Although totally French now, Nice was allied with a Latin Duchy until 1860 and this almost 5000 years of history add an Italian flare to the city’s culture, architecture and dialect.
The main language in Nice is of course French although English is understood and generally spoken at tourist attractions. Most waiters and taxi drivers don’t speak English.
The currency in Nice is the Euro and currency exchange can be made in most banks, post offices and train stations. For the best exchange rates be sure to use the ATM’s which are found almost everywhere in towns and villages along the Riviera. Credit cards are accepted in most restaurants, shops and tourist attractions.
Cruise port to shore
Cruise ships dock at Nice Port which is east of the city centre and a 30 to 40 minute walk from the city’s attractions. There are a limited number of facilities at the port including a tourist office and a currency exchange desk. In high season a free shuttle bus is on offer and taxis are also available.
Taxis are plentiful and can take you to the tourist spots. They offer a good service at a reasonable price. Fares begin at €2.80 and then are approximately €0.87 per km.
Public transport is reliable and provides a service within the city and the suburb. There is also a fast train service between Nice, Cannes, Monte Carlo and Antibes if you want to explore further afield.
Many cruises lines visit Nice including: Royal Caribbean Cruises, MSC Cruises, Thomson Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, P&O Cruises, Azamara Cruises, Princess Cruises, Disney Cruises.
As well as this Azamara Cruises, Seabourn Cruises and Cruise & Maritime will sail from Nice in 2013.
What to do in Nice?
Promenade de Anglais: – In the 19th century English tourist chose the spectacular Bay of Angels as their favourite holiday destination hence the name given to the most famous promenade in the world. The 4 mile palm lined boulevard has a cosmopolitan feel which is a must if you are visiting Nice.
Musée Matisse:- In the 1960’s Nice bought this lovely 17th century villa surrounded by the ruins of Roman civilization and restored it to home a large collection of Henri Matisse’s works.
Matisse came to Nice in 1917 after suffering with pneumonia and he remained in Nice until he died in 1954. During his time in Nice he became good friends with Renoir and Picasso. The collection of artworks includes some that were donated to the city before he passed away and the rest were donated by his family.
Musée du Message Biblique Marc-Chagall: – Here you will find 17 marvellous canvases which depict biblical themes. It is a must see to appreciate the superb display.
Monastère de Cimiez:- This is a fully functioning monastery. You will find a glorious garden and an original 16th century layout.
Nice is a great city to shop for fashion, shoes, and jewellery as well as homeware and gourment specialities.
There are many souvenir and tourist shops and unique boutiques as well as cafes, bars and restaurants.
The ideal time to shop in Nice is during the sales which are held twice a year in January and July. The French word for sales is soldes.
Most shops are open from Monday to Saturday from 9am to 7pm but most will close at lunch time. Museums are open from 9am until 5pm but most are closed on a Monday or Tuesday.
The main shopping high street in Nice is avenue Jean Medecin which runs the north-south length of the modern city centre. There is the usual selection of shops lining the road, selling shoes, clothes, jewellery, sports goods, luggage, a large Virgin Megastore, various banks and cafes/fast food etc. Familiar shop names include Zara and further up towards the train station end of Jean Medecin is H&M.
Where to eat
Chantecler:- This has got to be one of the best restaurants in Nice. The menu changes quite often but per person for three courses including wine you can expect to pay around €65.
Grand Café de Turin:- This is the place for the best seafood around. It is packed day and night so don’t be put off by this as it is a must.
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