AFTER Paris, Nice is the most-visited city in France. It is easy to see why.
On the French Riviera, it curves beguilingly around the Baie des Anges – the Bay of Angles – and its famous Promenade Des Anglais – La Prom to the locals – and, overlooking the beach, it is a handsome scene.
There is no question Nice is sexy – and I’m not just talking about the gorgeous working girls who appear like exotic butterflies after midnight to flutter expectantly on street corners or totter along La Prom in their mini skirts and towering stilettos.
It’s the sense of expectation, that anything is possible here. The summer air sizzles with anticipation. Long, bright days in one of the world’s most glamorous playgrounds attracts beautiful people from all over the globe (and, for one hot June week, us.)
As Nice has a mostly young population, it has an endless line-up of bars, clubs, restaurants and shops.
In summer, Nice hosts more than 1500 events, which means there is always something going on. The Tour de France was on when we were there – quite the giddy experience.
In the port, deckhands polish already-gleaming brass on a dizzying line-up of mega yachts. It is here the sleek cruise ships take off to sail fortunate visitors luxuriously around the Med.
Nice’s wide, pebbled beach is sardine-packed in summer with toned bodies spread on sun lounges.
The Old Town, with its labyrinthine narrow streets flanked by pastel-coloured buildings, is where you’ll find many bistros serving authentic Nicoise dishes.
The lush markets on the Cours Saleya with their colourful flowers and bountiful produce attract thousands of people each day.
We rented a fifth-floor apartment on the busy Boulevard Gambetta, just a moment’s walk to La Prom and an easy stroll to the station where trains zipped us up and down the Cote d’Azur to the places people dream of – Monaco, Antibes, Cannes.
At Le Bistrot d’Antoine in the rue de la Prefecture in the Old Town we sat al fresco with the crowds and ate the Nicoise speciality of stuffed vegetables while street entertainers somersaulted and danced around our table.
We splurged and lunched at the expensive cafes on the beach, more for the people-watching than the food, although it was good.
We especially enjoyed the big Russian men with Popeye-the-sailor-man muscles sitting down to giant pizzas wearing just their tiny swimsuits and heavy gold chains around their necks, while their stick-thin model girlfriends drank Evian and pushed slices of melon around their plates.
IF YOU GO:
Emirates operates a double daily service between Brisbane and Dubai with onward connections to two gateways in France – Nice and Paris. For flight information and bookings phone Emirates on 1300 303 777, or visit your travel agent.
We booked our Nice apartment through Noosa travel agent Gregor & Lewis.
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