STAY in Nice:
In the past they wanted to get out, today you want to get in: The former prison has exchanged the metal bars for antique furniture. No one wants to break out, any more, since the view onto the sea has it all: Farsightedness, keen insight and outlook on the future all inclusive. We urge you to get a room with sea view!The interior is entirely dedicated to the French countryside, with gentle colours and marble baths. The restaurant, too, follows the excellent tradition of French cuisine: In the lemon cake you will search for the file in vain, however, you might be sitting in the garden near a cliff, surrounded by lemon treas or even on the terrace, where you can enjoy a romantic candlelight dinner. Moreover there are pool, fitness center and Jacuzzi, but should you still feel imprisoned, you may explore the beach, which is only a quick dash away. Doubles starting at 200,- euros a night.
HI says Hi! and that's it. If you look for the stiff concierge with the lifted eyebrow, you are definitely at the wrong address. If you need help, you are as well. In the HI hotel the young but inexperienced personnel welcomes you in the pink light of the design hotel.The advantage: You are at eye level and don't need to deal with odd arrogant glances so common in other luxury hotels. The disadvantage: It doesn't go much beyond the casual Hi! You are expected to develop a lot of your own initiative. The champagne dispenser is self service, and you can decide between whole food and whole food breakfast buffet. You may take your food to your room or into the garden, which, with its coconut palm trees and bamboo, makes a very nice impression. Matali Crasset, a student of the unavoidable master Philippe Starck, is responsible for this design wonder and she thought up quite a storm for her first project: For example the stand-alone bathtubs, that are separated from the bed only with a screen, which simultaneously works as a video beamer. Doubles starting at 269,- euros per night.
A stylish manor for everyone who can afford it: The mixed guests not only come for shopping and meeting, but also for splashing around. In fact, the pool might be the main attraction. The indoor/outdoor pool has Greek mosaics in the water, a Buddhist bar and an Asian restaurant right near the water - it doesn't get more international than that. And the view onto the sea tops it all.If you also want to enjoy that from your rooms, you should absolutely book one in the upper floors: The massive columns of the Art Deco facade often inhibit the view to the blue. Still, it doesn't really matter, since the furnishing of the rooms make up for a lot: Saffron, ochre, and blue make you feel like cosy. The room service is great, and you have W-Lan and beauty products from Annick Goutal. Doubles starting at 290,- euros a night.
EAT in Nice:
Nice Garden Hotel
In the middle of the busy city, in the middle of boutiques, pedestrian zone and 200 meters away from the beach, in the middle of the old town. What can you expect? We take a look behind the heavy iron gates of the townhouse from the 19th century and marvel: Absolute peace! A wild garden with plants that are climbing up the facade. Flowers that can compete with any English garden. An orange tree that branches out to the breakfast table and makes you want to grab your fruit plate.And nine rooms with a view onto the green oasis. Some even have elegant swing doors leading outside. Never come in the winter here, or you would certainly miss something! For example a few idle hours on the wooden benches with a good book in the hand. If you don't care about green stuff, you can stare at the high ceilings, admire the stucco at the walls or just fall asleep with the gentle colours around you. Doubles starting at 65 euros a night.
Stéphane Viano is dabbling in the food today, yet the founder was a certain Camille, which explains the name of the restaurant. The small eatery only has nine tables, yet the food is this much greater: Authentic fare from the Provence.If you don't know what that is: Risotto and vegetables, but not any vegetable, but fresh from the seller around the corner. The saddle of lamb is also served, of course with herbs from Provence and zucchini sugared with Parmesan. If there's seafood, it's jumbo shrimp.The chef and the season decide what exactly will be on offer. And along with all this delicious food there is a lot artwork on the walls, in order to shorten the waiting period. If you like it, you can pack it in along with the doggie bag. It remains doubtful, however, whether the dog understands much about art.
What used to be the odd dull soup has turned into a fad: The starter. Whether it's called mezze in Arab or tapas in Spanish, who wants to be trendy these days skips the main dish. Why? Because it relieves the bad conscience, since, so goes the fatally flawed thinking, they are just small portions anyhow - until the scale tells you a different story. The other advantage is uncontested: You don't have to pick with your fork in your neighbour's food, because it looks so much better than what you have ordered. The starter plate offers all the tastes that the restaurant has on offer; you'll just have to find something that you like. The L'Ybane is the mezze Mecca of Nice: You can plough through taboule, hummus, falafel and flat breads, most of them also suitable for vegetarians. The modern interior comes along in muted colours and with big chandeliers for an extra helping of sophistication. Another L'Ybane has opened in New York, but no matter if here or there, the audience is similarly trendy and stays on for a while, in order to enjoy the cocktails or a good, French wine at the bar. If you have it on you, you might as well reward yourself with a champagne for classy 395,- euros.
SHOPPING in Nice:
Jean-Christophe Serra is 25 years old. When working as a designer and DJ he feels the urge to start a new store in Nice. To his mind, Nice needs a place with an international offer of women's and men's clothing as well as design. He has little experience in the business. However, he founds the Antic Boutik in the historic part of the French coastal city - that was 16 years ago. The store still exists. Both men and women from Nice love to come to Jean-Christophe's boutique. In former times especially because of limited editions of Nike sneakers, today mostly for the selected designer pieces that Jean-Christophe constantly collects during his trips to Paris, New York and Tokyo. But he also finds new goods through friends from the fashion business with whom he talks a lot about aspiring new brands. Quite generally, friends are an important component of Jean-Christoph Serra's life philosophy and the design of his store comes from his buddy Davide Mosconi from Turin.
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.
Florian du Vieux
Attention sweet tooth: Here is where you can find handmade chocolates, jelly beans and candied fruits. Free tours of the production area included! The many delicacies are made following recipes from the 19th century.The ingredients include fruits and flowers from Provence, and most of them organically produced. By the way, the shop provides the perfect explanation for why many small presents never reach their intended destination - they are just too seductive not to be eaten immediately!
SIGHTS in Nice:
Saint Paul de Vence is two attractions in one and thus clearly worth a day trip: The medieval mountain village is located only 25 km away from Nice. Today it counts about 3000 inhabitants, of whom many continue to earn their living with arts and handicrafts.Attraction no.1: The location, architecture, ambiance and food. Romantic mountains, fantastic view, medieval alleys and buildings, wonderful small restaurants (Tip: La Colombes d´Or, hotel, gourmet temple and Picasso museum in one), everything in the category absolutely worth seeing and experiencing.Attraction no. 2: The Fondation Maeght, one of the most unusual museums of contemporary art in the world. The treasures on exhibit exist thanks to Marguerite and Aimé Maeght, gallery owners from Paris. Their idea: Optically amalgamate the works of the artists with the building and the garden. The result is an architecturally intoxicating building, which, aside from the exhibition spaces, includes a cinema and concert hall, studios, a documentation centre and a library. All of it is surrounded by a sculpture garden. The collection with more over 12,000 pieces of art attracts more than 200,000 visitors from all over the world each year.
Directly by the beach promenade in Nice, the Promenade des Anglais, you find the hip High Club with club boutique. It's the party hub for those who demand for exclusiveness! The motto: to see and to be seen. Directly in the High Club there's also the shrouded Club 47. Here the jet set of Nice throw their parties. From the turntables you hear electronic music by the hottest DJs like the French Martin Solveig who is currently celebrated by the scene. Other known DJs who have been standing behind the turntables include Benny Benassi, Bob Sinclar or Dennis Ferrer.
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.