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Nice - A travel report by Jeanette
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Nice,  France - flag France -  Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
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flygirl's travel reports

Nice in the summer - simple way to recharge

  11 votes
I needed a break between jobs, wanted some place sunny and fun, and Nice was the place! Easy comfortable overnight train trip from Paris if you want to save on accomodation and time. It was cheaper for me to get a plane to Paris and take the train down.

Candied fruit in the Cours Saleya, Vieux Nice
Candied fruit in the Cours Saleya, Vieux Nice
Beautiful, sunny, glistening city with a charming old town. Extremely easy to get around, and a great base for exploring the Cote d'Azur on a budget. Accomodation was my greatest expense while there. It's easy and preferable to live on street food like socca and fruit, which are glorious from the market in the old city - the Cours Saleya area.

Favourite spots:
Delicious and beautiful marzipan creations
Delicious and beautiful marzipan creations
Cours Saleya - food and flower market. Fenocchio - extremely delicious gelateria with very unique flavors.
The old town at night - in general, lots of fun, interesting characters all over the place, fantastic little shops selling everything from candied fruit to Provencal textiles to soaps to food to olive oils. Eating socca (chickpea flour and olive oil crepe) and walking around town.

What's really great:
Relaxation and fun by the Med
Relaxation and fun by the Med
What I loved about Nice is that it's a great place to be when you are in the mood to relax and take a simple trip, enjoy people with a love for life and sun and fun and simple fresh food. My goal of this trip was not one for too much challenge or adventure, just a relaxing time to recharge after finishing a stressful job, and this place did it for me. While I speak French fluently, English is spoken mostly everywhere if necessary for those who don't. Also, hop on the train in Nice and go east or west for short day trips to Antibes, Cannes, Monte Carlo, and the French train ends at Ventimiglia in Italy. You can then go further into Italy, and I dropped into Sanremo. I liked Villefrance-sur-Mer and Eze, which are also on the train route. This time of year the entire area is extremely touristed, but go there with a happy attitude, and you'll have a good time. I had a lovely time!

Promenade des Anglais with the Negresco Hotel
Promenade des Anglais with the Negresco Hotel
Vieux Nice, and the Cours Saleya. Matisse Museum if you are into that. And of course, the wonderful blue "Med". If that isn't a way to relax, I don't know what is! See also the Negresco Hotel - step inside and gape in awe at the opulence. Stay a few nights there if you're a person of independent and unlimited wealth. The various towns along the train route - excellent access from Nice.

Walk from the hotel through the city to get to the sea
Walk from the hotel through the city to get to the sea
Staying at a hotel near (but not to close to) the train station is worthwhile. I stayed at Hotel Saint Gothard, and it was lovely for the price and location - close enough to the station but secure from the noise - windows are soundproofed. Also, it means you get to walk through the city to get to the sea, which is a charming walk - I am glad I got a hotel far enough (yet walkable) to the Med, rather than right on the Promenade des Anglais - the ones there tend to be overpriced and noisy. An elegant and unexpected touch in this basically moderate hotel were the Fragonard soaps from Grasse on the sink. I didn't have a chance to go to Grasse, but if you have a free day, it's a reasonable day trip and the Fragonard perfumerie is wonderful, as a fellow traveller told me. Their perfumes are hard to find and expensive in North America, so go there and stock up if you like their stuff.

A colorful character in Vieux Nice at night
A colorful character in Vieux Nice at night
Visit the Old City at night, where it comes alive with all kinds of interesting buskers, tourists out for a good time, characters of all sorts, restaurant tables spilling out onto the cobblestone streets full of festive crowds... Also, free and beautiful, are the benches overlooking the Mediterranean sea on the Promenade des Anglais. Go for a night swim - the beaches were lively up until the late hours of the night. Visit the Negresco Hotel - the ultimate hotel in Nice, looks rather like a pink and green birthday cake - and have a good look at the "beautiful" people starting out for a night on the town.

Cool and refreshing and unusual gelato
Cool and refreshing and unusual gelato
Fenocchio - Yup, I literally hung out here on each hot afternoon for a good 20 minutes selecting and eating gelato. I think it has the most original gelato flavors I've tried anywhere - what do you think of flavors such as Basil, Tomato, Verbena, Lavender, Rosemary, Jasmine, Calisson (my favorite - a Calisson is a sweet originating in Aix made of almond paste with an apricot center and glazed with white icing - they made a gelato out of it and it's fantastic!!).
Check out the website:
Also, other hangouts: the beaches, the coastal towns, and the train on the coast - yes, the train was in one sense a "hangout" for me since I personally consider the ride itself a tourist attraction. Go on it and look out the window all the way into Italy (French train ends at Ventimiglia) and you'll know what I mean. Make sure you sit on the Mediterranean side, whichever direction, east or west, you are going.

Typical shot of the wonderful fresh veggies in the Cours Saleya market
Typical shot of the wonderful fresh veggies in the Cours Saleya market
Ah, food in the South of France - fresh, strong flavored, aromatic. There are myriad good restaurants, but I was on a budget and had to be selective. If you want restaurant recommendations, I recommend you wander the streets when you're there. I most definitely was most attracted to the market and street vendors for food. So instead in this section I'd direct you towards the Cours Saleya - a market, not a restaurant - to sample your way through the fruit market and buy some of the fresh melon from Cavaillon, the strawberries from Carpentras, and frankly everything that looks delicious to you. The scents are intoxicating. I mostly ate at small street vendors that were tucked into corners in the squares in Vieux Nice. Socca was a favorite (chickpea crepe, sprinkled with pepper) and fish dishes with freshly caught rougeon (I believe that's red mullet). I had a sort of paella with a mix of Mediterranean fish washed down with Tavel, a popular region of rosé wine in Provence.

Other recommendations:
Yachts in Monte Carlo
Yachts in Monte Carlo
I can't say this enough - the train service from Nice to just about everywhere along the coast - say realistic day trip from anywhere between Antibles to Ventimiglia - is cheap, comfortable, fast and most importantly gorgeous. You can get up to Grasse, which is the French perfume capital, and tour the perfumeries - Fragonard is the easiest if you have no other transportation besides the train and your feet. Remember Monte Carlo is on this route, I got off there and checked out the yachts, the cars, the Casino, the hilly streets, the Palace, and had an extremely expensive drink at the Cafe de Paris overlooking the Casino, but thought what the heck, it was the only thing I bought in Monte Carlo besides another roll of film.

Published on Tuesday August 28th, 2007

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Fri, Sep 14 2007 - 10:22 AM rating by bineba

Reminds me of my trip a few years ago. I also had a great time!


Wed, Sep 05 2007 - 10:54 PM rating by downundergal

I like your writing style, full of personal observations, interesting and easy to read. Some pictures would really lift your report and ratings. Well done.

Fri, Aug 31 2007 - 02:09 AM rating by marianne

Very nice report, would love to see some photos

Wed, Aug 29 2007 - 07:57 AM rating by davidx

Very promising first report - congratulations on wading straight in. Reports generally need some pictures to get top grades and it is best to try to fill in all the sections. Don't rush to publish! You can hold a report invisible until you are sure you have got in everything you can.

Tue, Aug 28 2007 - 11:43 AM rating by rangutan

"Nice" but very brief report, just like the route Mr. Bean took, Gracia! :-)

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