• Walk the Talk

The colours and smells of Saleya

Cours Saleya is one of the most famous street markets in Europe and one of the best too.

The vibrant Cours Saleya market in Nice

Having only three full days in Nice, I was aware that a few visits to places I have longed to see would have to be sacrificed if I were to make my way up to the pretty suburban area of Arenas to visit the stunning Matisse Museum. I also didn't want to miss a day trip to Antibes, so my plan, even if with some resistance, was to miss the famous street market in Old Nice. But one of the advantages of not having much of a clue is that you end up making great discoveries that were not necessarily in your guide book.

It was my last day in the Côte d'Azur and before going to the Matisse museum, I planned on seeing the city from the Castle Hill. The sky was so blue and clear that it would have been an unforgivable mistake to have missed such stunning sight.

Little did I know that to reach Castle Hill I would have to go through or very near Cours Saleya. How can I ever express in words how happy I was for my questionable map reading skills and for having stumbled into this chaos of aromas, colours, textures and people? Voilá, there I was and lucky me!

Open daily, except for Mondays, Cours Saleya is packed with tourists that are warmly welcomed by the Niçoise. The locals do go there to buy their fruit, vegetables, bread, fois gras, so when taking pictures, try to be mindful that some people are indeed trying to get on with their grocery shopping. A maze of gorgeous flowers of every kind, fresh fruit of all types, olive oil, herbs and spices, croissants, fish, a quick walk along this part of town make you question, even if slightly, the concept of supermarkets and their soulless aisles and symmetrical carrots.

Surrounding the market, gorgeous old and colourful buildings that more often than not have been turned into cafés e restaurants. If you plan to eat nearby, have in mind that some spots are very popular with queues that seem to go on for blocks.

In the square next to Cours Saleya, a quaint and very attractive little market of local paintings, antique, artefacts. There I met the lovely artists Patricia Louzai. She has one of the most delightful stands showing her interpretation of the Côte d'Azur. A charming local artists that was very happy to talk about her work and the unsurprising element that inspires her and possibly the rest of the world: the splendid French Riviera.

The artist Patricia Louzai, her work and the arts market.

Cours Saleya is open every morning from 6:30 until 13:30. Closed on Mondays.

The flower market is open until late afternoon.

In the summer months there is an arts evening market from 18:00.