Sunday, 25 October 2009

Huge discounts at Bellevue Holiday Rentals, Nice, France

Bellevue Holiday Rentals in Nice, France, is now offering a 20% discount for all bookings of designated apartments in Nice, Cote d'Azur, from November 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010! Instead of € 415 per week (€ 59 per day), you pay € 329 per week (€ 47 per day)! Hurry and book your dream apartment on the French Riviera direct with the owners: Click here for more info:

Monday, 31 August 2009

Last Minute Offer in Nice, France!

Last Minute Offer in Nice, Cote d'Azur, French Riviera: Nice apartment near Vieux Nice, Place Garibaldi and Beach, at the Marina, sleeps 3, from 21st to 26th September 2009. Normal price: € 295,- (five nights); Now 30% off! You pay € 207,50. You save € 88,50.
Click here to book the apartment direct with the owner!

Friday, 21 August 2009

Nice Travel Guide

Let us help you a little with this Nice travel planner. In this article we will tell you all about Nice - the history, the climate, the sights to see, the nightlife, the shopping centres, the accomodation, the restaurants, the bars, the beaches, the Old Town (Vieux Nice), the Old Port Lympia, the antiques centre (Quartier des Antiquaires) and so much more.

The French Riviera
This is the Riviera of Hollywood lore, a land of sunglasses, convertibles, and palm trees lording it over indigo surf. From glamorous St-Tropez and Cannes through picturesque Antibes to sophisticated Nice, this sprawl of pebble beaches and ocher villas has captivated sun lovers and socialites since the days of the Grand Tour. Artists, too: Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, and Cocteau all reveled in its light and left an impressive legacy of modern art behind them. If you're weary of the coast, it's three quick heel-clicks into another world: just behind the shore lie the golden
hill towns of Old Provence: St-Paul, Vence, and Grasse.
This is where the dreamland of azure waters and indigo sky begins, where balustraded white villas edge the blue horizon, evening air is perfumed with jasmine and mimosa, and parasol pines silhouette against sunsets of ripe apricot and gold. As emblematic as the sheet-music cover for a Jazz Age tune, the Côte d'Azur seems to epitomize happiness, a state of being the world pursues with a vengeance.
But the Jazz Age dream confronts modern reality: on the hills that undulate along the blue water, every cliff, cranny, gully, and plain bristles with cubes of hot-pink cement and iron balconies, each skewed to catch a glimpse of the sea and the sun. Like a rosy rash, these crawl and spread, outnumbering the trees and blocking each other's views. Their owners and renters, who arrive on every vacation and at every holiday—Easter, Christmas, Carnival, All Saints' Day—choke the tiered highways with bumper-to-bumper cars, and on a hot day in high summer the traffic to the beach—slow-flowing at any time—coagulates and blisters in the sun. In other words; this is the place you want to be.
Veterans know that the beauty of the Côte d'Azur coastline is only skin deep, a thin veneer of coddled glamour that hugs the water and hides a much more ascetic region up in the hills.
These low-lying mountains and deep gorges are known as the arrière-pays (backcountry) for good cause: they are as aloof and isolated as the waterfront resorts are in the swim. Medieval stone villages cap rocky hills and play out scenes of Provençal life—the game of boules, the slowly savored pastis (the anise-and-licorice-flavored spirit mixed slowly with water), the farmers' market—as if the ocean were a hundred miles away. Some of them have become virtual Provençal theme parks, catering to busloads of tourists day-tripping from the coast. But just behind them, dozens of hill towns stand virtually untouched, and you can lose yourself in a
cobblestone maze.
You could drive from St-Tropez to the border of Italy in three hours and take in the entire Riviera, so small is this renowned stretch of Mediterranean coast. Along the way you'll undoubtedly encounter the downside: jammed beaches, insolent waiters serving frozen seafood, traffic gridlock. But once you dabble your feet off the docks in a picturesque port full of brightly painted boats, or drink a Lillet in a hilltop village high above the coast, or tip your face up to the sun from a boardwalk park bench and doze off to the rhythm of the waves, you will very likely
be seduced to linger.

The history of Nice
Nice was founded around 350 BC by the Greek seafaring folks who had settled Marseilles. They named the colony Nikaia, apparently to commemorate a victory (nike in Greek) over a nearby town. In 154 BC the Greeks were followed by the Romans, who settled farther uphill around what is now Cimiez, site of a number of Roman ruins.
The Counts of Provence ruled Nice in the 10th century until the House of Savoy took over in 1388. In 1860, Napoleon decided he wanted to annex Nice to France. He put the matter to a vote and Nice voted to become part of France.
There has always been a rush to the Côte d'Azur (or Azure Coast), starting with the ancient Greeks, who were drawn eastward from Marseille to market their goods to the natives. From the 18th-century English aristocrats who claimed it as one vast spa to the 19th-century Russian nobles who transformed Nice into a tropical St. Petersburg to the 20th-century American tycoons who cast themselves as romantic sheiks, the beckoning coast became a blank slate for their whims. Like the modern vacationers who followed, they all left their mark—villas, shrines—temples all to the sensual pleasures of the sun and sultry sea breezes. Artists, too, made the Côte d'Azur their own, as museum goers who have studied the sunny legacy of Picasso, Renoir, Matisse, and Chagall will attest. Today's admirers can take this all in, along with
the Riviera's textbook points of interest: animated St-Tropez; the Belle Epoque aura of Cannes; the towns made famous by Picasso—Antibes, Vallauris, Mougins; the urban charms of Nice; and several spots where the per-capita population of billionaires must be among the highest on the planet: Cap d'Antibes, Villefranche-sur-Mer, and Monaco.

Nice, the capital of the Côte d'Azur
"Nizza la Bella" sing the people of Nice. Come here for the palms, the beach, the carnival, but look below the surface and the real Nice is even more beautiful. A queen of culture and life, its festivals, heritage and gastronomy are a delight!
The lay of the land east of Nice is nearly vertical, as the coastline is one great cliff, a corniche terraced by three parallel highways—the Corniche Inférieure (sometimes called the Basse Corniche and N98), the Moyenne Corniche (N7), and the Grande Corniche (D2564)—that snake along its graduated crests.
The lowest (inférieure) is the slowest, following the coast and crawling through the main streets of resorts, including downtown Monte Carlo. Villefranche, Cap-Ferrat, and Beaulieu are some of the towns located along this 20-mile-long highway. The highest (grande) is the fastest, but its panoramic views are blocked by villas, and there are few safe overlooks (this is the highway Grace Kelly roared along in To Catch a Thief, and some 27 years later, at La Turbie, crashed and died on). The middle (moyenne) offers views down over the shoreline and villages and passes through a few picturesque cliff-top towns, including Èze.
And then of course there is Nice itself, full of big-city textures, scents, and history, rich with museums, and coloured with its own cuisine and patois. Nice, Queen of the Riviera: With its bonbon-colored palaces, blue Baie des Anges, time-stained Old Town, and Musée Matisse, this is one of France's most colorful cities.

With the Alps playing bodyguard against inland winds and the sultry Mediterranean warming the breezes, the Côte d'Azur, or French Riviera, is pampered by a nearly tropical climate. Nice enjoys mild temperatures most of the year; rainfall is very moderate and mainly concentrated in the darkest part of the year (September to March). It can be a windy city, especially in spring.
Summers are hot, dry, and sunny. Rainfall is rare in this season, and a typical July month only records one or two days with measurable rainfall. Temperatures seldom go below 20°C, and frequently reach 30°C, but it's about 5° cooler in the mountains. Average annual maximum is about 35°C. The absolute maximum recorded temperature in Nice was 37.7°C on the 1st of August 2006.
Autumn generally starts sunny in September and becomes more cloudy and rainy towards
October, while temperatures usually remain above 20°C until November where days start to cool down to around 17°C.
Winters are characterized by mild days (11 to 17°C), cool nights (4°C to 9°C) and variable weather, usually warm enough to lunch outdoors under the noon sunshine in little more than a T-shirt, even in February. Days can be either sunny and dry, or damp and rainy. Frost is unusual and snowfalls are so extremely rare that they are remembered by inhabitants as special events. Annual minimum is on average around 1°C.
Spring starts mild and a little bit rainy in late March, and is increasingly warm and sunny towards June.

When to go to Nice
July and August in on the French Riviera can be stifling, not only because of the intense heat but the crowds of tourists and vacationers. However I must admit that July and August are the best months for us in the holiday business, and it's amazing to see European tourists turn from light blue to white to pink to deep red in just one day. June and September are the best months to be in the region, as both are free of the midsummer crowds and the weather is summer-balmy. June offers the advantage of long daylight hours, although cheaper prices and many warm days, often lasting well into October, make September attractive. Try to avoid the second half of July and all of August, when almost all of France goes on vacation. Huge crowds
jam the roads and beaches, and prices are jacked up in resorts. Don't travel on or around July 14 and August 1, 15, and 31, when every French family is either going on vacation or driving home. The best way to travel is by air, and there are plenty of ways to get to Nice for a fraction of the price of travelling by car or train.
Anytime between March and November will offer you a good chance to soak up the sun on the Côte d'Azur. After All Saints (November 1) the whole region begins to shutter down for winter, and won't open its main resort hotels until Easter. Most holiday apartment rentals will also be available during off-season. Off-season also has its charms—the pétanque games are truly just the town folks' game, the most touristy hill towns are virtually abandoned, and when it's nice out—more often than not—you can bask in direct sun in the cafés. Winter is an ideal time to visit, since the crowds of summer disappear by the end of September, yet the warmth and light, which has attracted everyone from aristocrats to Impressionists, remains.

Transportation in Nice
Nice has got an excellent public transport system. For just 1 euro you can travel 74 minutes (in one direction) on the bus and the new tramway system. For just 4 euros you can buy a day ticket ("pass"), valid for all Ligne d'Azur buses and trams. It is the same ticket you buy when you take the nr 98 or 99 bus (Airport Direct) from the airport. After 10pm there are night buses (N1, N2, N3, N4 and N5) that will take you to the outskirts of Nice and even to St. Laurent de Var.
Taxis are quite expensive, compared to British taxis. A taxi from the airport to the inner city will cost you about 30 euros.
New to Nice is the Vélobleu, blue bikes you can hire per hour, per day, per week, per month or per year. You pay with your credit card or your mobile phone.
There are plenty of public parking garages in Nice. A day ticket for a parking garage will cost you about 24 euros. Parking in the street is difficult; there seem to be more cars than parking places in Nice, especially in the summer.

The areas of Nice

The Old Port (Port Lympia)
The Port Lympia in Nice is a charming place to visit, a wonderful place for a holiday in Nice, especially when you rent an apartment in this old part of Nice, with its picturesque inner Port harbours yachts, fishing and excursion boats as well as a deep sea diving school.
Few Nice sights can rival its Old Port Lympia bordered by colourful pastel buildings and filled with boats of all size. For mega-yachts, you'll have to head to the deeper waters of Villefranche or Antibes, but the Nice Port has more old-fashioned charm. Try to go in mid-afternoon when the sun's golden rays fill the port with colour.
The construction of the port was a project of Charles Emmanuel III, Duke of Savoy, who directed it from his capital at Turin. Work began in 1750 and the port opened to traffic in 1752.
But, it soon became clear that the port was too small and had a tendency to silt up.
Improvements were made but it wasn't until 1829 that King Charles-Felix took matters in hand and made the necessary enlargements.
Thanks to King Charles-Felix, we can admire the Place Ile de Beauté ("Ile de Beauté" refers to Corsica), a lovely square around the Notre Dame du Port Church. The church was erected to bless seafarers and the square is bordered by harmonious neo-classical houses.
Although there are no longer fishermen hauling their catch into the port, you can eat fish and seafood in one of the many restaurants bordering the port. The eastern bank is where to go for dining; there are restaurants of all price ranges. The Lympia marina, also called Bassin Lympia, remains smallish and pleasant, with its glowing rows of red and gold painted façades in neo-classical Italian style. Fishing activities remain but the number of professional fishermen is now less than 10. Nice, being the point of continental France nearest to Corsica, has ferry connections with the island developed with the arrival of NGV (navires à grande vitesse) or high-speed craft.
Just behind this little rectangle of a port, Lou Casteu or the Chateau broods over the port's line of up yachts and its few ferry boats and looks over bay and city. Nice views from up there.
To reach the top of Chateau Hill from Old Port Lympia, walk to Rue de Forresta and Montée Montfort. You'll encounter plenty of lovely cobblestone steps this way. A more leg-friendly option exists to head up to the castle: an elevator from the tour Bellanda on the other side.
On the Western part of the Old Port Lympia you will find the Quartier des Antiquaires. There are many antique shops in this cozy neighborhood, but for now we will focus on the Village Ségurane and Les Puces de Nice. On the outside, in Rue Antoine Gautier, the Village Ségurane looks like any other antique shop in the neighborhood. But don't get misguided by the façade. If you walk along Rue Catherine Ségurane towards the sea, you will find another entrance. While the Flea Market on the Cours Saleya in Nice (every Monday) is turning more and more into an ordinary tourist trap, the Village Ségurane in Nice still is a chic haven for those in
the antique market. Old linen, china, "objects de curiosité" -- the Village Ségurane offers a wide choice for hunters. At the heart of the Old Port Lympia, this jewel is an atypical flea market.
More than forty-two shops are spread in a small maze of alleys. Village Ségurane is known as the aficionados' flea market. Further down to the port, only a minute's walk from the Village Ségurane, you will find Les Puces de Nice, another gathering of antiques and brocante shops. If you're into antiques and brocante, this is a place you could easily spend an hour or two without getting bored for a second. The shop keepers are friendly and relaxed. Most of them speak English. You never know what you will find in Les Puces de Nice - experience the adventure!
The Place Garibaldi, on the north end of the Port Lympia, stands out for its architecture and history. It is named after Giuseppe Garibaldi, hero of the Italian unification (born in Nice in 1807 when Nice was part of the Napoleonic Empire, before reverting back to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia). The square was built at the end of the 18th century and served as the entry gate to the city and end of the road to Turin. It took several names between 1780 and 1870 (Plaça Pairoulièra, Place de la République, Place Napoléon, Place d'Armes, Place Saint-Augustin, Piazza Vittorio) and finally Place Garibaldi in September 1870.
A statue of Garibaldi, who was fiercely in favour of the union of Nice with Italy. stands in the centre of the square. The recent rebuilding of the area to accommodate the new tramway line gave mostly the entire square to pedestrians, The architecture is in line with the Turin model, which was the norm of urban renewal throughout the entire realm of the House of Savoy. It is a crossroads between the Vieux Nice (old town) and the city centre.
The nightlife in the Old Port Lympia has been given a boost, ever since a low-cost cruise ship started to drop anchor at the port in the summer of 2005.

More and more cruiseships and ferries are coming to the Côte d'Azur and the city of Nice is afraid of losing this business to Villefranche and Cannes whose ports are deeper and more suitable for huge cruiseships. A new port will, therefore, be created near the airport which will accommodate the ferries and the cruiseships and other commercial activities. The new port, which should be ready in or after 2015, will be close to the A 8 motorway and a TGV (high speed train) station and the future residential area called Nice Meridia. In addition, the new tramway system will be extended to both the airport and the new port. What does all this mean
for the Old Port Lympia? Less traffic, and the Port will be a marina only, for private yachts, excursion boats and fishing boats. For these reasons, the Port is now the desired area for property owners and investors. The advent of the new tramway system has already increased the price of property and, as the Port becomes a very much desired tourist area because of its proximity to the sea, Vieux Nice and the City, the value of property will grow. The traffic to and from the Corsica and Sardinia ferries will be to the new Port. The plans for the development of the Port area includes the building of a huge parking garage under the marina and making the
Port area a pedestrian zone.

Between the Port and Vieux Nice, the Parc du Chateau looms over Vieux Nice from a height of 92m. By day the park offers unforgettable views over the Baie des Anges, and by night the illuminated Chateau cuts a striking figure against the sky.
Despite its name, there's very little of the medieval defensive fortress that remains which is a shame considering the Chateau's importance in Nice history. From the time of the ancient Greeks, residents took shelter on the high hill to escape from Barbarian invasions. By the 13th century, the hill was inhabited by several thousand people who erected churches, convents, a market and hospitals.
A defensive system became ever more elaborate throughout the 16th century before Louis XIV razed most of it in 1706. In the 19th century, urbanists created the first public garden in Nice on top of the hill which eventually were enlarged and expanded to include Aleppo pines, cypresses, parasol pines and other Mediterranean vegetation.
In addition to the spectacular views, the Parc de Chateau is worth a visit for the:
Cascade Donjon, an artificial waterfall
the Tour Bellanda, the 16th-century tower rebuilt in the 19th century
the Cemetery (devided in a Christian and a Jewish cemetery) in which several notables
are buried
Le Fête du Chateau, a gathering of political and human rights activists and their

The Chateau offers fabulous vista over the Baie des Anges, Old Nice, and the Port, some of the most photographed panoramic viewpoints in Europe. It is easily accessible from the foot of the Old town and the bay, but for those not able to make the climb there is a lift - an "ascenseur".
You will find the unobtrusive ruins of the old Cathedral of Nice, a few simple cafes and a gift stall. The walk up takes in the waterfall, and varied pathways which allow you to explore nearby "Cimitières de Nice", with a Jewish section and a Christian section, or return via the Old Town or the Port.
Try to catch the view at sunset, just before the park closes for the evening. Pick a fine clear evening as the sun is sinking below the horizon, leaving its legacy of pink and darkening blue sky. The city lights begin to sparkle, with the magnificent sweep of the Baie des Anges, a necklace of light reaching out to the airport. On the distant skyline the shadow of Cap d'Antibes and behind, the undulations of The Esterel, the gateway to St Tropez. Below you, the Cours Saleya glows with life and all Nice is a glittering mosaic of street and apartment lights.
In Winter the Parc du Chateau closes at 18.30, which with sunset a little after 17.30gives you a perfect window. In summer you can take your time.

Vieux Nice
A visit to Vieux Nice, a pedestrians' heaven, begins in the Cours Saleya, the sensual centre of life in the Old Town. The daily morning market is thronged. No sooner do the shoppers clear out than the restaurants set up their outdoor tables for dinner. The ambience is casual now but in the 18th century, the Cours Saleya was a hub for only the most well-heeled residents. The Chapelle de la Miséricorde (2 Place Pierre-Gautier) on the northern side is a magnificent testament to the prestige of the Cours Saleya. Built in 1740, it's considered a masterpiece of
baroque architecture. The interior is a dazzling display of frescoes and gilt. Based around the Cours Saleya, the maze-like streets of Vieux Nice are fun to explore, whether you are shopping, eating or simply just enjoying the 'buzz'. Small, mainly independent shops fill the streets, selling food, clothing, jewellery, cd's and local arts. In the mornings there is a colourful food and flower market in the Cours Saleya. There are plenty of outside cafes, great for people-watching or not doing much at all except being there.
At night, these little streets really come alive. Bars and restaurants are plentiful and people swarm there to soak up the atmosphere. The vibe is very French yet also very Italian, with quite a few Italian restaurants. Go for menu of the day, it is by far the most economic option and just as good.
Place Rosetti, one of old Nice's many charming squares, is home to the baroque cathedral Saint Réparate, built in honour of an early martyr who was made the patron saint of Nice. The Sainte Réparate was consecrated in 1699 and the interior is glorious. Over the altar hangs a painting showing 17th century Nice.
In summer the square is filled with happy visitors on the alfresco tables of La Claire Fontaine, and the very wonderful Fennochio, maker of hundreds of flavours of ice cream.
From the rue Rossetti (upwards, to the Chateau), take the third left onto the rue Droite which takes you to the Palais Lascaris, home to the municipal museum of Nice. The beautiful facade of the Palais is to be noticed only if you look straight up, and is easy to miss. The Palais dates back to the 1700's and houses a fascinating collection of antiquities including a recreation of 19th century French pharmacy. The vaulted ceilings and baroque stairwells are set off in rich pinks, gold and alabaster. Built in the Genoan style in 1665, the sumptuous interior is wrapped
around an amazing balustraded stairway which leads to a riot of paintings and statues in the richly ornamented rooms.
You're just near the Place Saint-François in which a harmonious arrangement of houses
encircles a local fish market.
Before you go (back) to the Old Port Lympia, finish the visit to Vieux Nice in the Place Garibaldi, recently renovated to highlight the elegant townhouses and arcades surrounding the statue of Garibaldi.
Most importantly, unlike some urban centres, (provided you are sensible and not binge drinking) Vieux Nice by day or night is entirely safe. You can wander out at night, relaxed and secure, until the nightspots close at 02:00am. Vieux Nice is as bustling and active as it is tranquil and nostalgic. One of the best options for staying in Old Nice is, in fact, a vacation apartment rental (if you will be visiting for at least 3e days). That's ideal because you can purchase great finds
from the market and shops selling fresh-made pasta and cook it in your apartment.

Promenade des Anglais
To Nice residents (Niçois), the Promenade des Anglais is La Prom and it's the centre of Nice life. It stretches from the airport on the western side to Old Nice (and the Quai des Etats Unis) to the east. It's a gym, running track, seaside stroll, pickup strip, kiddie playground, roller derby, cycling route and fashion parade. It's the place to go for a marital discussion, family outing or a contemplative session of sea-staring. On one side, there's the rippling and blue Baie des Anges and on the other side, well, there's a rippling and busy six-lane road. It's relaxation,
Nice has been a tourist city for more than 250 years, and tourism is still the Number One industry of this city. The Promenade des Anglais was built by the English who were making Nice their winter sun spot of choice at the beginning of the 19th century. By 1820, they noticed that it would be nice to avoid the panhandlers that were pestering them for money at every turn and also give work to the local population. Their seaside promenade started as a dusty 2m wide path along the pebbles. In 1840, it was enlarged and prolonged from the town centre to the
Magnan bridge.
The Promenade attained it's current form in 1931 when it was paved and extended to run from Nice Airport to the port stretching nearly 7km.
Cross the road to the northern side and you can appreciate the architecture of the Promenade des Anglais which is a throwback to the days when English aristocrats brought their chic to French Riviera. Start at the Jardin Albert 1er constructed between 1855 and 1895. Even though the vegetation can penetrate only 70cm into the earth (the Paillon River runs underneath it), the garden is lushly green. Notice the fountains and sculpture, especially the 'Volti' fountain and the 'Arch" of Bernard Venet. The Theatre de Verdure is a popular concert space in the summer. Heading west, you'll next come to the Palais de la Méditerranée, now a hotel. The original art deco building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as a casino but it closed in 1977. After much thrashing about, the building finally re-opened in 2004 with its magnificent facade intact and restored.
The next hotel to notice is the Hotel Westminster. Built in 1879, it was restored in 1990 but retained its classic facade.
The Villa Massena is now the Massena Museum, recently reopened after a lengthy restoration. The turn-of-the-century villa was built in the style of Italian villas for the grandson of Maréchal Victor Masséna. It now houses a museum devoted to the history of Nice, and the gardens are just beautiful. (No dogs allowed.)
The Hotel Negresco with its pink cupolas is instantly recognizable. Classed as a National Monument, this ornate Belle-Epoque hotel was inaugurated in 1912 and immediately became the most prestigious hotel in Nice. It's worth the price of a drink in the Salon Royal to admire the stained-glass cupola of Gustave Eiffel and the chandelier of Baccarat crystal. The Negresco is a venerable Nice institution, still favoured by the stars and statesmen. Designated a National Historic Monument, this 1913 belle époque building is worth a visit just for its art collection and
its liveried footmen.
The Promenade des Anglais is worth a visit even if you merely plan to find one of the
promenade's chairs, have a seat, listen to the waves and watch the world sail by.

Nice Central
The Pedestrian Zone (Zone Pietonne) in Nice Central is a bit of a tourist trap, but there's a good reason. This is a lovely area for a stroll, as cars are forbidden except for the early morning hours (and the rogues who scoot through here anyway during other times). The shops here are on the tacky-tee-shirt scale in most cases, although there are several great clothing store chains and nice shops like the gourmet boutique Ducs de Gascony. This is the ideal spot to sip a café au lait and watch the world go by.
The Place Masséna, bordering Vieux Nice, is the main square of the city. Before the Paillon River was covered over, the Pont-Neuf was the only practicable way between the old town and the modern one. The square was thus divided into two parts (North and South) in 1824. With the demolition of the Masséna Casino in 1979, the Place Masséna became more spacious and less dense and is now bordered by red ochre buildings of Italian architecture.
The recent rebuilding of the tramline gave the square back to the pedestrians, restoring its status as a real Mediterranean square. It is lined with palm trees and stone pines, instead of being the rectangular roundabout of sorts it had become over the years. Since its construction, the Place Masséna has always been the spot for great public events. It is used for concerts, and particularly during the summer festivals, the Corso carnavalesque (carnival parade) in February, the military procession of July 14 (Bastille Day) or other traditional celebrations and banquets.

You could easily spend a day visiting Cimiez, enjoying the Matisse Museum, the Franciscan Monastery and Museum, the Archaeological Museum and the Roman ruins.
It's a cool and relaxed corner of Nice that is also the home of the annual Nice Jazz Festival in July. Cimiez is one of Nice's most desirable neighbourhoods and has been a status address ever since the Romans built the city of Cremenelum on its slopes. What remains of this settlement are the public baths (thermes) and the amphitheatre (arenes) where the Romans held their games. The worn white stones overgrown with vegetation are an evocative reminder of Nice's earliest residents.
While in Cimiez, visit the Matisse Museum (closed Tuesday) which displays a few of the artist's famous blue paper cutouts, Indian ink drawings and oil paintings. The main collection is housed in a 17th-century Genoese villa while the temporary exhibits are displayed in a modern wing.
And, as long as you're in the neighbourhood, drop in on the Franciscan Monastery (closed Sunday and midday) which includes a small museum devoted to the history of the monks and a church with paintings by the Nice painter, Louis Brea. Around the monastery is a delightful garden and next to it is the cemetery where you can pay hommage to Matisse and Raoul Dufy.
Interested in Very Old Nice? Visit the Archaeology Museum, which displays artifacts from the Ligurian, Roman and early Christian periods.

With their worldwide fame as the earth's most glamorous beaches, the real thing often comes as a shock to first-timers: much of the Côte d'Azur is lined with rock and pebble, and sometimes the beaches are narrow swaths backed by city streets or roaring highways.
The first thing you probably want to know about beaches in Nice is: Are the beaches clean? Is the water clean? Yes! The water of Nice's spectacular Baie des Anges is regularly monitored, especially during the summer season. If you head to the beach early you may see the small boat that takes water samples about five metres from the shore. What about floating bottles, plastic bags and other unsightly detritus? Niçois call it the Courant Ligure (Ligurian current) and it brings 20 tons of detritus each year. You won't see much of it though. That too, is regularly swept up by the four cleaning boats that patrol the waters.
If you watch the water regularly, you'll notice that it's visibly cleaner in the morning. That's because the nighttime currents regularly sweep any detritus out to sea.
You'll also notice that the water is visibly cloudier after a storm as water purification stations in the region overflow into the Paillon river which dumps its effluents into the sea. Many Nice residents avoid swimming for a day or two after a storm.
All 27 Nice beaches meet EU minimum standards and 26 are categorised as "good quality". The one "medium quality" beach is Centenaire which is closest to where the Paillon river meets the sea.
The beaches along the Baie des Anges are pebbly, not sandy, and it can be uncomfortable to walk on but you'll get used to lying on the pebbles (galets) fairly easily. Just think: no sand in your bathing suit! Nice beaches are also well-equipped with outdoor showers on every beach and outdoor and indoor toilets.
1. Castel
Home of Castel Plage beach restaurant, this beach is nestled under the Chateau. There's a wide stretch of beach and the water is often slightly calmer than elsewhere on the Baie des Anges.
This is the place to head if you want to see and be seen. As soon as the sun's out, the beautiful people are topping up their tans, lazing on deckchairs and enjoying the fabulous view over the bay and the Colline du Chateau. Italian and local fare is served. Table tennis is popular and there's a regular programme of evening entertainment, whilst the Old Port Lympia, Vieux Nice and cafe-filled Cours Saleya pedestrian district are just across the road.
2. Ponchettes
Prefer to swim in front of lifeguards? This is the place. There's also a first-aid station and a fenced-in, sandy beach volleyball court.
3. Opera
It's right in front of Nice Opera and part of the beach is reserved for the private Opera Beach restaurant. At the western end of the beach is Nikaia Water Sports where you can rent equipment to waterski, parasail, canoe, kayak, raft and more.
4. Beau Rivage
Across the street from the Beau Rivage Hotel, the Beau Rivage beach restaurant is a nice place to kick back and sip a frothy cocktail under a parasol. Anyone can use the public restrooms, showers and bag storage for a small fee. Enter on the Promenade. There's also a lifeguard and first-aid station.
5. Centenaire
This beach spans the Paillon river estuary so it's best to avoid swimming if there's a lot of muddy river water pouring into the sea. Otherwise, this beach is noted for handicapped access.
There's also a lifeguard and first-aid station. On the eastern end of the beach is Le Galion beach restaurant.
6. Ruhl
The Ruhl Plage beach restaurant is installed on part of this beach. Its varied menu and friendly service make it a great favourite of Le Meridien hotel guests. There's a children's swimming pool on this beach.
7. Lido
Lido Plage beach restaurant takes up part of this beach which also has a lifeguard and first-aid station.
8. Le Sporting
Le Sporting beach restaurant is part of this beach.
9. Blue Beach
Blue Beach beach restaurant is one of the few along the Promenade that's open all year. To work off the calories, there's a beach volleyball court and table tennis right nearby. Glisse Evasion has the concession for watersports which include water skiing, parasailing, kayaking etc.
10. Neptune
Across from the Hotel Negresco, this beach hosts the Neptune beach restaurant which serves food year-round. You can rent pedalos, play billiards or pinball and send the kids to the children's playground. There's also a pontoon.
11. Forum
Trendy but overpriced Hi Beach beach restaurant takes up part of Forum beach and offers massages and relaxation areas. Also on Forum beach is a first-aid centre and lifeguards.
12. Voilier
It's the home of the La Voilier beach restaurant which sports a children's playground.
13. Florida
It's the home of the Florida beach restaurant which boasts a jacuzzi.
14. Poincare
Now you're getting farther west where the beaches are less crowded. There's a first-aid station and lifeguards here.
15. Magnan
There's a first-aid station and lifeguards here. Magnan beach spans the tiny Magnan river which brings junk into the sea after strong rains or a storm. In that event, it's wise to move a beach away until the sea clears.
16. Lenval
Across from Lenval Hospital, this beach attracts a primarily local crowd.
17. Fabron
Fabron beach contains two beach restaurants: Bambou on the eastern end and Miami to the west. They are smaller and less elaborate than the beach restaurants closer to town even though Bambou Beach has a children's playground.
18. Sainte-Helene
There's no beach restaurant here but you can go one street in and on Avenue de la Californie there are a number of good sandwich places.
19. Aubrey Lecompte
Here is where you'll find the Regence beach restaurant, across the street from the Hotel Radisson. There's an aquagym, swimming lessons and massages.
20. Carras
You can watch the planes taking off and landing as this is the beach closest to Nice Airport.
There's also handicapped access, a first-aid station with lifeguards, beach volleyball and Jet Evasion which rents jet skis. Nice beaches are off-limits to dogs but there's a special section of Carras beach which you can let your dog cut loose.
Nice's beaches extend all along the Baie des Anges, backed full-length by the Promenade des Anglais. Public stretches alternate with posh private beaches that have restaurants—and bar service, mattresses and parasols, waterskiing, parasailing, windsurfing, and jet-skiing.

Restaurants (just a selection of restaurants I - being a chef - would frequent)
The restaurants in the Cours Saleya (Vieux Nice) provide an attractive atmosphere and
picturesque setting but for generally very average food that's a little on the pricey side. Do it once if you must. If your really must.

La Zucca Magica (4, Quai Papacino), a vegetarian Italian restaurant in the Old Port Lympia with lots of love and personality. You eat the menu which has been set for the day, and generously at that. It's hard to say what the menu may be: it changes daily. What doesn't change is quantity. The cook is anything but stingy (4-course meal here). Lasagna is a favorite, but you're likely to discover a new creative version of it, with generous amounts of melted cheese.

Café de Turin
This is one of the most famous establishments in Nice; it has been in town for over a hundred years and sells fresh seafood straight from the market.
Typically Niçois and located under the arcades of the Place Garibaldi, the restaurant is very unfussy and a great place to go with friends or family. It has the best of every day French cuisine, including top quality food and stressed out waiters. This is also a meeting place for the few Niçois who still speak "Nissart".

This restaurant in the pedestrian zone off Place Massena (7 rue Massena) is a must-go if you want a thrilling experience of seafood: they serve everything i.e. oysters, shrimps, lobsters, all sorts of fresh fish, and cook and accomodate them multiple ways. Also, excellent Italian dishes and a very good paella. It is not a tourist trap and offers great value for money. The yacht-like decoration is relaxing and service is outstanding. This is a well run business with demanding manager on site. Reputedly the best seafood restaurant in Nice.

Villa Corleone
Sicilian restaurant northwest of the pedestrian zone, 48 Boulevard Victor Hugo.
Remember: an Italian restaurant is not a pizzeria and a pizzeria is not in Italian restaurant. Villa Corleone is a Sicilian restaurant, so their cuisine is Sicilian. Traditional Italian menus have five sections. A full meal usually consists of an appetizer, first course and a second course with a side dish. It's not necessary to order from every course, but usually people order at least two courses. Italian meals may last one or two hours or even longer. Antipasti come before the main
meal. One choice will usually be a plate of the local cold cuts and there will probably be some regional specialties. The first course is pasta, soup, or risotto (rice dishes, especially found in the north). Usually there are several pasta choices. The second course is usually meat, poultry, or fish. It doesn't usually include any potato or vegetable. Usually you will want to order a side dish with your main course. This could be a vegetable (verdura), potato, or insalata (salad).At
the end of your meal, you will be offered dolce. Sometimes there may be a choice of fruit (often whole fruit served in a bowl for you to select what you want) or cheese. After dessert, you will be offered cafe or a digestivo (after dinner drink). The waiter will almost never bring the bill until you ask for it. You may be the last people in the restaurant but the bill still doesn't come. When you are ready for the bill, simply ask for il conto. Villa Corleone is a Sicilian restaurant with a
great ambiance, great service and great food!

La Havane
32 Rue de France, west of the pedestrian zone. Great Hemingway-like ambiance, great Cuban and Southamerican food, great cocktails. La Havane is also a Salsa bar.

Chantecler, Negresco hotel, Promenade des Anglais
The prestigious reputation of the Chantecler is well deserved, and it is the only restaurant in Nice to have two Michelin stars. The chef Alain Llorca serves exquisite French cuisine and offers seasonal menus. The decor follows the palatial hotel it resides in, and the service impeccable.

Di Yar
9 rue de la Préfecture, Vieux Nice.
Lebanese restaurant with good oriental food and friendly staff.

Kookaburra, 20 Quay des Docks, Old Port Lympia. Very laid back atmosphere and great
Australian food and drinks in this Aussie restaurant in the Port. Nick, the owner, is always in for a practical joke.

Bars (just a selection)

Shapko Bar
5 Rue Rossetti
Shapko is THE Jazz Bar in Vieux Nice. A great place to be, with live music. Dimitri Shapko, the owner, is a famous tenor saxophonist and a great guy. If you want a cool place to go, then this is it. If you like your jazz and you're in Nice, then don't miss it. It's young, lively and a wonderful showcase for local groups.

Snug and Cellar Bar
22 Rue Droite and 5 Rue Rossetti
Previously known as O'Hara's Irish Pub, the Snug and Cellar Bar has recently opened its doors under new (Irish) management. You'll find it in Vieux Nice, almost opposite the Shapko Jazz Bar.
Walk-ins welcome, good for groups, waiter service, outdoor seating, lunch, dinner, drinks.

Distilleries Idéales
24 Rue Préfecture, Vieux Nice
Distilleries Idéales is a bar the perfect place to enjoy a cold beer or wine. With its unique decor and unsual fittings, Idéales is a fantastic Old Town bar with a vibirant astomosphere all day long. Two levels of seating inside and the lovely terrace outside, you will find yourself able to enjoy this wonderful setting and with free WIFI access, Idéales is great spot for all your drinking, relaxing and surfing needs.

Ma Nolans Irish Bar
2 Rue Saint Francois De Paule
Irish bar in Nice, located just off the promenade on the Cours Saleya. This bar is one of the most popular in town. Everything about this bar is Irish: the owners, the staff, the food, the drinks and the customers. Opened since summer 2005, Ma Nolans is perfect for those who want to have a relaxing pint and socialise with fellow English speakers. Food is served until 10pm, WiFi internet is free and there is a large outside terrace.
You will also find a Ma Nolans in the Old Port Lympia, 5 Quai des Deux Emmanuel

Hotspot Internet Cafe
1 rue de l'Ancien Senat, Nice.
Located in the heart of Old Nice, Canadian owned cybercafe with 11 computers, 6 with English keyboards, as well as 2 laser printers, photocopying facilities, CD burning, Sky satellite TV, food and drink. Unlike other internetcafes in the Old Town, the Hotspot Internet Café offers you lots of working space. The Hotspot Internet Café is also a meeting place for expats from all over the world. It has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

Nice has, hands down, the best and most varied nightlife on the Cote d'Azur. From grungy pubs to chic piano bars to massive discos, the party scene in Nice rocks! Ground zero is undoubtedly the Old Town (Vieux Nice) where revelers are elbow to elbow on summer nights but there's also night action along the quays and in the streets that radiate out from avenue Jean Medécin. And, there's no more smokey aftereffects either on your clothes or in your lungs. Nice nightspots are fully in compliance with France's no-smoking laws. The Evenement, 45 Promenade des Anglais, is the main nightclub in Nice. Recently opened, it caters for mostly students and young professionals.

There are countless hotels in Nice, and an unusually high number of four-star accomodations, but I would recommend to rent an apartment, even if it's only for three days. You enjoy so much more freedom in an apartment, you can cook your own meals, and it's so much cheaper.
Compare the prices and look (Google) for holiday apartments in the Old Port Lympia and Vieux Nice, when you like traditional Niçoise accomodation, or the Promenade des Anglais when you're more into modern comfort.

Nice Port Festival
Lou Festin Dou Pouort is held every year at the beginning of September to promote regional traditions. This popular "Fête du Port" is a melting pot of folk music, singing, popular dance, local art, craft and cuisine.
At the village des chefs several local restaurants introduce their savoury tasters, wholesome dishes and gourmet delicacies, les Vignerons de Bellet promote their best wines whilst local bakers and patissiers parade the tasty results of their skills under the patronage of the slow food movement.
For this particular occasion the Port area is completely pedestrianized. Entry is free to all the shows: entertainmnents for children and adults, Theatre plays, pop concerts, folk dances all choreographed by the lazer beams bobbing on the water and impressive fireworks lighting Nice's sky in an unforgettable late summer evening.
Last year as many as 20.000 visitors were provided with 18 food and drink stands, 350tables and chairs for 2500 of them. Nice Port Festival is a joyful event for families wanting to rediscover their traditions within the splendid setting of Nice Port Lympia.

Holiday Lettings Nice

You can try to become the biggest holiday accommodations website in the world, but that's not our goal. We are a small, friendly local organisation in Nice, Côte d'Azur, and we intend to keep it that way. You can find a Nice Travel Guide on our website, and selected Holiday Apartments.