Do you need to add a little sweetness to your life? I know just where to go for that. One of my favourite places in Nice is Maison Auer in the Old Town. It is a “confiserie/chocolaterie” (sweet shop/chocolate shop) – can it get any better than that? Feast for the eyes For me this shop is a “must see” on any tour of Nice for two reasons.
First of all, the architecture is beautiful. When you enter this amazing shop on rue St. François de Paule you are transported back in time about 150 years. The original Florentine style interior is decorated with stained glass, crystal chandeliers, and marble-topped display cabinets adorned with cherubs and festoons of flowers. It’s easy to imagine Victorian skirts swishing among these displays as elegant ladies and gents shopped for a few sweets before heading across the street to the opera.
Tempting treats After you have finished admiring the architecture, you will start to notice the tantalizing products on offer. This is the second reason it’s one of my favourite places. You will see candied fruit in the window, glistening from all of that sugary goodness within. You will also find fruit jellies, glazed chestnuts, and of course, my personal favourite, chocolate. They make more than twenty kinds of chocolate here so you are sure to find something to suit your taste.
Chocolate One of the things I love about France is that chocolate is recognised as a health food – dark chocolate, that is, with at least 70% cocoa. It is recommended that everyone eat a square of chocolate every day. (I admit that I have been known to go over the recommended dosage on occasion.) I recently read an article listing the many benefits of chocolate and it seems that one of its numerous powers is that it can act as an aphrodisiac. I don’t know if this is true, but I do know that the founder of this beautiful sweet shop, Henri Auer, had 14 children. Do you think there might be a connection?
A bit of history Henri (the chocolate lover) was a Swiss confectioner. He moved to France in the mid 1800s and opened up several shops in the Marseille area. But when this shop came up for sale in Nice, just across from the opera, he sold his other shops and moved here. No doubt it had something to do with the boom in tourism happening in Nice at that time. In the 19th century, Nice was filled with wealthy, mainly British, tourists, looking for places to spend their money. Henri’s business flourished and has been in the same location and owned by the same family ever since. Today, this sweet shop is run by the fifth generation of the Auer family.
Can’t get enough? Of course, Auer is not the only “confiserie” in Nice. As you wander around town, you are sure to see others with mouth-watering window displays. If you would like to see how some of these sweet things are made, you can visit Confiserie Florian, in the Port area, for a free guided tour of their small factory. This is another family business which started in 1949. You can go for a tour anytime, but if you go on the weekend you won’t see any sweets being produced. After your tour, go upstairs to the shop and taste some of their products. One of their specialities is candied flower petals and flower petal jam. Fancy a bit of rose, violet, or jasmine jam on your morning toast? This is the place to get it.
Well, I hope this post made your day a little bit sweeter. Go to the bottom of the page for addresses and websites of a few sweet shops in Nice.
- Maison Auer, 7 rue St. François de Paule, in the old town, just across from the opera. http://www.maison-auer.com/
- Confiserie Florian, 14 Quai Papacino, in the port area. Go here for a tour and to get flower petal jam. http://www.confiserieflorian.co.uk/ (site in English)
- Canel Confiserie, 21 rue de France. A charming little shop packed full of goodies www.canel-confiserie.com
- La Cure Gourmande, 2 rue Sainte-Réparate, just off of Place Rossetti and there is another one at the Nice airport for those last minute purchases. http://www.la-cure-gourmande.com/
- L’Art Gourmand, 21 rue du Marché in the Old Town. They also have a small tea room.
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