Riviera. Just that one word conjures up images of glamour and sophistication, sipping cocktails with Roger Moore and Audrey Hepburn whilst gazing out at the sparkling blue waters. The capital of the French Riviera is Nice, a city curving round the Bay of Angels, with a deserved reputation as the playground of the rich and famous.
It’s been like that since the late 19th century when Queen Victoria wintered there, the warm sea air much preferred to the damp chill of England. This image of elegance remained throughout the 20th century, artistic icons such as Picasso and Henri Matisse stayed to experience the pleasant climate and cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Today Nice maintains its place as a firm favourite with the celebrity establishment and likewise is an attractive destination for around 5 million visitors a year. It doesn’t take much to see why so many people choose Nice as a holiday destination or a location for a second home.
The old town has classic Mediterranean feel, shuttered windows looking on to narrow streets that lead to picturesque squares. This lively area is dotted with excellent bars and restaurants, giving it a vibrant atmosphere and reputation for culture.
Away from the old town is the Promenade des Anglais. Named after the English who followed Queen Victoria at the end of the 19th century, it’s from here that you can gaze out on the vivid, sparkling blue waters of The Bay of Angels. The curving seafront is a magnet for locals and visitors alike, soaking up the sun in summer or enjoying the spectacular carnival in February.
For decades Nice has deserved its place as the twinkling, azure jewel in the crown of the Riviera and it doesn’t look like it’s going to lose its sparkle anytime soon.