Have now found … a funny and exciting blogging sister, House Poulette , that married a French man and trying to be the perfect wife *smile
Personal have always have a soft spot for the French man – there is something very specially about them – the French way – through my Greek “boyfriend” living in Monte Carlo … I got experience – he where more French then Greek (I think) and then his French friends.
Told her that I never had a need or wish to get married, but I if would get married I love to marry a French man. *laughter
Any thing they say in French sounds like a declaration of love *laughter. And they are very romantic, but also very self-conscious – that sometime could be a bit annoying !!! Who is perfect ?????!!!!!! They are not very tall … and I need length on my man, so maybe a Frenchman isn’t my perfect match. Oh, I wish … still the famous French chef Eric Ripert – he has it all – plus he are very SEXY!!!!
So where do I want to come with all this drivel??? I want to come to Nice.
Nice a city that I once hated – I really mean it! It was dirty, unfriendly and arrogant.
The first time I visit France was during my holiday in Monte Carlo – September 1972.
Wanted to shop and there was no chance of me to be able to afford shopping in Monte Carlo, so Byron “boyfriend” he drove me in to Nice and left me there for a couple of hours. Terrible and after been into a couple of shops – I really despised the place. They didn’t want to speak English neither.
As our relationship progressed and I visit Monte Carlo quite few times during the 2 up coming years – and every visit I went to Nice in company of Byron … and then the picture very different – but still dirty and arrogant. A bit of a “Pretty Woman” shopping experience.
Last time I was in Nice was in October 1997 – went with a friend after our dear colleague and friend had sudden died – and we needed to go away. Glad I went back, because Nice had become a fantastic city … clean, English spoken, service minded and very pleasant. Had a fabulous holiday and that’s why I want to write and recommend this city. It’s not on my Top 10 list or Gem-list, but still a brilliant holiday destination.
The city is called Nice la Belle (Nissa La Bella in Niçard), which means Nice the Beautiful, which is also the title of the unofficial anthem of Nice, written by Menica Rondelly in 1912. Nice is the capital of the Alpes Maritimes département and the second biggest city of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region after Marseille. 5th biggest city in France with an urban population of 955,000 and 360.000 of them lives in the city.
If visiting Paris and with a couple of days left over … is there high speed trains to Nice. – it takes about 5hrs 40 min – with TGV and cost €70-120/£57.00-98.00/$92.00-159.00 one way. So maybe cheaper to fly and it takes 1.5 hrs – with the time it takes to get to the airport and the time needed for check in and security – maybe you gain 2 hours. French trains are very comfortable. Personal I would go by train – because the country side scenery from Paris to Nice is fantastic. Train departure from Gare de Lyon.
The city has a strong Russian influence – in their magnificent old buildings. The Russian Tsars knew what they were doing when the chose Nice as their favourite vacation spot. This town on the French Riviera boasts warm, blue ocean and clear, blue skies. It’s no wonder Nice is considered the captial of the Cote D’Azure (Blue Coast, in English.) The expanses of blue are interrupted only by the lush green grass and towering palm trees.
If going to Nice, I would recommend you hire a car – because there is so much to see around Nice – will come to that later.
If I would go back again – I would rent an apartment and not staying on hotel.
Stayed during my last visit and only time staying in Nice, at a great little hotel … with a beautiful garden where we had our breakfast every morning. Only 5 minutes walk away from the seafront and Promenade des Anglais, behind Hotel Negresco and 10 min walk to the Old town.
11, Rue Dalpozzo,
Phone: +33 (04) 93 88 59 35
3 stars – Ranked #6 of 215 – 57 rooms
Double room in beginning of October, €128.00-190.00 /£104.00-155.00/$170.00-251.00
Halfboard breakfast & dinner €196.00/£160.00/$260.00
Japanese SPA – Free WiFi
Cons: pool not heated and no parking – (we didn’t have problem to find parking on street)
The rooms has indv. painting made by hand of young French painters – not one room is the same. Very bare rooms in white – clean and comfortable – very helpful staff and the breakfast out in the garden is wonderful. Greek yogurt with runny French honey – Yummy! They serve all meals out there during the warm months. The SPA is fantastic and it was something so new in 1997 – very busy when I stayed there. This is a true gem of hotel.
If renting a apartment I will use “Nice Pebbles” – they have stunning apartments in great locations that are cheaper then hotel rooms. Beware when you book that the apartment is not on top floor and no lift – because not many of the old houses in Nice has lift and to run up 3-4 floors a couple of time per day … not funny.
This courtyard 1 bedroom apartment (sleeps 4) will cost £620/€760.00/1008.00 for 7 nights in beginning of October.
What to do in Nice – loads … and more loads .. walk along the Promenade des Anglais – the beach in Nice are not sand … it’s pebbles and it seams endless – walking along the promenade during daytime and the beach is full of sun umbrellas and sun chairs in every shade of the rainbow – one by one color, or visit the Vieux Port – the old port., loads of nice restaurants along the quay sides. Shopping … ????!!! To you drop – anything and everything. Exclusive boutiques and department stores and of course all the fashion houses has their boutiques. L’avenue Jean-Médecin is the main shopping street.
Here is my list of MUST do while in Nice – not in any particulate order:
1. Vieille Ville
The old town area includes the Cours Saleya, a large flower market that turns into an antique market on Mondays. The area is full of cafes and bars, frequented by tourists, students, and locals. Wander the winding medieval streets for a real taste of France, and grab a bite to eat at one of the many seafood restaurants in the area. The buildings that separate the Cours Saleya from the Quai des Etats-Unis on the other side used to house local fishermen’s catches of the day, but most of these buildings have now been converted to restaurants and the fish restaurants serve fantastic Bouillabaisse. The cobblestone narrow pedestrian streets are a treasure trove of regional products, home wares, china and funky clothes. Antique lovers will enjoy the Monday morning antique market, on the Cours Saleya, to pick up grandma’s lace tablecloths, silver art deco platters, phonographs and vintage posters.
2. Le Chateau, a grassy park on the highest point in town. This is the birthplace of Nice, where the Greeks founded the city, then called Nikaia (derived from the word nike, which means victory). There is no chateau at Le Chateau, however. The Greeks originally built an acropolis here, and it has at various points held a cathedral, a military installation, and a castle. Since 1706, Le Chateau has been simply a park, with shady trees and grassy areas overlooking the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the medieval old town on the other.
3. Musee Matisse
The lovely and innovative art of Henri Matisse was inspired by the fresh colors and lines of Nice. Just take a look at any of his art peering out of balcony windows, and you will surely see the Riviera shoreline. This vast museum shows Matisse’s works from his more traditional early days to the end of his career. There are also some of his personal effects here. The museum gift shop features prints of the artist’s works.
4. Eze-Village– the little medieval village sitting on top of this rock/mountain on the way to Monaco – so pretty and the view are stunning. And you have to treat yourself with lunch at “Le Cafe du Jardin” – Le Chateau de la Chevre D’or, 5 stars hotel – with the terrace hanging over the mountain side – not cheap, but wrote it. Food Excellent! Just to look at their website and you will understand what I mean. 6 miles or 9.65 km away from Nice.
Take a day trip to this mountain villiage in the backcountry with one of the most spectacular coastal views. Also home to recently opened Decorative Arts Museum, situated in a medieval stone castle, whose 30’s furniture collection with rare pieces by Eileen Gray, Mallet-Stevens, Ruhlmann, and Chareau is un-missable for modern design buffs. Also famous for it’s glass. Distance to drive is 14,20miles or 23km.
6. St Paul de Vence
France’s most famous artist town, is beautifully situated on a hill surrounded by pine trees, cypresses and vineyards. Around the village weaves a wall that makes a visit to St Paul de Vence feel like making a trip back to medieval times. Here on the narrow streets crowded restaurants, cafes, galleries and small boutiques, my favourite spot on the French Rivera – and up there on the wooden hills of St Paul de Vence you have this spectacular Fondation Maeght, with seasonal modern art shows and a to-die-for sculpture garden . – same distance to drive as to Eze Village
7. Museum of Modern Art (MAMAC)
The sprawling marble buildings on the fringe of Old Town is the home of contemporary European and American works. Great seasonal shows along with an impressive permanent collection including members of the Nice school and the New Realists, from Arman and Cesar to Niki de Saint-Phalle and Yves Klein. Check out the works by Raymond Hains and Ben, both of whom designed rooms at the Hotel Windsor.
The principality of Monaco and Monte-Carlo lies in between the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea, bounded by the French Riviera to the west and the Italian Riviera to the east. A fairy tale mini country – pretty, clean … and very expensive – and MUST is to sit on Le Café de Paris by at Place du Casino, just beside the Casino and opposite the beautiful Hotel de Paris – look at all the fancy cars and rich people – chic ladies with their small dogs .. and a mineral water cost about €6.50/£5,20/$8.60 – but worth it! Best seats in town. Have a look in all the exclusive shops on Avenue des Beaux Arts and Avenue Monte Carlo – look down on the root top luxury home – A fantastic day out. To drive is about 20km (12,5miles), but there is also trains from Nice and the journey gives spectacular scenery (SNCF– 18 min journey and cost €3.00/£2.40/$4.00 one way and the trains depart from Nice Riquier).Will do a special post about Monaco and Monte-Carlo.
9. Carnaval de Nice
The main winter event on the French Rivera is one of the largest carnivals in the world offering a programme of unforgettable entertainment. Next year it will be from 15th Febr to the 6th of March. The earliest records establish its existence in 1294. Have been once in 1973 and it’s spectacular. So now to …. my favorite bits – food and more food. Nice is so much more then Niçoise salad and Bouillabaisse. What ever I felt about this city otherwise, I never ever had a bad meal in Nice. Great food everywhere.
1. Le Rotonde
Hotel Le Negresco
37, romenade des Anglais
Phone . (04) 93 16 64 0
For me is the brassiere at Hotel Le Negresco a must, – go in the afternoon (1500-1700) they have a fantastic menu and suggestions menu for evening €34.00 & 48.00/£27.50 & 39.00/$45.00 & 63.50 – a place with beautiful wooden horses. Also to soak up the atmosphere of the world famous 5 star hotel
2. Le Tire Bouchon
19 rue de la Préfecture, Nice
Phone; (04) 93-92-63-64
Set in the heart of the old city, this is a cozy restaurant with a bordeaux-tinged color scheme, two dining rooms, an old-fashioned decor, and an allegiance to the rich and hearty cuisine of France’s southwest. 3 courses for €31,00/£25.50/$41.00.
3. Cafée de Turin
5 place Garibaldi, Nice
Phone: (04) 93-62-29-52
Fish and seafood since 1908 – Princess of Monaco, Caroline favourite fish restaurant – famous for it’s raw fish platter, coquillage. Very busy place and reservation necessary – website only in French.
4. Au Rendez-vous des Amis
176 av. Rimiez F
Lovely, welcoming and beautiful setting in the hills above Nice – with a terrace under the shades of lime trees – menu small but so well prepared. Well worth a visit !!!! Guests can even enjoy a game of petanque! Local cuisine – not too expensive. 3 course set menu: €25.00 & 39.00/£21.00 & 32.00/$33.00 & 51.00
5. Restaurant APHRODITE
10 bd Dubouchage
Phone; (04) 93 85 63 53
For the ultimate dinner experience … I would recommend this – David Faure’s place – just look his website and you will understand what I mean. Pricey – but outstanding – and I would say the dress code is jacket for the evening. Reservation necessary – website only in French – 3 course set menu: €27.00 & 69.00/£22.00 & 56.00/$36.00 & 91.00 plus he has a menu called, “Cuisine Techno-Emotinnelle” for €99.00/£80.50/€131.00 – something so beautiful – it’s like fine art on plates and of course it taste heavenly too.
6. Ferme Saint Michel
920, ave Condamine
06230 Villefranche Sur Mer
Phone: (04)93 01 77 40
It is many years since I was there, but a very special place up in the mountains above Nice and Villefrance Sur Mer. (1977 – I guess) Set menu and if it hasn’t changed … you’re in for a treat. First you get loads of different starters, the menu was childish drawings of main courses only – and loads of different desserts. When I was there, the wine was include and it must have been local. A unforgettable evening and my fiancé had to back up the Audi to the entrance – could hardly walk after all that food. Not a word of English, but no problems. Two brothers running the place, but they must be around 70-80 now. It’s says – budget .. we paid absolutely nothing for our dinner – around 400Fr for both of us. Would love to know if it’s still there. Hope it’s still there, no website or photos anywhere.
So Nice is a fantastic city – with so much to do and see – but as I said earlier .. you need to rent a car, because there is so many wonderful and exciting places all around the city.
Perfect destination for a long weekend – but there will be no problem keeping yourself busy for a week or two. For the price of 4 nights in Paris you can have a full week in Nice plus you have the ocean and the smell of garlic in the air every evening – and I rather go to Nice then Paris. Would like to leave today after written this post.
“Treat every frenchman as if he was the devil himself”
Photos provided by and thank you to all of you: