Nice is city in southeastern France on the Mediterranean. With a population of approximately 1 million it is the fifth largest city in France & the second largest on the French Mediterranean coast after Marseille.

Reflections on Promenade du Paillon, Nice, Côte d'Azur, France. March 14, 2014.

Reflections on Promenade du Paillon, Nice (map-pointer-icon), Côte d’Azur, France. March 14, 2014.

Founded in circa. 350 BC, today Nice is the leading resort of France’s Côte d’Azur, known to the English speaking world as the French Riviera, somewhere that has been a playground of the rich and the privileged for more than a century. I spent a few days in the city last March and what follows is a pictorial look at five to-do’s should you find yourself basking in the sun and living the Côte d’Azur good life.

– 1 –

Visit Parc du Chateau For Great Views

Get your Nice bearings by visiting the city’s well-known hilltop park, Parc du Chateau.

Nice as seen from Parc du Chateau, Nice, Côte d'Azur, France. March 14, 2014.

Nice as seen from Parc du Chateau, a 92-metre high shady hilltop park that forms a natural barrier separating the Port district of Nice from Vieux Nice (Old Nice, right foreground) & the modern city centre (right background) fronting Baie des Anges, the sweeping city bay lined by Promenade des Anglais (left). Nice, Côte d’Azur, France. March 13, 2014.

Most people come here for the light. Me, I’m from the north. What moved me are January’s radiant colours and luminosity of daylight.

– Henri Matisse, French artist who died in Nice in 1954

Buildings of Vieux Nice as seen from Parc du Chateau, Nice, Côte d'Azur, France. March 14, 2014.

The light was certainly nice early on this particular morning when I was photographing the rooftops of the Belle Époque structures of Vieux Nice from the lookout on Parc du Chateau. Nice, Côte d’Azur, France. March 14, 2014.

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Amble the Alleys of Vieux Nice (Nice Old Town)

Nice’s labyrinthine baroque Old Town is a bustling tangle of atmospheric alleyways full of cafes, stalls, history, street artists, quaint squares, tourists & surprises. Historic buildings abound, including the baroque Cathedrale Ste-Reparate with its stunning glazed terracotta dome, built around 1650, probably the Old Town’s most famous structure.

In the lanes of Vieux Nice (Old Nice), Nice, Côte d'Azur, France. March 14, 2014.

In the lanes of Vieux Nice (Old Nice), Nice, Côte d’Azur, France. March 14, 2014.

– 3 –

Hang out on Promenade des Anglais

People watching on the pedestrianised city centre streets of Rue de France & Rue Massena is all well & good. But down on the long, sweeping beach-fronting Promenade des Anglais is where it’s at in Nice. Along the seafront, the long curve of the Promenade des Anglais follows the beach, connecting the airport and the harbour, and is the perfect spot for people watching.

Activity on the beachfront Promenade des Anglais, Nice, Côte d'Azur, France. March 14, 2014.

Activity on Nice’s beachfront Promenade des Anglais. The promenade, & especially in the evenings, is abuzz with all sorts – strollers, runners, in-line skaters, & beach-goers. Given the obvious Mediterranean views, the houses fronting the promenade are the most desired place to live in the city. In the background can be seen the lookout on Parc du Chateau. Nice, Côte d’Azur, France. March 14, 2014.

A sunset stroll on the beachfront Promenade des Anglais, Nice, Côte d'Azur, France. March 14, 2014.

A sunset stroll on the beachfront Promenade des Anglais. Nice, Côte d’Azur, France. March 14, 2014.

Distinctive blue seats on the beachfront Promenade des Anglais, Nice, Côte d'Azur, France. March 14, 2014.

One of the distinctive blue seats on the beachfront Promenade des Anglais in Nice, Côte d’Azur, France. March 14, 2014.

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Take day trips to nearby Cannes & Monaco

It’s expensive to base yourself in either glitzy Cannes or glamorous Monaco, both of which are short train rides from Nice – Cannes 40-minutes to the west, Monaco 20-minutes to the east. So instead lay your head in Nice & use it as a base for further exploration. I did.

On the platform of Nice Ville train station, Nice, Côte d'Azur, France. March 14, 2014.

On the platform of Gare Nice Ville train station waiting for the train to Monaco. Nice, Côte d’Azur, France. March 14, 2014.

– 5 –

Cafe Hop

The good life vibe is in full swing at the city’s many outdoor cafes, restaurants & bar, all of which are frequented by the city’s diverse & cosmopolitan crowd.

Cafe culture in Place Garibaldi, Nice, Côte d'Azur, France. March 14, 2014.

Cafe culture in Place Garibaldi, Nice, Côte d’Azur, France. March 14, 2014.

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