We are in Nice for a few days of culture and countryside, and really impressed with the place. How wonderful to live in a major city (the fifth largest in France) and to have this glorious bay and beach just a step away from the centre!
Another way in which the quality of life appears high is the excellent public transport, with a state of the art tram system and a standard fare of €1 per journey (and that includes the one hour trip to St. Paul de Vence).
On our first morning we caught the tram to Place Massena (shown here), walked through the flower market and down to the promenade. The Place Massena is stunning now that restoration and work on the tram system has finished. The central fountain has just been restored and there are rather wonderful street art exhibits on tall steel poles. The square is spectacular when lit up at night.
Then we climbed the hill known as the Chateau where you gain stunning views of the Baie des Anges (Bay of the Angels). The Promenade des Anglais, built in the 1830s, stretches along the bay. In the second half of the 18th century, wealthy English took to spending the winter in Nice. When a particularly harsh winter up north brought an influx of beggars to Nice, some of the rich Englishmen proposed a useful project for them: the construction of a promenade along the sea. The Promenade was first called the Camin dei Anglès (the English Way) by the Niçois in their native dialect Nissart. After the annexation of Nice by France in 1860 it was rechristened La Promenade des Anglais.
Although we had several excellent meals while in Nice, it is worth singling out the superb and truly extraordinary La Zucca Magica restaurant. This is a fabulous vegetarian restaurant next to the old port. There is no menu to choose from: the Italian chef, Marco Folicaldi, cooks fresh ingredients from that morning’s market. There’s no choice: everyone is served the same dishes at the same time. It was very good food at a very reasonable price.