by Janis / 0 comments - Orginally published:15th February 2019

A captivating city that deserves so much longer

We were only in Nice for a few hours because we were visiting there as part of a day out and about touring around the Côte d'Azur. Although, it has undoubtedly given us a taster to want more of the delightful city.

Your first impression of Nice, whether you're flying into the coastal airport or driving along the stunning French Riviera, is the sweeping shoreline; it's beautiful.

The welcoming bay stretches for what appears to be miles and miles, and it's almost irresistible for a dip.

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Janis seated on a giant hashtag I Love Nice sign overlooking the blue water of the Cote d'Azur in the south of France

Where is Nice

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Let's explore Nice

Rustic charm
However, what Nice really won me over with was its rustic charm. It has the elegant promenade, the swaying palm trees and grand boulevards, but step one or two roads back, and you’re into the charming lanes and lived-in streets that are so appealing.
The narrow rustic lanes of the old town of Nice on the French Riviera
Rustic lanes
Washing hanging from the windows of traditional apartments in central nice with a church bell tower at the end of a narrow lane
Character & charm
Although this city is busy with tourists and visitors alike, you still feel that Nice is continually bustling with locals getting on with their daily lives.
the exterior of a historic wine merchants in the back streets of nice in the south of france
Cave Pierre Bianchi & Cie

You can imagine the wealth and glamour of years gone by. But Nice has not been left to decline; to me, it has the earthiness of “love me for what I am” and has not been polished up around the edges.

Life in Nice amongst the streets and lanes is so alluring you feel like the city is keeping something back for itself. And don’t get me started on the incredible architecture, wow.

A bright red traditional apartment with green shutters in central nice
Rue Rossetti
A narrow street through the old town of Nice, lined on either side by brightly coloured buildings
Down Rue Rossetti

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The best of Nice

Get lost in the lanes
Well, where do you start? For us, we just wanted to take in the atmosphere, walk and enjoy the hustle and bustle.
the famous sun fountain by alfred auguste (fontaine du soleil, 1956) on place massena, nice
Fontaine du Soleil
So, we went for our own little promenade along the bay, and then into the Old Town.
the ornate baroque exterior of the nice opera house in the south of france
Nice Opera House
Wandering up via Place Massena and around the Fontaine du Soleil. Strolling in and around the streets by the Hôtel de Ville, the Opera house and passing by a very quaint confiserie of Henri Auer, which has been trading since the mid-19th-century.
people walking in front of Confiserie ‘Henri Auer’ in nice in the south of france
Confiserie ‘Henri Auer’

Why not?

Start creating your own French adventure and discover the beautiful Côte d'Azur for yourself, by, jumping on Le Shuttle and tour through France under your own steam.

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Discovering the real Nice

I love a street market
We are heading a little further, and we are in Cours Saleya, a traditional town square where the local market traders sell their wares. Not only are they selling beautiful aromatic flowers, but there’s incredibly fresh fruit, dried chillies, aubergines, and of course, garlic.
The back of the bustling market in cours saleya in central nice in the south of france
Market in Cours Saleya
It is all so tempting; I just loved wandering around here and couldn’t resist buying a couple of nectarines.
Vibrant fresh Grapes at Cours Saleya market in Nice, France
Grapes at Cours Saleya market
The produce looks of the very highest quality, with care and attention to detail in how the stalls are laid out.
A fine selection of fresh softs fruit on market stall in Nice, France. The stall is beautifully laid out with the bright colours of peaches, greengages, plums, kumquats and strawberries
Fresh fruit at the market
How nice would it be to pick up something so fresh and take it back to your little French gîte, and knock up something so simple that your little French recipe books are full of - Mmmm.
A stalling Nice, France, displaying varieties of potatoes and a selection of fresh garlic.
There has to be garlic.

A taste of Nice

Only one thing for it!

With the Côte d'Azur sunshine beating down upon us, there was only one thing for it, ICE-CREAM. So, we head to Fenocchio's ice-cream parlour in Place Rossetti. Fenocchio serves 94 flavours, 59 of them are ice-creams, and 35 are sorbets, some quite weird, like cactus or thyme.

I'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to ice-cream, this is a serious matter. Gary is one for the more exotic flavours.

A smiling Janis, tucking into an ice-cream cone in Nice
Me and an ice-cream from Fenocchio
The ornate facade of the cathedral of saint reparata in the centre of nice, france
Cathedral of Saint Reparata
In the same charming square as Fenocchio’s ice cream parlour is the Cathedral of Saint Reparata. Place Rossetti is such a pretty square; you’ll just want to sit down and watch the world go by.
A fountain in a square in central Nice, surrounded by tables and chairs covered by parasols, Flanked on all sides by brightly coloured residential buildings.
Place Rossetti

If you love Provence as much as we do, you'll want to start planning your visit now.

I so enjoy using the DK Eyewitness books, as they are extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our Provencal road trip, now you can grab the revised copy.

The best view of Nice

Castle Hill
After our sugar hit, it’s now time to climb the hill. Castle Hill in fact, overlooks the whole of Nice and gives incredible panoramic views along the Promenade des Anglais and the terracotta rooftops below.
Overlooking Nice from Castle Hill with the orange tiled roofs of the old town and high provence hills in the background
View across Nice
Now, I need you to take my word for this: the previous day, we drove along the promenade, and we could see an amazing waterfall cascading near the top of Castle Hill. Well, we arrived (I say arrive; I’m a bit exhausted by this point), and the waterfall wasn’t working. I couldn’t believe it, as it was only the day before that we saw it. We hung around for a while just in case it was our bad timing, but no, this “must-see” was a definite “must not see”.
The background of the waterfall at castle hill in nice in the south of france
Where’s the waterfall?
The main fortification of Nice Castle was destroyed in the 18th century; however, you can still see its ancient ruins and stroll around the gardens.
Nice castle ruins at the top of castle hill in the south of france
Nice Castle ruins

Enjoying Nice

Don’t hesitate
I highly recommend heading up Castle Hill, as the views alone are worth it.
Overlooking the packed Nice harbour, including one or two super yachts, from Castle Hill
Nice harbour, Nice, France
There are a few options for getting to the top of the hill; the first is to walk (which I’m proud to say we did), and secondly, you can get the dotto train (which I’m proud to say we didn’t). However, the third is to get the elevator up, which I didn't know existed until I got back down to the bottom (and I believe it’s free). But, hey, I needed the exercise.

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Au Revoir Nice

Until we return, which we will
Until we meet again, as I’m sure there will be a next time.

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