Ahhh Nice, jewel of the French Rivera, epicenter of the Cote D’Azur, home of the very very rich. Well Nice does have its share of very very rich people (as evidenced by the cars driving in to the city) but Nice has lots to offer anyone and everyone. I have always wanted to go to Nice but I had a harder time convincing @benton8tor, who prefers the small villages and quaint towns. However I won out and it was as fabulous as I thought. Nice is the 5th largest city in France, a great spot to visit the Alps, Cannes or St Tropez, Italy or Monaco but why not just stay in Nice? It has lots to offer with Mediterranean influenced food and wine from the nearby Cote De Provence and Bellet AOC’s of Provence, why not pass the afternoon with a glass of rose, a deep blue sea and some of the best people watching along the Promenade d’Anglais? In fact we did just that.
@benton8tor and I had different ideas in mind when visiting Nice. I wanted to scope out the local restaurants, drink wine , and walk the Promenade d’Anglais, @benton8tor wanted to swim in the Mediterranean. Fortunately you can do all of that easily. Nice unlike Cannes, or Bandol has a shale beach which can be somewhat surprising. As well many of the beach sites are private belonging to certain hotels and reserved for guests. However a walk down the fabulous and breathtaking Promenade d’Anglais will give you the opportunity to scope out public beaches or cafes on the beach. we did just that. Though a hot day, I wasn’t particularly interested in swimming, but I was interested in relaxing on the beach so we struck a deal, I found a beach front bar complete with Provencal tapenade and Provencal wine and @Benton8tor could swim, Parfait! It was perfect for him for a post swim wind down as well.
As I keep mentioning the Promenade d’Anglais is amazing! We walked it for hours stopping at the opulent yet uber friendly Westminster hotel right on the Promenade for a drink. The terrace overlooks the Mediterranean and is all white marble. The wine list is extensive and you can enjoy the renowned Provencal roes to your hearts content. I however lobby for trying the Provencal reds. Often overlooked, the reds depending on their area of production can be light fruity and easy drinking to bigger, bolder reds. Not as well known but excellent value, Provence reds are suitable for all most any occasion. http://www.westminster-nice.com/en// And while you are on the Promenade stop in at the beautiful and famous Hotel Negresco.http://www.hotel-negresco-nice.com/en/
You’ll have to eat and I highly recommend getting off the Promenade and going into the city itself. La Trattoria isn’t far off the Promenade but is tucked away and offer superb Italian offerings. though Italian it has Nice specialties and a wonderful selection of Provencal wines. Service is fabulous and you won’t be disappointed.http://latrattoria-nice.fr/en/services But travel further inland to the Restaurant L’Authentic for some fabulous Nicoise dishes with even more fabulous wine. http://www.lauthentic.com/
Our second visit to Nice took us to the Place Messana just off the Promenade d”Anglais. A beautiful square with fountains to run through and a gorgeous gardens to tour, Unfortunately we had to leave and Nice also has one of the most beautiful airports right on the Mediterranean. Sitting in the airport bar we met my favourite Niciose character, though he was a North American. I am still not sure what he does but suffice to say, he’s an extrovert. Traveling on his own for business, he spent the next 30 minutes regaling us with stories and pictures of his day on some random guys yacht, the fish they caught, the cars they drove etc.. We eventually left and as we board the flight to London, who is there but our new found friend with armfuls (literally) of rose wine that he was passing out to his other new friends. ‘Hey’ he screams pointing at us ‘there ‘s my friends’. Uh ok. and where was our rose? Upon boarding the plan, he then makes friends with he flight attendants and comes back to is seat with cans of beer which he proceeds to pass out. I don’t know who he was but he is the best story.Every time I leave Nice, I keep thinking if only I had one more day but when it comes to Nice I am not sure I will ever have enough.