The city of Nice, nestled upon the French Mediterranean coast, has long beckoned people from far and near. A group of ancient Greeks moved into the area and named their settlement Nikaia, after the goddess Nike. And certainly Nice’s warm weather and gorgeous scenery are suitable for a goddess. If you’re planning a trip to Nice, surely you will wish to include at least some of the following attractions on your itinerary.
For centuries artists have found inspiration and taken up residence in Nice, and much of their work is now on display within the city. At the Matisse Museum, for example, you may soak in some of the colourful, highly imaginative creations of the beloved Henri Matisse (1869-1954). Some of Matisse’s belongings are on display as well. The Museum of Asian Art, meantime, celebrates artists who lived far from Nice’s shores. This museum, located across from the airport, divides its exhibitions into four sections: Japanese, Chinese, Cambodian, and Indian. Its artwork spans the ages, from ancient creations to modern masterpieces.
The public beaches of Nice are stunning to the eyes, but not as appealing to the rest of the body. That’s because, rather than sand, they’re covered with gallets, which are flat rocks. Without footwear, then, a stroll on one of these beaches can be brutal to the feet, and you’ll need a cushioned mat to sit or lie on. Nevertheless, the waters of Nice are brilliant; they shimmer in a picture-perfect shade of blue. Gazing out at the ocean, you can understand why artistic geniuses like Matisse are so drawn to this region.
For a unique overview of Nice’s shoreline, try the Cliff Walk, a favourite amongst locals. The Cliff Walk begins on the cliff overlooking Coco Beach, and extends around the cape called Cap de Nice. It’s a somewhat difficult walk, in that you must ascend hundreds of steps before it’s over, but the views are tremendously inspiring. Expect to step over and around many a sunbather as you make your way along the French Riviera.
Vieux Nice, also known as Old Town, is a repository of Old-World charm. This neighbourhood consists of narrow, labyrinthine streets, boutiques, cathedrals, and cafes. Of special note is the extensive Cours Saleya Flower Market; its powerful fragrance will let you know when you’re getting close. Be aware that most public toilets in Old Town charge fees, and that night-time crimes against tourists are not unheard of, so travel in a group after dark and always be aware of your surroundings.
Getting to Nice, thankfully, is simple. The Aeroport de Nice Cote d’Azur, also known as the Nice International Airport, offers frequent express buses to the city; these rides take approximately twenty minutes each way. And many global airlines offer daily flights to Nice. One of the best options here is EasyJet. EasyJet Airline is Britain’s biggest airline; it operates hundreds of airplanes and flies to dozens of countries worldwide, even though it only opened for business in 1995. The company’s rates are highly competitive, too. Nice is also accessible by the SNCF train network, by the A8 auto route, by long-distance bus, and via ferry from Corsica.
In summation, a trip to Nice represents more than a getaway from the busyness of daily life. It’s an opportunity to connect with nature at its most visually splendid, to savour authentic international dishes – many of them handmade from scratch each day – and to meet people from all over the world. A voyage to Nice might be over all too soon, but its memories will linger vividly for a good long while.