Wine Shop Nicolas Maccarani, Nice

wine shop nicolas

Wine shop Nicolas on the Maccarani street in Nice’s Carré d’Or is a lovely and friendly place. Pierre and Ludovic have been managing this wine shop for 4 years now. Ludovic worked in another wine shop in Nice, while Pierre came to discover a new region. I talked to Pierre about the store, his work, wine and learned a lot of interesting things.

It turned out that he was familiar with the world of wine since childhood as his grandfather was the director of a wine cooperative in Languedoc. As his future profession, Pierre first chose trade, but then returned to the world of wine, which was always interesting to him, and completed his master’s degree in Bordeaux with a profile in Wine Trade. He made an internship at the famous Château Pape Clement near Bordeaux and returned to Languedoc to work for a merchant house. It was a purely commercial job, which Pierre liked much less than working in a wine shop now since here he is engaged not only in the commercial part of the wine trade but also works directly with clients.

Why do you enjoy working directly with customers more than in pure distribution?

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This is a completely different approach. There I had to focus more on negotiations and the profitability of the deal than on the product itself, terroir, winemaking. I wanted to sell just good wine and tell people about it. Also here in the store, I like autonomy, there is no direct guidance above us, we manage the store the way we want. This is a nice neighborhood with pleasant people. We have done a lot in the store, changed the décor, refurbished it to our taste, but there is still a lot of work and it inspires us. It is interesting to work more with foreign clients. We cooperate a lot with hotels.

Who are your clients?

These are largely residents of the quarter. But there are also many foreigners here, especially from March to November. 80% of our clients during this period are foreigners. The life of the quarter does not standstill. It is a dynamic place, it creates new opportunities.

wine shop nice nicolas

What makes you different from other stores?

We try to do a lot of in-store tastings to let customers know about the product. Before the pandemic, we organized such events every Friday. It is also a way to meet clients and exchange opinions. Sometimes we invite wine producers with whom we work. We have another project in partnership with restaurants. It is a tasting of our wines in their establishments.

Continue the phrase “When I drink wine, I ..”

There is so much in a glass of wine. A glass of wine for me is the union of the terroir and the grower, how much the latter manages to enlarge the terroir, the land in which his vines grow. And this is incredible. Wine makes you travel. After all, each terroir is special. Even within the same appellation. Winemakers can produce different wines at a distance of 1 km from each other. Each wine is a discovery. We can always learn something by tasting wine. This is what I love about wine – being able to travel with your glass. And of course, pleasure. Wine is much more than just alcohol.

Which wine regions would you closely follow in the future?

I would like to tell you about my region – Languedoc. For a long time, it had a bad reputation, but recently a new generation of winemakers has appeared there, for whom the quality of the product has become more than the quantity. The fact is that land in Bordeaux or Burgundy is very expensive. It is almost impossible to acquire a vineyard there. And the terroir of Languedoc is much more accessible. But the wine styles of the region are very diverse: they are sweet wine, red wine, fortified wine, muscat, sparkling wine. There are AOC and IGP levels. The variety of palettes and styles is very interesting. I really like southern wines, which are quite expressive, with character.

wine shop nicolas nice

Languedoc is a large region. Where exactly would you advise to pay attention?

One of the most famous appellations is the Pic Saint-Loup north of Montpellier, which produces mostly red wines. This is Syrah, Grenache, also a lot of Mourvedre. The wines retain their freshness. The second appellation, which is interesting and produces exclusively red wines, is Terrasses du Larzac. It is a terroir that produces very high-quality wines of the Languedoc. There are legendary producers (Mas de Daumas Gassac and Mas Jullien). There are also many young winemakers. It is an excellent red wine, also with good freshness. A lot of sun, but the winds from the plateau du Larzac refresh the microclimate.

For white wine, my favourite region is the Loire. I love their minerality. My best wine memory concerns Australian wine. Domaine Torbreck. It was Syrah with a bit of Viognier. I tasted this wine at an exhibition in London. It was a wine that evokes very strong emotions that cannot be forgotten.

What advice can you give young wine merchants?

The first is to know your product well. This is the foundation. I regret a little that I didn’t get technical education. I read a lot but never got involved in the production process. It would be great to spend 1-2 months learning how wine is made. Then you need to be passionate. Trading today is not the easiest thing to do. There are always problems, but you must not lose heart, because there is always a solution. We try to set goals. It doesn’t matter what happens around, but the goal set motivates me to move towards it.

Are there any books or films that have inspired you professionally?

I don’t remember particular books, as for films, the first I would call Mondovino. So just about the Mas de Daumas Gassac, which I mentioned. There are many interesting documentaries.

wine shop Nicolas Nice

Moderate alcohol consumption. What are your recommendations?

Wine is a discovery and a journey. And it is not a drink that is drunk quickly and easily. It’s a difficult question. I’m a caviste, but that doesn’t mean I drink every day. I have to taste, this is normal, it is my profession. I think the main problem with wine is overconsumption. And this problem also comes from poor quality products, cheap supermarket wines.

8 Basics You Need to Know About French Riviera Restaurants

taste local food and wine

If you are travelling to Provence, Cote d’Azur, Nice, then your vacation would be incomplete without tasting local wine and local cuisine. Wine and gastronomy is a special cult and part of the local culture. I write a lot on my blog about the peculiarities of wines and food, I hope this information is useful to you. But here are a few rules to be familiar with before you go to one of the French Riviera restaurants. It doesn’t even matter whether it will be a gourmet restaurant with Michelin stars and stunning views or an urban cute restaurant in Nice and its surroundings. In any case, it will be useful for you to know:

  1. Bread or grissini is always served on the table. The bread can be served with olive oil. While you’re sipping your aperitif, try soaking a slice of fresh crispy bread in the aromatic olive oil from around here. Taste it with wine. Yummy? Divine! Especially if you have walked several kilometres before taking a city tour. Wine, bread and olive oil are the main agricultural products of the Mediterranean. Try and enjoy this Mediterranean diet. How simple and how delicious!
  2. Water. Any establishment will refuse to serve you some water. The water carafe is always free. If you’ve finished, don’t hesitate to ask for more. Drink more water, it’s healthy! Especially if a certain amount of wine is also present during your meal.
French Riviera Restaurants

3. All other drinks, besides wine and water, make you a tourist. Smoothies and juices are for breakfast only. Coffee after meals. A cocktail is like an aperitif before meals and is better in another place without a hint of gastronomy. Beer? Maybe, of course, but how can you be in the Mediterranean and not taste the local historical drink – wine? Coca-Cola, Pepsi, what else is there? Forget it forever! Unless only children will be given indulgence on this score.

French Riviera Restaurants

4. The order of the dishes is always strictly defined. First an aperitif. Next are snacks, then main courses. Then there may be cheese (if the restaurant is more French). Dessert at the end. Coffee. Digestif. Dessert is usually not immediately ordered. When you finish the main courses, a dessert menu will be brought to you. If you are several people and you ordered dishes from different categories, then usually the order of taking out dishes is always regulated. Until your neighbour finishes his appetizer, you will not get the main course (unless you ask).

5. Coffee with dessert is perceived as nonsense here. First dessert, then coffee. This is the age-old order. Coffee is perceived here as a drink with which you can cheer up after a hearty dinner and wine, and not as an appendage to dessert. Then tea? You can, of course, order, it is customary to drink tea much less often than coffee. Rather, it is perceived as a medicinal or sedative drink. So if you don’t want to be considered a sick or nervous person, order a wine that matches your dessert and enjoy another successful combination of wine and food pairing.

French Riviera Restaurants

6. Most coffee is espresso. There are two types: “short” – stronger and “long” – more diluted with water. But even if you order a “long” coffee, do not think that they will bring you a large mug of Americano. No, it will still be a small cup of strong espresso. Cappuccino, Latte and all their varieties are just pampering for breakfast or brunch.

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7. Each restaurant usually has a day off. So if you have planned a trip to a certain place just for the sake of one of the recommended restaurants, then it is better to initially clarify whether it is open on that day and book a table.

8. And the most important thing! Do not forget that the locals eat always at the same time. And restaurants are also open during certain traditional eating hours. Lunch is usually served from noon to 14.30. Dinner starts from 19.00 to 21.30. These are approximate times and may vary slightly depending on the season, region, restaurant. But in general, it’s best to remember that between 2:30 pm and 7:00 pm you can hardly find where to eat. And if you find it, then you should know that this place is focused exclusively on tourists, and it is unlikely that there will be something authentic there.

Not to be missed sights in Nice

sights in nice

If you come to Nice on vacation you definitely need a list of sights in Nice. There are so many places to visit in Nice and on the French Riviera! But do not be discouraged! It is better to visit fewer places, but make your vacation conscious, unhurried, a real celebration of life! What sights in Nice are still worth visiting, read below!

Castle Hill

In the beginning, the whole city was located on a hill. Then they began to build up the city below, and only the castle remained at the top. It was well fortified and modernly equipped. However, it was destroyed in the early 18th century. Now there is a park on top of the hill. You can climb the hill from different parts of the city. If you find yourself entangled in a maze of stairs and paths, don’t worry. Go up, and wherever you are, you will find magnificent views of the sea, Nice, the Bay of Angels, the airport, port, hills and mountains around.

sights in Nice

Place Massena

Massena square

The central square of Nice with the buildings of the nineteenth century and modern art installations (like the Buddhists on the poles symbolizing different continents). In the south part of the square, there is a fountain with an Apollo statue, which became a landmark of the city and a popular meeting point.

Rauba Capeu

sights in nice

This strange name is translated from the local language as “the hat thief”. It’s windy enough here that your hat can really fly away. But what a beautiful view from this place!

The old town of Nice

Old town of Nice

Nice’s old town is a labyrinth of narrow streets and old houses painted in warm, pleasant colours. It’s so nice and interesting to get lost here. Find the way. Look for local shops or authentic restaurants with delicious food. Walk slowly, fold, raise your head. Sights, baroque cathedrals, palaces or small monuments await you on every corner.

Promenade des Anglais

Promenade des Anglais

The Promenade des Anglais is so-called because its first part appeared on the money of rich Englishmen who spent their winters in Nice. Today it is the most popular place for walking along the sea. Endless beaches, sports paths, emblematic blue chairs, luxury hotels and an impossible sea view.

Palais de la Mediterranée

sights of nice

It was a luxury casino and concert hall built in the 1920s by an American billionaire. Movie and stage stars, the most influential businessmen and eminent aristocrats spent their evenings in this entertainment complex. Charlie Chaplin, Edith Piaf, Josephine Baker. This list is far from complete. Now it houses a luxurious five-star hotel.

Hotel Negresco

hotels of nice

It is probably the most beautiful hotel in Nice. It is located on the Promenade des Anglais. Its façade, designed in the style of the Belle Époque, has seen many celebrities, including Dali, Picasso, Rockefeller, The Beatles, Brigitte Bordeaux, Marlene Dietrich, Ernest Hemingway and many other artists, politicians, actors, writers, millionaires. The interior of the hotel combines the styles of different historical eras. Each hotel room is different. The interior design does not repeat. The luxury of this hotel has been filmed in over 30 movies.

Sainte Reparate Cathedral

Sainte Reparate Cathedral

The main cathedral of the old town of Nice. It was built in the 17th century and dedicated to the patroness of Nice – Saint Reparate. Inside there is a beautiful baroque interior. Outside, step back a little to see the beautiful dome made of colourful tiles. Then, enjoy the bustle of the cramped old town. Do not forget to taste some ice cream from one of the Italian gelaterias.

Monument to the Dead

Monument to the Dead

This is one of the most beautiful and largest monuments to soldiers in France. Carved into the rock of the Castle Hill, it is beautifully decorated with sculpture and architecture and perpetuates the memory of local soldiers who died in world wars.

Port Lympia

sights in nice

The harbour for the port was created artificially in the 18-19 centuries. There used to be a swampy mouth of a small river here. The port of Nice is small. Here you will find private yachts, tourist boats, a couple of fishing boats. No cargo transportation. A huge ferry from Corsica pulls in once a day. But the area around the port is cute and well worth a look.

Cours Saleya

The name Saleya can be linked to the ancient wine cellar located here. There were city walls demolished in the XVIII century to build storages and fishermen cottages. Cafes, shops appeared here and attracted wealthy tourists. You will find a market here now at day time (vegetables, fruits and flowers from Tuesday till Sunday; antiquity market on Monday). You can also taste slow food on the market.  At night the street is very lively occupied by the tables of numerous restaurants.  

Place Garibaldi

Garibaldi square was built as a royal entry to Nice from the side of Turin. Now it is named after Guiseppe Garibaldi, a hero of uniting Italy, born in Nice. The square attracts you with its ochre facades and frescos with optical illusions (trompe-l’oeil). It unites baroque and neoclassical features in architecture. The planning is very typical for great Turin squares.

sights in nice

Chagall Museum

The museum was open in 1973 and inaugurated on Marc Chagall 86th birthday. It is a rare case when a museum dedicated to certain artist was opened during his lifetime. Chagall lived on French Riviera from 1950s and he wanted to leave the majority of his art pieces here. He used many technics in his art: paintings, murals, etching, lithography, ceramics, sculpture, stained glass, tapestry and mosaics. “Perhaps the young and not so young will come to this House in search of an ideal of Fraternity and Love, such as I have dreamt with my colours and my lines”. It is a lovely minimalist style museum in the Mediterranean garden.

Matisse Museum

museums in nice

The Matisse Museum is located at the park and borders roman ruins under the olive trees. Inside the amazing collection of Henri Matisse artworks.

Place St Francois

A pretty square in the old town of Nice appeared in the XIII century as a part of Franciscans monastery. The city hall was also located here from the XVI century. Nowadays you will find a fish market in the morning.

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Vacantion in Nice. Debunking the stereotypes

Vacation in Nice

There is a lot of information about Nice and French Riviera. Some of you have been on vacation in Nice, many have heard something from friends. It is clearly not the most mysterious place on the Earth. Nevertheless, there are many stereotypes about Nice. Before coming here, I had some stereotypes and prejudices about Nice. Let’s figure out what is true and what is not.

vacation in Nice

Vacation in Nice is very expensive

There is certainly some truth in this statement. Nice is the second most expensive city in France after Paris. Of course, there are many luxurious places and activities that not everyone can afford, only a small percentage of the population of our planet. But! If you try, you will find everything you need in Nice according to your budget. Hotels, bars, entertainment often raise the price in season. It is not only about Nice, but, all tourist destinations. But what prevents you from visiting Nice in the fall? The sea is still warm, you can swim, fewer people, cheaper prices. Isn’t it cute? Even in winter the weather is great, the sun is very pleasant, not tiring. It’s just the time to travel along the French Riviera without the heat and crowds of tourists. The day is shorter? Perfect! It’s time for a French wine tasting!

Fancy and pompous

This is probably more true about Monaco or Cannes, especially in the summer. Nice, as for me, being a fairly large French city, is more diverse and democratic. Yes, there are grands hotels and private beaches. There are casinos and expensive restaurants. But! Nearby you can come to the same beach with your own towel and the only difference will be that the waiter does not bring you a cocktail in a beautiful glass. But the sea, the view, the sun will be the same! Nice has gourmet restaurants and private parties. But nearby you will find a cozy atmospheric bar where local Mesdames and Messieurs drink wine and discuss politics or what they will cook for dinner tomorrow with the same passion.

Vacation in Nice offers you a choice! Fancy and grandiose parties in grands hotels? You are welcome! Street food or a pizza with a bottle of rose on the beach? Why not? Walk on a yacht or a helicopter! Nothing is impossible! Bicycles, trains, cheap buses will help you explore the French Riviera without missing a thing and without losing a minute of time.

Nice is a resort and nothing more

I understand how this stereotype appeared. Many well-known resorts really are a few lines of hotel complexes along the sea. Inside there is everything you need, but outside there is nothing special. Yes, such hotels are luxurious, but faceless, since they are the same all over the world. But believe me, if you think that the same thing awaits you in Nice, then how wrong you are! Nice is a very diverse city. There are a medieval part, Belle Epoque and Art Deco quarter, grands hotels, authentic villages around the city. Here they grow grapes and produce wine right in the city.

In addition, Nice is a very international city. The transport system is well developed. It is very easy and not inexpensive to get to neighboring cities and villages. You can spend time on private beaches with sun loungers and waiters. There are many city beaches. You can find secluded paradise a little further from the city, where there are  only you and the turquoise sea. Vacation in Nice proposes you everything you want. You can even leave and be in the Alps or Corsica in a couple of hours. Nice is a wonderful city where everything is possible! If you still don’t believe me, I will show you!