Reclining on the Côte d’Azur, Nice has all the charm of neighbours Cannes and Monte Carlo, but without the snobbery. The appeal of France’s second tourist attraction (after Paris) isn’t hard to spot.

The beach and seafront

The Promenade des Anglais is a 5km beachside boulevard created so 19th century English tourists could take evening strolls along the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels). Nowadays, you’re more likely to see rollerblades than parasols. The beach itself might be pebbly, but the colour of the water will make you realise why this section of the French coast is called the Cote d’Azur.

Market shopping

A street back from the Promenade des Anglais you’ll find Cours Saleya, a lively marketplace filled with fruit, vegetable and flower stalls on every day but Monday, when the antiques take over. Vieux Nice, to the north, is the old town – a maze of narrow streets lined with shops, cafés and ice-cream stalls.

Winter fun

For three weeks in December, the Place Massena, a massive square near the old town, is converted into an outdoor ice-skating rink, surrounded by a Christmas Village.

Party time

Party animals should make a beeline for the town from February 18 until March 8, 2011 for the Nice Carnaval, when the streets are abuzz with music, dancers and colourful parades.


Snow wonder

Nice is within easy reach of the Southern French Alps, which include the resorts of Isola 2000, Valberg, Auron, Greolieres and Limone in Italy.

Take the skibus from the centre of Nice to Isola 2000 for €30 for a day return, including your ski pass. Isola is ideal for adrenaline junkies, as it offers a half-pipe, snow park and obstacles. See

Nice to eat

There are plenty of eaing options in Vieux Nice including Chez Rene and Lou Pilha Leva, where you can pick and mix dishes. Specialities include salade niçoise and socca, a pancake made from chickpea flour and olive oil.

Try the local tipple

The rowdiest bars are those that sound most British. For something more French, try Le Bar des Oiseaux on Rue St-Vincent. The Grand Escurial is Nice’s largest club.

Where to stay

You can’t go wrong at The Windsor hotel, which boasts a tropical garden. Each of its 29 rooms have been designed by contemporary artists. See


Essential information

WHEN TO GO: Summer for the buzzing crowds, and winter for the ice rink and Christmas market.
GETTING THERE: There are several direct flights to Nice’s international airport, as well as direct trains from Paris. The trip takes about five hours.
VISAS: Australians and New Zealanders don’t need a visa. South Africans need a Schengen visa.
CURRENCY: Euro. 1 GBP = 1.12 EUR.
GETTING AROUND: Most sights are within walking distance. Taxis aren’t common but buses are frequent.
GOING OUT: Beer is about €5.
ACCOMMODATION: Dorm beds from €14 and private rooms from €20.

Destination guide – France
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