Despite the weather being dreary and many people telling me not to expect much from this town on the French Riviera, my time in Nice was unexpectedly wonderful.
Arriving in the evening my group headed out for dinner to celebrate our friend’s birthday and ended up at Wayne’s Bar, a popular establishment in the centre of things with a great live band playing.
The seven (buddha-esque) statues of Massena Square, light up at night time
Somehow the night progressed to dancing on the long tables which line the bar (apparently something that happens more often than not here) until the early hours, ensuring our start to Nice was a lively one.
Place Rosetti with Cathedrale Sainte-Reparate in the background
Next morning I was up bright and early (amazingly) to see what was on offer.
As usual I had no map and just walked in the direction of the ocean which was about 20 minutes by foot from our hotel.
On the way I managed to get myself lost in Vieille Ville (Old Town) which was a happy accident.
The narrow uneven streets are bursting with character and I spent hours walking around just wandering and looking into some of the stores.
Too eager to start, took a picture halfway through my generous serve
When I could no longer ignore my stomach around lunch time I smelled the wafting flavours of an Italian place called Pasta Basta.
It’s quite affordable and while it probably won’t win any fine dining awards any time soon, this place was pretty darn good and the sauce was chilli hot – just how I like it!
Following my carb refuelling I next tackled Castle Hill.
You can take a funicular to the top but I opted instead for the free and fit way by walking the many steps and was rewarded with this view.
There is a large park area once you reach the summit, where many locals and tourists alike are simply hanging out and enjoying the space.
A bunch of high schoolers were competing in an Amazing Race type of hunt – it looked super fun!
My personal favourite part of Castle Hill however I found by ear, following the sound coming behind the café area to find this waterfall.
Behind Castle Hill you’ll find Nice’s Monument aux Morts. After WW1 it was common for many French towns to pay tribute to their dead with a war memorial and this has to be one of the most impressive I’ve seen, carved into the rock face.
On the way back to my hotel I was delighted to find a flea/antique market of sorts with a cool variety of goods on offer.
There was a tempting array of jewellery, music, books and knick knacks on display with some real treasures from many eras past for vintage lovers.
I finally did make it to the beach although I was only able to glimpse the famous blue colour of the Côte d’Azur once while the sun was out for a short time, it otherwise resembled what you see below – still lovely but not tempting enough to get this spoiled Aussie to a pebble beach.
I can’t wait to return to Nice one day and spend a few days doing nothing more than enjoying the awesome mix of Italian and French food that seems to be going on here, in addition to one of my favourite Old Town’s in Europe.
Next time I stroll the Promenade des Anglais (the main street along the coast in Nice) though it will be under a sun drenched sky!