The whole world envies the French for their quality of life while the French envy the Riviera residents for their life in paradise. Nice combines the best of both worlds. This is where you can find small Provençal squares, where you can happily spend hours over a cup of coffee, but also find famous museums, parks and cathedrals. Put your walking shoes on!
The cathedral is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture. Admire the beautiful ornamentation and friezes in the refreshing cool of the cathedral. On the outside, the shimmering colours on the dome have become one of Nice’s landmarks.
Phoenix Parc Floral de Nice is the world’s largest greenhouse. Seven different tropical climates (damp, in other words) covering seven hectares, packed with 2.500 different plants. You can walk in the shadow of an (almost) unknown palm tree here, look at a baby shark, smell a thousand flowers and listen to bird song- on the loudspeakers.
The Russian-born master painter, Marc Chagall, is one of the Riviera’s many adopted children. The museum was built in consultation with the artistic genius himself, on the theme of Biblical art. The museum has regularly recurring exhibitions of Jewish art.
Nice wants to make a name for itself as a centre for pop art. Admire Nice’s famous local artists such as Ben and Niki de Sainte Phalle in this imposing building. The latter has donated 170 of her works but there are also works of Andy Warhol, Picasso, etc.
Let’s face it, you are not going to find any of Matisse’s greatest works here. They are all in the USA. On the other hand, there is a clear picture of the artistic genius’ development, from his sickbed as a young man to his grave behind the museum. After a visit, you can walk around in the painter’s footsteps and compare the light in each painting. In addition, the red ochre villa is beautiful in its own right.
In the days of the tsars, the people who enjoyed themselves in the Riviera’s casinos until late on Saturday night, were not exactly short of money. They went here, to church though, on Sundays. After the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, things are much as they were in the old days, but thick wads of dollars now rain down on the Riviera - and the beautifully restored cathedral. Strict dress code.
Villa Arson is a centre for modern art in Nice – you could call it art in real time. This is both a school of art and an exhibition centre, frequently featuring students or former students. They also have performance art.
Cours Saleya is the largest square in the city and a historic centre. Perfect at any time of day, for a coffee or lunch, beneath what used to be Matisse’s balcony. A market takes place at Cours Saleya daily, offering vegetables and fruit, flowers and a flea market (Monday).