72hrs in Nice
Nice often gets overlooked in the French Riviera, having to compete with the likes of Cannes and Monaco. This fun city has lots to offer and is strategically located - perfect for visiting other charming seaside towns such as Villefranche-su-Mer. One key spot that must be visited is the picturesque Baie des Anges which is cuddled by the Promenade de Anglais. With it's pebbly bottom and infamous blue and white striped parasol, it's easy to understand why many flock here. It is the pure picture of summer.
Henri Matisse fans can also explore the artist's popular places and see the sights that once inspired the painter. A visit to the flower market is also a must. The colourful stalls complemented by the array of blooms in the Cours Saleya Marché neighbourhood for example, is fun and charming. Head to Cimiez Hill to visit Franciscan Church and Monastery nearby. The area used to be the Roman settlement of Cemenelum before becoming the place for the rich and famous in the late 19th century. The cemetery of the church is where Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy and Roger Martin du Gard are buried. Whilst in the city it is worthwhile popping into Nice's Roman Catholic church located in the old town. The Baroque cathedral was built from the mid-to-late 1600s, housing paintings, 3 organs & altar with the remains of the martyred St Reparata.
Furthermore, Nice is a foodie's delight. Among the pricey places to eat, there are pockets of amazing local bars and restaurants that offer great food at reasonable prices. If you want to bring some delicatessen back, forget peanut butter, we topped up on pistachio cream and all sorts at Maison Bremond 1830. On most menus you’ll find typical French dishes such as duck liver pâte, snails, tuna niçoise, steak tartare, lamb cutlets and Coq Au Vin. We enjoyed the cuisine at Tote et Mamie Charlotte, a laid-back little place with local fare and great service. Aperitif can be enjoyed at Comptoir Central Eletrique on Rue Bonaparte. There is a nice relaxed atmosphere and some nights they have live music. Good spot to people watch in the late afternoon / early evening. A Casetta is a charming eclectic restaurant in the centre. They specialise in dishes made with Corsican produce and tend to have singers and guitarists play. It's a great option for a meal outdoors on the leafy terrace.
Happy Culture offers several boutique yet affordable stays. We recommend Hotel Grimaldi, which is just a week minutes walk from the beach and the flower market. Expect floral wallpaper, antique furniture and dark wooden floors.
The terracotta rooftops, promenade, antique markets and delicious food is a great head start before heading off to the rest of the French Riviera. It's an ideal way to kickstart your escape in the Côte d'Azur.