The Cours Saleya in Nice is most famous for its flower market. One claim to fame is I believe, the scene filmed walking through here in that famous movie with Grace Kelly and Cary Grant. It was during the filming she was first introduced to Prince Rainier of Monaco. Although the site itself has been in existence at least since its mention in Napoleonic texts from as early as 1714, it became a fruit vegetable and flower market in 1861.
Every Monday it gives the space over to the Brocanteurs, or flea market stalls, a mix of antiques, bric-a brac and Vintage. The prices, obviously geared to the supposedly wealthy tourists and to discourage professionals from buying to resell are not cheap, that is, by my modest standards. However bargains can still be found. Getting to know certain vintage stall holders helps. As a local I am after all, an all year round potential customer and business, even during the busiest seasons is not brisk. Most people are there to browse.
This Gucci shoulder bag in mint condition for € 450 may seem like a lot of cash to have in your pocket. Price wise, for a collector or passionate vintage fan its a way to afford a unique piece, the ‘It’ bag you would love forever. The original would have cost you over four times that new. A turquoise painted silk Celine skirt can be bargained down from €80 to €60 for example, or a 60’s print cotton frock from €45 to €30, more in my affordable price range. Silk scarves abound, the more pricey Hermès of course but real gems in silk chiffon with Paris labels for as little as €2 can be discovered in box’s piled with assorted finds. Fifties Georgette in fab colors, a purple jersey silk with designer label great for tying around your hair, floral squares in splashy retro prints. If you love vintage jewelry, especially broaches, in themselves a vintage concept, there are hundreds on display on various stalls along with objects of interest, accessories and clothing, jackets and furs to browse to your hearts content.
Plan to arrive early before the tourist crush in summer. Even though some stall holders may still be unpacking at 9.30 this is preferable to a later arrival. Once the leisurely holiday petite dejeuner is over you will find it impossible to move forward more than a few paces at a time, or to view without hindrance .
Across the square of the Palais de Justice, the city courthouse, situated at the end of Cours Saleya is a delightful patisserie and gelato shop. Small tables outside in the shade, you can enjoy a single scoop of the flavor of your choice and an Italian stretto, the most intense Italian coffee, before heading home.