The glittering and cosmopolitan capital of Côte d’Azur is well-deserving of its glamorous reputation. The world’s notables have been holidaying here for over 200 years and Nice is the place where seaside tourism originated. This popular beachside city mixes the ultra-modern with a fascinating historical past and offers plenty for all its visitors. Traditionally an exclusive and expensive place to holiday, cheaper flights and varied accommodation prices makes this sunny and beautiful part of France much more accessible than ever before. Here is my guide to beautiful Nice, France…
Nice for beach lovers
Nice is shielded by the Alps and is one of the most sheltered areas on the Mediterranean coast, with only gentle winds blowing from the sea to land. This coupled with the fact the coast is exceptionally in the South of France with typically clear turquoise sea and some fine sands, makes ideal conditions for those seeking a perfect beach holiday. Along this coast, there are around 15 private beaches, separated by public beaches. All of them consist of soft sand or large hard pebbles.
Private beaches in Nice charge around 20€ per day for both a sun lounger and parasol. Public beaches can usually be accessed for free but they do not normally provide any sunbeds. The famous blue chairs of Nice (described in literature as the ‘legendary’ blue chairs) can be found along the promenade and they provide a comfortable point to relax and watch the world go by.
A word of warning, there are several sections of the Nice beach that are nudist. If this is not your scene, take note; they are based between Pointe des Sans-Cullotes and the rocks near the harbour station!
Nice for the non-sleepers
When the sun sets, Nice comes alive. The city’s stunning location corresponds with a pulsating nightlife. Being the fifth largest city in France, Nice at night caters for all requirements and the nightlife is some of the liveliest on the Riviera, although having said that it does have an elegant and refined side to it as well.
The livelier nightlife in Nice starts late and ends late (in the morning!) and is usually concentrated in the Cours Saleya open-air market area in Old Nice (Vieux Nice). For a real Nice nightclub experience, look for famous discotheques and clubs such as Chez Wayne, L’Escalier, and L’Odace.
If you’re a keen gambler, or just want to try your luck, casinos are readily available. Cabaret du Casino Ruhl is one of the more prestige and popular casinos in Nice, however be prepared to pay high prices to match the high quality. For a bit of cheaper fun, turn a luxury night into a cheap one by playing the fruit-machines or slots!
For culture seekers
Lively markets, narrow streets and flamboyant churches, make Vieux Nice look as it must have two centuries ago. Petite boutique shops, smart restaurants and art galleries coexist with homely hardware stores, small cafés, and washing hung between the tenements. On summer evenings, the Old Town resembles an extensive open-air party. During the day, Vieux Nice exhibits some remarkable buildings that reflect the eventful history of this beautiful city.
Most days, Vieux Nice attracts tourists to its radiant markets where displays of fresh vegetables, fruit, sausages and cheeses can be tried, smelled and bought. Cut flowers, potted roses and other scented plants also decorate the markets.
Central to the old town is Place Rossetti. Here, you can view the Cathedral de St-Reparate between the narrow streets. Another favourite with locals and tourist alike is the Baroque Chapelle de l’Annonciation, also known as the Chapel of Saint Rita.
How to get there and where to stay
With Nice now being major transportation hubs in Europe, low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet now offer frequent flights to the Nice Côte d‘Azur Airport from London, Paris and other major cities. A high-speed rail service is also available to Nice from Paris while frequent buses commute to the nearby towns of Cannes and Marseille.
Written by Rebecca Kelly of Simonseeks.com