and gloves section. It's worth buying clothes out of season as they will be life-time classics. Leave something for me though!
The website below allows a very small number of Hermes items to be bought on the internet in the USA only. It is useful though as a store locator and to see some of the designs and colour ranges in the scarves and ties.
What to pay: Anyway, briefly, you are here to admire and buy the scarves which come in silk, cotton, chiffon and pleated silk. Silk squares come in two sizes, the smaller one (about 100 euros) for neck and handbag, the larger one (about 280 euros) is more versatile and can even be tied cleverly into a summer top. 'Twillies' which are a new-ish idea, are small, silk, tie-shaped scarves that go around the neck, wrist or handbag or hair and are fairly reasonably priced, about 70 euros. They make delightful presents as they come in a miniature hat box in the Hermes signature orange and tied with the signature brown ribbon. It would be very easy to take one home as a present, even in hand luggage; imagine the pleasure you will be giving...I have to say that I am always VERY grateful to my gorgeous husband when he has treated me. (all those cheap meals in the Old Town do pay off eventually!)
Updated Apr 19, 2004
Address: Hermes, 8 avenue de Verdun, 06000 Nice
Phone: tel: 04 93 87 75 03
An alternative to the Flower Market for all your fruit and vegetable needs is the morning street market in the Malussena, as the Avenue Jean Medicin heads north under the road and rail bridge near the Station.
What to buy: Like grapes that actually taste like grapes - picked fresh from Italy, or clementines fresh from Corsica? Kaki fruit, figs, whatever is seasonal. You will taste the advantage of Frances colonial past - exotic fruits in from former French colonies around the world.
UPDATE! Tramworks have disturbed the Malusenna - Fruit and veg market displaced, I suspect further North
What to pay: Cheap but browse all the stalls - price and quality vary for no apparent reason from one stall to the next - part of the charm of French shopping
Updated Aug 17, 2005
Nice has only two music store leviathans, the French FNAC and the British Virgin Superstore, both in the Avenue Jean Medicin.
FNAC always won on points on account of having listening posts where most CDs in stock can be auditioned (Not at Virgin) and it carries a much richer canvas of musical styles. Virgin shelf space is dominated by transatlantic contemporary pop and rock.
As of the end of October 2004 FNAC has moved out of its old home in the Nice Etoiles mall, and into the magnificently restored and rejuvenated Marionaud building a hundred metres north. Bigger and better, on five floors, everything in media - CDs and DVDs, books and consumer electronics. And new listening stations.
The French colonial legacy means imported artists not available elsewhere around the globe, and Paris as multicultural music capital means French goodies galore.
What to buy: In addition to the usual youth outpourings (yawn) a rich selection of contemporary Arab, African and Paris Lounge > Paris-Dakkar, yes! Brazillian and Cuban sections also good. Cabo Verde interesting - alternatives to good old Cesaria from the place where that afro-portuguese musical stuff grew.
Alteratively they still have 500 million identical grunge, garage and rap artists latest output, each hardly distinguishable one from the other. Lots of warbling sulky or angry young men. Whatever. You decide. Just spoil a Virgin accountants day, buy at FNAC.
What to pay: Plenty of special offers and reasonable prices,(unlike Virgin).
Updated Mar 20, 2005
Address: Av Jean Medicin
The aptly named rue Paradis is a pedestrianised road running north-south linking Place Magenta with Avenue de Verdun one block west from the central Place Massena.
This is where the luxury designer shops are located and it is wonderful to window-shop and even better to spend.
There is a gorgeous children's clothes shop along this road called 'Bonpoint' with exquisite clothes (at exquisite prices) - if you have a baby or young child to to buy for - this would be the place for a very special present.
I can not remember all the shops along rue Paradis, but to give a few examples - Sonia Rykiel for women and girls, Faconnable for men and Armani for men and women. There is also a Mont Blanc shop (fountain pens) and Louis Vuitton (luggage and bags)
Towards the sea and left on to Avenue de Verdon, the designer names continue with Marina Rinaldi, Cartier and Hermes - Hermes is the classic French name in the very best quality and is famous for its scarves, accessories and bags - in particular the 'Kelly' bag (there's a 2 year waiting list for this bag and prices start at 3,500 GB pounds)
What to buy: Rue Paradis is really a place to window-shop and dream of a lottery win. The shops here are mostly clothing and jewellery. You may be able to pick up a bargain in the sales - January and July.
Tip: the Hermes sale starts on 8th January 2004 for about 2 weeks with reductions on the ready to wear clothes and some of the accessories like gloves and shoes.
What to pay: Husbands, be very afraid.
Updated Jan 9, 2004
Address: rue Paradis, central Nice
This famous chocolate and confectionary shop (the front is a listed historic monument) is mentioned in many Nice guide books and this December we were finally lured in by the gorgeous Christmas window display.
It has been a chocolate and confectionary shop since 1820 and the Belle Epoque building is beautiful inside and outside - the traditional old-fashioned look has been carefully preserved and it makes a delightful backdrop to all the temptations on offer. The smell of chocolate alone is worth a quick walk around the displays.
The main choices available are:- home-made chocolates, preserved fruits, marrons glaces, jams and cakes. There was also a plate full of of yummy-looking chocolate-filled croissants - very nice for the people who live near enough to do the morning run. In December, you can order a 'Buche de Noel' - a chocolate Christmas log - a very traditonal part of the French Christmas celebrations.
We were only in for a few minutes and it was quite busy BUT I think I have read that there is a coffee shop at the back of Auer. I quite like the sound of this (any excuse to get back there). additional note Feb 2004... Alas, no coffee shop -apparently there used to be one about five years ago.
What to buy: The chocolate here is top quality, made on the premises and comes beautifully packaged. You can buy bags of chocolates of different weights and specially packaged chocolates and glazed fruits that come in wooden hand-painted boxes that are works of art. This is serious chocolate and I suspect most is bought as presents (I can see potential problems in the Summer heat!)
The prices are quite serious too. I couldn't leave empty-handed so I bought a very small bag of chocolate-coated almonds called 'Amandes Princesses' which cost just over 5 euros. They are sitting looking at me as I type this but I am saving them for Christmas Day - I'm not sure if I can hang on another three days, I've survived so far by sniffing the bag every now and again. Additional note post Christmas Day... They were gorgeous.
What to pay: From a few euros for a small bag to over 200 euros for the large hand-painted boxes filled with chocolates. After you have been helped by the staff, all the goods are paid for at the huge old-fashioned till by the door.
Have a look at the Auer website (below) for more photographs. It will make you drool too. There is an option to shop online - I've not tried ordering anything but it will give you an idea of the products and prices.
Updated Mar 8, 2004
Address: Maison Auer, 7 rue St Francois de Paule, Nice
Phone: 04 93 85 77 98
There a lot of markets in Nice, especially in the Old Town
- Flower market at Cours Saleya(6am - 5:30pm, daily, except Mondays that is a Second-Hand market)
- Flea Market at Quai Lunel, port of Nice
- Second Hand and Ancient Books Market at Place du Palais de Justice (1st/3rd Saturday of each month)
- Paintings and Art Craftmen at Place du Palais de Justice (2nd Saturday of each month)
- Old Postcards Market at Place du Palais de Justice (4th Saturday of each month)
- Fish Market at Place St François (every day, except on Mondays)
Shopping Hours:Usually from 9am to 7pm. Many shops close for lunch between 1pm-3pm
At Avenue Jean Medécin you will find many famous clothes stores, big markets, Virgin, Fnac, Sephora etc What’s more at Avenue de Verdum some designer’s shops. There are also many shops around Rue Massena.
For rock Cds, Lps, shirts: HIT IMPORT at Rue de Lepante, 11
Otherwise big collection of cds/dvds at Virgin Megastores and Fnac
In the Old Town you can find some nice souvenirs in small shops.
If you have some millions to spend buy your clothes at Galeries Lafayette! Good quality but paranormal prices!
Updated Jul 27, 2007
Buy your lunch here for just 2 euros...
Monoprix is a top quality supermarket in France and there is a small 2-floor store at Place Garibaldi at the back of Old Nice. In a separate building across a small road and next door to the main shop, is the Monoprix bakery and Boulangerie. It is one of the best bakers and patisseries I have found near my studio by the Port. It wins no prizes for window displays, there are none, but trust me, go in and try some bread, pastries and sandwiches. My daughter is addicted to the pain au chocolat maxis (twice the length of a regular) for 1,15 euros. I love the choice of different breads available, many variations of grains, textures and toppings. It is all top quality and baked in-house.
What to buy: My top tip for this bakery is lunch actually. All around Nice particularly in the old town there are many little sandwich bars, some with a table or two outside, that offer a 'formule' for lunch. This usually comprises a sandwich and a drink. The price is usually around the 5 euros mark. Monoprix bakery offers a superb value lunch formule. A large 'jambon au beurre' that's a ham baguette, plus a half-litre of cold bottled water (or a tin of coke) PLUS a beignet - that's a doughnut or you can have a piece of brioche-y -looking cake with dried fruit instead of the doughnut. There's no choice of sandwich, it's always ham, but you can choose from chocolate, raspberry or apple filling for your doughnut. A bit of fresh fruit from the market wouldn't hurt either. It's really handy for a picnic, comes in a carrier bag with a paper napkin, great for the beach or park and you can use the money you save on real shopping or a fancy restaurant later.
What to pay: This lunch, a ham baguette, drink and a doughnut is just 2 euros. The sandwiches are freshly prepared on the premises for 10:30 am and sell out quickly. There are other formule options available at more cost, but I think this one offers the most outstanding value.
Updated Apr 18, 2007
Address: Place Garibaldi
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