When I went two years ago with a friend, I decided to dish out the €40 to go parasailing. I went in the afternoon when it wasn't too hot (30 during the day on average) and the sun was slowly beginning to set.
It only lasted a few minutes, but what minutes they were. The views were amazing and I wished I could stay up there forever. Worth every cent and more.
Everywhere along the beach
What's left of the old castle is perched on top of the hill that separates Nice Town from Nice Harbour. The views from the top of the hill are arguably the best in Nice and the cemetery has some beautifully carved mausolea.
Walk to the eastern end of the beach and either climb the steps, or take the lift part of the way and climb the rest.
The Mamac offers the holiday maker a view of avant garde movements since the 1960s. The second and third floors contain permanent collections. The first floor is reserved for temporary exhibitions. The building itself is an open exhibition, with a mural by the artist Sol LeWitt. The facade of the museum entrance is decorated with a monumental painting by Claude Viallat. The Esplanade features a series of sculptures by artists such as Alexander Calder and Niki de Saint-Phalle.
Mamac is closed on Mondays and certain bank holidays. Entrance prices are €4, discount prices €2.50.
There are guided tours: Wednesdays at 4pm in French, and English tours by appointment. Price €3 and €1.50.
Tip: museums are free on the first Sunday in every month.
Shop available, selling catalogues for all exhibitions and a selection of products.
Musee-promenade des arts, buses 1,2,5,6,7,9,10,14,16,17,15. Phone 04 93 62 61, www.mamac-nice.org
If you're a woman, then Nice is definitely a place to watch your back. Wearing a skirt at night can lead to all sorts of hassle, especially on the seafront as this is Nice's red-light district. All sorts of undesirables are hanging around ready to (sorry for this) either rob you or rape you ... My advice is to stay away from the seafront at night and if you do have to go, take a man with you!
I wouldn't recommend taking one of the late-night buses either, as they're pretty frightening too (I used to call it the "bus to hell"). Taxis are very expensive but they're the safest way to go home.
All over Nice!
This is a fabulous vegetarian restaurant next to the old port. There is no menu to choose from: the Italian chef, Marco Folicaldi, cooks fresh ingredients from that morning's market.
Five courses delivered by friendly waiters who explain the ingredients of each course. Excellent food and wine, a unique restaurant with a great atmosphere.
4 bis, quai Papacino
(Rue de Foresta)
+33 049356 25 27
One of the smallest "Appellation d'Origine Controllée" regions in France is that of the Bellet wine, just north of Nice. It produces very unusual whites and very mediteranean reds. To be enjoyed with a slice of pissaladière (local onion tart) or stuffed vegetables à la niçoise. Le Safari restaurant is not a bad address and won't cost the earth.
1 cours Saleya
0033 4 93801844
La Zucca Magica is the best vegetarian restaurant in the south of France. It is located in Nice Harbour.
There's no menu as such - you get 5 small, perfectly prepared and utterly stunning courses: some of the best Italian food you'll ever eat and at a superb price. Unpretentious, delicious and fun. Highly recommended.
If you're approaching Nice Harbour from Nice, La Zucca Magica is on the left, facing the harbour.
Villefranche is a 15-minute ride on the No 100 bus from the Gare Routier.
The views as you leave Nice and curve around the Cap de Nice into the Rade de Villefranche are spectacular.
Loads to do when you get there whatever your tastes. Sightseeing: the Citadel, Rue Obscure, the old Port; culture: four museums/galleries, all free entry; relaxing: two beaches, one coarse sand, the other stony; and loads of bars and restaurants.
There's a food market with local produce on Saturdays, antiques (well bric-a-brac) on Sundays, and above all it's a nice, relaxing, cosy place after the brashness of Nice.
PS don't take a car!
A plush residential neighbourhood located around a hill in the north-east of Nice. This is where the Brits and Russians came to stay and built villas during the Belle Epoque, hence the exotic architecture, notably the Regina Palace, previously a hotel and the location of Matisse's workshop.
The park at the top of the hill (just after the statue of Queen Victoria) houses a nice olive grove, Roman ruins (with the associated archaeological museum), the Matisse Museum and the monastery with its phenomenal gardens (and nice views).
All in all, a great place to chill out for an afternoon, mingle with the locals on a weekend and wander around.
The park is also where the jazz festival takes place every summer - www.nicejazzfest.com - which is why the alleys are named after the jazz musicians who have performed there (Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie among others).
A pleasant walk of about 20 minutes slightly uphill from the train station, follow Boulevard de Cimiez.
Otherwise Bus No 15 from Place Massena, direction Rimiez. Timetables at www.lignedazur.com.
The park is open until around 8pm in the summer; closes earlier in the winter.
Small, family-run restaurant packed with locals and regulars near the train station with great service, good quality food and large portions.
Makes a change from the tourist traps (bad food and rip-off service) around the pedestrian zone and the flower market/Cours Saleya.
Three-course menus start at €14 (very filling dish of the day); the €26 menu is almost gastronomic (frogs legs, veal sweetbread, foie gras or sole meunière).
A great address!
25 Rue d'Angleterre, between the back of Notre Dame Cathedral and the train station.
Closed on Sunday nights and Mondays.
Tel: 04 93 88 64 48
A fantastic seafood restaurant in the old harbour. The Bouillabaisse is sensational.
They do it in the traditional fashion, with the mixed fish and seafood presented on a platter for your inspection before and after cooking, then served in an exquisite saffron-spiced broth with croutons and rouille. Delicious with a cold, dry Hock.
Sit outside, watch the sun set over the cliffs surrounding the harbour, and imagine you're Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.
In the old harbour
Small (40 seater) and totally delightful restaurant near the port. Menu Italian/Mediterranean, and seriously good.
Amazingly, considering the quality of the food and the surroundings, it is also cheap. Menu changes daily, according to the market. First courses currently €5, main dishes €10. In addition, dishes can be sampled in "bouls".
Very good wine list.
Paulo Bonnisoni, the young Italian patron, is opening an Italian delicatessen across the street.
All tables filled with local clientele lunch and dinner, so booking is essential. Closed Sunday and Monday.
Boni, 21 Rue Berla (between the Museum of Modern Art and the port).
04 89 98 91 20
Small, reasonably priced and clean 1-star hotel (but deserves 2) in a very central location between the seaside and the railway station - and great value for money.
Recommended by lots of major guide books.
Kevin, the friendly British owner, has a blog with tips on visiting the Riviera on his website, which makes for an interesting read.
22 Rue de Russie, 06000 Nice. www.nicenotredame.com, email@example.com
Tel: 0033 (0)4 93 88 70 44
fax: 0033 (0)4 93 82 20 38.
Five minutes' walk from the train station and 10 from the seaside; just off the main shopping street (Avenue Jean Médecin).
It only has about 24 seats, looks like nothing special, but it serves the best Nicois food anywhere. The chef once had two Michelin stars but he gave them up to make home cooking. No phone and no credit cards.
4 rue Raoul Bosio
This gelateria on Place Rosetti has nearly 100 different flavours of home-made ice cream, ranging from the more conventional, such as chocolate orange, to the simply bizarre, such as avocado or balsamic vinegar!
A real treat for the taste buds.
Place Rosetti, in the old town.
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