The French Riviera: deep blue sea and lush green parksNice is very lucky: it has the Mediterranean Sea and its pleasant climate on one side and oases of greenery on the other. Ever since the English aristocracy started coming to Nice in the 18th century, the Promenade des Anglais has been one of the most popular spots in this coastal town. Life in Nice is gentle and sweet, with the warmth of the coastal climate reflected in the faces of its inhabitants. The exceptional natural area of the Parc du Mont Boron, which offers hiking with fantastic viewpoints, is a perfect place to take in the splendour of Nice’s wild side. The dreamlike gardens of the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, atop a hill on the Cap Ferrat peninsula, are a jewel in the crown of the French Riviera.The city’s architecture and historical sites: gathering places and Italian influenceNice is a brightly-coloured city. It’s a blend of styles in the warm tones of Italy. This former county of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia only became part of France in 1860, and the warm influences of both countries can still be seen today.
As you leave Place Massena and walk through old Nice, with its narrow cobblestone streets lined with shops, the city’s Piedmont origins reveal themselves. Buildings that were once painted in bright yellow, pink and orange tones have faded in the sun over time, becoming a more pastel version of themselves. Place Garibaldi, the impossible-to-miss central square, gives you a taste of everyday life in Nice, where pedestrians and trams move past one another in an effortless ballet. At the centre of the square, the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate, with its baroque facade and cupola roofed with varnished tiles, acts a guardian of the old city walls.Nice, a refuge for artists seeking the perfect lightNice is also a work of art. Its colours and light have won over many famous artists, including Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse and Auguste Renoir. These geniuses all came here to find inspiration for their art, instilling a new sense of artistry in the city and its inhabitants. The Musée Matisse pays homage to one of the greatest painters to have ever lived in Nice. At the Musée Chagall, the exhibit will transport you into the colourful, spiritual world of the artist’s biblical paintings. The MAMAC (Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain) reinforces the strong link between the city and art, both modern and fantastical. Between contemplation and self-mockery, have fun with art thanks to the artistic movement known as l’Ecole de Nice, and the works of its founder, Ben. This city’s lights inspired all of these varied artists, who were charmed by its beauty.Nice’s gastronomic tradition: regional products and dishesIn the heart of the old city, Mediterranean and Provençal flavours blend with the colours of Nice. The red and green of local bell peppers, melons and courgettes mix with the ochre tones of the sun-baked walls. The greengrocers at the Cours Saleya market offer you a colourful array of regional fruits and vegetables. You can choose your own colours and ingredients for your future compositions, in this town where cooking is a way of life. Between two stalls, you can taste socca and panisse, two local recipes made with chickpeas. Mediterranean flavours and products local to Nice are given pride of place at Lou Pistou, while l’Oliviera focuses on the secret of excellent olive oils, which have their chance to shine in regional dishes.
In Nice, the Belle Époque that made the city so famous still seems to be in full swing. The city’s past continues to offer today’s visitors the elegance of a sophisticated, calm destination. The omnipresent sea and greenery add to the peaceful, charming character of this prime French Riviera destination.
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