I’m really having to go back a fair bit for this one…
I mean it’s coming up to a year already since Nice! Crazy how time flies. But I really haven’t spoken much about my taste of the South of France yet, so it’s time for me to rewind back to my 2012 summer in Europe…
With me being down in the dumps at leaving Barcelona – as standard – I was seriously hoping the next stop of our summer Euro tour would be a decent pick-me-up.
Thankfully Nice ticked that box and many more!
In fact, it probably became our favourite new stop on our tour through France, Spain and Italy. No mean feat!
With the city being bathed in awesome August sunshine for the duration of our four days there it made for a colourful stay on the Côte d’Azur, and as you may have seen way back in one of my early photo posts, every part of the city was a real visual feast.
Even the descent into Nice-Côte d’Azur airport was a treat for the eyes, as the French Riviera is pretty picturesque from the air. Unfortunately yours truly forgot to get his camera out. What a genius…
Me and Chelcie perched up at the Etap hotel, located on Avenue de la Californie, a sweet €1 bus ride from the airport. Although we were definitely in the budget side of things when it came to accommodation, we literally had to cross the road twice to be sat on the seafront. A great result!
Of course I didn’t actually realise that Nice’s seafront was a pebble beach rather than sand until we got there – as you can see my research skills were also not exactly top-notch at this point – but it’s no big deal when the sun is out and the temperature is scorching, it’s still well worth a dip. Just try not to be too distracted by the many, er… topless seniors okay!
It goes without saying though that the city is most well known for it’s historic centre, and we were looking forward to checking it out ourselves.
To get there it was a straight drag down the Promenade des Anglais, which was either a short and sweet bus ride or a seemingly never ending walk! I’d recommend paying the €1 during the daytime heat, and taking a slow stroll back during sunset as we did.
Once in the centre of town jumping off at Place Massena – look for the Fontaine du Soleil (yes, the one with the naked guy) – gives you the choice to step into the rabbit run style old streets of Nice’s “Vielle Ville” or follow the tramlines up Avenue Jean Medecin and into the surrounding streets for a more modern shopping experience. But let’s be honest, if you’re visiting Nice you want to see the famous old streets…
And that’s where we headed first. It didn’t take long for us to get lost amongst the winding back streets and various boutiques selling everything from sweets to soaps to socca. As I said in my photo post, the gorgeous old buildings painted in their bright but warm hues make it one seriously colourful area.
I’d recommend checking out the Place Rossetti where the Cathedral is located. Whilst a beautiful bit of architecture itself, the quirky cafes and boutiques in the surrounding backstreets are well worth a look themselves. And on the Place you’ll also find the daddy of ice cream/gelato – Fennochio!
And that’s no exaggeration, as you’ll literally see 80 plus flavours available for your deliberation/drooling. I couldn’t believe my eyes, whilst Chelcie practically melted and went to sugar heaven. My Nutella ice-cream scoops were an absolute dream – so much so that I had them two days in a row!
In fact the smell of tasty delicacies lingers all throughout the narrow streets of Vielle Ville, and Nice’s proximity to Italy means they’ve picked up some top tips on how to make sandwiches, paninis and pizzas. Which is always a good thing. Searching out a tasty hot sandwich also lead me to discover my favourite ever piece of packaging…
Whilst it’s easy to wander the stunning old streets for hours finding photo opportunity after photo opportunity, it’s worth heading south through Vielle Ville to the Cours Selaya, where you’ll find Nice’s best known street market.
Take time checking out the various random stalls on show, as you’ll find items ranging from flowers, paintings, antiques, jewellery, fruits, vegetables, books and of course, tacky souvenirs. Whilst it may initially just look like any other flea market it’s another entertaining area bursting with colour and atmosphere, and you’ll be sure to stumble across some fascinating find.
You can either queue for the elevator built into the hillside to take you up, or climb the long staircase. In our case, with temperatures being in the mid thirties waiting for the elevator suited us just fine.
And thankfully the views are worth the wait too!
You’ll also find a picturesque little waterfall up near the top of the Colline du Chateau. It’s well worth a look, and standing close by can also be pretty refreshing on a sweltering day.
It’s actually made me smile having to go through all my pictures of Nice again, I really did enjoy it that much. It’s a beautiful city in an absolutely gorgeous part of the world, and you can see why so many of the well-off have decided it’s the place to be. I mean, I did actually walk past a couple of Ferrari’s and an Aston Martin just casually parked by the side of the road…
But as we found out it’s absolutely worth the trip for the more budget oriented too. Our hotel was only a budget one, yet it was in a fantastic location, being not far at all from the stunning old centre and literally seconds away from the ocean. The riviera may be a place where people come to spend money rather than earn it, but it can still be enjoyed even by those with tighter purse strings. Just grab your camera and strolling through this stunning city.
The only downside to our visit? Yet another place we were sad to leave! Dammit…
Have you visited Nice? What did you think?