It’s called Nice the Beautiful, and this is no idle boast. For free spirits looking for a cultural experience with a difference, Nice will call out, promising unforgettable memories. Nice, the magic of this jewel of the Côte d’Azur is in its link between tradition and modernity, where visitors can absorb its historic atmosphere whilst enjoying the charisma of a cosmopolitan city.
Nice, France Timeless
It would take time to talk about everything Nice has to offer its visitors, but to help you get an idea of what is awaiting, here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Nice is renowned for its healthy air and mellow light, making it a favourite destination for the likes of Matisse and Chagall who regularly visited for inspiration.
With its warm climate and minimal rainfall in the high summer season, there are ample opportunities to combine sightseeing with relaxation.
Highly recommended is the old town, where you can wander the narrow streets, complemented by buildings with red tiled roofs, abundant open markets and intimate restaurants.
It is not difficult to imagine Matisse walking these curving walkways, taking in the atmosphere while contemplating a masterpiece.
Then there’s the 19th century Opera de Nice, regularly offering a full programme of public performances, and don’t miss out on a visit to the 17th-century Nice cathedral, with its Baroque architecture and 10 chapels.
Take a walk up Castle Hill for spectacular views of the city, the Bay of Angels and, of course, the stunning cerulean blue of the Cote d’Azur in all its glory. If you want to fully explore the city, you should sign up for a guided walk or one of the Nice bike tours. From cultural monuments to delicious bakeries where you can enjoy coffee and cake on a terrace, you won’t want to miss out on anything the city has to offer.
The Promenade des Anglais skirts the Bay of Angels, with Hotel Negresco’s flamboyant façade facing onto the street. There are vehicle-free zones in the city, including the Zone Piétonne which runs parallel to the promenade. You can enjoy shopping in the small boutiques before sampling the rich cuisine the restaurants have to offer, including Spanish, Italian, Chinese and, not forgetting, Nicoise.
Visit the beautiful squares, such as the Place Rossetti which lies in the centre of old Nice, where buildings are the colour of red and yellow ochre and a magnificent fountain and the cathedral of Sainte-Reparate sit alongside cafes and superb ice cream parlours. Come nightfall, the lighting of the square, together with the music and the tempting smells emanating from the restaurants, make it a very inviting spot.
It’s also a city that invites contemplation, not only at its various and varied religious buildings dotted around its centre, but at the large Monument aux Morts, a war memorial carved into Castle Hill in memory of the city’s men who fell during the war. Of all the city’s churches, the St Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral, designed in the style of Russian Orthodox cathedrals, is the most impressive.
Reflecting the eclectic mix of visitors to Nice over the centuries, this 20th-century church was built as a tribute to a Russian royal who died in the city. Over the years, Nice has drawn in many admirers from across the globe and continues to do so today, enchanting new generations with its graceful glamour.
Nice offers you a quintessentially French experience, with the opportunity to savour its bright lights and exquisite cuisine against a cultural backdrop that gives you a glimpse of the past and moments of peaceful reflection intertwined with a stylish way of life.
Don’t forget to book your airport transfer with Holiday Transfers when you visit!