Sparkling azure seas. Towering majestic mountains. A temperate climate with 200+ cloudless days per year, and a populace with manners as sunny as the weather. There's something great for everyone in Nice, they say. And this is especially true if you are an active traveler. You'll understand what we mean after you've gone for an open-water swim in the Bay of Angels, biked the roadways of the surrounding Alps, and run the city's coastal promenade halfway to Cannes. By that point, you'll barely be able to pant the words "Triathlon. Training. Mecca." But don't worry. Your breath, your speech, and the feeling in your legs will come back to you as you kick back as a restaurant table with a glass of French wine and enjoy the Mediterranean sunset.
For an old French city, Nice is pretty easy to figure out. Most of the action is centered along a two-and-a-half mile stretch between Regence Beach and Castle Hill Park, both along the coastal Promenade des Anglais. The old city is easily accessible from the eastern half of this route, and the winding medieval streets are fun to explore on your way to Place Massena, the city's center. As you explore the town you'll find elements of the culture for which Nice is better known - that is, fine casinos, fashionable stores, elegant galleries, and famous restaurants and bars. You should check those out too. After your run.
In the meantime, lace up those trainers. Allons-y!
- Rocky Shoreline: If you come to the Cote d'Azur expecting a beach vacation, be forewarned that Nice beaches consist of pebbles, not sand. They are still perfectly amenable for lying out and getting a suntan, but if you were planning to work your thighs with some sand sprints you should head down the coast to Cannes.
- Slippery Sidewalks: Nice gets over 200 sunny days a year, but on the days it rains the Promenade des Anglais can get slick. Tread lightly on wet walkways.
- Indulgence: Nice may be the triathlon training capital of France, but the majority of visitors don't come here to participate in athletics. Opportunities abound to indulge in gambling, fine dining, posh drinking, and other such less-active activities.
Did you know? Is the Nice scenery so beautiful you wish you could paint a picture of it? You wouldn't be the first to have that urge. The city has been home to many important and influential artists, including Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall.
In the mood to rent a bike?
City, touring, and road bikes are available to rent at Ada Holiday Bikes. There are two locations: one by the train station, one closer to the coast.
23 rue de Belgique - (04) 93 16 01 62
4 Rue Meyerbeer - (04) 93 82 27 00