GettinG out of town
to do it as a make-work project when the orange harvest failed in 1822.) Other winners include those Russian mafia millionaires who are widely rumoured to own most of the massive modern yachts permanently moored in the harbour. But even the leathery near-nudists who lie basking on the seaside rocks on the 300 sunny days per year – or the students out dancing in bars that only open at
4am – all know that life doesn’t get much better than this. Although the name lends itself to bland puns – a shop called So Nice, a gym called Fit Nice, a night club called Nice Cube, and the slogan “Nice is Nice and Yes You Cannes”, which I’d imagine took the tourist board many long lunches to come up with – there’s nothing bland about this city. Whether you visit for its
Clockwise from above, left, the town buzzes with late-night spots like those at Rue Barillerie; style city – 82-year-old Guy Leymarie on the Promenade; the beautiful curve of the Bais des Anges.
ed by its French (Provençal) and italian Nice cUiSiNe ... Nice’s food is characteris rgette s – which shouldn’t be missed – are cou (Ligurian) influences. Local specialitie the famous salade Niçoise. flower fritters, pissaladière and of course
I’d recommend the quick bus ride to the lovely village of Villefranchesur-Mer, which has the 16th-century Chapelle Saint-Pierre, beautifully decorated with fishing motifs by Jean Cocteau in 1957 – just a stroll from a gentle, fine-pebbled beach with sheltered water. Buses take you inland from Nice to exquisite perched villages such as eze or St-Paul-de-Vence (where the fondation Maeght shows Calders, Giacomettis, Chagals and Mirós in futuristic buildings and green gardens). The Alps are more like an hour and a half away, which means you really can ski in the morning and plunge into the sea in the afternoon, if you come in a cross-over month like April. Train connections are excellent – Monaco, cannes and Antibes are all very close, plus bargain-hunting paradise at the market in Ventimiglia, just over the border into Italy – and huge ferries leave for corsica every day.