When conference calls drag and e-mails clutter the inbox, one fantasises of an escape—a wanderlust-fuelled daydream that encourages travel to somewhere exotic. If you’re dreaming of the sun on your skin, the wind in your hair, and your toes in the sand, then a weekend in Nice comes highly recommended.
Less than two hours from London, Nice has earned itself a reputation for glamour, hedonism and a free-spirited way of life. This Mediterranean paradise attracts many millions of visitors each summer and the city buzzes with an eclectic mix of people, cultures, events, food and fashion. There’s something for everyone, from flaneuristic strolls along the Promenade du Paillon to champagne cocktails in L’Effervescence.
So rent a luxury car in Nice to channel the glamour of the French Riviera and find out why the city is dubbed Nice la Belle; roll into town through the glorious curve of the Bay of Angels and enjoy a well-earned break. We promise it looks every bit beautiful as it does in the movies! Read on to discover the greatest attractions in the capital city of the Cote d’Azur.
A Characterful Culture
From the driver’s seat of a Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini, contemplate the vastness of the vividly blue sea from the Promenade des Anglais. Adorned with palms and pergolas, the promenade curves almost five miles round the Bay of Angels. Park up and stroll down this stretch, soaking up the sunshine.
If you are fascinated by history and would appreciate an insight into the Nice of yesteryear, then a trip into the tightly packed labyrinth-like Old Town (Vieux Nice) is a must. The melee of sights, sounds and smells are a delight for the senses, and with each new alleyway comes an inviting bar or café. Buy an ice cream at Fenocchio’s on Place Rossetti, then carry on strolling to the Cours Saleya.
In Nice, there are numerous historical buildings to admire, from grand 19th-century townhouses to majestic hotels and ornate churches. For art and history lovers, we recommend Musée Matisse and Palais Masséna.
The Hotel Negresco, with its world-class art collection, Michelin-starred restaurant and sea views, makes for a perfect place for either lunch or dinner. Hotel La Perouse, with its spectacular sea view, is comparatively more private and has a pretty hotel terrace where a swimming pool, bar and restaurant are found in a setting that is not unlike a Provençal village square.
Shopaholics are well catered for in this beautiful city. From cakes and confectionery at Maison Auer to watercolours of the city, olive jams at Alziari, evening gowns at Galéries Lafayette, pearl necklaces, garments of Provençal fabric, antiques at Rue Cathérine Ségurane, and traditional socca boards. Venture through the Cours Saleya to Rue Masséna and shop to your heart’s content, “because it is shop o’clock somewhere,” as they say.
Finish your weekend in Nice by visiting the many pubs, clubs, bars and lounges that host the locals. There are enough options to satisfy different tastes in music, food and ambience. A candlelit dinner at Le Before or al fresco dining at Jan sets the night off right, followed by an extravagant experience in a trendy club, casino or cabaret bar to make for a fun night out.
It is only once you arrive in Nice, experience the city’s atmosphere, and lose yourself to the destination’s exuberance that you understand why this enchantress called Nice is the capital of the Côte d’Azur.