The last stop on our journey through France ended on the gorgeous French Riviera, or the Côte d’Azur, as the French would say. Arriving by train, which winds along the beach for excellent views, we entered the beautiful city of Nice greeted by warm weather and a perfect Mediterranean breeze.
Where to Stay
- AC Hotel Nice – A Marriott property, this hotel has American-style amenities and is perfectly situated across from the beach, yet walking distance to the action in Old Nice. Clean, modern, and luxurious, this property also features a rooftop pool with views of the Mediterranean.
- Le Negresco – This famed luxury hotel is by far the most recognizable in the city, right across from the Mediterranean.
- Le Méridien – A cheaper option also on the beach, but a bit closer to town, this hotel features a rooftop pool.
Where to Eat & Drink
- Cours Saleya – An open air street market running parallel to the Promenade des Anglais, easy to reach from the beach or Old Town. Selling fresh produce, local meats and cheeses, flowers, and souvenirs, stop by to gather picnic supplies. Cafés also line this area so it’s easy to stop in for a lunch along this street.
- Hi Beach – One of the many beach bars lining the promenade, it’s a great spot during the day for a drink or lunch while looking out over the sea, or for a beach dinner as the sun goes down.
- Il Vicoletto – Recommended by a local, this classic Italian restaurant pulls from nearby Italy for fantastic traditional Italian cuisine.
- Restaurant Le Prom – Next to the casino, this restaurant on the Promenade des Anglais looks fancy from the outside but is a casual place for great meals.
- La Terasse – A more Americanized version of French food, this rooftop bar and restaurant atop the Meridian Hotel is a bit pricey, but worth the splurge. Excellent service and views of the beach combined with amazing meals, this is the perfect spot for a Mediterranean date.
- La Havane – A Cuban bar with excellent beach drinks.
What to See
- Vieille Ville – “Old City”, or Old Nice, is worth wandering through to feel this history of this lovely beach town.
- Molinard Perfume Factory – Southern France is known for their perfumes, and Molinard is one of the famous perfumeries. If you book ahead, Molinard offers workshops where they guide you through the process of making a perfume and you can create and take home your very own unique scent. They will also keep the recipe on file so you can continue to re-order when you run out.
- Colline du Château – “Castle Hill” is a hill right in the middle of town overlooking both the beach to the west and the port to the east. Hike to the park at the top for gorgeous views – it’s worth it for the photo op.
- Castellane – A small 16th century town in the hills with a hiking trail up to an old church. If you can make it to the top, you will reach Our Lady of the Rock (Notre-Dame du Roc) which has views of not only the town, but for miles onward towards the Verdon River.
- Moustiers – A small village known for its pottery.
- Verdon Gorge – By far, one of the most beautiful places you’ll see in a lifetime, the Gorge du Verdon is a bit of a drive from Nice, and often requires a private tour. The river is fed by the Lake St. Croix, filled with turquoise water that visitors can kayak or paddle boat through. The stunning views from both the top and below are breathtaking.