STAY in Nice:
The road to success is often bumpy, thought designer Michel Wilmotte and made the stone his main topic at the Beau Rivage. The result is anything but rough, with its round forms and the perfect combination between modern comfort and selected natural materials. Gentle earthen colours in the rooms, a lot of wood: All in all the hotel makes a cosy, close to nature impression, which is only topped by the airy sun beds at the private beach.No wonder that the guest list reads like the who-is-who of the arts: Matisse, Fitzgerald and Nietzsche took a drink at the bar and a stroll on the world famous Promenade des Anglais, which is only a stroke of the brush away. The guests then got even more inspired by the nearby flower market, and today the Acropolis Convention Centre gives businessmen good ideas. Doubles starting at 250,- euros a night.
Le Saint Paul
And once again Saint-Paul-de-Vence, because it was so beautiful: The medieval town has quite a few things to offer, especially galleries for the numerous artists that have settled in the tight alleys.The Le Saint Paul is located in one of those alleys with the old cobblestone and the flowerpots, in a house from the 16th century that is just as romantic inside as it is outside: Small rooms full of French country house style par excellence, plus an open fireplace, silk fabrics and canopy beds. Here life is not art, but pure luxury.On the cosy terrace they serve Provencal cuisine in a personal atmosphere, the tea is served in front of the crackling fire, and you can read a good book or have an interesting conversation. If you still prefer to go out, you can go to the small art galleries in the perhaps most beautiful place in Provence. Doubles starting at 250,- euros per night.
Hotel Le Meurice
Art Deco is never out. And if it is, it will come back. The Hotel Le Maurice keeps to the law that one always meets twice in life, thereby saving on the costs for remodeling: The hotel is 30s through and through, and it's always been like that. It's this true and authentic charm that makes the Maurice unique next to all the trendy designer hotels: The creaking parquet floor in the lobby, the open lift, the red carpet in the rooms, and the stucco on the walls - the only things missing for a perfect time warp would be a topper and mustache.Yet you don't need to live without modern amenities: Instead of a telephone cabin in wood there is W-Lan, and instead of servants with fans there's air-conditioning and satellite TV instead of theater. And if you pull away the heavy curtains you see cars instead of horse-drawn carriages. It's still easy to take the Art Deco feeling out with you: The old town is only a walking stick away, as well as the elegant parks in which you can saunter wonderfully. Doubles starting at 115,- euros a night.
SIGHTS in Nice:
The Russian Cathedral, which became a listed monument in 1987, is one of the most beautiful orthodox churches in Western Europe and the most frequently visited historical building in the city.The members of the Tsarist family spent their winters in Nice since the middle of the 19th century. Its prestige was so far-reaching that the Russian government spent three years to sue for the right of ownership. It was granted ownership in 2010, because the Cathedral stands on a piece of land that Tsar Nicolas II. had provided.
The Nice Carnival
It's the event in winter along the French Riviera, the Carnival of Nice. Every year round about 1,3 million visitors participate in this event. The festivities go back to a long tradition. Already in 1294 Charles d'Anjou, Count of the Provence, spent some enjoyable days in Nice. In 1830 the first parade through the city took place and in 1873 the festive committee was established. The Nice Carnival cannot be compared to other carnivals, for example the one in Cologne. Nobody dresses up in costumes here. It's not a carnival to participate in but to watch - and there's far enough to watch. Twenty wagons adorned with flowers roll over the Promenade des Anglais. The decoration of the wagons is taken care of by florists from Nice exclusively, since they have to apply for participation. Apart from the flower corso the paying audience is also offered a show with bizarre figures, much music and dance. You can buy tickets from the 26th of January onwards at the Office du Tourisme. A seat on the tribune for the parade costs 20 euros, a standing place is 10 euros.
To experience Nice by car is a challenge in itself. It's more than certain that there will be major traffic jams on the main connections. Thus it's best to leave the city every now and then: for example for the beach in Cagnes sur Mer which is only a few kilometres away. What you'll find there is a turquoise blue sea and hip venues along the Promenade de la Plage. Ideally you spend the whole day at Le Cigalon and begin with a giant tuna salad for lunch - try to avoid the Beef Tartar in extreme heat! Afterwards you make yourself comfortable for a couple of hours on the restaurant's beach chairs and enjoy the infrastructural advantages that's missing in the hidden beach bays. Good souls will come and bring you refreshing drinks while an oversized buddha head watches over the goings-on. Then it's time to get back on the wooden veranda again where you'll be served exotic specialities - which matches the lounge music and the Asian sculpture.
EAT in Nice:
Some enthuse about the traditional coffee house atmosphere, others love the location at the Cours Saleya - and still others love the clientele. The brasserie L'F has reached a cult status long ago. One sits in the first row next to the rich and beautiful people sipping a café au lait and watching the sea. In the brasserie L'F, seeing and being seen is as important as the good food on the plate. The clientele is young, the ambience modern. You should hurry if you want a table at lunch time. Here, it's more than crowded. It almost seems as if all locals are trying to snatch a seat on the terrace or the winter garden. The home-cooked bruschetta is an insider tip! The prices are steady: an espresso costs two, a beer three euro. Another tip: Tuesdays to Sundays, there is a flower, fruit and vegetable market right in front of the door - and on Mondays, during the the summer months, you can buy antiquities on the art market.
A key experience: Keisuke Matsushima's restaurant is not very Japanese, but more Italian. Yet nothing should ever be too simple, so the chef mixes the Italian base with surprising ingredients, thus creating an extraordinary taste experience.The shrimp from Liguria are combined with baby artichokes and Parma ham. The Gorgonzola risotto is accompanied by white truffles. And the tomato gazpacho with almond sorbet pretty much gets out of line. The tiramisu remains tiramisu, yet it's the best in town. The interior design is equally simple: It's small and cosy but always packed. The waiters adore their boss and are happy to explain the philosophy behind each culinary experiment to the guests, and even Matsushima himself appears sometimes in the dining area. Naturally, Kei's Passion received Michelin star just one year after opening.
Michel Devillers is utterly inflexible, at least when it comes to the quality of his ingredients. That's why the chef de cuisine of L'ane Rouge in Nice only works with seasonal products and selected suppliers. You have Gilbert, for example, who bets on real handicraft when it comes to fishing - making him one of the final few of his kind. Or Serge who breeds his chicken in traditional ways. The olive oil comes from Cantaron and Michel loves it for its unique flavour. Being the son of a butcher, grandson of a vegetable farmer and cousin of a restaurant owner he was confronted with gourmet sophistry early on. When he was 13 he was gravely fascinated by the salmon served at his own First Communion which let to his decision to become a cook. Every day after school he ran into the Hotel du Nord in Roye and glimpsed over the experts' shoulders. Today he's being watched in the restaurant by young boys in turn.
SHOPPING in Nice:
French women are known for their seductiveness. An essential part of their secret is for sale: At Etam you find beach wear and lingerie that will drive up your sexy factor into unprecedented heights. When you think of Brigitte Bardot, or the Hollywood goddesses of the 60s, of Cannes and Saint Tropez, you think of Etam beach fashion.You'll find the most elegant bikinis and bathing suits in the small boutique of this luxury lingerie brand in Nice. And of course, there are also many fine laces for the goddesses of the night! Our tip: Leave your Bikini at home and just get a new beach outfit at Etam. You can be sure that you find something there that will turn you into a beach siren that will draw all the attention!
La Ferme Formagèr
When you step into this shop, you will leave it full and hungry at the same time: The scent of more than 120 cheese varieties, the samples which you get before buying, and the spectacle of so much cheese fills you up, while the unique selection makes you hungry for more.More cheese, more indulgence? Voilà: Tuesday to Saturday, Jean-Paul and Jérôme Perrin turn their shop into a gourmet cheese restaurant. Now you can enjoy the cheese with its best friend, French wine, and indulge in traditional cheese dishes such as fondue or raclette.
La Maison de l´Ol
Pickled olives in all the variations possible, the rarest kinds of pepper, elaborate salts, finest dried vegetables, hand-made soaps, exquisite oils: In the Maison de l'Olive all senses are caressed.Above all, of course, the sense of taste, because Marie Louise Guignard and her husband Bruno do everything they can to excite it. Of course, you can also buy the best olive oil here and take it as a small present. The spices from the Provence are another great gift, since they represent the essence of Nice: Great taste!