Nice in Provence Côte d'Azur is one of France's most populous cities and is a glorious seaside resort on the Bay of Angels.
The fifth most populous city in France, Nice is a buzzing and vibrant city on the Mediterranean coast. But it still has its old roots with the wonderfully preserved old town, Vieux Nice, full of narrow streets and boutique shops. The place to be seen is the Promenade des Anglais beside the shore which runs the entire length of Nice's seafront. Perfect for walkers, joggers, cyclists and roller-bladers or to sit down on one of the famous blue seats and enjoy the views of the beautiful Mediterranean sea. In the distance rise the snow-capped mountains of the Alps in contrast to the warm blue sea. With 15 private and 20 public beaches, there is always somewhere to relax and soak up the sunshine in Nice. The city also has an interesting history and is one of the oldest human settlements known by scientists. There are two archaeological sites that are open for visits with the Terra Amata museum located on the site of the oldest discovered hearth used by humans 400,000 years ago which have been reconstructed into scenes of pre-historic life and the ruins at Cemenelum. Here you'll find the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre and baths from the 3rd century AD and paved streets and a Paleo-Christian complex dating from the 5th century AD. The museum at the site contains collections dating from the Bronze Age to the Middle Ages including ceramics, glass, coins, jewellery and tools.
If you can tear yourself from the stunning seafront for long enough, Nice has several good arts museums including the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art containing paintings by the artists of the École de Nice (Nice School) including Matisse, a Fine Arts Museum featuring paintings and sculptures from the 13th to 20th centuries, the Matisse museum which follows his career from his first paintings to his last drawings, the Marc Chagall museum containing the 17 Biblical message paintings and an Asian Art museum with classical and contemporary art from India, China, South East Asia and Japan. The city also has some great religious architecture with the Orthodox cathedral, built in the early 1900s for the Russian aristocracy who flocked here during the winter months and which is the largest and oldest Russian Orthodox cathedral outside of Russia, the Baroque Cathédrale Ste Raparte and the 19th century Basilique Notre Dame. There are also plenty of ways to get active in Nice with watersports including canoeing, kitesurfing and scuba diving or take a trip out to the mountains just over an hour and half's drive away and enjoy the ski resorts and wintersports such as climbing and canyoning. For a more relaxing stroll why not visit some of Nice's excellent parks and gardens including the Jardin Botanique, Jardin Albert 1er and the Parc Chambrun. Other unusual attractions in the city are the caves of La Grotte Lazaret, the Astrorama with its telescopes and the observatory.
Nice has several fantastic markets including an antiques market, fruit market, fish market, flower market.... there is even a postcard market on the 4th Saturday of every month! The city also has many boutiques, especially in Vieux Nice with perfumeries, chocolateries, jewellers and fabric and craft shops. The city is famous for its cuisine niçoise, where foods such as socca (a thin cake made from chickpea flour), nonat (fish fry often used in soups), Nice gnocchi and Nice ravioli, pissaladière (a pizza-like dish) and ratatouille are all on the menu. Don't miss out on trying some real salad niçoise. The AOC label has been awarded to the olives de Nice and its products, and the delicious Bellet wines made from grapes grown in the hills nearby.
Region: Provence Côte d'Azur
Holidays in France
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