There is plenty of appeal when it comes to the south of France but it isn’t all about spending time on the beach.
In fact, when it comes to seeing the very best that the French Riviera, a city break is hard to beat thanks to the spectacular surroundings of Nice right on the coast.
Truth be told, Nice is one of those destinations where there is never a bad time to visit; there are just times when your visit will coincide with more sun in the sky.
Mild winters are a feature of the city but even in the middle of summer, things don’t get too hot because of the sea breeze that sweeps in from the Mediterranean – keeping the temperatures nice and comfortable.
Widely regarded as the crown jewel of the Cote d’Azur, Nice can offer a stunning beachfront location for those who do want to relax on the sand but has plenty more to offer besides.
You might elect to head for the Old Town area to explore the cobbled streets and historical buildings that are oozing with character or could take a stroll along the promenade with its many cafes and restaurants.
Certainly there are few more picturesque places in which to sit back with a drink or to grab a bite to eat…
Those who love culture can head for museums that showcases stunning art from across the years, whilst there are impressive churches and castles that are waiting to be explored.
It should also come as little surprise that there are plenty of top class shopping opportunities available, with many top designers having a presence within the city.
When it comes to a city break, it’s certainly a case of Nice by name, Nice by nature…
Rue du Paradis
When it comes to shopping in Nice, there are few better places than Rue du Paradis. This is where you’ll find the top designer stores where if you need to ask the price, you probably can’t afford to buy. Fear not however, as there are plenty of other options available for those with a more realistic budget.
Promenade des Anglais
Running alongside the beach, the Promenada des Anglais is a great place to take a stroll or to relax with a drink or a bite to eat as you take in views across the Mediterranean.
The Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate is located in the heart of Nice and has been classified as a national monument for more than 100 years. Construction work started in the 1650s but it took hundreds of years to be completed with additional decorative elements being added through the years. The remains of Sainte Réparate, the patron of Nice, are found within the cathedral.
If you want to delve into Nice’s past, then the Crypte Archeologique is a great place to start. Located underneath Place Garibaldi, the huge underground chamber covers some 2,000sqm and is listed as a Historic Monument. You’ll be able to learn about the Nice as you explore the history of the ancient city that is hidden beneath the modern day streets, including remains from the old Pairoliere castle.
The historic Old Town is an area of Nice that is certainly worth exploring during your time in the city and provides plenty of opportunities to see what things would have been like in years gone by. You can stroll along cobbled streets past buildings that date back hundreds of years, before heading for a quaint little restaurant for a bite to eat. Open-air markets in the city squares are also a great place to pick up souvenirs.
The site of the original city of Nice, Castle Hill was once home to an imposing citadel and is the place to go if you want to embrace the best views of the modern day city. The walk through the undergrowth to the viewing point at the summit is an enjoyable way in which to spend a few hours or there is a small train that caters for those who prefer to relax.
A short, and picturesque, train ride along the coast takes you from Nice to Monte Carlo where you can spend some time rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous. Visit the famous Casino, take a stroll around the harbour, hit designer stores or take a ride around the Grand Prix circuit.
Museum of Modern Art
The Musée d'art moderne et d'art contemporain, also known as MAMAC, opened in Nice in 1990 and is located near to the Place Garibaldi. It’s home to a range of modern art from the 1950s to the present day and well worth a visit.