"Nice Life" Top 5 Page for this destination Nice by NiceLife
Nice Travel Guide: 1,829 reviews and 3,935 photos
A twelve-year veteran of VT on Nice and the Cote d' Azur, an irreverant insider who shares the best and worst of Life on The Riviera, NiceLife gets under the surface onto enable you to enjoy the best of La Vie Nicois, whether you are here for just a day or a lifetime, or maybe longer.
A Brief History of Nice
Perched on top of Mont Boron near the radio mast, above the port looking out in two directions over the Baie des Anges and behind to the deep harbour of Villefranche, Sir Elton John commands what is probably the finest view of all Nice. When the lights are on, everyone can see "Sir Elton" is in town, though less often now baby is in L.A. An honorary citizen of Nice, Elton was not the first to discover the most vibrant city in France next to Paris. Remains of Homo Erectus (calm down Elton, it's only an old fossil) dating back 160,000 years were found at the foot of Mount Boron.
Three thousand years ago the Greeks discovered Nice, and first named it "Nike", after the fashionable sports shoe. A thousand years later more soldiers arrived, this time in sandals, in an early but ultimately unsuccessful attempt at European unification known as The Roman Empire. The Mediterranean language of "Nissart" is a legacy of the Latin spoken by its occupiers. After the fall of Rome, fast forward a thousand years. Then the borders of one-day-to-be France and Italy spent centuries shifting between the Duke of Savoy, the Earl of Ventimiglia, the Count of Provence and the Grimaldi family. Either sides of the river Var, you can hear the collective groan of the Nicois: "Hey Pierre, Franco, - gedda the old flags out - we're changing sides again!"
In the 1820' s a few hundred well-heeled families wanting to escape the British winter founded an English colony. An eccentric British clergyman, the Reverend Lewis Way, raised subscriptions to built the precursor to the Prom, Le Chemin des Anglais, as a leafy idyllic walkway lined by trees straight out of Gainsborough's Haywain. In the 1860's Nice became formally part of France, and shortly after, the railways arrived, with the Paris-Marseilles-Nice Blue Train, providing Europe's aristocracy with convenient access. By the 1920's, the more cosmopolitan wealthy of America and Europe had discovered the Riviera, and Nice became for all year round, not just Winter.
All this burgeoning hedonisim was only briefly interrupted by the occupation of France during WWII. In a French history book I noticed a black and white holiday snap, like millions of others today, but of four Wermacht officers in full military uniform, smiling to camera, behind them the familiar sights of the Promenade des Anglais. Nice survived, and I guess we should be grateful. ("VT travellers checkpoint: life's more than just a beach!)
Mass air travel, leisure and tourism followed in the 1960's, along with property development, to feed on the growing aspiration for a place in the sun. Thanks to its wonderful Belle Epoche and Art-Deco facades along the Prom and finer streets, and its balance between visitors and real working people, Nice has been largely spared from the holiday apartment blight found in some other parts of the Riviera. Instead, much heritage preserved, terracotta roofs, trompe d'oeil facades, wrought-iron balconies, rich mediterranean colours, a beautiful city by the sea full of people who treasure it. Latest chapter is the arrival of les airlines lowcost making the Riviera accessible to all, even just for the weekend. And there's VT: now you don't even have to get out of bed to visit the Riviera.
So there you have it. 160,000 years in the making. The majesty and magnificence of the French Riviera. What are you waiting for?
From his window, Elton, 58, enjoys a view of the entire city of Nice, with the green Colline du Chateau rising up from the plain, and the terracotta roof tops of Old Nice. Climbing back from the centre towards the mountains the vantage point of Queen victoria's beloved Cimiez, with its monastery and Roman ruins
Towards the horizon the whole sweep of the Baie des Anges 7km out to the airport, and onward where sea meets sky the distant silhouette of the luxurious Cap d'Antibes. Inland, the backdrop of the Alpes Maritimes reminds you Nice is a city between the mountains and the sea. On the clearest of days out to sea, I am told you can just make out the coastline of Corsica.
From his balcony, Nicelife enjoys a view of Elton's most truly desirable "derniere etage" address in Nice. It is as you might expect entirely inaccessible. However, you can enjoy the same view as Elton, for only one euro courtesy of the number 14 bus from Nice Centre to Mont Boron, then onwards several hundred yards on foot towards the telecommunications transmitter.
Many people settle for the more easily accessible and unquestionably enchanting view of the Bay from the Chateau, probably one of top ten most photographed views of the western world. . But if you are up for the challenge, there's few more spectacular views of the Riviera than those found here.
Leaving only 31 other items to check off on your "things you must do on your stay in Nice" list.
Tourist Office/ Webcam Promenade des Anglais - no longer real time, but short loops continuously updated
Beaches of Nice
StreetViewPhotos and Maps within Nice
Google Maps Steet View
Maps of every Riviera town
Temperatures in Nice across the year
To and Fro the airport - Nice
Nice airport real time arrivals board
Strikes in France - advance notice of latest disruption
Best Nice restaurants guide (French!)
Whats On in The Riviera - Markets and Events
Boat trips from Nice
Exchange Rate current trends
French National News in English
TripAdvisor Travel Support Forum for Cotes d'Azur
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