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Visit to Nice, Côte d'Azur, France, February 28th to March 15th, 2015

We spent two very pleasant weeks in Nice this year, escaping the British winter, staying in a small self-catering apartment just behind the Promenade des Anglais. The air was cool (high 50's) but we had blue skies and hot sun most days.

We loved Nice, which we learnt is the 6th largest city in France, after Toulouse. Even at this time of year there is much to be enjoyed, almost all of it on foot, and although it is beautifully located on the aptly-named Côte d'Azur, it doesn't feel like a seaside resort.

Nice day in the Promenade du Paillon, a park which runs at an angle from the sea front, starting at the Promenade des Anglais, with the Old Town to its right

It was lucky that we decided to go up on the wheel now (6 Euros), as it wasn't there next week!

The wheel, and these great bouncy things, were probably put here for the Nice Carnival that runs through the second half of February, and later in our stay they were being removed. We missed the Carnival on this visit, except the final firework display.

Going up on the wheel... The curved sculpture in the park is a 115 degree arc, the same as the arc of the Baie des Anges, the beautiful bay around which Nice is set.

Looking down on the Old Town, and the modern and excellent tramway

The hill in the distance is the Colline du Château - on the other side of the hill is the Commercial Port (see later)

A rubber-wheeled Tourist Train (8 Euros) starts on the Promenade, goes through the Old Town and takes you up the hill, at the top of which there is a recreation park and great views all around (see later), stopping there for 10 minutes before returning to the Promenade

Down from the wheel, enjoying walking through more of the Promenade du Paillon

We know a small person who would like playing here...

...and here...

...and here!

A day trip to Cannes... and the only picture I thought it worth taking there. Cannes, unlike Nice, seemed to us a horrible mix of pretension and seaside holiday resort tat. The bus to Cannes takes 1½ hours but only costs 1.5 Euros... we took the train back, happening to catch a TGV (½ hour, 7 Euros).

The self-catering apartment where we stayed was on the front ground floor of 1, Gloria Mansions - B1 in the photo. Originally very grandly situated with a carriageway leading up to it, the developers have added B2 in front of it, and another even grander B3 behind B1 (not visible here). At this time of year the balcony of our apartment got only 2 hours of sunshine after lunch, the rest of the time the sun being blocked by B2. Our apartment still had much to recommend it. B2 shields B1 from the noise of the road, and it is excellently situated for shops and walks, and... only takes 2 minutes to carry the apartment's deckchairs onto the beach!

We loved the evening light

Monument set into the side of the Colline du Château, near the Commercial Port

We loved the decorative walls on the parths leading up the Colline (we took the Tourist Train up, and walked down)

Interesting things to see up there...

The Commercial Port, seen from the recreation park on top of the Colline

A neat parking job

Ships (not this one) leave from here for Corsica, one of our favourite places (click the link to see why)

The top of the recreation park, from which there are excellent views all around

Disney Theme Park employees should look away when passing this!

More views from the Park

Part of the Baie des Anges, and a good view of the Promenade des Anglais (built by a grandson of Queen Victoria). Note the jetty fragment in the water (see later). The Flower Market is below on the right.

Walking down, heading for the Flower Market...

...which can be seen on the left, with the dome of the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate to the right

Nice place for afternoon treat sitting outside, not so good for lunch

Can't capture the fragrance from these shops, unfortunately (although we took some home)

Very nice family restaurant next to the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate

Back on the Promenade du Paillon

In this chain of Boulangeries / Patisseries, the people serving you don't handle money any more. You can put bills or coins in the slots (even a 50 Euro note!) and it gives change. Works great.

Inside the wonderful Chagall museum, which we walked up to on one of the supposedly bad-weather days (we still had sun for a snack lunch outside in the café).

Bad weather day at the Massena Museum (history of Nice), 2 minutes walk from our apartment. I loved the dining room. This was the hangout of royalty and similar at the time of the Belle Époque.

Photo of Nice taken about 1865

Before the "modern" promenade was built (by one of Queen Victoria's grandsons). The jetty and the Casino are no longer there (see below).

Photo of Nice taken about 1865

A papier-mâché model of the old jetty and Casino, made by students at a local college. Found this info about it: "In 1891 the construction of the Casino de la Jetée-Promenade began... it remained until the end of WWII when the Germans began to dismantle the structure stripping it of its valuable metals."

A glass fish in our local restaurant (Les Jardins du Capitole), taken on our last of several visits... it seemed to have attitude! We liked this place, and eventually acquired regular-visitor status (e.g. free Limoncello at end of meal). Very friendly service, good food, well patronised by the locals.

Our other favourite local restaurant was Italian, the excellent Restaurant Davisto - everything authentic and freshly made, and their “Spaghetti alle Vongole” was absolutely the best that I have ever had.

[Photoblog continues in Part 2, a day trip to Saint Paul de Vence]