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A nice start to the French Riviera
A nice start to the French Riviera
“Vous êtes arrives à la gare de Nice!” are the exact words you would hear stepping out of the train and into the station of the French Riviera’s capital. Whichever direction you are arriving from, it’s hard not to notice the stunning landscape of the region. The city itself is the attraction. There’s no Eiffel Tower, no Big Ben, nary a Gothic Cathedral in sight. So what is there? Beauty, energy and charm. From the cerulean sea to dining on fresh seafood at a plein-air café to staring at the art-deco facades and fabulous people, this is the Nice at its nicest.
Not that there aren’t tourist attractions. Stop and smell the blooms at the Cours Saleya flower market. Inspect the canvases of Matisse at the eponymous museum. Nice is only second to Paris in the number of museums and galleries it holds. Just pick your pleasure and pack your artistic eye.
Explore Vieux Nice (or Old Town) by foot and you will be charmed by a maze of narrow streets in between French Mediterranean architecture. Close by is the Place Massena, a vibrant square with shops and restaurants along the pedestrian zone of Rue Messina. From here, you’re right next door to the infamous Promenade d’Anglais where people watching is an art form. This spot is what really epitomizes not only Nice, but the entire Cote d’Azur. Splurge on a royal blue chaise lounge and let waiters bring you amuse bouche. If you’re looking to save money, go to a crepe vendor and take your sweet or savory treat to the rock-strewn beach. Smell the air – that’s the deliciously briny water of the Mediterranean.
Nice is just the starting point to the rest of the French Riviera. With your France Rail Pass, easily hop to other seaside cities and towns without the hassle of traffic and reading signs in French. The town of Villefranche-sur-Mer is just a few minutes away. The beautiful bay is a haven for yachts and has been the sight for countless movies. Which brings us to Cannes, just 30 minutes away from Nice with the TGV. Known the world over for its glamorous Film Festival, you too can be part of the glitterati. Stroll La Croisette, the waterfront avenue lined with palm trees wearing oversized sunglasses, secretely staring at the surrounding excess.
No stranger to excess, the principality of Monaco is just a 20 minutes train ride from Nice. Although the population is a mere 3,000, the city of Monte Carlo swells with tourists who come for the glam, glitz and casino. Racing enthusiast? The Formula One Monaco Grand Prix is the event of the season.
The South of France may be a hub of luxury and overindulgence,but in between the famous and infamous, you’ll find (very lucky) locals living their everyday lives.
Try local specialities like Socca (chickpea pancake) or Pissaladière (anchovy-cream-based tart with a soft layer of onions and olives). Dishes are always accompanied by the rich flavour of Cailletier, a special olive tree typical of Nice. Enjoy the sweet Mediterranean lifestyle by tasting a glass of Vin de Bellet.
Head to Place Massena for a unique shopping experience. Then move to the nearby Golden Square, which is renowned for its luxurious, elegant and refined boutiques.
Nice Tourist Office
5 Promenade des Anglais
Tel: +33 (0)8 92 70 74 07
The city’s tourist office has a helpful personnel, insider information and tips as well as handy maps and brochures. The city’s tourist office also arranges tours and excursions and is a focal point for local accommodation.
Getting to and from Nice
|From Paris Cdg Airport||06:35|
|From Aix En Provence Tgv||02:39|
|From Marne La Vallee||06:22|
|From Culmont Chalindre||09:42|
|From Chalon Sur Saone||05:38|
|From Menton (localite)||00:27|
|From Beaulieu Sur Mer||00:05|
|From Cagnes Sur Mer||00:05|
|From St Raphael||00:52|
|From Villefranche Mer||00:01|
|From Les Arcs||01:07|
|From Breil Sur Roya||01:02|
|To Villefranche Mer||00:16|
|To Beaulieu Sur Mer||00:19|
|To Cagnes Sur Mer||00:24|
|To Cap D'ail||00:27|
|To Menton (localite)||01:16|
|To Breil Sur Roya||01:21|
|To St Raphael||01:27|
|To Frejus (localite)||01:31|
|To Les Arcs||01:44|
|To Aix En Provence Tgv||03:20|
|To San Remo||03:27|
|To Chalon Sur Saone||07:39|
|To Marne La Vallee||08:42|
|To Paris Cdg Airport||08:55|
|To Culmont Chalindre||09:29|
Trains are convenient way to reach any town and city in Europe. All main towns have a railway station, while major cities have more than two railway stations. Nearly all railway stations are located in the city centre. Check our map to locate railway station(s) in Nice.