Eight years after we honeymooned in Nice my husband and I (Sandra) returned for a long weekend, leaving early on Friday and flying home Sunday lunch time.
We flew from Liverpool, rather than Manchester direct to Nice, which made the whole airport experience quicker and easier. We pre-booked the fast-track parking which includes security fast-track passes and has its own entrance into the terminal building. Once in Nice the airport bus is the simplest and cheapest way to get to your hotel.
We stayed in the beautiful boutique Hotel La Perouse, with only 56 rooms, perfectly situated on Castle Hill, which separates the Bay from the Marina. This hotel is built into the hill itself – access to reception is via the front door at street level – the hotel utilises three separate lift shafts to get you to its roof terrace where the view is stunning and you can enjoy the small gym, outdoor jacuzzi and sun loungers. The hotel restaurant, on level one,houses the bar, patio and pool, which isa beautiful setting for breakfast, a drink or dinner, with orange and lemon trees to create shade.
Everywhere in Nice is easily accessible by foot, but the old town is closest to the Hotel Le Perouse. Here you can wonder along the narrow streets laid out in a grid pattern opening out onto traditional squares which gradually slope upwards towards Castle Hill; where you will find gardens and can enjoy unrivalled views towards the Marina on one side and the Bay on the other. The Old Town has an Italian feel with high buildings with shuttered windows with authentic bistros frequented by locals. We loved the atmosphere of the old town with its bars offering live music and great food. The restaurants at the flower market are more typically French. Head into the new town through the Place Massena (main Square) where the streets are wide, straight and chic. Here you can find exclusive designer shops or head from the Palace Massena up the Avenue Jean Medecin towards the station for more high-street names.
People watching along the Promenade De Angles with its iconic palm trees,is a must and it’s always a hive of activity with people riding bikes and roller skating. The pebble beach slopes sharply in terraces down to the sea although this doesn’t stop the locals from swimming as soon as the sun comes out. The beach is divided into public areas and areas owned by the beachfront restaurants, such as the Castel Plage (over the road from Le Perouse) where you can access sunbeds, parasols, changing cubicles and showers as a patron of the restaurant.
The best time to visit Nice is in the spring and the autumn, when the weather in Nice is warm and sunny but not overly hot. When the sun comes out so do the Niçois, populating the many cafes, restaurants andoutside seating areas along the city streets, the Promenade de Anglais and the beach restaurants.
Do as much or as little as you like in Nice, but either way its a fabulous destination where you can mix with the chic Niçois enjoying the cafe culture, the sun and the stunning blue sea – they don’t call it the cote d’azur for nothing!