Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nice, France

Destination #4: Nice, France

Year of visit: 2008
Nice [nis] is a city in Southern France located on the picturesque Mediterranean coast. It is also a leading tourist centre and resort on the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur) alongside Cannes and Antibes with an enjoyable mild Mediterranean climate.

I flew into Nice from London in my favourite low-frills airline, Easyjet. Upon arrival, we could feel the immediate change in climate from London's so-called summer where the temperature hovers around 12 oC compared to Nice's 20 oC. Now this is summer!

From Nice's Côte d'Azur Airport, you can catch a public bus to the city centre - the most affordable and convenient option!

This was my first trip with an absolutely minimal planing. We didn't make prior reservation at any hostel, hotel or apartment despite it being summer! It was so spontaneous. The only thing i had in hand was a £2 mini-map from the post office.

No worries, Nice has an excellent tourist information centre not far from the Le Meridian hotel and McDonald's. You can get as many brochures about Nice from there and also get your accommodations settled over the counter if you're looking for a mid-range or high-end accommodation.

If you're looking for a budget accommodation, i suggest you make an earlier reservation or spend at least half an hour looking for one around town. Well, we split up, walked under the scorching sun around the high-streets and found one! Also a very good excuse for some Gelati.

Nice high street

I love the French architecture most in Europe.

All the old buildings look so classy after refurbishment.

That playful pussycat at our apartment's balcony. She's really cute! She knocks on our door whenever we're back at our apartment.

A square (Place in French) a stone's throw away from our apartment, with many 'grand' hotels lined up next to it namely the Grand Hotel Aston.

The coolest looking tram and tramway tracks i have seen in Europe!!!!

Take a walk along the narrow alleys and stairways for an insight of life in Nice's old town (Vieux Nice) - picturesque and colourful houses, boutiques and sidewalk cafés.

To us, the most impressive discovery of all in this old town is the food.

The beach is a walking distance from the old town. It has the feeling of Miami in United States with a whole lot of activity going on there - cycling, dog walking, jogging, skate-boarding, roller-blading, mini-trains, sun bathing, para-sailing, boat rides etc. except for the beach which is not sandy but covered with flat-stones.

If you're looking for nice sandy beaches, head on to Villefranche-sur-Mer, Antibes or Cannes.

Villefranche-sur-Mer isn't very far from Nice by bus.

Other than the old town, Place Masséna and its vicinity has many restaurants, boutiques and cafés. Be careful not to stray into the tramway though shopping in this district might cause an adrenaline rush.

Don't you agree that France sets the benchmark for high-street shopping, restaurants and cafés?

The mysterious author with Notre-Dame de Nice as the backdrop.

The 17th century Nice Cathedral or Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate de Nice in the heart of the old town. It is also the seat of the Bishop of Nice.

Now comes the MUST GO location in Nice - Colline du Chateau

The Colline du Chateau overlooking the Baie des Anges and harbour offers a spectacular panoramic view of the city. There are other things to see at the Chateau amongst them some castle ruins and a Jewish cemetery.

View from the Colline du Chateau.

And make sure you dine in one of those sidewalk restaurants if you have not sampled authentic French cuisine. There are so many restaurants around the old town for you to choose from depending on your budget.

Old town at night.

Finger-food and spices.

Please try the fried anchovies with lime! It was so addictive.

Our €25 three course dinner with complimentary champagne.

For ice-cream/gelato lovers, Fennochio's gelati are mandatory! IMHO, the gelati in Nice are better than those i have tried in Italy and Fennochio has way more variety of flavours.

Fennochio is located right infront of the Nice Cathedral or Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate de Nice.

Last but not least, the five wackos who conquered Nice.


kyh on 18 December 2008 at 21:23 said...

Ah... Nice is nice. DId you go the village of Eze? It's quite near to Nice, and the views from there are mind-blowingly spectacular!

magma3637 on 18 December 2008 at 23:25 said...

been to france before but never had a chance to visit Nice. gonna go there someday (",)y

yo! lets join youthsays-malaysia's largest youth community and enjoy some benefit too

jlshyang on 19 December 2008 at 13:13 said...

kyh: Nope, we went to Nice without any planning or knowledge of that place. LOL. It was a very pleasant surprise though.

Where's this Eze?

When we're still in the airplane we saw a very awesome coastal city with some rocky mountains near Nice, not sure if it's Cannes or Antibes.

magma3637: yea, you should it's a whole lot different experience from Paris.

anne marie isabelle on 19 December 2008 at 13:19 said...

Wow... nice looks beautiful unfortunately I didn't visit wen I was in france only visited paris... and its already big enough to explore... XD

jlshyang on 19 December 2008 at 15:05 said...

anne marie isabelle: yea i certainly agree with you. Paris is so huge that i didn't finish covering it my last trip there. Still hoping for another trip to Paris some time in the future.


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