Pack Your Bags: Nice, France


Everyone should go to Southern France at some point in their life...
because the French Riviera, 
in all it's sparkling blue glory,
 is pretty fabulous.

And in the middle of the cities dotting the coast sits Nice.

Nice is the largest, most affordable, and easily accessed city along the Riviera.


This famous city has loads to do for every interest & age,
and for practical purposes-
it is my recommended city for where one should stay
when visiting the French Riviera.

Read below for my recommendations for a great trip.


The water is amazingly blue
{hello, Côte D'Azure!}
and the backdrop is perfect,
but I've repeatedly tried (four different times) to visit in late winter months
with hopes of lounging on the beach...
and each time, I realize how ridiculous I am.

So if it's the beach you want, come at the right time.

{Which, by the way, is May-October.}

Be warned though-
the beaches are not sandy,
they are rocky.

Bring comfortable & padded mats to lay on.

And, if you have kids, be prepared to explain 
why the woman next to you is topless.

EAT SOME SOCCA

This chickpea crepe is the speciality of Nice.
It's cheap, it's light & it's quite common.

Try Renee Socca or Lou Pilha Leva for the favorite local choice.



Grab a socca for the road for around €2.50,
or, if you're feeling adventurous,
 sit down and try a huge plate of local fare (including a socca) for €10.

*To be honest, I could have been happy with just the socca.

VISIT OLD NICE

While the new town is lined with promenades and high-street chains,
the old town is a small labyrinth of winding streets & small cafes.


They have some great salt & soap shops...
and if you walk out just a bit to the new town,
you'll find yourself in the famous flower market of Nice.

The flower market has two long aisles of brightly colored booths
welcoming those passing by with buckets of local flowers...
which are better than reasonably priced.

For those wanting to indulge more than just their senses of smell & sight,
there are also a smattering of stalls filled with sugar-drenched confections mixed in the scene.





Old Nice is the eastern part of the city that is closest to the hill.
(Basically, if you're looking at the water- it's all the way to the left.)

Head up a bit North of the old city to the Chagall Museum
where permanent pieces hang yera-round in giant, oversized grandeur.

TAKE A HIKE

Oh, and that hill? The big one at the end of the city?

It's called Colline Du Chateau- which means, the "Castle Hill," 
though the Roman castle for which it was named has been long removed.

Today it is simply a great (not-too-difficult) walk up to the top
 that rewards you with a sweeping view of the Riviera,
cool sea breezes, & a giant park full of locals.


The next time we visit Nice,
I foresee a picnic & lazy afternoon of reading up there.



GET A ROOM

My group stayed at the Citadines in Nice.
Good rates (about €60 pp), good location, 
free internet, free coffee & tea available all day...
and if you want to save some money,
the rooms have small kitchenettes.

However, if I was going to splurge...
I'd stay at the Hotel Negresco.
The famous hotel 20th century hotel 
sitting prominently along the Promenade.

The eclectic interiors are for everyone, 
but I think I could be up for it for a couple of nights.

Oh, and one more perk of visiting Nice?

With Nice's quirky history of being it's own province nestled between Italy & France
until only 150 years ago when it chose to be a part of the latter...
makes Nice one of the only places in France where you can get a good cappuccino.

***

While Nice may be nice
{couldn't make it an entire post without that joke},
it'd be a shame to miss the other gems of the area.

I'll post more on my favorite surrounding cities later.

What are your favorite spots in Nice?





*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy
Posted on February 18, 2012 and filed under "France", "Southern France", "travel tips", "travel".