Cours Saleya is THE most famous street in the old town of Nice. While Cours means yard, we are not so sure where the name Saleya originally derives from. Either from “Sale” which means salt or maybe “Sole” which means sun. Both play or have played an important role here, the sun is part of the local landscape and the salt used to be like white gold in former days. There were salt mines not far from Nice and the salt was shipped by boat to the shore nearby the Cours Saleya. It was then transported on donkey backs on the so-called salt road across the Alps to Turin, the former capital of our County.
Today Cours Saleya is where the famous flower market takes place. Every day except Monday you can find plenty of stalls here selling the most beautiful flower bouquets and plants. The French Riviera together with the Italian Riviera have the biggest outdoor flower production in Europe. Roses, carnations, mimosa, lavender, anemons and many more grow between Nice and Grasse and are sold here all year round. But you can also buy your vegetables and fruit here as well as olives and cheese.
Other stalls sell ceramics, soap, lavender bags and local specialties like the famous Socca. This delicious chickpea flower pancake is one of the delicacies of Nice. Starting from 10am you can see people lining up at the 2 stalls that sell it. Baked in the nearby oven on a huge pan, it is brought to the market on the sidecar of a motorcycle and then sold by the piece to the public. It is cheap, healthy, nutritious and so delicious.
Cours Saleya is the soul of the old town of Nice. It is here that in the morning you do your grocery shopping, where you sip your coffee in one of the many Cafés, where you do some people watching. As a tourist you might be tempted to have lunch in one of the Restaurants here. However, there are just a few that we locals would choose. In any case not those, where you are approached by the doorman or woman who invites you to take place. One of the oldest and probably best ones is the Restaurant Le Safari. Here you can try the local specialties like the Daube (beef cooked for hours in a red wine sauce), the Farcis Niçois (stuffed vegetables) or the world famous Salade Niçoise.
On Mondays the Cours Saleya features an amazing antique and flea market. From early in the morning until the late afternoon you can find the most incredible items here. Vintage clothes, old furniture, paintings, books and postcards from good old days. The earlier you come here, the bigger is the chance that you will find a unique piece.
My favorite time of the day on Cours Saleya is in the evening. I love to stroll between its beautiful medieval façades that appear even more beautiful in the orange street lights. You can hear street musicians playing, people enjoying a drink in the many outdoor Cafés and Bars. And in the summer months you can find here even a handcraft market, selling goods until late in the night.
Cours Saleya is busy all day long. It is here that the locals and tourists meet, where you can hear all the languages of the world and where you enjoy the good life with a glass of Rosé wine in the summer breeze.