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American by birth, Niçois by heart ❤️

Hello Everyone my name is Jake!

 

As summer’s kicking off, we’re all getting that itch to explore new places, bask in the sun, stay up late and make unforgettable memories with friends and family; isn’t that what summers are all about?

 

There is no place in the world that screams summer more than the French Riviera, with the sunshine, warm breeze, palm trees, flowers, and of course sapphire blue waters along the coastline, all evoking feelings of pure relaxation and enjoyment. 

 

In Nice, the capital of the south of France there is a powerful energy felt by anyone who steps foot here, the rich culture, and overall happiness of people resonates and always keeps visitors coming back for more. 

When visiting a new city, many tourists want to experience something authentic, and live like a local would. I myself came to Nice for the first time in the summer of 2013 at the age of 14 years old, just like anyone else; I didn’t know what to expect, what to do, and I definitely experienced some culture shock as France is very different from the United States. 

After about a month here, I fell head over heels in love with this place, speaking French became a daily part of my routine, I met some of the most kind and welcoming people, saw incredible cities all throughout the Côte d’Azur, and even ate like a real Niçois would. Nearly 10 years later, I still can’t get enough of this incredible region. I now live, and work here full time and have gained so much knowledge over the years and I’m absolutely delighted to share it with you!

1) History

To start off, I’d like to start off by sharing some historical facts about this region. Nice itself has Italian and Latin roots, which eventually became the inspiration for a language dialect called Nissart. It wasn’t until the Treaty of Turin in 1860 that Nice became French, which then prompted many of the local Italians to move to surrounding Italian towns such as Ventimiglia, Bordighera and Ospedaletti. 

 

The history of Nice is what makes this place so special and unique; the architecture and local cuisines really differ from the rest of France, it almost gives you the illusion of being in a completely different country.

2) Getting from the airport or train station

This is a common question I receive from visitors. Thanks to the tram (line 2) that was recently constructed, you can take the tram directly from the airport to the city center. If you’re staying a bit further you can transfer to tram (line 1) to reach the other areas.

 

Taxi is another option to be transported, you should expect to pay around 20 euros to get anywhere in the center. 

If you’re arriving in Nice by train, more than likely you’ll arrive at Gare de Nice. The tram line 1 is on the far left of the entrance, there is also a bus area that will take you anywhere you’d like to go. Taxis will always be available at the entrance.

3) Where should you stay in Nice?

Here in Nice there’s many neighborhoods to choose from. This part can be a little confusing for some as people nowadays are really concerned with both safety and convenience. Let’s go over some places.

Jean Médecin/Masséna
This neighborhood is probably one of the busiest ones in Nice, good for those that like to be in the center of all the action, and have the convenience of being close to the biggest shopping area in Nice.
Vieux Nice
This neighborhood is very iconic, with all of the old architecture, cute little shops, restaurants and a lot of bars to choose from. Fantastic idea if you want to have an authentic Nice experience. One thing to keep in mind is that it can be quite crowded and noisy depending on where you’re staying.
Garibaldi
This neighborhood happens to be my personal preference, it is super cute, quite small but still very centralized. Here you’ll be able to find many up and coming restaurants, international grocery stores, and at the same time you’ll be right next to the port of Nice, so this would also be a great convenience if you plan on traveling by boat.
Promenade
This option is obviously the best choice if you would like to have a sea view from your apartment or hotel. Keep in mind that this is a more expensive route, but can be worth your while. The accommodations will be less expensive the further it is away from the center.
Alsace-Lorraine
I typically recommend this area to tourists looking for an authentic Nice experience, as this is a more residential area. You are still right next to the beach and about 20 mins walking to the center. There are a lot of excellent options for accommodation at a reasonable price. There is also a little park in this neighborhood that you can chill at.
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4) Niçois Specialties

In order to have a real Nicois experience, you have to try our local cuisine! Which I am confident you will be pleasantly surprised by, even though some things may seem a little out of the ordinary! 

I’ll start out with my personal favorites. Farcis are delicious baked vegetables filled with ground beef, wonderfully seasoned, served hot and full of flavor, then you have Pissaladiere which is basically a pizza with caramelized onions and anchovies; Pan Bagnat is a type of sandwich which is typically very large, in a circular shaped bread, filled with fresh tuna, various seasonings and vegetables very refreshing and ideal to eat on the beach. For dessert, I would typically choose a slice of Tourte de blettes, this may sound bizarre to most but it is a pastry filled with a type of chard, with a crunchy and lightly sweetened crust. A must try! Something else tourists really enjoy, especially to bring home is Nougat, which usually has nuts inside of it. It lasts a long time and is very tasty. There are many shops in Old Nice. Lastly, a Nicois classic that must not be forgotten is Socca! A crepe made of chickpeas, it has a very earthy/salty taste. This is probably the most common Nicois specialty you’ll see here in Nice.

5) Restaurants

In terms of restaurants, you have a huge range of options and can basically find every type of cuisine you are looking for. Some of my recommendations include the following (I’ll separate them by category)

Di Più, La Favola, La Villa d’Este, La Voglia (large portions and ideal for families)

Le Chantecler at Negresco Hotel, La Réserve, Le Meridien Hotel Rooftop

Blue Whales (for burgers and fries) Hard Rock Cafe, Blast American bar/restaurant

Azzuro, Amorino, Grom (gluten free), Ballanger

 L’Écurie, Alto Resto

Chez Mémère, Le Frog

Xitali, La Lupita

Oceanosa, Asian Factory, Kamogawa

 Utopia (port), Koko Green

6) Things to do

In terms of activities in Nice I will mention some tourist activities as well as everyday things that I hope you will find interesting!

7) Living like a real Niçois

Doing your grocery shopping at open markets

In the Cours Saleya there are open markets that have fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, and other specialties. 

Everything is grown organically without any additives. The shopkeepers are really friendly and will share with you where and how their products are produced.

 

Specialty Products: 

When looking for cheese, meats, wines or pastries always go to specialized places to buy these. You will have a larger range of options, and someone will be able to give you recommendations based on what you’re looking for. Grocery stores like Monoprix, or Carrefour do have some options, but there isn’t as large of a range. This is what makes France so special!


Pétanque: 

This is a classic game played by many Niçois of all ages, similar to the game Bocce if you are familiar with it. In pétanque the objective is to score points by having boules closer to the target than the opponent after all boules have been thrown. This is achieved by throwing or rolling boules closer to the small target ball, officially called a jack or by hitting the opponent’s boules away from the target, while standing inside a circle with both feet on the ground.

Relaxing at the Parks: 

Promenade du Paillon or Parc Honoré Estienne d’Orves are the best parks in Nice, to sit on a bench and have a nice little moment with friends. Picnic at the beach, or Colline du Château: You’ll see many locals at the top of the Colline du Chateau, especially those with children playing on the playground, or having a little picnic. The beach is also a lovely place to have a picnic.

Sunrise/Sunset on the beach: 

There’s truly nothing like sitting on the beach at either sunrise or sunset to enjoy a peaceful moment. A beautiful way to start or end your day.

Nissalentours

We specialize in the rentals of electric bikes, scooters, and outdoor escape games. There is even an option to have a guided scooter tour with a member of our team. We cater to visitors from all over the world and even locals. We have a beautiful and newly renovated agency with accommodating and knowledgeable staff who’d be delighted to help make your trip an unforgettable one! If you have any questions or concerns feel free  to contact us at any time. 

Thank you for reading my blog, I’m so excited to share more of my adventures and recommendations with you. Myself, Nissalentours, and the city of Nice welcomes you with open arms!

Jake Prince

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