Nice Harbour with luxury yachts

Sunny Glitzy Cote d’Azur

September 8th, 2013 – Overcast, then sunny + intense heat

Nice

For the first time on our trip the weather forecast predicted cloud cover with a 60% chance of rain, and more importantly… temperature in the mid-high teens!!! No need to bring a spare T-shirt!!

We hopped onto the tram toward old Nice. These air-conditioned Bombardier trams (Canadian company by the way lol) were frequent and easy to navigate. (For 1 euro per trip it was an inexpensive yet efficient method to travel around town. We bought the 10-trip pack so we didn’t need to buy tickets on every trip. Just make sure you validate the ticket once on board). We passed the TGV station (called Gare Thiers) and within 10 minutes we were near the waterfront where Old Nice was situated.

Nice was an extremely busy city packed with locals and tourists. Architectures around Nice were vastly different than other regions of France – a stark contrast between the conservative color schemes found throughout Paris and the bold eye-catching colors of the Riviera. Our impression of Nice was that it was younger, more eclectic, and grittier than other French cities we had visited previously. We felt safe throughout our entire trip through France, but we noticed there was a significant increase of loitering in Nice (especially at night).

Old Nice was absolute madness with pedestrian traffic and we quickly discovered the reason behind such craziness once we reached Nice’s famous waterfront broadwalk aka Promenade des Anglais. Apparently from September 6-15 was the Francophones Game! (Google taught us that the Francophones Game = Every 4 year event similar to the Commonwealth Games for French speaking nations). The cycling competition took place at the waterfront and it was extremely exciting to see the Canadian national team race… but for some reason there was a separate team for “Team Quebec”… WTF!

We walked down the waterfront promenade towards Castle Hill. On our left were busy shops of all sorts, and opposite of these shops were rows upon rows of beach chairs for rent on our right (crazy busy VS relaxation… separated by a road). In Cote d’Azur standard that day must’ve been a sub-par day for sunbathing because those beach chairs were mostly empty. (or maybe people finally woke up and realized that paying 30 euros to sit on a ROCKY beach was highway robbery!?).

By the time we reached the foot of Castle Hill the air was suffocatingly hot and muggy. Needless to say the weather forecast lied and it was impossible to have anything but sunny weather in the French Riviera. We had every intention of hiking up the Castle Hill to the top but since I was already uncomfortable with the heat we opted to cheat and utilized the elevator instead (The elevator was small and extremely slow so expect a long wait… there were no fees for the elevator ride but numerous online sources suggested otherwise). Castle Hill was a misleading name because there were no castles to be found at the top. Even though Castle Hill was castle-less, our disappointments were quickly dwarfed by the magnificent view of the Nice Harbor on one side, and the curving beach/cityscape on the other.

To be honest I was instantly drawn to Nice’s bold colors on arrival. Bright yellow, orange, green, and all color permutations in between… such contrast in color was simply a photographer’s heroin… But to see such variety of bold colors mesh together so harmoniously from afar was actually a little surprising. The relentless sun, in addition to our ill prepared outfits (remember it was supposed to rain so we dressed for rain) accelerated our departure from Castle Hill. On principles alone we took the stairs instead of elevators on our descent (can’t be too lazy!). Once at the bottom we actually decided to head back to our apartment first to change and shower instead!

Refreshed and relatively sweat free (I swear to god it was so muggy I was sweating while showering lol), we returned to the streets of Old Nice. We wandered aimlessly for 3-4 hours within the winding streets of Old Nice, passed numerous gelato establishments each claiming to be the best, and basked in the bold colors of this intriguing city until night time.

 

5 replies
  1. riotstar says:

    Nice photos. Although I’d hardly call the beach at Nice “rocky”, pebbled but not rocky and quite comfy to sit on on a towel. Colline du Château was where the Greeks set up the city and later in the medieval era, there are some foundations you can still see.

    Reply
    • perilizia says:

      That’s because there are differences in beach terminology between North-American English and British English.

      While a rocky beach in British English has to have large rough lumps often individually big enough to sit on or very much larger, or even a continuous surface of solid stone, ‘rocks’ in American English includes small smooth pebbles which would never be called rocks in Britain.

      Reply
  2. doby47 says:

    just got through your trip report. Wow, well done!

    You put slit into it. The two places I have not been to are Avignon and Uzes and the descriptions were very helpful.

    Thank you for this. Great job !

    Reply
  3. W.B.Loud-Glade says:

    Your report was a great antidote to the usual guidebook fare.

    BTW re those ‘rocky ‘,’stony ‘ ‘pebbly ‘whatever …beaches ….. when you spend more time on the Cote d’Azur (and eventually become a resident) you will really come to prefer them over sand. As you saw at Nice tourists tend to avoid them so less people. The stones are also far more laptop, kindle and smart phone friendly as I have noticed for those who like to work on the beach. And rocks don’t get in your pan bagnat.

    The more discerning bring their Persian rugs to cover the pebbles.

    Ed

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *