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A Quick Guide to... Nice

History Nice

Nice is said to be one of the oldest human settlements in the whole of Europe. Terra Amata, which is one of the archaeological sites in Nice, shows that there was some very early use of fire. It was around 350 BC that the Greeks permanently settled in Nice. They called in Niakai, after the goddess of victory Nike. The name today is Nice La Belle, which means Beautiful Nice. The town has changed hands many years throughout history. This is mainly due to its very strategic location and old port. This lead to it being a maritime force to be reckoned with, unsurprisingly, it was dominated by the Italians for many years, until it became part of France in 1860.Nice has been a touristic area since the late 18th century. It was then that the British upper class discovered the beauty and glorious landscape of Nice and started to flock here to escape the cold British weather. In fact, one of the main touristic areas of Nice is called the Promenade des Anglais, which means the Walkway of the English.

Interestingly, Nice has been a popular tourist destination across the years not just for its lovely climate and beautiful landscape, but also because it is a city of inspiration. Because the light is soft and the air is clean, some of the best known painters of Europe have been here, including Matisse, Chagall and Arman. Some of these now have museums dedicated to them in Nice. Clearly, Nice has a very long history. In fact, it is believed that the first settlement took place over 400,000 years ago. It will come as no surprise that many archaeologists relish at the thought of being able to spend some time in Nice, trying to find new artefacts and new evidence of early human settlement.

History Cannes

The story of Cannes started back to 200 BC. The ancestors of Cannes started their quarrel with neighbours living in Nikaia (Nice) and Antipolish (Antibes) who, in turn, called in Roman troops for support. The territory of Cannes was donated to the Abbey of Lerins c. 1000. Despite this saintly protection, the middle Ages were difficult for the people of Cannes, with periodic invasions by Saracens who came to steal gold, wine and women. Until the end of the 15th century, Cannes belonged to the Counts of Provence. But in 1480, with the death of Good King Renee, Duke of Anjou and Count of Provence, he was succeeded by his nephew, Charles du Maine, rather than his grandson, the DUKe of Lorraine. The French King Louis XI settled the matter by paying the DUKe of Lorraine to renounce his inheritance and obtaining that Charles bequeaths Provence to him.

It was not until 1860, after Nice became part of France, that the commune of Cannes was included in the newly created Alpes-Maritimes department. In December 1834, Lord Henry Brougham and Vaux, Lord Chancellor of England, went with his daughter Eleonore Louise to visit Italy. Unfortunately for him but very fortunately for Cannes, the King of Piemonte had closed the border with France to try to prevent the spread of a cholera epidemic. Forced to go back, Lord Brougham decided to head for Grasse. At nightfall, he stopped at the inn held in Cannes by the Pinchinat family in today's Rue du Port. The 20th century started with a bang for Cannes, In the 1910, it was asked with architect Marcellin Mayere, to build the Hotel Carlton. In the 1929, the city's festive spirit was back. The Palm Beach was inaugurated in the presence of the Aga Khan - who fell in love with a girl from Cannes, just elected Miss France, who became the famous Begum - Andre Citron, Baron and Baroness de Rothschild and many other celebrities.

When to go Nice

If you want to go to Nice, you may be interested in the various events that take place during the year. January is a great month to go for a mild winter break. When Nice first became a popular tourist resort, late in the 18th century, this was when most English people flocked to the area. Furthermore, it is only about an hour�s drive away from most skiing resorts, which are still open in January.

In February, there is the Nice Carnival. This is based around the religious Shrove Tuesday holiday. It lasts for two weeks and the highlight is the floral procession, at which time Nice becomes incredibly busy. In April, there is a very interesting celebration. This is when Nice celebrates the cougoudons. A cougoudon is a marrow that has been dried and painted. If you like marrows, this is the time that you should go to Nice. May knows the Fete des Mai, which is the oldest festival in Nice and certainly one to visit if you have the chance.

In June, you could celebrate de Fete de la Musique (the Music Festival). Here, you will be able to enjoy a wealth of free music, in a fantastic atmosphere. July is the Nice Jazz Festival. The festival takes place in the Parc de Cimieze. Many agree that his is one of the best jazz festivals in the whole of Europe and some of the world’s best jazz players come and play here. Also remember that the 14th of July is the national holiday in France. August is the month in which Nice is completely full of tourists. This is because almost everybody in France is off during the month of August. Although there aren’t any special festivals during this month, you may feel as if something big is about to happen, simply because of the increased traffic. September knows the traditional arts and crafts market called Fete de la San Bertoumieu. And December has some of the most beautiful Christmas markets.

Weather Nice

The weather in Nice is dictated by its Mediterranean climate. This means that the temperatures are mild almost all year long. There is not much rainfall and if there is, it is mostly during the winter months. Summers can be very hot and very dry and people are advised to always have a bottle of water with them. In fact, in July, there are generally only two days in which there is sufficient rainfall for it to be measured. July and August are the hottest months.

Autumn beings in September, but it doesn?t become cloudy and overcast until October and temperatures are still very pleasant, regularly being above 20 C (68 F) right the way through until November. From November, the temperatures start to drop a little bit, but it is still around 17 C (63 F) on average. Even during the winter the temperatures are reasonably mild in comparison. There is never really any frost and you will not find many people who can remember the last time snow fell in Nice.

January is generally the coldest month. When spring arrives, in late March, it is generally quite rainy but it soon starts to brighten and warm up again. From May until October, the average temperature is above 20C (68F). In fact, the average for the year is 19.1C. Rain, on average is most commonly found in October, with around 7 days of that month experiencing rain. July only knows two days on average, and August 2.9 days of rain each month. The number of sunshine hours is the highest in July, being 335 hours and the lowest in December, being 140 hours. If you prefer hot weather, you should certainly consider going to Nice between the beginning of June and the end of September, when you are almost guaranteed to be able to walk around in shorts and t-shirt.

Arrival Nice

Nice Airport is one of the busiest airports in France. There are daily flights to Paris, as well as other European destinations and international destinations including Canada and New York. There are also flights to North Africa and the Middle East. Interestingly, the airport is located on an old landfill site, just at the western end of Nice itself. It is also one of the most beautiful airports in the world in terms of the view, because you can look straight onto the French Riviera as you land or depart. The older terminal is Terminal 1 and is still used by most airlines. In fact, at the moment, only EasyJet and Air France use Terminal 2. Luckily, it is easy to get from one terminal to the next with the free shuttle service.

If you want to get from the airport to the centre of Nice, the easiest way to do that is by taking the airport express buses. You could take bus number 98, which will take you straight to the central bus station in Nice. The 99 will take you to the central railway station in Nice. Both these lines can be accessed from both terminals and cost a fixed 4 Euros per ticket. Best of all, on the day you buy your ticket, you can use it on any other buses and trams in and around Nice. However, if you are on a budget, you can also get to Nice from Terminal 1 with bus 23, which costs just 1 Euro.

Many hotels also offer free shuttle services and it is likely that you will have been told about this when you booked your trip. If, however, you are a backpacker and have not yet booked a hotel, or if you have forgotten to bring some Euro coins with you (despite everybody paying in coins, bus drivers never have change), you could even opt to walk.

City transport

The transportation system in Nice is well developed and well organized. You can use public transport to move around the city. Bus service is the cheapest way to visit all the places of city. There are many routes of the buses which link different areas of the city.

These bus services follow strict timetable. You can get the schedules of these buses from their terminals. The fare of these buses is 1 Euro from one stop to other stop. Bus services are also available at exit terminal of the airport. It costs 4 euros to move centre of the city. The main draw back of buses is that these services are over crowded on weekends.

So it can be hectic and boring for you. If you can manage high budgets then taxi is the best option for you. Taxi fare is less than 20 Euro if you are moving within the city. You can move to Antibes, Monaco and St Tropez in 50 Euro, 70 Euro and 250 Euro respectively. The city has no metro services but train services are present in Nice.

The main railway service of the city is the national French railway SNCF. You can also make the train passes to get discount and to reduce your expenses. You can also hire personal cars to move around the city.

Best locations Nice

There is absolutely lot to see and do in Nice, not in the least the beaches of course. After all, it is on the French Riviera, offering you a tiny glimpse of how the other half lives. There is the Colline du Chateu, which looks over the harbour and the Baie des Anges. From here, you can have the most mesmerizing views of the entire city. The original castle is completely in ruins, but it does allow you to climb to the platform, which will take you to 90 meter above Nice itself. The view, as you can imagine, is breath-taking. However, do remember that the park closes around sunset and that you will be forcefully removed if you’re still in the park at that time. There are also many museums in Nice, most of which are free. Most are found in the older part of the city and some were actually visited by Queen Victoria herself. There is the Museum of Asian Art, the Parc Phoenix, the Musee Chagall, the Musee Matisse and the Musee et Site Archeologique de Cimiez. Lastly, there is the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. This museum has open air roof terraces with beautiful views of the city.

You certainly shouldn’t miss the old town either. Here, you will find an absolute maze of ancient alleys and streets, with tiny boutique and picturesque houses. There is also a daily fruit and flower market here. Just past the old port, you could go on the Cliff Walk. This is a beautiful walk, but not one for people with issues with walking, because you will need to climb quite a number of steps to get back off the walkway. However, it is a nice walk to take also because many local people use it themselves, giving it that real authentic feel.

Top attractions of Nice

Nice is considered as the most attractive city of France because of its rich blue-green sea, diverse shopping and lovely sights and spots. Nice is famous city because of its museums and galleries. Promenade des Anglais is the top rated place of the city.

There are many delightful seaside restaurants near Promenade des Anglais. The flower market of the city, named asCours Saleya Flower Market, is one of the major attractions in the whole city. It remains open from Tuesday to Sunday. On Monday, it is replaced by an antiques and flea market.

There are many cafes and souvenir shops near Cours Saleya Flower Market. Matisse Museum is the best museum of the city. This is famous because lovely and innovative art of Henri Matisse. This museum shows the artistic and creative background of Nice. Vieux Nice, or Old Nice is the best place for shopping. There are several fun bars, nightclubs, restaurants and cafes near Vieux Nice, or Old Nice.

Le Chateau has a very spectacular sea view. Rue de France Pedestrian Zone is a hub of activity in city. Other well known places of the city include Theatre de la Photographie et de l'Image, Nice Archaeology Museum and Roman Ruins and Russian Cathedral.

Eating in Nice

Eating out in Nice can be a great fun for you. The city is very famous because of its cuisines all around the world. You can get high quality food at very reasonable rates. Pissaladiere is the traditional dish of the city.

It is a sort of combination of quiche and pizza. It has a thick base and tomatos are not used in it so, it can be classified as a kind of white pizza. Pistou is a famous sauce of Nice. It is made up from garlic cloves, grated parmesan, fresh basil and olive oil in a mortar.

Another famous sauce of the city is pesto. Pine nuts are added to this sauce and make it different from Pistou. People use these sauces as toppings for pasta dishes and bread spread. Socca is considered as the specialty of southeastern France. It is pancake cake with ingredients chickpea flour and olive oil. Seafood is considered as the basic food of local people. Bouillabaisse is one of the favorite seafood in the city.

There are many restaurants in the city which provide local as well as international cuisines. Chantecler is the best restaurant of the city. Other well known restaurants of the city include Au Petit Gari, La Petite Maison, Le Tire Bouchon and Le Safari. All these restaurants are present in the main city and provide high quality of food.

Night-life Nice

Nice knows hot summers and visitors are recommended to take it easy on the alcohol and bring a bottle of water wherever they go. If you do want to drink alcohol, you may be best off buying it from the local supermarkets, because the drinks in bars and clubs are exorbitant. However, all holidays cost money, so if you simply want to go out for a drink, there are quite a number of options available to you. One of these options is Ma Nolan?s. This is right in the centre of the old town and is actually an Irish pub. It boasts live music, great food and a very friendly staff. However, it naturally isn?t what you would expect from a French bar, interestingly enough, most good bars in Nice are actually influenced by other Europeans. Mc Mahon?s is another very popular Irish pub. Thor Pub is a combination of Irish and Scandinavian, where you can enjoy live music every night as well. Best of all, many hotels give coupons for Thor Pub.

For a slightly more authentic French feel, you could try the Master Home. This is quite a classy pub. It isn?t the cheapest bar in place, but nor is it the most expensive. Furthermore, when you order a drink, you will probably get a few nibbles to go with that included in the price, so it certainly is worth a visit. They also do a fantastic rose, costing just 3 Euros and 20 cents, which isn?t too bad when you consider the area you?re in. In restaurants, wine is incredibly expensive. However, most people here order a pichet, which is quite a large jug. For quality French wine, you could try Les Caves Carprioglio, which has some amazing wine cellars. You could also see some wine making in the process.

Shopping in Nice

Nice is considered as an important city to shop for fashion, trendy jewelry and stylish shoes. You can get stylish homeware from the shops present in Old Town. Old Town is the top rated place for shopping and you can start your shopping from here.

Fruit and flower market are also present in Old town. If you want to visit stylish boutiques and designer shops then go to Cours Saleya. It is the best area to buy readymade clothes and branded products. Magenta Square is considered as the central shopping area of the city.

The streets around Magenta Square also have many shops from where you can get a large variety of products. Traditional clothes of the city are also available at these shops. If you want designer clothes then you should visit toAnnie-Framboise. It is located in Rue Longchamp and also offers branded clothes.

Armand Thierry is another boutique situated at Avenue Jean-Medecin and famous for men collection.AMF Bowling Acropolis is the biggest shopping mall of the city. It is located in esplanade J.F. Kennedy and considered as the center of shopping in Nice. Au Bon Marché is a popular departmental store of the city and present near rue Hotel des Postes. Other famous shopping malls of the city include Cap 3000, Casino, Champion and E.Leclerc.

It is impossible to visit all shopping malls of the city in public transport.

Disable visitors

Nice shows a great concern towards its disabled tourists. Many facilities like transport, hotels, banks, pubs, theaters, shop centers and public toilets are provided to disabled visitors by the city.

Ramps are installed in different areas of the city for the sake of convenience for disabled visitors. The doors of shopping malls and public places are widened enough so that disabled visitors can easily use their wheelchairs. Public transport is very friendly for disabled visitors. Special seats are present in many buses to provide maximum level of comfort to disabled passengers.

There are ramps to get to the train. Some transportation services also offer discount rates to disabled travelers. The people of the city also welcome their disabled guests in a warm way and also provide them assistance if they are required. Disabled visitors can also visit cinema and theaters because good facilities are also provided to disabled visitors at these places.

Finding good accommodation in the city is also very easy for disabled visitors. The hotels present in the city have special amenities for disabled visitors. Lifts, attach disable toilets, free parking and 24 hour pharmacy services are available in these hotels. Disabled visitors can also get first floor rooms in these hotels. Beside all these, Nice airport also shows great concern towards disabled passengers and offer many services to them.

Accommodation in Nice

Finding reliable and reasonable accommodation in Nice is not a big task. There are many hotels, apartment and guesthouse available in the city at very affordable rates.Hotel Negresco is the top rated hotel of the city.

It is a five star hotel and located near Promenade des Anglais. Hotel Beau Rivage is a four star hotel and also situated near Promenade des Anglais. The other four star hotels of the city include Hotel Masséna, Grand Hotel Aston and Hotel Hi.

All these hotels are located in city centre and provide many amenities to their customers. Well furnished rooms with attach baths, free parking, swimming pools, 24 hour pharmacy services, TV with cable and many more facilities are provided to customers. Hotel Excelsior is also a well known hotel of the city. If you want comfortable services at reasonable rates then go forHotel Les Cigales. Hotel Les Cigales and Hotel Excelsior are three star hotels. Hotel Windsor, Villa Victoria, Hotel Armenonville and Hotel Excelsior are also included in famous hotels of Nice.

If you do not want to stay in a hotel then you can go for guest houses and apartments. Pensione Alessandra is a famous guest house of the city.Backpackers Hostel Myosotis, Apartment Drevon and Apartment Nice Centre are three top rated apartments in the city which offer you luxurious accommodation.

City of destination Nice

There are two main things about Nice that make it so great and that?s the beaches and the landscape. However, the beaches are not the type of beaches on which you lie down and play with the sand. They are made mainly of large flat stones. Some beaches have poured some sand over these stones, to make them more attractive to tourist, but you have to pay to get access to these. Naturally, you should bring towels or mats if you want to spend time on the beaches, but you should also get some sandals, because the stones are anything but comfortable to walk on. All beaches provide free showers.

Although the beaches clearly aren?t brilliant, the water is actually fantastic to swim in. You do need to brace yourself and walk along the pebbles, but once you do, you will have a real swimming opportunity. Remember that the beach drops quickly and the tidal pull is very strong, so this isn?t an area to go playing in the water. You can actually do some sunbathing as well, so long as you are able to rearrange the stones a bit to give you some level of comfort. If you do really want to go an lie on a beach, you may want to go to Antibes or Cannes, where the beaches are sandy. These areas are easy to reach by bus as well.

The other fantastic thing about Nice is the landscape it has to offer. If you want to see Nice in all its glory, you should take a trip to the top of Mont Boron. There is a derelict fort here, as well as a newer villa that belongs to Sir Elton John. The view from here is truly amazing. You could also take a short trip to Eze, which is a small village near Monaco. There is an awe inspiring cactus garden here, as well as a perfume factory. This is where Nietzche pondered his philosophical and psychological questions.

Emergency contact numbers

It is better for you to note down the emergency contact numbers of the city if you are panning to spend your vacations in Nice. These numbers will be very useful for you in the case of any emergency. Some of the numbers are mentioned below:

Emergency contact numbers:

Police services: 17

Police services (from mobile phone): 112

Fire station: 18 Medical emergency: 15 Medical services Hospital saint Roch: 04 92 03 33 75 (24 hour emergency services are available) Anti poison centre: 04 91 75 25 25 24 hour laboratory services: 04 93 16 68 68 24 hour doctor service: 04 93 53 03 03 / 04 93 52 42 42 SOS medicines: 04 93 85 01 01 emergency dental care at night on Sundays and holidays: 04 93 76 53 53 / 04 92 13 00 99 service for back problems 7 days a week / 06 07 45 02 13 Hospitals:Centre De Dépistage Anonyme: 04 93 85 12 62 Associations Des Cardiologues De Garde De Nice: 04 92 03 78 80 / 81 Services Urgences Enfants (Childrens Emergencies): 04 92 03 03 03 / 04 92 03 60 89 Other contact numbers Commissariat Central De Police: 04 92 17 22 22S.O.S. Vétérinaires: 04 93 83 46 64 Pharmacie De Nuit: 04 93 87 78 94 / 04 93 62 54 44