Promenade des Anglais
Lined with cafes and hotels, both modern and Belle Epoque, museums and posh apartments, the Promenade des Anglais is a long wide road which runs the length of the seafront at Nice . You walk across it and you're on the beach beside an unbelievably blue mediterranean .
The actual promenade itself, begins at the eastern end of Nice by the Jardin Albert I and runs westward towards the airport - a long way.
The older and grander hotels of the Promenade des Anglais were built at the turn of the century. In most people's eyes, the grandest, with its Empire and Napoléon decor, is the Negresco.
The building, which is now a national monument, was built in 1912 by Henri Négresco, a Hungarian immigrant. Before he started the hotel, Henri was director of the city casino's restaurant - we're talking guests who were the richest people in the world, the Rockefellers and the Singers. He wanted his hotel to be a hauts lieux as well, and had it designed to attract the very top of the upper crust.
As bad luck would have it, World War I reared its ugly head, and the hotel became a hospital. Négresco died shortly after the war, a ruined man.
Once the Americans arrived during the roaring twenties business soon picked up. Especially once Gerald and Sara Murphy and their entourage of writers and celebrities had discovered the pleasures of summer on the Riviera.
There are many more pleasures to be discovered on and around the Promenade des Anglais. On the Avenue des Baumettes, there is the Musé des Beaux-Arts Jules. And, in a little park on Rue de france just off the promenade, there is the Musée Masséna named after a local boy who was made a Napoleonic general.
Weary? Take a short walk back to the beach and enjoy the view across the bay to the Cap d'Antibes and the fortified Port Vauban which was built to defend Antibes, and France, from the Niçois.
visit the ultimate medieval...
visit the ultimate medieval village perched atop a rocky pinnacle high above the Mediterranean - EZE. Some of France's greatest impressionist artists (like Renoir and Monet amongst others) used to hang out here before they became famous. Can you spot the small village in the photo below? This place also boasts of the Fragonard Perfume Factory where you can purchase perfumes at a rock bottom price of approx. US$22 for a 20ml bottle.
P.S. If you buy four bottles, one bottle of your choice will be given FREE. However, please check with the sales people before finalizing your purchase. Expect to find branded names like Yves St Laurent's 'Paris' and 'Opium', Christian Dior's 'Dune', Estee Lauder's 'Beautiful', Givenchy's 'Ysatis' and Giorgio of Beverly Hills' 'Giorgio' amongst the many brands available here. Happy shopping!
Music: Niçois artists and bands
Dum Dum Boys: if you like electro rock/indie-punk, I can highly recommend their album "Electronic Pop Music Created by...".
Curl: if you like trip-hop/new wave...
Not really my cup of tea, but if you like "la chanson française/variétés" you may try:
Le Train des Pignes to Annot
Most people come to Nice for La Cote D'Azur, or to go skiing in the Alps....but the mountains behind the coasts contain some magnificent areas for hiking/ bushwalking/ randonee. If you've the time we highly recommend it. At least, it's off the beaten path outside of July and August.
Take a picnic and lots of water. Take a map and follow it! Have a chat to the Tourist Office in Nice and in Annot.
Avoid in the summer months as it would probably be too hot up there then.
You can take the little train from Nice (Chemins de Fer de Provence) into the mountains right through to Digne Les Bains. Our favourite stop (so far) is Annot and Les Gres d'Annot.
A two hour train ride gets you there. Aim for an early one as the short walk is a good 3 hrs.
As you leave the station take the VERY first right hand turn under the bridge and voila, you are on the track. After the escalade sign the track takes a sharp left turn and you start your climb.
Take note of the yellow markers on various rocks and trees, following the few signs that there are to la Chambre du Roi and le Jardin du Roi. Magnificent sandstone/granite boulders amidst pine, chestnut, and birch trees (at least that's what they looked like to those of us used to eucalypts).
There is a little detour - well worth it - to Les Oubliettes. A "passageway" made from enormous boulders. This "exit" is replete with a large boulder balanced over your head. Following the track you then literally walk along the edge of cliffs overlooking from great heights, the valleys of the rivers Vaire and Coulomp. At other points you can see way off across the Alps.
Continue around, crossing little streams as you go. Eventually you'll coime to another forest and an opportunity for another detour- to your right. This will have you walking up a granite rocky face to a ridge top which provides you extraordinary views.
Follow the track through more boulders and forests and remember to take the path to Les Portettes....otherwise you'll be on an aditional four hour hike. Trust us, we did this (-;
Well worth it for the magnificent views.
Vence is an excellent...
Vence is an excellent place to accomodate if you don't want to stay in Nice. It
is a delightful old cathedral town on a rocky ridge. It has charming atmosphere!
The old town is entered by the Porte de Peyra (1441), beside the place du Frene.
The 16th-century castle houses the museum and the Fondation Emile Hughes which
holds many temporary exhibitions. Inside the gate, the place du Peyra has an
urn-shaped fountain built in 1822. Vence's cathedral is one of the smallest in
We stayed at Vence and we were really pleased to our hotel. Sadly I don't
remember it's name but it was very well located and cheap. The rooms were