About Sasha H
Lives in Healey, United Kingdom
Since Jan 2015
I’ve swum with wild dolphins in the Maldives, fed baby kangaroos in Australia, spent hours in the shopping malls of Dubai and crash-landed a hot-air balloon in Poland – having spent the last decade travelling and freelancing, I am a joyful, nosy traveller, always meeting new experiences head on. I enjoy digging into the culture, listening to what’s happening around me and taking thousands of photos on the way. Thanks to two decades of travelling extensively through Europe, the Middle and Far East and the Caribbean, I know the cities and countries I write about inside out. And even though I live in the Yorkshire Dales – surely the most beautiful place on earth – I never lose my enthusiasm for skiing in Zermatt, visiting my favourite cities in Italy and Poland or discovering new places to shop in Dubai.
Department Stores, Shopping Malls
Flea & Street Markets
Gift & Speciality Shops
Gift & Speciality Shops
Gift & Speciality Shops, Lessons & Workshops
Nice’s sleekest department store is second only in size to the flagship store on Boulevard Haussmann in Paris. The red-brick Galeries Lafayette may be a smart treasure trove of designer labels from Gucci to Balenciaga but it also has plenty of floor space dedicated to giftware, gourmet foodstuffs, and upmarket beauty products. All self-respecting parents in Nice make sure their offspring are kitted out from here, from infancy in Babybjörn prams to teenage-attitude in Tommy Hilfiger.
The Côte d’Azur’s busiest, buzziest, and most atmospheric daily market sprawls through the heart of Nice’s Vieille Ville (Old Town) under cheery striped awnings, and each day is awash with locals and tourists in equal measure. Tuesday through Sunday sees a colorful, fragrant flower and fresh produce market, where the air is filled with the scent of thousands of freshly cut flowers and the sharp tang of citrus. On Mondays the marketplace morphs into a brocante selling a mixed bag of classy antiques and flea-market finds.
A fabulously old-world confectioner still using recipes dating back to 1820, Confiserie Henri Auer operates a fairytale premises decked out in dainty Belle Epoque style under glittering chandeliers and stained glass. This is quite simply the most beautiful store in Nice. With a truly scrumptious selection of jellied fruits, confits, and glazed chestnuts — not forgetting more than 20 flavors of chocolate all elegantly packed in red or gold –— all the sweet offerings are handmade under the careful scrutiny of current owner, chocolate-maestro Thierry, who belongs to the fifth generation of Auer family confectioners.
The hallowed store of Nicolas Alziari has been a temple of all things olive oil since 1868, and the restaurateurs of Nice flock here reverently to snap up the distinctive, blue-and-yellow bidons (cans) to grace their dishes. Mostly produced at the last mill still standing in the city, Alziari’s olive oil brings the sunshine flavors of Provence to the table. The store offers a tempting array of delicatessen goods, from olives stuffed with anything from garlic to fennel, tapenades, and aiolis. All produce can be sampled before buying, and non-comestibles on sale include olive-oil infused soaps and moisturizers as well as stylish bowls crafted from olive wood.
Thanks to its dry, sunny climate, enabling the cultivation of hundreds of thousands of hectares of flowers, Provence is world famous for its scents and soaps. One of the greatest purveyors of all is Molinard, the perfumer based in Grasse that has honed its skills over the last 170 years. The Nice outpost of this family-owned empire is an elegant, minimalist boutique crammed with bottles, lotions and potions, scented candles, aromatherapy oils, and wildly expensive perfumes in every conceivable fragrance from jasmine to vanilla. Customers can also blend their own bespoke scent with a little help from the (dazzlingly sophisticated) in-house perfume experts.
Nice’s favorite boulangerie has been making artisan breads and the French housewives’ indispensable daily baguettes for more than 30 years. In a sweetly old-fashioned store, tempting fruit and chocolate gateaux stand in neat rows alongside multi-colored macaroons, delicious custard tarts, and delicate Viennese pastries, arranged in displays beautiful enough to paint. As well as freshly baked croissants and pain au chocolat, Maitre Pierre offers a daily selection of panini and socca (the local flatbread made from chickpea flour) to eat on the hoof.
A miniscule wine cave that opened in 1998 and prides itself on selling largely organic and bio-dynamic wines, La Part des Anges has rapidly become the go-to tasting and buying destination for sommeliers from Nice’s gourmand restaurants. Owner Olivier Labarde offers informed advice on his range of 300 enticing vintages — many from local vintners — plus 20 champagnes and more than 60 spirits and eaux de vie.
One of a new raft of alternative, eco-conscious stores to appear in Nice, Falabrac Fabrik is tucked away in a narrow alleyway in pretty Vieux Nice, and is run by a local co-op dedicated to zero emissions and carbon-free footprints. By turn a cafe, art gallery, fashion store, and grocery, Falabrac Fabrik’s interior is a madcap frenzy of oranges and reds served up with funky music; it is also a showroom for local designers working in up-cycling vintage clothes, creating eccentric handmade jewelry, and re-purposed accessories. The store manages to hang on to its green credentials while still being frivolous, fun, and innovative.