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Nice France. Any tips?

(24 Posts)
Beebeequeue Wed 17-Jul-19 16:52:48

I’m going with DH in October for 4 nights on a bit of a budget. Any tips for what not to miss? Enjoy bus trips to pretty areas, markets, nice food etc . Thanks smile

growlingbear Wed 17-Jul-19 17:04:59

I have a memory of there being a market down beside the seafront with an old woman who was famous for her Nice-style pizzas, cooked open air on a hot plate. They were unbelievably good. Not sure if she's still around but I bet someone has had the sense to take over her recipe.

You could do a day trip to Monaco.

Beebeequeue Wed 17-Jul-19 17:40:55

Thanks. I’ll probably only either Cannes or Monaco. Which is best? Anyone been to Antibes?

WonkyDonk87 Wed 17-Jul-19 17:51:00

Monaco was ok for a brief walk but unless you're into the F1/gambling in the casino there didn't seem much to do. We took the train which was really easy but the bus is cheaper and has better views. We'll do Cannes next time.

Beebeequeue Thu 18-Jul-19 08:20:05

Thanks wonky. I might just head for Cannes then!

SJane48S Thu 18-Jul-19 09:10:53

Antibes is nice but would do Cannes. Monaco is heavily built up, worth a day trip if you’re in Nice for a while to visit the casino and gawp at the huge yachts etc but definitely skippable! In terms of other tips, the area around the train station is a bit grungey and rough so avoid the hotels there. If you are going anywhere by train, get to the station and platform early as it gets busy. The trains are double decker - try and get a seat on the sea side on the top deck. Place Messina is nice and eat out in the Old Town. The Promenade is a nice walk at sunset.

SJane48S Thu 18-Jul-19 09:13:05

PS next door Villefranche is nice for a half day - pretty old town and better beach than Nice (probably too cold to swim in October though!). It’s about 10 minutes (I think!) on the train

Beebeequeue Thu 18-Jul-19 09:37:07

Thanks @sjane48s just googled villefranche. Looks lovely. I wonder if it’s walkable. I’m staying in the gambetta area. Thanks for the train and eating out tip!

SJane48S Thu 18-Jul-19 09:42:15

Not sure if’s walkable & the train does go through some not especially lovely looking Nice suburb on the way to Villefranche so might not be a picturesque stroll! There are some good places to eat out in the streets of Villefranche or just sit with a bottle of wine!

Beebeequeue Thu 18-Jul-19 09:56:00

Thanks. I’ll stick with the train..!

Knittedjimmychoos Thu 18-Jul-19 11:31:54

Villefranche is gorgeous..
I'd skip cannes and do antibes. Antibes is quite spread out, the old town from port. (nice side) but then, after exploring old town you can walk along the sea wall to the cap d antibes and cross over it past hotel cap eden to Juan les pin. Gorgeous little beaches at that end of Juan les pin.

Beebeequeue Sat 20-Jul-19 08:43:06

Thanks @Knittedjimmychoos ! Why would you skip Cannes?

BriocheBriocheBrioche Sat 20-Jul-19 08:49:31

I live in Cannes and love getting lost in the streets of old town Nice. Lots of cute little shops and bistros.
The area around Rue Bonaparte in Nice is really lovely for food/drink.

Definitely check out the cours saleya as there is usually a flower or antiquities market.
La promenade du paillon is a nice open air park behind the old Town.

I second heading to Villefranche for a walk down to the beach and lunch on the front there.

BubblesBuddy Sat 20-Jul-19 10:17:54

The Michelin Guide lists restaurants it recommends that don’t have stars. Worth a look and cheaper.

If you can get buses up to places like St Paul de Vence, Roquebrune and Turetts, Eze etc then do so. Also check my spelling as I don’t have my guide book in front of me! There is the Matisse designed chapel at St P de Vence and you can visit the Chagall and Matisse Museums in Nice itself. We also went to the Musee Massena.

The old Town has the market as described above but you can also get the train to Monaco as well if you want to people watch. A great trip is also the Villa Ephrussi Rothschild at Cap Ferrat. The gardens are outstanding. The fountains especially so and the gardens have views to die for. That and the medieval mountain villages are fantastic and the best places we visited. Have fun!

Mentounasc Sat 20-Jul-19 11:56:31

DD used to live in the area so we've been to a few places.

Yes, the old town of Nice is quite sweet. I happened to be there once on a Monday when the museums were closed and spent a fab morning mooching around a bric-a-brac market close to the promenade.

By contrast, we found Cannes quite lacking in personality and dull, but that might have been bad luck when we were there - pre-film festival so all sorts of things were shut off and scaffolding being erected etc.

Eze is fab, if over- touristified. You get the train along the coast to Eze and then either get a bus up the hill or walk up the Nietsche path (or is it the Goethe path?). The best view in Eze is available in the Jardin Exotique, from the top of the castle remains.

If you want a lovely little hill village that's less touristy, I can recommend St Agnes, Gorbio or Castellar above Menton. Roquebrune is terribly sweet, and has a fab view over to Monaco.

Can second the recommendation for Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild on Cap Ferrat. We actually got off the train at Beaulieu and walked round the entire peninsula before going to the villa, but you might not be feeling that active. It did take much of the day.

I'm actually a big fan of Monaco because it's just so massively weird. You could easily spend a day there - go to the castle hill and visit the aquarium and the old town, go to the fab jardin exotique and cave complex (up the hill but there is a bus service), and then the Monte Carlo utter decadence. You can also play 'find the most tasteless yacht', which to be fair can be played at most places along that coast. I'm quite fond of Monaco in a jaw-dropping 'it's bonkers here' kind of way. DD and her friends used to go there for nights out because as a group of young women they would get free entry to the bars and even free drinks (with no expectation of anything in return).

Only for architecture fans: tours of the Eileen Grey / Le Corbusier complex below Roquebrune. A total highlight for me, but admittedly somewhat specialized.

I'm trying to think of the name of the little bay along the coast where DD and her friends always went swimming. Might well have been Baie de Saint Laurent, getting off the train at Cap d'Ail. Sandy beach, protected from the wind, next to a bar but completely free of charge to use.

Knittedjimmychoos Sat 20-Jul-19 14:21:35

Cannes is fun but I think you will get more variety for experience doing antibes, cap d antibes and Juan les pin

However also second St Paul de Vence.

If you did nice, villefranche, villa euphrasi, maybe dinner on St Paul de Vence and antibes I reckoned you will have managed a fabulous slice of cote de azure. They are all close can you hire car

notoafternoontea Sat 20-Jul-19 17:30:19

I’ve spent a lot of time in Nice over the past 15 years or so.

I agree that Antibes is better than Cannes, and there are some really nice places to wander. Cannes is a bit dull, even during festival season!

In Nice itself, the Promenades des Anglais is nice for a wander. If you’re looking for a nice restaurant for lunch that won’t break the bank try les Jardins du Capitole. Walk down Gambetta to the sea, turn right onto the front and it’s on the right hand side.

The market in the old town is the Cours Saleya. Every day is great! Mainly food but some days is brocante and there’s always a great atmosphere. Safari is a restaurant on the left nearly at the end of the Cours and is the best in Nice for traditional food. It’s not the cheapest but the fixed price menu is good value and the house rosé is very nice. Get the farcis (stuffed veg) as they’re great.

The 400 bus will take you from the promenade des anglais up to St Paul for about €1.50. St Paul is better than Eze for a day out I think . The bus takes a while but is worth it. It’s a lovely place to spend a day. If you like art, don’t miss the Fondation Maeght. You’ll see signs as you’re approaching the village on the bus (the bus kind of takes a right towards the village) and the fondation is on the left at that corner. Just make sure you get a bus that’s going to Vence par St. Paul - otherwise you’ll end up in Vence and have to wait for a bus back - the walk along the road is long and deeply uninteresting.

Villefranche is lovely for a wander - there’s a cafe on the beach, the name of which I can’t forget which is good.

It’s a lovely city just for a walk, and Gambetta is a nice district. You’ll have a lovely time. Hope that helps!

Longdistance Sat 20-Jul-19 17:39:25

Oh I love Nice. We were there in April. We walked up to the castle and headed down through the backstreets back to the old town. Promenade de Anglais is great for a walk along. We had lovely weather, but had been previously in December for a Christmas market and it was 22’c during the day. The market in the old town is great and a trip to Antibes is a must. It’s all so relaxing there 😎

Pegase Sat 20-Jul-19 17:50:40

I would get train to Menton which is lovely. We also really enjoyed Èze which is a medieval hilltop village.

Monaco has loads to do - aquarium, art gallery, gardens etc although all chargeable.

Sainte-Agnès is tiny but a bar at the very top with truly amazing views.

Le Corbusier walk from Roquebrune is beautiful.

Cannes is good for the ferry to Iles de Lérins. Absolutely stunning (15 min boat)

Temporaryanonymity Sat 20-Jul-19 17:54:50

I spent a summer in Nice when I was 17. I had a ball! I remember the art gallery being worth a trip.

WonkyDonk87 Mon 22-Jul-19 09:33:43

@Mentounasc Re: Monaco The most tasteless ' 'yacht' is dependent on whether you play literal or figurative. There was a black boat with a red skull and crossbones picture on it and lamps inside make from gold replica AK47s I'm told but then also Philip Green keeps a boat there angry

ssd Mon 22-Jul-19 10:09:52

We seen a yacht that looked like a bullet there, it was totally gold, really stunning. Some of the yachts are massive.

Mentounasc Wed 24-Jul-19 11:43:33

"We seen a yacht that looked like a bullet there, it was totally gold, really stunning."

Well, I sure that would have made it into the top three of any 'tasteless yacht' competition. I'd like to see the lamps from replica AK47s though! All sounds like it's well worth a giggle.

A few years ago I was there in November and there was some sort of charity event going on in Monte Carlo, next to the casino. Albert had basically loaned out a pile of his sports cars for the evening and more-money-than-sense punters could drive them around the block for a considerable donation presumably after very careful security screening

SJane48S Wed 24-Jul-19 14:11:54

Love a yacht gawp! Bonus points for having a really tastelessly coloured Bugatti parked very close by and ridiculously good looking deckhands & staff all under the age of 20 surely?! I’ve been on a smaller yacht (and was chronically seasick!) but must be one hell of a life!

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