Les Distilleries Idéales in Vieux Nice – the ideal location for an early morning coffee and croissant, or a last one for the road home; your choice!
This ancient establishment has been on the corner of rue de la Préfecture and rue Benoît Bunico for over a century – well, it looks that way. It is a lie. It has been created in the last decade, unbelievable but true. That said, it is a lovely place to while away some time either inside, when it rains, or outside otherwise. WiFi is available. You can sit inside undisturbed for hours, watching some sport or other on the big screen, read a book or catch up with whatever you want to catch up on your chosen WiFiable device.
No, it isn’t in the sun much until very late in the day. It is on the crossroads to most places in the old town. Invariably you will meet someone you know. There is always the buzz of conversation from the wide variety of people who habitually go there.
Service is not its strongest point. Is service a strong point in France at all? Jury is out. They do good coffee with a mini croissant in the morning, which is a really nice touch. However, if you are lucky you will encounter Jerome – a great character, very amusing, with a repertoire of excellent off the cuff remarks en Français (although he does speak English). He knows so many people!
They do small platters of cheese and charcuterie with plenty of very fresh bread. This is great as a light lunch or simply to soak up some wine or beer. The beers are good, a decent variety à la pression. It is France, so the wine choice is good, palatable.
In the evening it is a great place to meet before ebbing off elsewhere, or after ebbing off to return and unwind, pending an amble homewards. It is just a nice inviting place to make friends with, unprepossessing sums it up. A gentle adult ambiance that is very French, very Nice.
A word of warning though – do not venture up onto the mezzanine in the summer, unless drinking in a sauna is your bag!
Les Distilleries Idéales
24, rue de la Préfecture
Tel: 04 93 62 10 66
Lead image and interior shot © Mike Colquhoun