STAY in Nice:
Le Saint Paul
And once again Saint-Paul-de-Vence, because it was so beautiful: The medieval town has quite a few things to offer, especially galleries for the numerous artists that have settled in the tight alleys.The Le Saint Paul is located in one of those alleys with the old cobblestone and the flowerpots, in a house from the 16th century that is just as romantic inside as it is outside: Small rooms full of French country house style par excellence, plus an open fireplace, silk fabrics and canopy beds. Here life is not art, but pure luxury.On the cosy terrace they serve Provencal cuisine in a personal atmosphere, the tea is served in front of the crackling fire, and you can read a good book or have an interesting conversation. If you still prefer to go out, you can go to the small art galleries in the perhaps most beautiful place in Provence. Doubles starting at 250,- euros per night.
Hotel Le Meurice
Art Deco is never out. And if it is, it will come back. The Hotel Le Maurice keeps to the law that one always meets twice in life, thereby saving on the costs for remodeling: The hotel is 30s through and through, and it's always been like that. It's this true and authentic charm that makes the Maurice unique next to all the trendy designer hotels: The creaking parquet floor in the lobby, the open lift, the red carpet in the rooms, and the stucco on the walls - the only things missing for a perfect time warp would be a topper and mustache.Yet you don't need to live without modern amenities: Instead of a telephone cabin in wood there is W-Lan, and instead of servants with fans there's air-conditioning and satellite TV instead of theater. And if you pull away the heavy curtains you see cars instead of horse-drawn carriages. It's still easy to take the Art Deco feeling out with you: The old town is only a walking stick away, as well as the elegant parks in which you can saunter wonderfully. Doubles starting at 115,- euros a night.
B4 Nice Plaza
The big sister, the Boscolo Hotel Exedra leads the way, yet, the B4 Nice Plaza is in no way inferior to it. Just a little bit smarter and less pompous, with four instead of feudally five stars and view over the historic city and the Côte d'Azur. The B4 Plaza in Nice sits enthroned on the Baie des Angles - just like a little palace. Surrounded by high palm trees, set against the historic city, and in front of it the sea. Inside - as indicated before - not as much luxury and the colour white as in the Exedra. Instead, there's art and 172 particularly spacious rooms in Italian style and with mosaic tiles in the semi-open bathrooms. The nine suites are designed in a neo-classicist style. The rooftop restaurant La Terrasse shimmers in golden shades! That however resembles the sister hotel at the Victor Hugo boulevard and gets close to it in terms of interior design. By the way, the B4 Plaza also has another sibling in the city, the four-star Boscolo hotel in the park.
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.
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.
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.
SHOPPING in Nice:
Jean-Christophe Serra is 25 years old. When working as a designer and DJ he feels the urge to start a new store in Nice. To his mind, Nice needs a place with an international offer of women's and men's clothing as well as design. He has little experience in the business. However, he founds the Antic Boutik in the historic part of the French coastal city - that was 16 years ago. The store still exists. Both men and women from Nice love to come to Jean-Christophe's boutique. In former times especially because of limited editions of Nike sneakers, today mostly for the selected designer pieces that Jean-Christophe constantly collects during his trips to Paris, New York and Tokyo. But he also finds new goods through friends from the fashion business with whom he talks a lot about aspiring new brands. Quite generally, friends are an important component of Jean-Christoph Serra's life philosophy and the design of his store comes from his buddy Davide Mosconi from Turin.
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!
La Ferme Formagèr
When you step into this shop, you will leave it full and hungry at the same time: The scent of more than 120 cheese varieties, the samples which you get before buying, and the spectacle of so much cheese fills you up, while the unique selection makes you hungry for more.More cheese, more indulgence? Voilà: Tuesday to Saturday, Jean-Paul and Jérôme Perrin turn their shop into a gourmet cheese restaurant. Now you can enjoy the cheese with its best friend, French wine, and indulge in traditional cheese dishes such as fondue or raclette.
SIGHTS in Nice:
At the Ironman in Nice the athletes sweat and rave: The location is so beautiful that that it's almost a shame they have to hurry through it. At 6.30 a.m. it starts with the 3.8 km swimming contest in the turquoise coloured waters of the Côte d'Azur. 50 minutes later: Get on bikes and peddle 180 kilometres (in words: one hundred and eighty) up and down the Maritime Alps. If they are still able to move their legs they have to get onto the streets and run 42 kilometres. The first one to reach the Promenade des Anglais after these trials has made it, winning one of the most difficult contests of all, in one of the most beautiful settings. The best athletes reach the magical finishing line around 3 p.m., while the last iron men and women arrive around 10.30 p.m. You can't begrudge them some time to party! At the Place Masséna the Ironman Village awaits spectators and athletes with a gigantic firework display and many events for all the senses.
Directly by the beach promenade in Nice, the Promenade des Anglais, you find the hip High Club with club boutique. It's the party hub for those who demand for exclusiveness! The motto: to see and to be seen. Directly in the High Club there's also the shrouded Club 47. Here the jet set of Nice throw their parties. From the turntables you hear electronic music by the hottest DJs like the French Martin Solveig who is currently celebrated by the scene. Other known DJs who have been standing behind the turntables include Benny Benassi, Bob Sinclar or Dennis Ferrer.
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.