Those who go on holiday to the Côte d’Azur actually have too much to do. Even after 13 years of living in the South of France, we are still discovering new villages and markets and nice restaurants. And to make the choice even more difficult, neighboring Italy is very close and you can drive directly to Ventimiglia in Italy from any train station between Cannes and Menton every day. From Nice, you arrive for another 8.5 euros in another world full of pasta and the tastiest cappuccinos. Italy is a great country; maybe not to invest your savings in real estate, but to enjoy the atmosphere that is so different from the South of France. In particular, the Weekly market in Ventimiglia This is a market that you must visit once. Do not go by car; the parking space is limited, it is busy and it will not make you very happy.
The train to Ventimiglia is much easier and also stops in the middle of the village. You walk from the station within 1 minute to your first fresh cappuccino of the day after which your wallet bursts out laughing when you have to pay a little 1,5 euros. The prices are much lower with almost everything; many French people stock here vegetables, wine, and cheese every week. A kilo of tomatoes for a euro and fresh courgettes for 1.25 the kilo, it disappears with kilos simultaneously in French trunks. We resist the temptation to go on the train with bags full of fruit and vegetables and take a leisurely stroll around the market.
The weekly market in Ventimiglia, Italy: limoncello, high heels, and homemade ravioli
On the market there is not really a system between the goods offered; everything is mixed up: leather bags, tablecloths, toys, and scarves predominate with the occasional stall where delicious fresh sausages or Parmesan cheese is offered. A fresh salami for 5 euros, yes, we can’t ignore that. We are also happy to take a bottle of limoncello for 8 euros. Eating is possibly even more important in Italy than in France; there are also many stalls with kitchen utensils. I let myself be tempted to purchase a baking tin to make ravioli myself. The seller is an old Italian cook who explains with great emotion how to make the dough and what can be done in a ravioli as a filling. I can hardly wait to go into the kitchen later; I walk away with a hungry feeling and look for Jo. Meanwhile, Jo is standing at a stall where jackets are sold; her eye falls on a sort of cape with a fur trim around the sleeves. Just before the woman wants to get it off the hook Jo asks “But, eh quanta costa?” “Three hundred and fifty euros, signora.” Oh. Not everything is cheap on the market.
Fortunately, I see a few more ordinary stiletto heels for ten. I triumphantly hold them up, but Jo laughs at the heels, gives me a kiss, and walks away on her flip-flops; it is almost twelve o’clock and therefore time for lunch. Also nice. At the seaside, they serve a three-course menu for 15 euros. Pasta, meat, fish, pizza, you figure it out. The restaurant is packed and the service quick and friendly. Everyone is happy and there seems to be no economic crisis here, although you do wonder how a restaurant with so many staff and such low prices can continue to run. It will undoubtedly have to do with the well-known Italian white and black economy.
After lunch we make a final lap along the sea, look at another handbag, feel once again on a thick duvet cover for 15 euros and then head back to the station. The TER train is already ready in the half-hour so plenty of time to find a place by the window: we leave the station at 15.57. Via Menton, Roquebrune Cap Martin, Villefranche and Nice we enter the familiar Cote d’Azur again. Just a nice day trip to Italy if you are already on holiday in the South of France. Highly recommended.