As a local, one could sense something special was taking place over the past couple of years or so at Castel Plage, one of the most popular private beach locations in the French Riviera.
For those that may not know, the longstanding, LGBTQ-friendly Castel Plage is neatly tucked away at the end of the Promenade des Anglais, just steps from historic Vieux Nice.
Suspicions were confirmed when work started to take place next to Castel Plage where once was Bains de la Police, a small swimming area that was once reserved only for the local police after World War ll. This area was given to local police in 1947 for their heroism during the liberation of Nice during the Second World War. It was managed on a voluntary basis and became a popular spot for brave swimmers who dove from the platforms into the sea.
Unfortunately in November 2014, waves from a massive storm damaged the footbridge connecting the old blockhouse to the beach. This happened just as the Prefecture was about to renew the authorization for occupation, and despite efforts from the Policemen’s Association, the site was not repaired enough to be considered safe.
Demolition of the platforms came next in 2017, and it seemed it may be the end of this historic site.
That is until Castel Plage took an interest in the neighboring site, and business-wise, it just made sense to undertake the renovation project, revitalize the area, and provide it as a natural extension of its current brand.
Unseen by the public, a full working kitchen has been carved into the rocks, while dining areas on two levels will give customers the feeling of being on the water, making it ideal for both Instagram photos and romantic dinners. In addition, touches from the old days have been retained, like the old footbridge, which has been recreated to withstand bad weather, with that came many safety and technical issues to undertake.
“We had to make a ventilation duct which was quite complex, given that we had to drill through the rock 12 meters high. It was a real achievement,” Ali Abdelhafidh, the manager of the establishment, told France 3.
Bains de la Police, which is set to open this May, involved months of work and hundreds of thousands in costs.
The menu will consist mostly of seafood. “It’s going to be a lot around Mediterranean fish,” said Abdelhafidh. “We’re going to have a menu with oysters, sashimi, and whole fish. Obviously, we’ll do a little catering for the people who don’t like seafood, but it will be predominantly Mediterranean.”
Fish dishes will start at €32 and starters will come in at €22. The view, on the other hand, will be free and definitely worth the memorable visit for both locals and those visiting the Cote d’Azur.