Nice is an underrated city.
The fifth largest metropolis in France has a reputation for being noisy, crowded, and a place where retirees shuffle off to live out their final days in sun-kissed obscurity. Dig a little deeper though, and this bustling town reveals a wonderful depth of character with just the right sprinkling of Franco/Italian seasoning.
Here are 4 fun things to do in Nice, France.
1)The Old Town
Don’t miss it. Yes, the streets are narrow and charming, and the flower market held on the pedestrian-only cours saleya is a must, but the main reason I look forward to visiting this section of Nice is food. Around every corner, it seems, there’s another opportunity to indulge in excruciatingly delicious Nicoise cuisine. Think authentic Italian pizza, socca, Ratatouille, pastries, homemade ice cream, and the list goes on and on and on….
2) Colline du Chateau
There’s actually no chateau (it was destroyed in 1706) on this wooded hill overlooking the city , but the name remains and so do the spectacular views. Shaded parks, waterfalls, and walking paths make Le Chateau a great place to while away a sunny afternoon.
Probably the best kept secret in Nice. The tiny, sun-drenched wine region of Le Bellet (France’s smallest with only 14 vineyards) produces approximately 200,000 bottles of exceptional wine annually. Located within the city limits of Nice, Bellet is also France’s only “urban terroir”. For a real treat schedule a private tour and tasting with my friend Jean-Pascal here.
4) Musee Chagall
When I first visited the Chagall Museum years ago I had no idea who Marc Chagall was.
It didn’t matter.
The museum’s collection of mosaics, tapestries, sculptures, and sketches by the Russian born artist is extremely impressive, but the real reason to come here is to view the seventeen jaw-dropping canvases depicting biblical scenes in brilliant colors. They are simply stunning.
Nice doesn’t get the respect it deserves. With warm rocky beaches, a vibrant seaside esplanade, a beautiful old town, wonderful museums, good food, and a lively nightlife, there’s so much to do. As Le Stuff mentions above, I also enjoy the walk up the colline du chateau. It’s green and beautiful, there are kids playing in the park, and the view of the city and the port are lovely. And don’t forget to visit the Cimitiere du Colline du Chateau on your way up. It’s a beautiful cemetery. For an unusual and surreal experience I like to grab a late coffee and ice cream at La Rotonde in the Hotel Negresco. The experience feels like a scene from “The Shining” albeit in France rather than the Rocky Mountains. And don’t forget that Nice can be a great home base for exploring the surrounding areas. Give Nice a chance, it won’t dissapoint.
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Thanks Dirk for this latest blog…was thrilled when I saw it on my email..have missed you over the last few months
Foolishly, even tho I am in Villefranche every year (out of JFK to Nice) I have never explored the Bar sur Loup area/and village. I usually do not drive while there..but will this time. Pls let me know the easiest route..and is the hotel open in late Oct anfd November (which is my time period) I have had many disappointments trying to lunch at various wonderful hotels (i.e. La Colombe Dor) in Oct only to get there and find a Ferme on the door,
Thanks for everything you send
Hi Melissa, very nice to hear from you!
How to get to Le Bar sur Loup from Villefranche? I would get on the A8 heading West and take the St Paul de Vence, Cagnes sur Mer exit (I think exit # 48)). If you know how to get to St Paul then I would go there and then follow the signs to Vence. Once in Vence follow the signs (west) to Tourrettes sur Loup and then it’s just a straight shot to Bar from there continuing on the D2210. There is a shortcut you can take before you get to St Paul but things might get a little confusing and I’d hate for you to get lost.
I’m assuming you’re referring to L’Hostellerie du Chateau when you mention the hotel? The restaurant is closed on Monday and Tuesday, October 1st Until May 31st.
There is also a new restaurant in Bar that’s located on the main square. I’ve heard great things about it. Here’s a link to Le Donjon, http://bistrodonjon.fr/
And here’s the link to L’Hostellerie du Chateau – http://www.lhostellerieduchateau.com/
Thanks for checking in, have a wonderful trip, and please keep me posted!