Nice is more than nice. It’s gorgeous, it’s great for galavanting, and it’s gritty and glamourous at once. I lived in Nice from 2005 to 2006 and it didn’t take long for the city to seduce me- just last month I wrote about why Nice has a special place in my heart and why it’s one of my favouritest (yes, I know that’s not a word) places to visit in the world. During my last visit in May, I had the task of showing Liebling my fair city (he’s never been) in two days. I wanted to make sure he got the essence of the place; that he understood the magnetic pull Nice has on my psyche. What follows are my four (free!) picks of things to do in Nissa la bella:
#1. Be wowed by the view from the site of the Old Chateau: Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that there’s no longer a castle in Nice (it was torn down in the early 18th century). But the good news is that there is still an amazing view on Nice’s port, old town, and boardwalk from the hill the chateau was situated on. You can take the take the elevator to get up here (it costs less than a euro), or you can keep things 100% free and walk the 200 or so steps built in the hill to reach the summit. Exhausting but the view’s worth it!
#2. Get some free entertainment at Place Masséna and the Pedestrian Zone: This is the main square of Nice and center of all the action. The square is divided by Jean Médecin Avenue, the major shopping street of Nice that features a number of brands and big name stores. Street performers, which most often include singers and break-dancers, do their thing on checkerboard pavement, which also doubles as a prime meetup spot for locals and tourists. To the immediate west lies the no-cars allowed Pedestrian Zone, rife with shops and patios and pretty things to see.
#3. Stroll along the Promenade des Anglais: I had to take Liebling to walk alongside the Mediterranean. Despite having a rocky beach, Nice has one of the most impressive shorelines I’ve ever seen- the water is so so so blue! I love the set up of the boardwalk, which seems to stretch on and on forever, and the fact that each part of the beach has a name so that it’s easy to locate yourself and/or meet up with others. There are benches all along the promenade so you can sit and admire the water comfortably.
#4. Getting lost in the old town: Le Vieux Nice, literally the Old Nice, is the oldest part of the city and has a maze of streets that even after living in Nice for a year I couldn’t navigate without getting lost! There is a never-ending amount of markets and tiny shops selling everything you could imagine. Liebling and I had fun trying on the sunglasses at one of the stalls. Whaddya think of his shades?
Nice is one of my favourite cities in the world (and over 50 countries visited later, I’ve been to many) because it is one of the most visually appealing places I’ve ever been to. Even better, you don’t have to spend a lot of money there to enjoy yourself- just walking around will suffice!
Have you ever been to the Riviera? Are you a fan of cities by the sea?