With the official beginning of summer, what better way is there to celebrate than a weekend getaway to the South of France or the French Riviera? With the summer refusing to show itself in the Netherlands I decided to fly to one of my favourite destinations and headed to the second most populous city on the Côte d’Azur, Nice.
Landing in Nice was already enough to get me in the holiday spirit because when you are landing you are surrounded by the sea and its just great. One of the first things that I did when arriving was go to the promenade and gazed out at the beautifully coloured water and the sun, beach and people.
Wanting to be close to the water I had lunch with a group of friends at a restaurant called Castel that is on the beach.
I had a delicious beef carpaccio and although the restaurant was pretty busy there seemed to be room for everyone. This restaurant is open throughout the day unlike many that close at 2:30 or 3 pm and then open again later for dinner, so make sure to know where to go or check the times before heading somewhere to then realize that it is closed. You can also hire sun loungers on the beach but make sure to reserve with time.
After lunch we headed towards the old town on the promenade.
There is a waterfall that can be seen from the promenade and it I located on Castle Hill. I did not have the time to go up there but it is said to have beautiful and scenic views over Nice. The Castle has a park and it is a lovely place to go visit and do a bit of hiking.
The Old town can be easily distinguished as it is a collection of older yet picturesque buildings with different shades and colours.
There is something really captivating about the narrow streets and small shops that can be found in the old town. I could spend an entire day and get lost in them.
The cathedral of Nice is located on one of the many squares located in the old town. And was built between 1650 and 1699. It is a historic monument and is dedicated to the assumption of the virgin Mary and Saint Reparata.
Not far from the Cathedral I arrived at my favourite ice-cream place in Nice! It’s called Fenocchio and is located on another square. It is an open air store and there are so many flavours that is actually tough to choose. There are flavours ranging from Baileys, to cactus to classics like chocolate or vanilla.
Some other parts of the city worth visiting are the La Tete Carrée Library which is one of the most fascinating libraries that I have ever seen.
Not only do I appreciate books, I also like architecture and this is a great mix of both. It is surrounded by parks and makes an enjoyable overall experience.
Another area that I really like is the Promenade de Paillon which is located next to the old town and this promenade has fountains and is a great place to go for family’s with kids.
With the UEFA taking place in France the city is full of football fans and the following sign is located below making it a great place for pictures.
At the end of the promenade de Paillon is Place Massena and the central point of Nice. This big square is one my of favourite parts as the buildings are beautifully coloured (yes in pink, my favourite). It is surrounded by secen resin statues that are illuminated at night and represent the seven continents.
This square also leads to the main shopping street and has a galleries la Fayette on it. From this area there are many adjacent streets with shops and restaurants.
There are stores varying from chains like Zara to a street dedicated to high end brands.
On one end of the Place Massena is the Fontaine du Soleil. In the middle of the fountain is a 7 metre marble statue of Apollo. Surrounding Apollo are five bronze statues that represent, Earth, Mars, Mercury, Saturn and Venus.
Make sure to take a picture with the fountain!
Nice is a city that is perfect for so many occasions including a family trip, honeymoon and a trip amongst friends.
If you feel like having a quick break from Nice a nearby city that is also worth visiting is Cannes. Cannes is famous for its film festival and while I was there the Lions festival was taking place. It has a beautiful street similar to the Promenade in Nice called the Boulevard de la Croisette with its iconic palm trees. In Cannes you can find: casino’s, beaches, shops, hotels, restaurants and clubs.
Cannes is a more luxury destination and a good place for a weekend getaway or to participate in one of its annual festivals.
I have found a new kind of appreciation for the South of France and will make sure to go back and visit soon but It is not recommended to go in August when the cities are filled with tourists, July and September are better times.