The French Riviera, Côte d'Azur, can loosely be referred to as
the Mediterranean coastline from Cassis (east of Marseilles) to Menton and the Italian
border; where the coastal strip becomes the Italian
Although Cannes is probably the geographic centre of what most people
regard as the Côte d'Azur - from St Tropez to Monaco - Nice is the coast's transportation
The Nice Côte d'Azur Airport is France's third-busiest airport,
and the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse - fast train) brings rail passengers from Paris to
the South of France in just five and a half hours.
Budget travellers might prefer the overnight train, to save on the
price of accommodation.
(06), Var (83) and Bouches-du-Rhône
(13) are the French départements that run along the coast of the Provence-Alpes-Côte
This is the region a lot of people think about when they say the
'South of France'.
The French Riviera, otherwise known as the Cote d Azur, is
80 miles of beautiful pastel buildings, Belle Époque architecture, seaside cafes and
tottering villages strewn on cliff sides overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
The gin and turquoise colour of the Mediterranean and the unique
sunlight in this part of the world has attracted everyone from artists and high rollers to
ex-patriots and aspiring starlets.
Once home to Collette, Matisse and Grace Kelly, Nice, the fifth
largest city in France, is the focal point of the Cote d Azur. If you book a cruise to the Mediterranean, then Nice will
also be your home base to explore this famed stretch of French coastline.
The cruise ships dock on the Quai du Commerce; a twenty-minute walk to
the centre of Nice.
Renting a car is the best
way to see the French Riviera. Despite the fact that a convertible Alpha Romero would be
ideal to traverse the windy, cliff side roads, chances are something more economical is
the way to go.
However, before you take off for Monaco or St. Tropez there are plenty
of things to see and do in Nice.
Nice - At The heart of The Côte d'Azur
Nice is awash in light and colour. Bright and vibrant hues are
everywhere. Red tiled roofs and lemon coloured stucco buildings are crowded together on
narrow, labyrinthine streets.
It's no wonder that Matisse took up residency in Nice, as everywhere
you turn the view looks like one of his colourful paintings.
The best place to take in the splendour of Nice is on the Promenade
des Anglais; a 7km seaside boulevard that curves above the citys Bay of Angels.
The promenade is a popular spot to walk, eat ice cream, rollerblade or
simply wander about in the sunshine or sit on a bench and people watch or look out at the
luxury yachts and schooners strewn across the bay.
The Cimiez Quarter
The Cimiez Quarter of Nice refers to the large hill that overlooks the
High above the city centre you will find a seventeenth century
Franciscan Monastery, complete with an ancient sundial.
The Cimiez Quarter is also the location of the Matisse Museum and the
Marc Chagall Museum.
Furthermore, there are remnants of the Roman Empire on the Hill of
Cimiez. A Roman bath complex and a 600-seat amphitheatre, which was later rebuilt and is
currently used for festivals, complete the tour.
Italian Baroque architecture
A great example of Italian Baroque architecture, the Lascaris Palace
is an excellent destination if you are interested in how the nobility once lived.
Elegant staircases, soaring balconies and seventeenth and eighteenth
century furnishings create a posh showcase of the wealthy. Be sure to check out the murals
Nice is a compact town, but it is still difficult to see it all. After
you reconsider the Alpha Romero, you are going to want to put Nice in the rear-view and
head to Cannes.
Find great deals and offers on Mediterranean
cruises at Virgin Holidays Cruises.
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