Europe France Getaway Travel

GETAWAYS : 36 HOURS ON THE CÔTE D’AZUR

Since moving to London, if there’s one thing I take full advantage of, it’s the ability to get out of the city at a moment’s notice and explore a different part of Europe. Since we couldn’t fathom we’d reached the end of summer (obviously), a weekend getaway to Nice (less than a 2 hour flight away) seemed like an appropriate farewell.

Day 1:

A 6am flight out of London was not the greatest way to start a weekend, I know, but we were at the beach by 10am, so completely worth it! Nice has a lovely range of public and private beaches, so my advice is to spend the little extra (20-25 euros for a full day with towels) for a lounger by the water, and relax! Our go-to was the Beau Rivage beach, but some others like Neptune and Coco beach are extremely popular.

Spend the morning at the beach, following it up with a light seafood lunch. The restaurant at the Beau Rivage is a great option, with some of the freshest salmon available.

Walk through the town, exploring the shopping district, and strolling through the Promenade des Anglais, before stopping for a pick-me-up – some coffee and pain au chocolat (when in Rome…) at Patisserie Chez Maître Pierre on Rue Massena. Try and get there in the early afternoon because they were almost sold out!

If the weather’s nice, head back to the beach and explore a new one – La Reserve is a lovely pebbled beach near the old town, and small enough to feel like a private beach. If, like us, you get caught in a stormy afternoon, head back for some R&R at the hotel, or explore one of Nice’s many museums – Musée Matisse honoring the former resident, and MAMAC are worth checking out.

Head out for dinner a little earlier in the evening and explore some of the bars in Nice’s Old Town, before enjoying a lovely meal (and some rosé) at Les Pêcheurs, which is right on the port and particularly known for some of the town’s best seafood.

Day 2:

A lot of exploring on the docket for this morning, with a walk to the Castle Park a high priority. But first, stop for some breakfast at any of the lovely boulangeries in town. A lovely stroll through the town, and a fair few stairs later, you’re privy to the best view of the town (and probably the most instagrammed!). Take the path leading you to the ‘ascensur’ and you reach a circular platform for the best, uninterrupted view. Walk to the other side of the park as you reach the top for a different perspective on the port.

Feel free to get lost on your way back to the town (we did!) and if you manage to find your way back, you’ve earned your lunch at Le Plongeoir – hands down, our favourite restaurant in Nice (and right next to La Reserve if you haven’t visited it already). The owner, Christophe, was incredibly hospitable and this family-run gem, situated on a rock right on the water, is the best-value and most delicious grub you’d find on this side of the Côte d’Azur. Order the octopus salad and the seafood risotto for a little bit of heaven.

For your final afternoon, if the weather’s nice, rent a motorboat for a cruise along the Mediterranean and a new perspective of the Nice harbour. Alternatively, walk through the Vieille Ville (or Old City), and explore the inner streets with their winding staircases – great photo opportunities here! Follow it through to the ‘Galeries Lafayette’ for a Pierre Hermé  macaron… because.

If you’re lucky enough to have a late flight out, grab a quick dinner at Sable d’Or for some fantastic French-Moroccan fare.

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