When my husband and I were picking our hotel in Nice we had a dilemma. Did we want to stay in the historic central part of the city or did we want to stay a little bit away from the central part of the city and have an ocean view? We decided that while it would be cool to say in the historic part of Nice what we wanted was the ocean view. After all, if you’re staying in the French Rivera don’t you want to do it right and have a view from your hotel room of the Mediterranean Sea?
Since we had arrived at our hotel around midnight the night before I had not been yet had the chance to check out our view. As a result one of the first things I did when I woke up was look out our hotel room window. I was so excited to see that our view did not disappoint.
When we booked our room my husband and I decided to go ahead and pay for the hotel’s breakfast buffet in advance. That way we would have one meal a day already paid for. So after checking out our view we brushed our teeth and headed down for breakfast. Much like the breakfast buffet we had enjoyed on our two trips to Barcelona this buffet did not disappoint. There was a nice variety of food with a distinctly European feel. My mini cold had faded and I was operating at about 99% so I went ahead and enjoyed many of the great cheeses they had at the buffet; and, of course, a croissant!
After breakfast we showered and headed out for our first day.
On our previous trips to Europe we had been able to enjoy the amazing and comprehensive metro systems of cities like Barcelona, Madrid, Paris and Berlin. Unfortunately, Nice does not have a comprehensive metro system. It only has one tram line but it does has a vast system of buses. Although buses can certainly get you where you want to go they do tend to be a little less reliable than trains. As a result my husband and I knew that we would have to bee flexible with out plans and go with the flow.
This flexibility began on our first day. Since the weather was supposed to get worse as our trip went along we figured that it would be wise to take advantage of the sunshine on our first day and do things that would require us to be outside, that way if it rained on another day we could just go to a museum.
Our first activity was simply a walk down the Promenade de Anglais.
We walked by the famous Hotel Negresco.
We went down onto their pebbly beach and just took our time enjoying the sunny day.
It was a great introduction to the city.
As we reached the end of the Promenade de Anglais and it turned into Quai des Etats Unis we found ourselves walking through some kind of street fair or festival that had a lot of teenagers.
I always find it interesting to compare and contrast people in different countries. As different as people are around the world there are certain things that just are universal. Observing a bunch of French teenagers made think of how they really aren’t that different than teenagers in the United States or teenagers I observed dancing in a park in Peru in 2014.
Having reached the end of our initial walk or next stop was a park on top of a hill called Castle Hill or Colline du Chateau.
My husband does a lot of research before our travels and he had discovered before our trip that there is an elevator that takes you to the top of the hill. We decided to be lazy to take the elevator up. It saved time as well as energy (we had probably already walked about a mile and a half so I don’t think we were that lazy but I don’t know exactly how much we walked because of the mostly off data situation with my phone I was never able to use my exercise app to see just how much we walked). Once we got off the elevator the views were spectacular. Nice looked even better from above. One of the things I loved on Colline du Chateau was a series of paintings that allowed you to see how the city looked about a hundred years ago and compare the view from the painting with whatever contemporary view you were enjoying at that moment.
As we made our way around the park we saw the remains of a Midieval Cathedral.
The walls of the castle that the hill is named after were also partially intact.
Once we reached the top of the hill we found out first little tourist shop and began buying souvenirs. We didn’t go to overboard but we learned our lesson back when we spent one day in Luxembourg in 2012. If you see something that you want to buy you should buy it because there is no guarantee you will see it again.
After out little shopping stop we began to make our way down the hill. We enjoyed a beautiful waterfall and other great sights along the way.
Once we reached the bottom of Colline du Chateau we found ourselves on the edge of the old part of nice.
We wondered around finding a great little shop that sold soaps and salts from Provence. These were just too good to pass us up. The old town also had a great little strip fill with restaurants that we expressed interest in going to while visiting Nice.
There was also a beautiful flower market.
Upon making our way thought the old part of Nice for the first time we found ourselves along the tram line and a great park called La Promenade du Paillon.
It is a great park that has playgrounds and fountains and grassy areas to sit down and read or have a picnic. My favorite part about this area of Nice were lamp posts that looked like men doing yoga.
In the daytime they are kind of creepy but at night they light up and change colors (although I didn’t know that they lit up and changed colors that first day). We walked around some of this Promenade and came across a memorial that had been set up to honor the victims of the terrorist attack in Brussels, Belgium under a statue of King Leopold I of Belgium.
We took a moment to think about what had happened. Obviously, given the fact that they had two attacks last year and the common language the French people would have a lot of empathy for their Belgian neighbors.
One of the things I like to do while traveling in a foreign country is buy clothes. Not that the clothes are usually that different than what I could find in the U.S but I like to buy them because they can make a great conversation piece such as “You like my shirt? I got it in France.” -And wearing them in my day to day life reminds me of my travels. So after walking around La Promenade du Paillon I went in search of a men’s clothing store I had first discovered in Paris in 2012 called Celio. The one in Nice wasn’t nearly as big as the one in Paris and I was a little disappointed in their selection. Still I did find two sweaters and another shirt that I liked and they were all on sale which was nice. I would have wanted to go to another store to shop some more but the my husband was really tired so we decided to find somewhere to eat dinner.
We liked the place we found. I ordered French Onion soup.
It was without a doubt the best French Onion Soup I have ever had. My husband had a seafood soup.
We then split the rest of our meal including an order of Carpaccio.
Ten years ago I never would have eaten a dish that was raw beef but I’m much more adventurous now. We also ordered a pizza, which was also very good.
At dinner that first full night in Nice we discovered that the portions in Nice were much larger than we had encountered in other European cities. A result of those large portions was that we would have been full with just the soup and the Carpaccio. We didn’t really need to order the pizza. As it turned out we each only had a tiny bit of pizza and took the rest back to our hotel room to store in the mini-fridge in our room. We ended up having to throw about a third of the pizza away which made us feel bad. Not only was it a good pizza but we felt awful wasting food.
After dinner we made our way back to hotel. It had been a great first day in Nice and we were looking forward to the rest of our trip.
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