If a chic, classy and cultured Mediterranean break on the uber-cool French Riviera tickles your fancy then look no further than the Cote d’Azur capital of Nice.
France’s fifth city, Nice is glamorous and bewitching in equal measure, regardless of the time of year you visit. Curving around the Bay of Angels, don’t be surprised if you refer to your trip as nothing short of heavenly afterwards.
Roughly two hours from Shannon Airport, taxis aplenty are on hand to whisk you away to your accommodation once you arrive. There is also an airport shuttle, the one-way ticket for which is valid for the rest of the day on all of Nice’s city buses and trams.
Nice itself is perfect for those looking to get away from it all. Although many of the beaches overlooking the Mediterranean are of the pebbled variety, the locals will accommodate with hessian carpets leading the way to the sea. Some hotels have their own private beach, which include waiter service and lockers so you can concentrate on topping up your tan.
While away your time
If lounging in the sun all day isn’t your thing, head to the city centre and take in some of the collections of fine art. Musee d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain stands out with its permanent exhibits of New Realism and Pop Art, while those seeking a more haunting biblical experience will find exactly what they’re looking for at the Musee National Message Biblique Marc Chagall. Henri Matisse lovers will be thrilled to find a dedicated museum to the artist right here too, while the Russian Cathedral and the ancient Roman ruins are must-sees.
The best view of the city is arguably from Le Chateau, which overlooks the town and out to sea. The castle itself is now a ruin with only small sections remaining, but for a panoramic analysis there’s no better place to go, as long as you’re able for a hike to the top of the hill on which it stands. There’s also a lift to the top for those who have been left breathless by what they’ve seen! Expect to pay a small charge for the pleasure though.
When it’s time to up the tempo, Nice won’t be found wanting. The Cours Saleya Flower Market is open Tuesday to Sunday and is positively dripping with atmosphere. You’ll be amazed by the assault of colour on show while the perimeter is lined with lively cafes, souvenir and gift shops, bars and restaurants when it’s time to take a break. At night, the city comes alive. From the pedestrian zone in the centre, right up to the restaurants on the seafront, you’re bound to get caught up in the revelry. The Old Town is especially vibrant when the sun goes down with lots of fun bars and nightclubs to choose from.