|The Grand Old Dame of the Côte d'Azur|
O nce the seaside retreat for the turn of the century English aristocracy, the city of Nice is France's fifth largest city. And though it still has some of the 'Grand Dame of the Côte d'Azur' character there is much more history and character than a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais with its Belle Epoque splendour might first suggest..
The Niçois are in some ways the Parisiens of the south. A difference perhaps being that the rarely needed fur coats may well be dyed purple, and the clothes and makeup of the 'grandes bourgeosies' are far more colourful than those of their northern sisters.
Yet there is an underlying character, an independent spirit, which rejects the central governing influence emanating from Paris. The Niçoise do what the Niçoiuse want to do, as and when they want to do it.
Nice occasionally rouses itself from its appearance of genteel torpor. Even as early in the year as February there's an elaborate three-week carnival held with its 'Batailles des Fleurs' (Battle of Flowers). And from then on through spring, summer there's always something going on, perhaps the big one being the Jazz Festival at Cimiez in July
Nice is sophisticated, has all of life's luxuries, and a superb setting on the Baie des Anges ( the Bay of Angels) facing Antibes , yet it is nonetheless discreetly mediterranean in its way of doing municipal business. In the 1970's, Graham Greene , a long time resident from across the bay, wrote a controversial pamphlet entitled "J'Accuse!" which highlighted some of the things he saw as questionable practices. He subsequently lost his libel case.
To be fair, though many of the ways of doing business may be dubbed creative, the city of Nice has some glorious architecture, a superb promenade and access to some truly beautiful villages perched up in the valleys which cut through the mountains to the north. And as home to the France's second busiest airport it's probably one of the easiest and comfortable mediterranean destinations to visit and find out for yourself.
For further information look at Tourism Nice section of French Riviera Mag
Created, composed, and constructed by Virtual Riviera 1995