good try kid but wrong beach, you should have gone to Biarritz.
This is one of
Nice's many stony beaches with pay area visible to the right and an unusually
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and Cannes are slightly worn clichés of the French Riviera, that part of the Côte d'Azur that is happily out of the frequently deranging
Mistralwind and runs from Cannes to Menton on the Italian Border (map).
The Riviera in general
- and Cannes and Nice in particular - is no longer a pristine paradise
as the internal combustion engine has a near death grip on the place, but the coast is still excellent for relatively dry, sunny weather, inexpensive
eating, wild partying and funny people watching, while the water temperature
of the Mediterranean in the summer is delightful. The new French Riviera pass offers a lot of discounted tourism.
A Nice view from Castle Hill (Colline du Chateau), with the grey, stony beach and a short stretch of Quai des Etats-Unis which becomes the lengthy Promenade des Anglais (red asphalt).
you're staying at one of the super luxury resorts or a campsite, Nice,
the 'Capital of Riviera' is a good base for travelling around the
Côte d'Azur due to its very convenient airport (you can walk or cycle to/from it easily, avoiding rip-off taxis in the process), plenty of reasonable
accommodation, good public transport facilities and fast access to the A8 auto-route that follows the south of France coast from Montpelier in the far west all the way to Italy in the east.
It's also a doddle to get onto one of the three view-packed 30 km Corniches that run parallel along the coast to Monaco and Menton (our favourite is the Moyenne Corniche, Nice to Eze; the Basse Corniche is pretty but slow and the topmost Grande Corniche fast but there's nowhere to stop and admire the view).
There are also fine museums and great festivals in Nice, especially
the mad Carnival.
One of Nice's many pay-to-burn beaches.
curving collection of beaches is long but pebbly while Cannes' beaches are sandy. However,
Cannes' best spaces - less so in Nice - are dominated by private hotel beaches, restaurants or parasol
In Nice the streets near the beaches consist
largely of bumper-to-bumper and a concomitant
lack of parking spaces (don't bother hunting for street parking, underground parks are conveniently located and not ridiculously priced). Cannes' La Croisette is much less busy but still very difficult to park on, though there are two huge underground car parks near/under the Festival Hall.
Nice's politics are fairly right-wing and
corrupt (how could they not be, this is the Cote d'Azur, bent since Victoria walked the Earth), though this hardly alters the city's joie de vivre, fine
collection of glorious turn-of-the-century buildings, smooth new tram system, extensive bike routes, Velo Bleu self-service rental cycles 24/7 and all the rest.
One of the two most outstanding buildings on the wide and wonderful Promenade des Anglais, Le Palais de la Méditerranée hotel and casino.
Nice's main attractions:
***Promenade des Anglais (starting with the short stretch of Quai des Etats-Unis at the east end) - 6km (3.75 miles) long, wide and beautifully lined with palm
trees, many elegant buildings, slowly moving cars and giving access
to the attractive beach; the promenade is superb for
people watching be they glamorous Milanese, stuffy Parisians, heavy Muscovites, overdressed Nicoises, or pasty and underdressed Londoners. Biking and inline skating along the prom is excellent, with a dedicated and busy cycle track running past the airport and on to pleasant Cagnes-sur-Mer.
**The Cours Saleya, the huge, lively and mostly inexpensive outdoor
eating and market area is pretty but touristy.
Most of the Cours Saleya establishments are busy but cheerful and serve good meals at reasonable prices, as do most in the pedestrianised - and very touristy - Rue de France with the definite exception of the pretentious, ill-mannered, over-priced and incompetent Italian restaurant, Boccaccio.
On the left side of the image above is the start of the Old Town
(aka the Vielle Ville), to the right is the Promenade des Anglais and dead
ahead is Castle Hill (Colline du Chateau) the city's best viewpoint. Mornings are market time, a totally awesome and very French experience, loaded with strange mushrooms, exotic flowers, 365 kinds of cheeses or more, 28 kinds of olives.
***Vielle Ville (Old Town), a narrow medieval ambience that's good for wandering,
shopping, Irish pubs, Sky TV and wild night moves at a reasonable price.
It's also conveniently close to the Cours Saleya market and dining area as well as the beaches and Nice's best shopping street ***Jean Medecin where there is
terrific shopping, a wafting new tram system and attractive street redesign. We give the city council a 10 for style and execution, even if it's completion was way overdue.
The Chagall Museum, Nice.
***Museums including Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain, Musée Chagall, Musée Matisse and Musée Archéologique,
plus the nearby Gallo-Roman Ruins.
back to the downsides...Traffic in summertime towards the end of the
Promenade des Anglais; this section is the Quai des Etats-Unis.
beach immediately on the right is Beau Rivage, clean, free and sporting a rare, cheap beach café; Cours Saleya is on the left and Colline
du Chateau (Castle Hill) straight ahead.
The inexplicable waterfall at the top of Castle Hill. Click for more Nice Pictures.
A steep climb up Castle Hill from the end of the promenade rewards tourists with the perfect Nice panorama over the Baie des Anges and Old Nice.
Those unable or unwilling to hike to the summit (no more than 10 minutes) there is an ascenseur.
And as far as the Chateau is concerned, that appears to be a figment of someone's imagination as the only ruins visible are of the old Cathedral of Nice or the cemetery. For the thirsty the top also provides sustenance in the form of a couple of cafes and a substantial waterfall.
Sunsets are particularly special from the hilltop as the city lights glow in concert with the falling sun.
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Juan Les Pins | Antibes | Côte d'Azur Villa Photography