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There are plenty of ways to eat cheaply in Nice. The simplest is to buy bread, cheese and fruit from the famous food and flower market in the Cours Saleya and put together your own picnic. The Chateau Hill is a good spot to enjoy your lunch. The supermarkets in Nice provide a cheap source of beer and wine and deli-style picnic food as well as the non-food accoutrements necessary for a picnic – paper napkins, cork-screw, cups, coolers etc. Monoprix (branches on Avenue Jean Medecin and Place Garibaldi) also offers ready-made lunches. In summer 2005, a large ham-filled baguette, chocolate doughnut and a half-litre bottle of water was available as a package or ‘formule’ for just 2 euros.
Posh picnic food can be found in the lower-ground floor gourmet food hall of Galeries Lafayette on Jean Medecin. Other supermarkets to look out for in Nice are Spar, Ed, Carrefour and Picard.
If you don’t want to make your own lunch then it is still possible to have a cheap meal in Nice. In the Old Town, try Lou Phila Leva (but remember, you get what you pay for, ie., buyer beware, ) rue du Collet and Renee Socca, rue Miralhetti, both serve-yourself, then find a seat cafes serving Nicoise specialities for very few euros.
To sit at a restaurant and be served then it is hard to beat lunch at Bar de La Bourse, rue Pairoliere, in the Old Town. For about 10 euros, you get three courses and a glass of Kir. In the evenings, Chez Palmyre, rue Droite, in the Old Town offers similar value. In fact, many restaurants around the Old Town offer set menus, usually 2-3 courses, with choices, for a set price. Prices range from about 10 – 15 euros for the cheapest options. There are also many places throughout Nice, little more than a kiosk with a couple of tables outside, offering a sandwich and a drink for about 5 euros. Try the Nicoise speciality, Pan Bagnat; a Nicoise Salad stuffed in a large bread bun.
Tap water is free - ask for a ‘carafe d’eau’ and if you would prefer wine, then the house wine is often very good and the cheapest option and is sold by the glass and in various sizes of carafe. Beer is not cheap in Nice unless you buy from the supermarkets. When ordering coffee, an espresso is the cheapest option from about 1-2 euros. Cappuccinos are very dear about 5-6 euros. Puddings are expensive in Nice unless you can get one included in a set meal. The cheapest way to get your ice-cream fix is to head for the freezer section of the nearest supermarket and buy a box of Magnums. The frozen food shop Picard (branches throughout Nice) is excellent for this and for quick ready-prepared frozen microwave meals, great if you have your own apartment with cooking facilities.
Fast food in Nice is a portion of Socca, a savoury pancake made with chickpea flour. It’s scraped together and sprinkled with salt and pepper, served in a paper napkin and eaten with your fingers; try this from Theresa’s stand in the market of the Cours Saleya or at the Café de La Civette by Place Garibaldi. Pay around 2,50 euros a portion. Another good place for cheap eats in Nice is Chez Pipo on rue Bavastro by the Port - their speciality is socca and a glass of rose wine with a portion of sweet chard pie – Tourte de Blettes for pud; gorgeous.