My wife and I would like to travel the French Mediterranean for some sunshine, sea views and traditional culture. Where would you recommend?
Nice’s iconic pebble beaches, boutique-lined streets and spectacular surrounding views make it a long-standing and much-loved destination on the Cote D’Azur. The city referred to as ‘Nice la Belle’ (Nice the beautiful) certainly lives up to its name with an eclectic mix of the urban new and old that makes for an altogether cosmopolitan feel.
The most picturesque areas of the city hug the deep blue waters of the Baie Des Anges (Bay of Angels) and The Promenade des Anglais is the perfect place to start your visit. Aptly named after the city’s first tourists, the long seaside walk has been the place for a stroll since its completion in 1830 with sweeping views stretching from the Mediterranean Sea, through the pastel-coloured terraces of the town to the northern mountain peaks.
There is also a street that runs parallel to the Promenade from Place Masséna that is a car-free pedestrian zone boasting many cafés, traditional restaurants, boutique shops and souvenir stalls. This is the part of town that really epitomises life in Nice, and should be central to your visit.
Other fantastic spots around the city include the winding, atmospheric streets of the Old Town, or the pedestrianised squares of Place Garibaldi and Place Rossetti. The beautifully humbling, marble War Monument and the Port of Nice are also great places to take your camera on a clear, sunny day.
Another must- see is the Cours Saleya Flower Market – even if it does require an early start! The best time to visit the market is around 8am, just after the vendors have set their stalls and all the colours and smells have time to draw you in. If you are looking to make purchases, bring loose coins and small notes as the vendors can be fussy if faced with large amounts of change. If not, there is still no better way to experience the best of everyday culture on the Cote D’Azur.
The clear air, soft lighting and picturesque landscape that surrounds Nice has enticed many artists, photographers and sculptors over the years and the city now exhibits some of the finest work its inhabitants had to offer. Theatre de la Photographie et de l’Image, Piccasso Museum (in nearby Antibes), the Museum of Modern Art and the Matisse Museum are the pick of these inspiring displays.
Dining in Nice is a real treat, with a distinct mix of the traditional and the exotic to provide for everything from eat-on-the-go to luxury sea-side feasts. Local cuisine consists mainly of fish, fruit and vegetables, and anchovies and olives in particular are used a great deal.
Nothing defines life on the French Riviera more than its enjoyable evenings and Nice offers up attractions for every taste and mood. The town’s coastline promenades are a welcome mix of relaxed sea-side bars, trendy lounges, old-fashioned pubs and upbeat discos. No matter where your mood takes you, you are sure to find the place to enjoy your own slice of Mediterranean indulgence.
Where to Stay
Hotel Massena (****)
Prices start from €199 per room per night on Hotels.com
Hotel Massena offers the upmost standards in style and luxury from right in the heart of Centre-Ville. With complete renovation of the building fully finished in 2011, all 110 rooms are fully served with complimentary wifi and plasma-screen televisions.
While the hotel has no in-house dining facilities, you are never more than a few minutes’ walk from the pick of traditional dining along and around Promenade des Anglais, Place Massena and Cours Saleya.
Hotel Elysée Palace (****)
Prices start from €169 per room per night on Hotels.com
Located just off Promenade des Anglais, one mile from the popular Violier Beach and south-facing sea views, Hotel Elysée is a good place to enjoy the best this city has to offer. The hotel itself boasts a heated rooftop swimming pool, sundeck and bar that offer 360 degree views of the city. The stylish interior also holds a fitness facility, restaurant and the hotel provides an airport shuttle that runs 24 hours a day.
Little Palace (**)
Prices start from €83 per room per night on Hotels.com
As Nice can be quite an expensive town, the highly-rated Little Palace hotel is one of the best-reviewed and most affordable hotels in the city centre. This traditional building is located just minutes from all the city centre and sea-side attractions, while notably helpful staff ensure your stay is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Complimentary wifi and satellite television are also provided in each room.
For more information and travel tips on planning your holiday visit www.hotels.com or call 1800 55 3338 to wake up happy on your holiday!