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Visiting Nice, France

Nice, France is the capital of French Rivera. Nestled near the border between France and Italy, this port city has a long association with glamour and luxury.  The Mediterranean Sea forms the iconic arch coastline of Nice.  The city draws in people from all over the world who are looking for azure waters, golden sunshine, elegant architecture and fine cuisine.

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One can find there sun-kissed beaches and long romantic promenades, along with a vibrant city-life.  Scrolled on the chalkboards of the cafes, one will find dishes inspired by the amalgamation of the different culinary tastes.  Nice may be full of classic cafes and restaurants serving traditional French and Italian dishes, but it is also influenced by the North Africa, and one can find many places offering socca on their menu.

To trap the rich history of the region, there are many museums to explore.  Some worth of special mention are the Musée Matisse, Musée Marc Chagall, Musée d’art moderne et d’art contemporain and the archeological site, Terra Amata.

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But the greatest piece of history is the city’s old town itself.  The Vieux Nice, or the city’s de-facto old town, is where one will find stunning architecture from another era.  Within these imposing facades, one can find some classic eateries, bookstores, delis, antique stores, boutiques, and bars.  Visit the Courrs Saleya or the Marche aux Fleurs, to find a real Provençal market, rich in produce and colour. This market is famous for its fresh farm goods and abundant flowers.  Mondays are for a special flea market, where one can scout for souvenirs and antiques.

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Nice is much more than just history and shopping.  It is has sunny beaches and scenic hill-top views.  To get some of the most photogenic views of the cityscape and the iconic necklace-shoreline, one should climb the Castle Hill (La Colline du Château).  It is from here that one can get a panoramic view of both the old town and the port.  Contrary to its name, there is no castle there, but it houses of a charming park with a 100m (330 ft.) long, man-made waterfall.  A small road train is available at regular frequencies and it takes 45 minutes for each trip from the city tot he top of the hill.  There are no entry fees for the park, but if one does not want to climb to the top, one can buy a ticket for the lift.  The park closes earlier in winter than in summer.

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If you think only the air of Paris contains love, think twice.  Nice is where Cupid hides.  It is where the beauty of beaches marries the warmth of city-life.  The pride of the city is the Promenade des Anglais, a 6-km long boulevard along the Mediterranean.  It is also abbreviated by locals to “La Prom”, and gives the town a lot of its character.  Many list it as one of the best places in Europe to hold hands with a loved one and simply walk against the setting sun.

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Running parallel with the promenade is a Zone Pietonne, which literally translates into a zone for pedestrians.  It is a car-free zone and bustling with activity.  Here, one can enjoy the warmth of social gatherings, live music, and some hip cafes.

When in Nice, one can also choose a tranquil spot near the beach to watch the sunset over the sparkling Mediterranean.  These simple pleasures are what make this city, despite being quite large, very unique.  Its beauty is sublime and one should not leave it without taking a plunge into its bluest waters.

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