Nice was nice. Actually better than nice. Every inch of it was awesome. I am talking about the most beautiful and popular Mediterranean city along Côte d’azur a.k.a French Riviera. We booked our holidays in Côte d’azur to celebrate our wedding anniversary in March, when the weather god was almost cruel on us sending snows and hailstorms our way in UK. But Nice was different. It welcomed us with warmth and sunshine and 17 degree C. Not bad huh!
Nice, More than just a beach destination:
Nice cuddles the most impressive Mediterranean coastline and boasts of not just 1, but almost 30 crystal azure beaches. While the city itself was charming, the warm Mediterranean climate makes it the most compulsive beach holiday destination throughout the year. Although the city gets soaked with tourists during summer, you can still enjoy the sun during winter and early spring.
Promenade des Anglaiss:
This is the celebrated promenade in France. During the later 18th Century, a lot of English people started to spend the winter in Nice to escape the harsh winter in UK. The idea of building a walkway was proposed by English, and hence it got it’s name Promenade des Anglais(Path of English). It is 7kms long and runs from city centre to the airport. This promenade is a boon for joggers/walkers, skaters and cyclists. There are 24 hour self-hire bicycle service available all through the year in the promenade which eases the work for tourists like us. Facing the promenade are modern buildings and holiday apartments with numerous cafes and restaurants.
Vieux Nice or Vieille Ville (Old Town), city’s ancient quarter
Vieille Ville of Nice:
What impressed me the most was the Old Town (Vieille Ville)
that had pastel colored buildings (some bright and some tanned) which reflected old Mediterranean architecture and baroque churches. We navigated effortlessly through the maze of tiny lanes enjoying the cool breeze and watching the houses that had clothes hanging in the washing line. The place was lively with lots of small shops that sold boutique, souvenirs, provencial fabrics, olives, spices, flowers (a lot of them), fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, fish market and was totally buzzing with people. There were plenty of traditional restaurants and cafes that makes this place a food-lover’s paradise. Taste the local culinary specialty La Socca,
a crepe/pancake kind made with chick pea flour. Visit Fenocchio Ice Cream Parlor
that’s famous for its collection of 94 flavours, 59 ice-creams and 35 sorbets – Yes, we had like 10 flavours – salted caramel butter, rose and lavender combo, chocolate ginger, Jasmine, Tiramasu.. and I don’t remember the rest of the names, but everything i had, tasted heavenly! The price was nominal too. So, don’t miss out this place if you’re in Nice. Here’s a detailed article about their icecream
written by a French chef/blogger.
Just around old town is the Place Garibaldi, one of the oldest and largest squares in Nice. It’s a great place to sit and chill, watch people and trams that cross through the square. You will never feel lonely here; be it day or night, there’s always people around. This place is famous for its Saturday flea markets. The hotel where we stayed was close to this square, so we spent a lot of our time here either having lunch or sipping coffee/tea, or drinking beer.
Yet another attractive and bustling plaza in Nice is Place Massena. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that this square is the heart and soul of Nice and is geographically the central location. The striking black and white tiles, dramatic fountains, bright red colored buildings of Italian architecture together gives a great ambiance. There are about 7-8 sculpture on a high pole that illuminates during the night. You can see street artists and break dancers performing here on nice sunny day. It’s almost impossible to visit Nice and not pass through this place.
Picture Courtesy: Jim, Flickr
Castle Hill (La Colline Du Chateau):
The view of Nice coastline was overwhelming when we saw it at the bird’s eye from the Castle Hill (La Colline Du Chateau). You can either climb the hill by footsteps or take the elevator which charges 1 Euro. As you climb, you will find the dimensions of Nice in an entirely different view, all of which you want to capture in your camera saying “wow”. It gives the view of the coastline, old town, harbour and surrounded mountains.