Good morning. This week we’re headed to the South of France to explore…Nice!
Nestled along the picturesque French Riviera, Nice stands as a captivating gem and the largest city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. Its historic charm and vibrant city centre are adorned with a splendid blend of bars, gourmet restaurants, cultural museums, vibrant street scenes, and tranquil parks. The city beckons with an abundance of experiences, from exploring the stunning architecture of the Old Town to meandering along the famous Promenade des Anglais or enjoying panoramic views from Castle Hill. Nice offers an enticing fusion of Mediterranean allure and French sophistication.
Need to know…
✈️ Flight time: 2hrs
⏰ Time difference: +1hr
🔌 Travel adapter: EU Standard Type C
💷 Currency: Euro
🌡️ Weather: Today a high of 23°c
😋 Must try dishes: It’ll come as no surprise that there’s some great food available in Nice. If you’re wanting to try a few local delicacies then here’s some suggestions. First up, Socca is a local classic. It’s essentially a thin, crusty chickpea pancake with a soft interior. If you’ve ever seen White Chicks then you’ll probably get a giggle out of this next suggestion - Salade Niçoise is a hugely popular salad (and just perfect for lunch in the sun!). Featuring tomatoes, radish, onion, black olives, hard boiled eggs, tuna, and anchovies - yum! Finally, did you know that Ratatouille was invented in Nice? I didn’t either, but if you’re going to try it anywhere, where better than Nice!
🚲 Getting around: Nice is a very walkable city, particularly the centre of Nice, and this is a great way to stumble upon some great restaurants and cafes. If you’re not in the mood for walking, Nice has a great tram system making it easy (and cheap) to get between attractions. It costs just €1.50 a ride, although if you’re planning on using the tram a lot, it’s more economical to buy a 24-hour or bulk-ride ticket. If you’re in the mood to cycle, Nice has a bike-share system called Vélo Bleu, allowing you to rent a bike, and with lots of cycle lanes, this can be a fun way to get around. Finally if you’re heading further afield, there’s plenty of bus and train options that’ll connect you to the outskirts of Nice or other nearby towns and cities.
💬 Key phrases & slang:
Je vais bouffer (I am going to eat)
C’est chouette! (That’s great!)
Je te kiffe (I like you)
Ça envoie du pâté (It’s awesome)
What to do?
Enjoy dinner perched on a rocky platform above the sea…
🍎 This week I thought it’d be good to start with a quirky find - the Adam & Eve House. Located on Rue Poissonnerie, if you’re looking up, you might spot a house with a beautiful ornate façade. Dating back to 1584, one scene is said to depict Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (although others say it’s the fiery couple who lived there at the time). Either way, it’s well worth hunting out during your time here.
🍷 Now, wine enthusiasts, make sure you check out Bellet Wines and Vineyard. Situated on the last foothills of the Alps (but still technically within the municipality of Nice) you’ll find one of the oldest vineyards in France. As you wander through the vineyard, the air is filled with a sweet grapey aroma. The warm sun on your skin and the serenity of the vineyard enhance the experience. Tasting the local wines is like tasting the essence of the French Riviera; it's sun-kissed and oh-so-delicious.
🍸 Next, if you’re after a touch of elegance head to the Hotel Negresco for a cocktail. Stepping into the grandeur of this hotel is like stepping into another era. The plush seating, the impeccable service - it's like being in a classic movie. Sipping on a cocktail in beautiful surroundings, overlooking the sea is nothing short of magical. The waves crashing against the shore, the sun setting - it's a moment frozen in time.
🍊 For the love of all things fresh and vibrant, we're off to the Market at Cours Saleya. The kaleidoscope of colours, the chatter of the market vendors, the aroma of fresh flowers - it's a sensory fiesta. The local produce is a feast for both your eyes and your taste buds. Don't miss trying the socca, a traditional Niçoise chickpea pancake; it's a local favourite! The flower market and fruit and veg market are open every morning apart from Monday, when you’ll find the antiques/flea market. Unfortunately my suitcase wasn’t big enough to bring anything home 😅
📚 Bookworms, La Tete Carrée Library awaits you. This unusual building (probably the most unusual library you’ve ever visited) is named “thinking inside the box” (for obvious reasons when you see it). With three storeys of bookshelves, you're surrounded by walls of knowledge. Grab a book, find a cosy nook, and let the world fade away as you dive into the pages.
🗽 Ever seen the Statue of Liberty? If not, then don’t worry - you can do that while in Nice! Standing by the sea, it's a (smaller) charming reminder of the iconic symbol, but with the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea as its backdrop. It's a quirky find that adds a sprinkle of surprise to your Nice adventure.
🌿 If you’re after the perfect Instagram photo then head to the Lavender Fields and turquoise waters of Verdon Gorge. It’s a bit of a drive (so probably count this as a full day excursion), but if scenery and nature are your thing it’s worth the trip. If you time it right you’ll be surrounded by endless fields of lavender, and the fragrance is heavenly. It's calming, mesmerizing, and the beauty is beyond words. Verdon Gorge is also home to some of the most beautiful river canyons in France 😍
🚗 For the more adventurous amongst you, here’s a couple of fun suggestions. For a more unusual way to explore the city, hop on a Nicecar tour. These self-driving tours give you a completely unique way of exploring the city - all whilst in a tiny (super fun) blue car.
If you’re after more adrenaline, why not try flyboarding by Nikaia Watersport. Strap on your gear, feel the adrenaline surge as you're propelled into the air. You're hovering above the sea, and it's an exhilarating rush (once you get the hang of it).
🪨 Finally, it's time to savour a culinary experience at Le Plongeoir restaurant. Situated on a rocky platform right above the sea, this is one of the most picturesque restaurants. The ambiance is ethereal, especially during sunset. The food is a masterpiece; each dish is a burst of flavours carefully curated to give you a taste of the Mediterranean.
Where to stay?
Amazing terrace views to start your day
First up, we've got the Boscolo Exedra Hotel. This 19th century grand white palace screams luxury and elegance with an ornate exterior, and a chic contemporary (very white) interior. Located in central Nice, you’re about a 10 minute walk from the train station, beach and old town. The hotel has a beautiful roof terrace (with pool!) as well as a stylish indoor pool with what looks like a tree coming out the water. The rooms continue the white trend, and have the kind of beds that make you cancel your morning plans. Our favourite feature though has to be that rooftop - the perfect place to enjoy an evening aperitif.
Next on the list, we have the charming Hotel Rossetti that seamlessly blends into the heart of old town. Imagine a cosy abode tucked away in the heart of Nice. There are seven bedrooms, and all feature a minimalist style with muted pastel type colours. There’s a beautiful small terrace, surrounded by terracotta painted walls and looking up to the dome of Sainte Réparate Cathedral - it’s the perfect place to start your day with a light breakfast. After that you're right in the middle of all the action, so head to one of the cute little cafes nearby - perfect for that morning espresso to kickstart your day.
Now I already mentioned this hotel as a top tip for a cocktail, so thought it worth also including as an accommodation option. The iconic and instantly recognisable Hotel Le Negresco is topped by a flamboyant pink dome that was allegedly inspired by the architect's mistress. While there are a few elements that could do with an update, this is a magnificent hotel packed full of amazing art and vibrant colours - the décor is a blend of old-world charm and modern luxury. There’s a selection of bars and restaurants including an outdoor terrace, perfect for watching the world go by. If you’re simply after some sun, then cross the road and relax on a striped recliner on the private beach.
The historic city of - York
Next week, get ready to immerse yourself in the historic charm of York. Known for its ancient city walls, towering cathedral, and a quaint medieval ambiance, York is a journey back in time. Stroll through its narrow cobbled streets and let the echoes of history enchant you. From the iconic York Minster to the preserved Shambles, this city offers a glimpse into a bygone era. And for the fans of folklore and magic, York is not far from the enchanting realms of Harry Potter, with filming locations just a hop and a skip away.
We really want to leverage the incredible travel knowledge from the thousands of subscribers that make up our Porter community. Therefore, if you’ve ever visited York, let us know the things you loved doing, or the places you stayed at. If we love your recommendations we’ll feature them in next week’s newsletter.