For most people Nice and the Cote d'Azur are almost synonimous. Nice can be concidered the capitol of the Cote d'Azur, which is the popular name of the French mediterranean coastline between (roughly) Frejus and the Italian border. Nice is the fifth largest town in France and in touristic point of view the number two after - of course - Paris. Nice is also the main gate to this touristic hotspot and might be best choosen as start (and finish) of a holiday along the beautiful Cote d'Azur.
Fondest memory: Ilja playing in the sand along the Baie des Anges and fighting the (quite strong) waves together with daddy.
The ever helpful Nice Office de Tourisme at 5 Promenade des Anglais has a webcam mounted on its roof, overlooking the Baie.
Anytime you want, you can peek through a thousand mile window looking out over Nice. Watch in real time the azure blue sky, the turquoise blue waters of the Med and the radiant curve of the bay all the way out to the tip of the airport. Tiny people totter along the promenade and disappear under the white arches, while the traffic zips by as the image refreshes.
Though its not always the case, this morning it was looking just perfect. Makes you just want to jump on a plane..... or at least go click on Webcam
There. Now your living room has a sea view.
Not for beginners, the principal residential areas of the city of Nice. Essential knowledge for Estate Agents and property seekers, affordable longer term rentals.
Heart of Nice - Centre and Liberation - Musiciens, Vieux Nice
Est - Mont Boron and the Port
Ouest - Magnan and Fabron.
Up and coming but mixed: Riquier and St Roch
Cheap but too far out: Californie
Avoid at all costs: Ariane
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.
The center of Nice is from the big fountain, Fountaine du Soleil, across the Place Massena, ringed by bright pastel buildings, and up the Avenue Jean Médecin. Continuing beneath the railway overpass beside the train station, Ave Jean Médecin becomes Ave Malaussena.
The Rue de France pedestrian shopping street runs from the end of the Place Massena, roughly parallel to the seaside. This area is full of shops, including some exclusive clothing boutiques, and restaurants and cafés with outdoor terraces - a great place to sit and watch the world go by, while you eat or drink.
Favorite thing: You can feel the atmosphere that fills picturesquely narrow streets during the day or night. The streets are packed with shops and shoppers. Small restaurants, food, meat, produce, pasta, clothes, gifts, anything and everything. You can buy wine by the bottle or the barrel (bring your own container) and an amazing variety of fresh-made ravioli and other pasta.
This is probably the most famous part of Nice. For more than a century, people have been flocking here to walk along the famous boardwalk des Anglais.
The seashore is also lined with an impressive selection of luxury hotels, the most prestigious of which is the Négresco.
Favorite thing: "Le Chateau" isn't a chateau -- the castle on top of this high rock hill overlooking Nice old town and the port has been gone since 1706, but it's a great place to visit. There are cool walks in the shade of the trees, great views out over Nice and the Mediterranean, a large grassy park, playground, Roman ruins and a waterfall.
Go shopping in Avenue Jean-Médecin (Galeries Lafayette, Sephora, Fnac, Virgin Megastore, Etam, H&M, Marionnaud, etc).
Since the tramworks has started, this avenue has been chaotic, mostly for pedestrians and drivers! If you are a pedestrian be warned of the narrow sidewalks (pavement). I can't imagine how it's gonna be in the summer...
If you are a very patient person, you won't have any problems.
Everyone in Nice is thin and stylish. If you are going to Nice, I recommend bringing styling suits and shoes, or else you'll find yourself going shopping.
The 'pashmina' scarf/shawl was ubiquitous for women, accompanied by the Louis Vuitton bag and designer pantsuit and jacket.
On the dot of twelve noon each day, a canon shot sounds over central Nice. Look up to the sky and you will catch the puff of smoke from the explosive arial charge.
It is the canon of Sir Thomas Coventry, a colonel of the British army , who in 1860 asked the municipality of Nice to fire a cannonball everyday at noon, to remind his forgetful wife that it was time to serve his lunch. He committed to supplying all the ammunition and the canon, which was installed in the castle, at 92 meters in height, so that it could be heard by all the citizens of the city.
Hear the sound of the canon at twelve sharp and note, along with 300,000 Nicois, that it is time to go find a little restaurant to sit, eat and chat for the next two hours.
In the event of medical emergency, The Hospital St Roch offers the city's central Accident and Emergency Department, a few hundred metres from the Acropolis and Museum of Modern Art.
The Service des Urgences will allow you to sample Frances excellent public health system, fully equiped with a George Clooney lookalike with an "'ow you say, Franche accente". No doubt also puffing on a Gaulloise blond during surgery. Whilst contemplating the meaningless of existence.
EU citizens can present their form E111, and after treatment embark on the bureaucratic nightmare of obtaining reimbursement.. Obtain the "feuille de soins" (statement of treatment) and send it with your E111 to the nearest CPAM office (Sickness Insurance office) whilst still in France. It takes two months to receive a statement of your refund. For inpatient care the insurance office will pay 75% and the balance is down to you , along with the fixed daily "hotel" charge.
Our trip to France was a reward for finishing final exams and a difficult year of study. I remember, when walking along the Promenade one night, thinking how good it felt to be so far away from the exams and all those pressures.
The first week in France had been tiring as we had travelled and walked a lot. By the time we got to Nice, we were ver much in 'relax-mode' and looking forward to spending our days at the beach. And that's more or less what we did...
Once you get over that beaches in Nice are all stony (pebbles). Try to relax and suntan on a private beach (plage privée in French), I mean, if you want to pay for comfort (WC, shower, etc), bien sûr!
There are many private beaches all along la Baie des Anges. I went to the one on Blue Beach (mini-VT meeting was held here) and I really like it, even though I try avoiding those kind of beaches anywhere in the region.
This private beach is excellent for families with small kids because they also offer a small swimming pool.
The staff is very helpful!
Sunbed with mattress (chaise-longue avec matela): 12 Euros
Omelette avec girolles (very good!): 8, 50 Euros
Coca-cola: 3,50 Euros
WC's are free but it's polite to leave a few cents (I left 0,30 Euros).
Directions: across Musée Massena
Closest bus stop: Congrès
- walk on Promenade des Anglais, Quai des Etats Units, place Mesena, la Vielle Nice, Marché aux Fleurs, Palais de Justice, le Chateau
- eventually dare to have a 'parachutisme ascensionnel' tour as it's funny and u'll get an amazing sightseeing on all Cote d'Azur...unfortunately it lasts only about 15 minutes and is 40 Euro