Our true purpose in coming to the French Riviera was to stay with a few of our friends in Nice. We have always wanted to travel through the south of France, and this was our perfect excuse!

We were lucky enough to have a place to stay for the week, which helped to offset the costs of the otherwise expensive French Riviera. We used Nice as a base to travel to many neighbouring cities along the Cote d’Azur: Cannes, Antibes, and Monaco, which are all a short 10-20 minutes away.

But in the meantime, let me tell you about Nice!

Nice is second only to Paris for tourism. People flock here for the warmth and a taste of the Mediterranean. May is a particularity busy time, given the timing of the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix.

After coming from glitzy cities like Antibes, Nice was a bit of a suprise.  Though it’s one of the main cities of the Riviera, Nice felt the most down to earth. At times it is elegant, with its beautiful seafront and colorful grand architecture. Yet, as one of France’s biggest cities, it also has that big city grit. It’s not quite as posh as its neighbors, like Antibes or Cannes, though this was part of what made it more endearing.

One of the most famous landmarks of Nice is its famous promenade, Promenade des Anglais. This walkway parallels the coastline for 7 km, and is full of runners, cyclists, baby strollers and tourists at any time of day.

Every morning Nice has a wonderful open-air market full of local goods: flowers, fish, charcuterie, marmelades, and lavender to name a few.

This is also a great place to try a few of the specialties known to this region. Socca is a chickpea crepe which is made in a huge pan and seasoned only with pepper. I found it fairly plain to the taste, but it’s a popular local specialty and worth a try!

One of our favorite things in Nice was to enjoy sunset on the beach. The beaches in Nice are made up of large flat rocks, so it’s not the most comfortable to lounge on. However, with a few beach mats and blankets, it turns into the perfect place for a picnic!

We loved our time in Nice, and we’re sure the city will always be special to us, as nothing quite beats spending a week traveling with your friends!