Be warned, Nice is an absolutely stunning city, the Mediterranean is breathtakingly beautiful, but it’s really painful and a bit dull. Yes, painful. First of all it takes a while to adjust to laying down on rocks. They are about the size of your fist, perfectly smooth, yet a little awkward at first. Sun bathing however is not the problem. The problem is getting out of the water unscathed. You don’t realize it from the beach, but it is actually quite a steep dip into the sea. Couple the steep slope and slippery wet stones that move around under your feet, and you are likely to have issues getting out of the sea. The water is very warm though, which is nice for a swim. It’s also an idyllic place if you want to lounge for hours, but if you are like me and want to feel more active, you’ll probably get restless easily (hence the dull comment).
Nighttime is a different story in Nice. The food is great, pretty much everywhere. Salad Niçoise is one of the more popular picks, though I went for the Margherita pizza, which was delicious. Nice has great clubs, we went to the MTV recommended Chez Wayne. At the time smoking in bars was encouraged, so I spent most of the night standing on the table with my face in the air-conditioning unit in order to clear the smoke out of my eyes! But the music was really great! We later went to Thor. A more low-key bar with less expensive beer. They served Stella and Amstel, both great choices if you are new to beer. They are light and smooth, and without an overpowering taste of hops.
I found that people were understood me easily when I spoke French, but they didn’t feel the need to make friends. Locals are also less than apt with directions. We were trying to find our hostel, and ended up not even two blocks away, when I stopped for directions. The man I talked to had never heard of the street. The street he worked two blocks away from. But we found it anyway, because we continued to walk on the same route.
Nice also has some great modern art, big open squares, lots of shopping. It’s a big attraction for tour groups, and cruise ships, so be warned. It will be crowded during the peak times of the year, and of the day. It is also home to the Matisse museum. This is a great way to discover that you do not like Matisse. It was also my first introduction to café’s with only a single waiter.
The Riviera is certainly a place everyone should visit. Bring your camera, and walk up to the clifftops, you’ll love the view. Just make sure you know you’ll be taking it easy when you stop there, and save your ziplining adventures for the next city.