TALK of the world’s most glamorous destinations, and it won’t be long before the French Riviera comes up in the conversation.
This is the fabled, luxury world of the Cote d’Azur, a world where film stars and the rich and famous go to party, where celebrities rub shoulders with even bigger celebrities.
But recently, like so many places that were once only the preserve of the wealthy, this fabulously opulent coast has become accessible to more and more people as the cost of getting there has tumbled.
Nice retains its medieval heritage in the atmospheric Old Town, with its closely packed red-tiled roofs and narrow winding streets packed with shops, bars and fabulous restaurants.
Cathedral de Sainte Reparate
Nice’s Roman Catholic cathedral is situated in the Place Rosetti. It was formerly a priory of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Pons and was made into a cathedral in 1590.
Matisse spent the last few years of his life in Nice and he is honoured by this museum. His better-known paintings are all here.
With wonderful views over the rooftops and gleaming mosaic tiles of Old Nice, along the sweep of the Promenade des Anglais and out to the Mediterranean, the Château park is a lovely attraction in itself and a good place for visitors to see the city in all its glory.
Musée des Beaux-Arts Jules Chéret
Housed in the former residence of the Ukrainian Princess Kotchubey is a fine collection of 19th and 20th century art, including works by Boudin, Ziem, Raffaelli, Renoir and Monet.
SHOPPING IN NICE
Between the Old Town and the city’s main square, the Place Massena, lies the city’s most famous market area, the Cours Saleya. It bustles with activity every day and is a riot of colour and aromas, packed with flowers, fresh produce, souvenir shops and sidewalk cafés. On Mondays the area hosts a large flea market and an antiques market.
The central shopping area of Nice is Magenta Square and the streets surrounding it. It’s located at the heart of the historic centre of the city, so you might want to start you shopping tour of Nice with a relaxed stroll down the pedestrianised alleys and promenades. After Paris, Nice is France’s premier spot to see and be seen. Here, fashion shopping is much more than just a process of walking from one shop to another – it’s a meticulously planned spectacle requiring a visit to every important establishment in the city centre.
Rue Paradis and Rue de Suède are home to the most famous fashion studios, including the original shop of popular brand Façonnable, today boasting hundreds of branches worldwide.
Rue Masséna has the enormous Galeries Lafayette, second in size only to its Parisian branch and the Avenue Jean-Médecin and Rue de Verdun are filled with popular high street names.
HOW TO GET THERE
Norwegian fly direct to Nice from Gatwick airport. www.norwegian.com