Nice – glorious coastal town in Côte d’Azure

My first time in Nice was in 2001 or 2002, I can’t remember exactly. That was only one night stay in a small hostel up on the hill. What left in my memory from that short stay was a morning walk in a nice neighborhood in the next morning.

I came back to Nice this time again for only 2 nights , my boutique hotel is right in the heart of Nice, one street behind the most famous, probably the most prestigious hotel in Nice – Le Negresco. From my hotel to Nice’s main boulevard “La Promenade des Anglais” – 2 minutes walk.

e8f51-nice_13Le Negresco – the jewel of Nice Ville in his centennial celebrations 

Living in Asia and I was able to stay in some luxury hotels around the region, I had to admit that the value of hotel like Le Negresco based not on those criteria that we are familiar with in Asia. Le Negresco is relatively small to its 5-star standard, but if consider its over 100-year-old history, its location, its collections of rare paintings, art objects displayed inside the hotel – Hotel of the Legends! One more thing to add – a special favour to all hotel’s guests – all kind of pets are welcomed!

Le Negresco has a special place in heart of many VIP guests. The hotel owner, Jeanne Augier – in her 90s, who spent more than a half of century taking care of this hotel that her father bought for her as gift in 1957. Not long ago Mme Jeanne Augier shared her vision of the Negresco  – “The Negresco is also a living ambassador of France as I desired it, blending a certain art of living with a collection representing all of the main currents of French art since the beginning of the 16th century.”

4a3e3-nice_3A statue of Jazz Great Louie Armstrong sit tall in the front of the hotel.

fe885-nice_4Le Negresco at night on La promenade des Anglais – main boulevard in Nice.

Under her long management Le Negresco is considered one of the most prestigious hotels in Nice. Several billionaires tried to acquire this hotel, whatever the price they proposed, Jeanne Augier always turned down all. But without any heir, except those many dogs that she keeps in her flat on the top of the hotel, no one really know what is the future destiny of Le Negresco.

b004d-nice_19La promenade des Anglais – the symbol of Nice Ville. 

Nice reminds me of two our coastal towns with two different destiny in South Vietnam – similar landscape, ocean scenery – the deep blue sea on one side, on another – the mountain, the hills, but unfortunately, one town standing at the crossroads – either being an industrial town with oil exploitation or a touristic centre, meanwhile another town in Central Vietnam has a right choice,  with amazing ocean and mountain scenery, now this town is a home to several world’s luxury hotels resort that I will share in another post.

d69e2-nice_14The pedestrian sidewalk along La Promenade des Anglais and the beach.

25133-nice_17The picturesque coastline, the beautiful azure sky…but the water was too cold for me    

Nice’s weather is hot in mid September, I did expect a bit cooler but nope. I was almost exhausted in my thick clothes. The first thing I did in Nice was to get a beach short and flip-flop. I love to step into the ocean, to feel it, or even to dip myself in it. I went down to the beach, my first steps into Mediterranean sea but the water was way too cold even in the summer heat.

10c3a-nice_16The empty beach even in the hot sunshine afternoon…

Nice used to be a part of Italy, but given to France in 17-18th century, that’s why Nice still has an Italian name – Nissa or Nissa La Bella.

5d728-nice_15Dinner time – a restaurant on the beach, it seemed still early…

In the evening the weather was getting cooler, I decided to walk along the beach and La Promedade des Anglais. It was quite empty around this area at night, the restaurants were not fully occupied. It seemed everyone in town rushed to the old quarter – Vieux Nice. So on the half way along the beach I took a left turn to the old town.

7d80a-nice_12 I met some artists on my way to the old town…

11d1d-nice_10Another artist was creating his painting with difference tools, including the fire…

8534f-nice_2Jack Sparrow landed in his new film location – the Golden Age of Nice 

Finally I reached to Place Masséna – the central square in Nice, it was a huge place with various activities: cyclo service for city tour, street performers…the place looked impressive with 7 statues, in different poses, sitting 10 meters above the ground, with colour changing…really cool!

1d04f-nice_9Seven of illumined, colour-changing statues by famous sculptor Jaume Plensa  

62b22-nice_1The ricksha on Place Masséna, a special place in heart for Nice’s habitants – the Niçois

1b9be-nice_6I did enjoy watching kids playing with water balloon in Place Masséna 

56722-nice_5Mirror of water with 128 water jets not far from Place Masséna 

6c562-nice_8The old town of Nice – people started coming out for dinner…

66a74-nice_6Everywhere I went, always crowded…

18e56-nice_21the other side of the old town – Place Rossetti 

b8eaf-nice_11The old town seemed revive in the evening…

2f17f-nice_20Fenocchio ice creamone of the most famous ice cream shops in Nice 

I passed by this Fenocchio shop, what I noticed first was the crowd, it was a long, confusing queue so I was hesitating to queue for it, I did have too much ice cream so I decided to skip that night, but later I regretted not to taste it as this brand, a family business since 1966, has so many flavours beyond my imagination such as : jasmine, flower of orange tree, rosemary, tomato-basilic, vanilla & pink pepper…I found it only after back home!

19e12-nice_12

Next morning I will have a long day tour for Cannes, Antibes, Monaco and some other famous villages,  so I decided to go back to my hotel after buying some favourite fruits from the street stall in the Nice old town! Good night!

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