French Riviera's capital, Nice, has long been synonymous with postcard-perfect views, vibrant markets and diverse culinary scenes. Whether you visit Nice for it's old, intricate streets, or its Parisian, wide boulevards, you are guaranteed to understand why foreign and French tourists alike opt in for a summer escapade here.
We decided to visit Nice so we can celebrate our two year anniversary. Although we had no idea what to expect from this adventure, it turned out to be an exceptional holiday, full of wonders, hiking opportunities and great food.
The beauty of the French Riviera starts unravelling itself from the moment the plane prepares for landing. Beautiful mountain ranges surround the colourful city of Nice which in turn appears to have an endless pebbly shore. Seeing how beautiful this Mediterranean Coast really is, with its clear and teal-blue waters, I finally understood why this region is rightfully called Côte d'Azur.
In the morning, the first thing we did was to walk around the Flower and Fruit market. Cours Saleya is located in the heart of the Old Town and it features various sellers with colourful merchandise, fresh vegetables, seafood and bakery products. You should indulge yourself in as many goodies as possible, then take a seat in one of the cafes and enjoy the refreshing morning breeze.
From Cours Saleya, we made our way towards the famous Promenade des Anglais. We ended up strolling along the sea for a couple of hours.
Being just by the beach, you can chill in the sunshine, read a book on a bench, or even be more adventurous and promenade on the shores. You need sandals for this, as the shores are quite pebbly.
Energised and determined, we made our way up to Castle Hill (Colline du Chateau). Once at the top, we took advantage of the observation deck with breathtaking panoramic views. This is the perfect chance to photograph Nice from above and enjoy some truly spectacular rooftops landscapes.
You can stop and have lunch right at the Castle Hill, in a restaurant with magnificent views, or you can retrace our footsteps and continue walking around the park. You will discover so many picture opportunities, exotic plants, a beautiful waterfall and overlooking points.
Once you get hungry, start making your way back to the Old Town. You have so many restaurant and bistro choices, quaint cafes and open terraces. We settled for a variety of French cheeses with a seafood main and a lovely glass of French wine.
When the evening comes, walk around the Jardin Albert I. Right in the heart of Nice, these gardens have cute little fountains which lit up at night, playgrounds for children, few scattered benches and of course, many flowers and plants.
Leave old Nice behind and make your way towards airy boulevards, contoured with French baroque architecture. Walk on the Ave Jean Médecin and marvel at all the French shops, perfect for any fashionista.
After learning so many of Nice's secrets, we ended our day by having a well-deserved dinner in a Japanese Restaurant called Arito. We enjoyed a large variety of sushi and fresh sashimi.
During our stay in Nice, we dedicated a whole day walking around Parc du Mont Baron, then took the small, hilly streets towards Jardin du Monastère de Cimiez.
This is not an easy trek, and I would suggest taking plenty of food and water with you. If you prefer, you can rent a bike and pedal your way into Mont Baron. Although you will feel very tired at the end, I promise all the views are well worth it.
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To celebrate such an epic walk, I recommend going back to the Old Town and finding Fenocchio Glacier, to enjoy Nice's best Italian gelato. Here, we discovered such a great variety of gelato, we spent 20 minutes deciding what flavours we want to try. If you are feeling adventurous, pick the rosemary, lavender, viola or even the olive flavoured gelato. You should also reward yourself with a nice glass of wine and a well-deserved meal.
In the space of a few days, Nice really managed to captivate us. It's a city full of surprises and many dimensions. We walked around old Italian style streets, strolled on large Parisian boulevards, encountered baroque, modern and Mediterranean architecture, ate delicious gelato, sushi and seafood, drank sake, beer and fine wines.
We found ourselves in the middle of busy streets but also discovered the most chilled parks surrounded by relaxing sounds of nature. We went into beautiful bakeries, and world-class patisseries. Most importantly, you can chill on the beach, or take a train and hike in the mountains. Nice is a city of wonders and it's an absolute must see.