Follow in the footsteps of Chagall, Matisse, Renoir, and Picasso, among many other artists, with a visit to the numerous historical and fine arts museums. Discover how the light of the French Riviera inspired and captivated artists, beautifully reflected in their works of art. For added value, the new “Côte d’Azur Card” is a prepaid electronic passport that provides access to over 110 activities in the region – from the coast to the mountains, museums, nature parks, water sports activities, excursions, and tours.2. Old Town
Marvel at the Apollo fountain in Place Masséna, as a starting point. Enjoy the culturally diverse food stalls & large flower market, as you stroll through the daily morning market in Cours Saleya; a flea market is held instead on Mondays for you to find just the right antique or trinket. Among the winding, medieval streets of “Vieux Nice,” you’ll find art studios; a variety of quaint shops, cafés, & restaurants; Palais Lascaris; Sainte Reparate Cathedral, and many charming churches. Oh, and don’t forget to stop for ice cream at Fenocchio in Place Rosetti, if you can choose among the 98, or so, flavors!
3. Beaches & Seaside Restaurants
Nice’s 7 km. of beaches (15 private and 20 public) are iconic and pebbled, with smooth stones of various patterns and shapes. Enjoy the azure, turquoise, and cobalt blues of the Mediterranean while dining al fresco. For up close and personal seaside views, lunch or dine at one of Nice’s private beach restaurants or at one of the Promenade-lined hotel restaurants for panoramic sea views.
4. Bellet Wines
One of the oldest wine regions in France, the vineyards of Bellet, comprise around 11 domaines, situated in the higher elevations behind Nice, and have been classified as AOC (appellation d’origine controlée) since 1941. Producing red, white, and rosé wines, the Bellet vineyards are rich in both terroir and taste.
From the luxurious Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and Hermès designer stores to Sephora, Zara, Galeries Lafayette, and Nice Etoile shopping mall (just to name a few), there is indeed something fashionable for everyone’s taste and budget – perhaps a souvenir designed around the iconic blue chairs lining the Promenade des Anglais.
6. Château Hill
Take the stairs, elevator, or the tourist train up to Castle Hill for a breathtaking, panoramic view of the city and sea. The city park divides Old Town from the Port of Nice and is a peaceful setting of nature, including a waterfall.
7. Salalde Niçoise
Nice’s signature salad, delicately flavored with a vinaigrette dressing, is generally made with lettuce, red peppers, tomatoes, onions, hard-boiled egg, “les caillettes” (iconic Nice olives), tuna, and anchovies. You may see other variations of this dish, with added ingredients such as green beans and potatoes. Nice and Lyon are two cities that have gastronomically-acclaimed cuisine.
8. Promenade Parks
Walk, jog, bike, rollerblade, or simply stroll along the wide, seaside walkway – the “Promenade des Anglais.” Daydream while sitting on the iconic blue chairs and taking in the beautiful azure color of the sea. Stroll through the 26-acre park, “Promenade du Paillon,” with meandering paths from the Albert I garden to the Nice Theater – a lot of green space, playgrounds, and fountains to enjoy.
9. Nice Port & Place Garibaldi
The port is enjoyable to take in during a portside stroll, with its “100 Antiquaires,” eclectic cafés, and boats and yachts of all sizes. Nearby Place Garibaldi is known for its lovely frescoes and lively cafés, situated in the main square and along the various side streets leading to the port area.
10. Day Trips
Traveling either east or west of Nice, from Menton to Mandelieu, you can visit many charming towns and perched villages on the French Riviera, easily accessible by car, train, and bus. Nice is the perfect base from which to take day trips, due to its central location and comprehensive transportation systems; the Principality of Monaco is only 20 kms. (12 miles) from Nice, with easy access via the #100 bus that stops close to the famous Monte Carlo Casino.
BIENVENUE & BON SÉJOUR !
Kim Defforge is the author of "Solitary Desire: One Woman's Journey to France" and "Kids Riviera – Sun & Fun Travel Focus" .
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