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A taste of France property section

Nice France

by john

 Famous Hotel in Nice

Famous Hotel in Nice


Situated on the Cote d'Azur on France's south coast, Nice or Nizza as the locals like to call it, is a beautiful and picturesque city. Overally, I found it a relaxing therapeutic place to be.

Nice, though expansive, has a small town feel to it. And the locals are so friendly, open and relaxed, so much that there isn't pressure to try and speak good French as is the case with other french holiday destinations.

However, Nice is not really a place to get away for some quiet as it really is tourist country. If what you want is peace and quiet, then head over west of Nice, to places like Cap D'Antibbes. Better still, visit Nice before easter and after september to fully appreciate its beauty and lifestyle.

Nice is located about 25 miles from the Italian frontier and has been French only since 1865, which explains the mix of both French and Italian architectural styles and cuisine that can be found here.

I took a particular interest in the Old Town (Vieux Nice). Once written off as a no-go area till the 70s, I enjoyed wandering round the narrow pedestrianised, labrynthine streets looking at shops, stalls and squares with old buildings reminiscent of Venice and umpteen street cafes. I’m not much of a shopper so the only thing I bought was handmade chocolate.

I found it peculiar that Nice has so many fountains. There seemed to be everywhere I went - some very ornate and real pieces of art and others just ordinary looking.

Being an art lover, I took the 15 minute bus ride from downtown Nice to Cimiez, a hilly district that overlooks the city, where the Matisse Museum is housed in a 17th-century Genoese villa.

They had a huge collection of Matisse's paintings, prints, sculpture and sketches, as well as some personal effects, which took me 2 hours to go through. I quite enjoyed the sensuous, clean lines of Matisse's late-life drawings and woodcuts. The painting that fascinated me most was the ''Tempête à Nice,'' a picture of the Promenade des Anglais.

Like much of the Mediterranean coast, their beaches are more pebble than sand. For this reason, if you’re going to spend a day on the beach, bring a towel or rent a chair from someone. And if its hot, be sure to take flip flops or sandals with you as the pebbles / sand can be very hot to walk on.

Even if you don’t like the pebble beach, you will be blown away by the water of the Bay of Angels (la Baie des Anges) - the most beautiful teal blue I have ever seen! For a beautiful view, watch it on a sunny day from the blue chairs (chaises bleues) and cabanas on the Promenade des Anglais (famous for the Nice Carnival and Battle of Flowers).

The Promenade or La Prom as the locals like to call it, is a 7 KM sidewalk, great for rollerskating, running or bikes. It is quite popular with cyclists, babystrollers, and whole families, who can be seen out for a stroll along the sidewalk, particularly on Sundays.

One thing I would recommend doing while in Nice – if you’re courageous enough - is going up to the top of the Castle Hill. Don’t expect to see no Castle there – just ancient ruins of a Roman settlement, and then more ruins of a very old church. And if you go up the pathways near the top you can get quite an amazing view of all of Nice.

For a little fun in an unusual way, head on over to the Carol de Roumanie park like I did. There you can catch a game of mini-golf or climb the hill over-looking the port to see a giant cascade and great panorama.

Nice is otherwise a great base to visit other parts of southern France such as Monaco (20 KM), Cannes (25 KM) and St Tropez. If you should get bored of Nice for whatever reason, take a bus or coastal train to these other cities. You can even go further and cross the border to San Remo, Italy.

Photo of the day in France old house with shutters

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