How to enjoy the best of Nice, France in a Day
Promenade des Anglais
The long stretches of beach along the Promenade des Anglais are the main attraction of this part of Cote d Azur. So proud is Nice of this beach, that the city submitted 7km of stretch to be a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2015.
The beaches are characteristically pebbly, and might not be the most comfortable to lay on. What am I saying – this beach is bloody uncomfortable to lay on. Determined to have the beach experience we coveted for, we gingerly placed our body on top of the pebbles and attempt to get comfortable. Once pebbles are not poking random parts of the body, DON’T MOVE.
That said, that was probably the most effortless beach cleanup. One of the pros of pebbly beaches is that you don’t get pesky sand in body, uh, crevices.
We saw other more prepared sunbathers using yoga mats to cushion their bodies against the pokey pebbles. Another alternative is to rent sun loungers from the many cafes by the beach. At about 16 to 20 Euros per pop, it is quite expensive. If this works for you, I suggest going as early as possible to make the most bang out of your 20 Euros.
We were there in end-September and the waters were way too cold for us to wade in. That didn’t stop some brave folks out there; we did not envy them. Shivering fools. The weather was however, perfect to lay in the sun in. We were sunbathing for a couple of hours, book in hand. I love that I could feel a tan coming, but the cool temperature made it comfortable.
Nice is a gastronomy adventure. I didn’t have a single bad meal. You might want to refer to this post for my pick of food places in this beach town.
Explore the Nice Vieille Ville
Nice’s old town, Vieille Ville, is a vibrant, colourful neighbourhood with Italian influences. It was pleasant to just walk the narrow, winding alleyways and get lost.
I’m amazed at the amount of bookstores here, heralding to a strong reading culture. Warms the heart of this writer a little bit. Not that I read that much books now, but I want my kids to read books.
Cours Saleya Flower Market
The Cours Saleya market is located at the heart of Nice’s Old Town. This market is purportedly ranked by France’s National Council for the Culinary Arts as being one of the country’s special markets… so a definite must-visit.
Fun fact: In 1897, Nice opened the first wholesale cut flower market in the world. The wholesale section may have moved to another location, but you can still find a variety of gorgeous blooms and bouquets at the Cours Saleya.
I loved strolling through this charming farmer’s market. The fresh fruits and vegetables were all very bright and artfully displayed; I’ve never been so turned on by produce.
You might want to souvenir shop here. We scored bags of Provence Lavender buds (steeping some for tea as we type), flavoured sea salts and cheese/charcuterie boards. A lot of very cute, vintage-style, kitschy bits and bobs here too.
5. Sunset at the Dock
Fancy yachts and tugboats are quintessential French Riviera. I highly recommend visiting the docks when it’s close to sunset and when its filled with yachts and cute little tugboats. Walk along the docks until you arrive at road leading towards Promenade des Anglais, for one of the most breathtaking sunsets.