SIGHTS in Nice:
He is the only representative of the Modernist Period that Pablo Picasso considered to be his equal: Henri Matisse lived in Nice from 1918 until his death in 1954. This is why his most beautiful works are on display here.As with all the museums in Nice the building itself is a real attraction: On the hill of Cimiez, near other sights like the Franciscan monastery with its opulent garden, it has a magnificent view. Henri Matisse himself had lived in the neighbourhood in a 17th century villa. The museum accommodates about 500 pictures, drawings, book illustrations, etchings and sculptures from all the different creative period of the artist.Entrance fee: Adults 5,- Euro, reduced fee 2,50 Euro.
Saint Paul de Vence is two attractions in one and thus clearly worth a day trip: The medieval mountain village is located only 25 km away from Nice. Today it counts about 3000 inhabitants, of whom many continue to earn their living with arts and handicrafts.Attraction no.1: The location, architecture, ambiance and food. Romantic mountains, fantastic view, medieval alleys and buildings, wonderful small restaurants (Tip: La Colombes d´Or, hotel, gourmet temple and Picasso museum in one), everything in the category absolutely worth seeing and experiencing.Attraction no. 2: The Fondation Maeght, one of the most unusual museums of contemporary art in the world. The treasures on exhibit exist thanks to Marguerite and Aimé Maeght, gallery owners from Paris. Their idea: Optically amalgamate the works of the artists with the building and the garden. The result is an architecturally intoxicating building, which, aside from the exhibition spaces, includes a cinema and concert hall, studios, a documentation centre and a library. All of it is surrounded by a sculpture garden. The collection with more over 12,000 pieces of art attracts more than 200,000 visitors from all over the world each year.
The Nice Carnival
It's the event in winter along the French Riviera, the Carnival of Nice. Every year round about 1,3 million visitors participate in this event. The festivities go back to a long tradition. Already in 1294 Charles d'Anjou, Count of the Provence, spent some enjoyable days in Nice. In 1830 the first parade through the city took place and in 1873 the festive committee was established. The Nice Carnival cannot be compared to other carnivals, for example the one in Cologne. Nobody dresses up in costumes here. It's not a carnival to participate in but to watch - and there's far enough to watch. Twenty wagons adorned with flowers roll over the Promenade des Anglais. The decoration of the wagons is taken care of by florists from Nice exclusively, since they have to apply for participation. Apart from the flower corso the paying audience is also offered a show with bizarre figures, much music and dance. You can buy tickets from the 26th of January onwards at the Office du Tourisme. A seat on the tribune for the parade costs 20 euros, a standing place is 10 euros.
SHOPPING in Nice:
La Maison de l´Ol
Pickled olives in all the variations possible, the rarest kinds of pepper, elaborate salts, finest dried vegetables, hand-made soaps, exquisite oils: In the Maison de l'Olive all senses are caressed.Above all, of course, the sense of taste, because Marie Louise Guignard and her husband Bruno do everything they can to excite it. Of course, you can also buy the best olive oil here and take it as a small present. The spices from the Provence are another great gift, since they represent the essence of Nice: Great taste!
French women are known for their seductiveness. An essential part of their secret is for sale: At Etam you find beach wear and lingerie that will drive up your sexy factor into unprecedented heights. When you think of Brigitte Bardot, or the Hollywood goddesses of the 60s, of Cannes and Saint Tropez, you think of Etam beach fashion.You'll find the most elegant bikinis and bathing suits in the small boutique of this luxury lingerie brand in Nice. And of course, there are also many fine laces for the goddesses of the night! Our tip: Leave your Bikini at home and just get a new beach outfit at Etam. You can be sure that you find something there that will turn you into a beach siren that will draw all the attention!
Florian du Vieux
Attention sweet tooth: Here is where you can find handmade chocolates, jelly beans and candied fruits. Free tours of the production area included! The many delicacies are made following recipes from the 19th century.The ingredients include fruits and flowers from Provence, and most of them organically produced. By the way, the shop provides the perfect explanation for why many small presents never reach their intended destination - they are just too seductive not to be eaten immediately!
EAT in Nice:
Stéphane Viano is dabbling in the food today, yet the founder was a certain Camille, which explains the name of the restaurant. The small eatery only has nine tables, yet the food is this much greater: Authentic fare from the Provence.If you don't know what that is: Risotto and vegetables, but not any vegetable, but fresh from the seller around the corner. The saddle of lamb is also served, of course with herbs from Provence and zucchini sugared with Parmesan. If there's seafood, it's jumbo shrimp.The chef and the season decide what exactly will be on offer. And along with all this delicious food there is a lot artwork on the walls, in order to shorten the waiting period. If you like it, you can pack it in along with the doggie bag. It remains doubtful, however, whether the dog understands much about art.
There we go again, the good old art nouveau, which is just as recurrent a theme in Nice as the bouillabaisse on the menus. In this stylish ambiance, only one thing can be served: traditional cuisine à la Nicoise.The floral elements and curvy lines of the building may appear a little dusty, yet the food is not: Only fresh ingredients from the market are used. The fish is still shaking its fins, the ravioli are melting on your tongue. Many stay a little longer: At the bar next door they serve the perfect one for the road after an excellent meal.It is a little bit more expensive than usual - à la carte you eat for about 30 euros, but you get an extra helping of nostalgia for free. Tip: Reservations required. If you show up without, you will put out to pasture with a mild smile.
It's small, it's tight, and sometimes you have to push the tables around to even get a spot. There is no telephone, so you will have to come twice - once for reserving a seat and once for eating. There are only stools without backrests.The million-dollar-question is: What are you doing here? The fact of the matter is: It's worth it. Dominique le Stanc already saw two Michelin stars at Le Chantecler, now he defected to try an entirely new concept: You don't need golden spoons in order to eat well. It works, because the chef is such a wonderful cook that it is impossible to get into his restaurant without a reservation during the season. The food: Authentic, Mediterranean fare, with ingredients fresh from the market and a short, permanently changing menu. The lamb is so tender that it falls from the bone, the onion pizza is divine, and the filled sardines and green pasta with pesto to drop to your knees. The tripe and the stockfish aren't to everyone's taste, but if you've always wanted to try it you should do it here. In line with the moderate ambiance you can leave your platinum credit card at home, since the place is cash-only.
STAY in Nice:
The Ellington is one of the hotels that wants to be it all at once, but conceals it so well that it achieves harmony, after all. Here a little art deco, there a little modernism, and a lot of 50s in between: What might be confusing elsewhere is hardly worth noticing in the Ellington. The lobby: Heavy chandeliers, playful staircases, glass ornaments. The rooms: Everything different, once trendy, other times African, then Scandinavian or Louis XVI, some with, some without balcony.The breakfast: Classic croissants, but also ham, cheese and orange juice. During Happy Hour at night they serve Duke Ellington and Ray Charles, in line with the atmosphere of the 50s and the old leather sofas, the images of jazz stars on the walls, the piano at one end and the fireplace at the other end of the rooms.Finally, in the courtyard: Southern Spain, cast iron chairs and beige cushioning. Too much? Not for world and time travellers. If you prefer to travel linearly, you should sleep somewhere else. Doubles start at 180,- euros per night.
Nice Garden Hotel
In the middle of the busy city, in the middle of boutiques, pedestrian zone and 200 meters away from the beach, in the middle of the old town. What can you expect? We take a look behind the heavy iron gates of the townhouse from the 19th century and marvel: Absolute peace! A wild garden with plants that are climbing up the facade. Flowers that can compete with any English garden. An orange tree that branches out to the breakfast table and makes you want to grab your fruit plate. And nine rooms with a view onto the green oasis. Some even have elegant swing doors leading outside. Never come in the winter here, or you would certainly miss something! For example a few idle hours on the wooden benches with a good book in the hand. If you don't care about green stuff, you can stare at the high ceilings, admire the stucco at the walls or just fall asleep with the gentle colours around you. Doubles starting at 65,- euros a night.
HI says Hi! and that's it. If you look for the stiff concierge with the lifted eyebrow, you are definitely at the wrong address. If you need help, you are as well. In the HI hotel the young but inexperienced personnel welcomes you in the pink light of the design hotel.The advantage: You are at eye level and don't need to deal with odd arrogant glances so common in other luxury hotels. The disadvantage: It doesn't go much beyond the casual Hi! You are expected to develop a lot of your own initiative. The champagne dispenser is self service, and you can decide between whole food and whole food breakfast buffet. You may take your food to your room or into the garden, which, with its coconut palm trees and bamboo, makes a very nice impression. Matali Crasset, a student of the unavoidable master Philippe Starck, is responsible for this design wonder and she thought up quite a storm for her first project: For example the stand-alone bathtubs, that are separated from the bed only with a screen, which simultaneously works as a video beamer. Doubles starting at 269,- euros per night.