Calling all gourmets, gourmands and foodies, there’s a marvellous new addition to dining in Nice. The Gare du Sud, an old disused railway station in the Libération neighbourhood, has been transformed into a food court or halle gourmande, with around 30 food outlets and several vintage clothing shops. This is great news for eating in Nice.
La Gare du Sud
The gorgeous building was built in 1892 as a train station linking Nice with Haute-Provence and other parts of Southern France. It closed in 1991 and has remained unused (other than a small library) ever since. It was declared a historic monument in 2002. Now it has been brought back to life as a temple to gastronomy, complementing the bustling street market “marché de la Libération” just outside.
What type of restaurants are there in the Gare du Sud?
Inside the beautiful building, which has been designed to maximise natural light with plenty of lush greenery including some fully-grown trees, there are around 30 food stands and restaurants. The choice is vast, ranging from local niçois specialities and Provençal dishes to Scandinavian Smørrebrød and New England lobster rolls, from Tex-Mex and Lebanese to Thai, couscous and Goan curries. There are burgers, all things truffle (as in the savoury tuber not chocolate ball), pizzas, Japanese street food and noodles, an olive bar, create-your-own paninis, gourmet hot dogs, healthy raw bowls and juice bar, sushi, a cheese specialist, Menton lemon products, hearty traditional French dishes, grilled meat, charcuterie, cookies, gelato, crêpes and waffles. No doubt I’ve missed something! As well as these outlets, there is an Italian trattoria and an annexe of Nice’s famous Café de Turin – oyster bar and seafood restaurant, not to mention a fabulous bar (with tapas) in the middle of it all.
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Fabulous new food court #hallegourmande in Nice Libération. La gare du Sud is an old railway station, closed since 1991 but recognised as a historic monument since 2002, now beautifully restored and rejuvenated to house around 25 different restaurants. Huge variety of cuisines to choose from and an excellent bar. What’s your favourite food? Let me know and I’ll tell you if you can find it at #garedusud in Nice #niceisamazing #topnicephoto
Is the Gare du Sud only for food and drink?
Upstairs in the mezzanine, you’ll find art galleries, vintage clothing and accessories and an Emmaüs charity store. There’s also space for live music performances which I believe are going to take place.
I don’t write about restaurants in general on this blog as they can change so often and there are plenty of other sites more useful than here to find a place to eat. But I’m making an exception for the Gare du Sud because it is so much more than just a bunch of restaurants. It’s a fabulous addition to the dining scene in Nice and a great repurposing of a historic old building.
Food all day long at the Gare du Sud
It’s a place to go at any time of day (rare in France), for a snack, a coffee, a drink or a meal. Going out in a group (or family), everyone can choose something different, no need to agree on a particular type of food, no arguments over whether to eat burgers, noodles or smoked salmon. Choose your food and sit anywhere, including outdoor seating.
What did we eat?
When we went as a family to test out the Gare du Sud I had very tasty Lebanese mixed mezze from Mahata. JF had rognons (kidneys) from Les Cocottes Françaises (all dishes cooked in “cocottes” ie casseroles). The little kid had a gourmet burger from Les Burgers de Papa and the Teen had a grilled veal wrap from Grillé which he loved. We all shared a plate of delicious mixed cheese and charcuterie to start from Le J’Go (a play on the word gigot meaning meat leg) and the kids had cookies from Emilie and the Cool Kids to finish. We all enjoyed our food and honestly I was tempted by pretty much everything and will be going back over and over again to try more.
This sort of food hall is very rare in France, I’ve only come across one similar-ish place in Paris, Station F in the 13th arrondissement. However, it reminds me of Mercato Centrale in Florence and to a lesser extent Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid, both of which are amazing markets with food outlets, though somewhat smaller than the Gare du Sud. (Photos of all three in respective order below). The concept appears to be pretty popular as both the photo I put on Instagram (above) and on the Lou Messugo Facebook page were among my most liked photos ever. I really hope it’s a success (and I don’t doubt it will be!)
Personally I love this kind of eating and am so excited the Gare du Sud has opened in Nice. What do you think of food halls like this? Have you been to any? I highly recommend you try Gare du Sud if you can.
The Gare du Sud is open every day except Monday. Tues, Wed, Sun 11 am – 11 pm; Thurs, Fri, Sat 11 am – midnight
35 Ave Malaussena, Nice
A quick and easy tram ride on line 1 to Libération (7 mins from Place Massena) or Car Park at nearby Q-Park Gare du Sud
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Can’t wait to come to Lou messugo again and from there visit the gare du sud food hall.
This reminds me of the fabulous food court in the big train station in Rome! Looks amazing – and the food offerings look like they’re up my street too. Will have to pay a visit next time I’m in Nice – love eating in funky places like this. Thanks for sharing! #allaboutfrance
How fantastic to see the building reused in a way that so many people can make use of – I think I’d be totally stuck knowing what to choose and could quite happily visit many many times! #AllAboutFrance
I was back there again a couple of evenings ago. We all tried different stuff again and loved everything. But there are still many choices we haven’t sampled. Will definitely go back again soon.
You got me with the mention of Emmaus ….. of course the food looks great, but the chance to snuffle out something preloved trumps that every time. I feel a little fuddle coming on next time we come to Nice for the Carnaval! Thanks for sharing #AllAboutFrance
You and your love of vintage! I doubt many other people would single the charity chop out as being the exciting thing about this place, but I love it that you do!!
Oh my gosh! I absolutely have to go here soon! It looks fantastic!
Have you been yet Lisa?
The setting looks amazing, with so much of light.
Yes, it’s beautifully light
Is this new? I haven’t been to Nice for about two years and never heard of this place BUT I am going back in June. This is definitely on the list, thanks!
Yes, less than a month! Enjoy!
What a fabulous way to revive a former station! I haven’t been to Nice in decades, but if I ever get back there, I’ll certainly go to this. #AllAboutFrance
Nice has changed so much in the 12 years I’ve been here, and all for the better, so I imagine it’d be quite unrecognisable since your last visit Vanessa
This looks absolutely wonderful, Phoebe. You can have starters from one place, mains from another and desserts from somewhere else entirely. I love eating like this and, like Trish, it really reminds me of the brilliant Time Out market in Lisbon. #allaboutfrance
That’s exactly what we did! I must go to Time Out in Lisbon, I missed that when I was there a couple of years ago.
I love this kind of eating experience -so much choice and very relaxed. Reminds me of the Time Out food hall in Lisbon. Love the idea of the art galleries and clothes shops too. #allaboutfrance
Time Out doesn’t sound very Portuguese! I’ll definitely look it up though next time I’m in Lisbon
if I lived nearby, I’m sure I would be a frequent visitor. The food choices sound delicious and I would take great pleasure in working my way through them!
I’ve been back again since writing this and am working my way through the choices!
what a great use of the old train station. The last time I was there I think it just housed a library. It looks great!
The library is still there but barely noticeable. The food area is fab.
We don’t get to Nice very often, sadly. but it’s on my list for our next visit, thank you. #AllAboutFrance
I hope you get here one day soon Jacqui then we can meet!
Thank you Bree, not hard when the subject is so good.
I love the look and sound of this place! I also love that their is an art gallery upstairs and some vintage shops. I haven’t really done the whole ‘food court’ sort of eating, we tend to go to certain restaurants or pubs if we are eating out but I love this, and so much choice too xx
Yes, I like that feature too. They weren’t open when I went so Im’ looking forward to going back to have a look around.
What a great use of space. My mouth was watering reading about that selection of food. I just love the look of the place too!
I feel hungry every time I look at the photos!
It sounds like a great idea. French food is delicious anywhere I think. We have something of this kind in our Central market in Riga.
Interesting to hear you have a similar food court in Riga. I hope to try it out one day soon.
What a beautiful place to eat in. It looks stunning!
Isn’t it lovely?
This place looks super cool and a lovely place to eat
It’s very cool for Nice, that’s for sure!
I could practically smell all that delicious food from your description alone.
I love a food fair of any kind so this is right up my street.
I have pinned so I can refer back to for my bucket list ?
Thanks for pinning, glad you enjoyed this
Gorgeous food court! I could spend all day here.
So could I!!
Wow it looks beautiful, great architecture. I have not been there before, sounds like the food options are fantastic too.
Isn’t it beautiful? And tasty!!
It looks so light and airy, would love to go here. There’s a place in Amsterdam that is similar but I can’t think of the name! X
Oh that’s interesting, I’ll have to do some research to see if I can find the place.
This looks right up my street, places like this have got really popular where I am in Manchester but none of the ones we have are in an old station!
Yes I think food courts have appealed to Anglo cultures for a while, but they’re a new concept for France.
LOVE this so much! I love food halls and Nice so I’m going to have to get back there to check it out. Thanks for sharing!
I hope you get back to Nice and can try it out soon
I love the setting! The glass domed ceiling is so appealing, making it appear like a big sidewalk cafe. And of course the food looks yummy!
The setting is magnifique (as we say in France!
Both food and architecture look stunning
Don’t they just!
I definitely need to make a return trip to France and explore some of these gems. I bet I could eat all day here!
I bet I could too!
Will take you there next visit Richard!