Nice: Best Things to Do
Named the Cote d’Azur in 1887, it’s a name that fits. The blue water is a unique color and as our guide informed us, it’s due to the pebbles and the minerals they impart as water washes over them. While most people know the Cote d’Azur for the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix, there are many sights to see and villages to visit that make a trip worthwhile whether you’re going to one of those famous events or not.
Take a Cooking Class
Rosa Jackson is an expat Canadian who moved to France and lives in Nice. Her cooking school, Les Petits Farcis, is a fun way to spend a day, first going to the market and walking around the market, the Cours Saleya, to buy items which are taken back to use for lunch. I still make one of Rosa’s dishes that I learned in her class - a fish stew - which is so easy and delicious. Rosa is a published food writer and author. She’s warm and engaging and so knowledgeable about local culture and food. You won’t regret taking one of her classes and following her blog.
Walk along the Promenade des Anglais
The Promenade stretches for 7 km but you can of course pick up wherever you are and walk along the beach as far you wish. We found ourselves walking from Negresco Hotel (we were staying nearby) around the Vielle Ville and then around the port for a good little workout. You can ascend to Castle Hill which is lovely and worth it for the views, photo ops and extra calorie-burning. You also have the opportunity to go through the WWII monument which is closer to the beach and on the way to the port.
Promenade du Paillon and Place Masséna
The Promenade du Paillon is the first stop as you leave the Promenade des Anglais and head toward the Place Masséna. There are sculptures and various outdoor stops of interest as you walk along including the 3000m2 “water mirror” attraction which I walked through before realizing it’s a giant fountain that sprays in random patterns.
The Place Masséna at the north end of the Promenade du Paillon is a meeting of old and new. It’s an outdoor living room for inhabitants of Nice, with dining and shopping among its arcades. The sculptures by Jaume Plensa, Conversation a Nice, are fun with birds perching atop and looking like part of the sculptures rather than fleeting visitors. The night lighting is whimsical.
Dine at Louis XV in Monaco
At the Hôtel de Paris in Monaco, Alain Ducasse’s restaurant is a luxurious experience in scene and flavor. The details are on point from waitstaff aprons to spoon rests. The food was what you’d expect from this notable chef (delicious and artful) with some fun surprises like the paper thin bread slices.