The joie de vivre of the French Rivera is a treat by itself and what better than going for a holiday to Nice. Nice is an attraction by itself with its rich blue–green sea, splendid dining, diverse shopping and wonderful art -deco facades. Nice is visited by tourists and celebrities from all over the world. Nice is located on the south east coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea. The city is called Nice la Belle, which mean Nice the Beautiful. The city of Nice is the third most populated city in France and one of the most beautiful destinations of the French Riviera to visit.
My first day in Nice, I decided to do the Cliff Walk. This is supposed to be one of the most scenic attractions in Nice. Less than a mile away from the old port in the direction of Monaco, a narrow path leads along the beach .I climbed up over hundreds of steps to the cliff overlooking the sea. It was the most spectacular view of the ocean and of Nice. The landscape below was stunning. The walk along the beach as well was tranquil thanks to the lovely breeze from the sea.
Before I had left for Nice, I had read several reviews about walking up and visiting Castle Hill (Parc de la Colline du Chateau).The view from atop the hill of the old city of Nice and its chateau, particularly at sunset was supposed to be magnificent. I had already seen the sunset view from the plane as I was landing in and I knew then that I just had to walk up the hill and enjoy the sunset view of Nice. There is also a wonderful waterfall on Castle Hill. As one walks along up the hill, there are many drawing and sketches as to what the castle looked like, as well as historical details. When I looked at Castle Hill from sea level, it looked extremely high and quite high a climb. I was really excited. And sure enough it was! There were two ways to climb up- so I decided that I would climb up in one way and come down using the other route. I decided to climb up from the port side .The port side had windy roads and short bursts of steps in between. The height to climb both the routes was the same; there was just a difference in the terrain. There is also an elevator but I wanted the physical challenge and started up the hill. As I climbed up the stone steps, I was in the midst of a beautiful green space with birds chirping and beautiful trees. The view of the sea from atop the hill was spectacular. I was in perfect time for the sun set and it was well worth the climb.
After the glorious walk up the hill I decided to walk along aide the bustling Promenade des Anglais, which is a five mile stretch from the foot of Chateau Hill all the way to Nice airport. It is a lovely blend of local culture and tourism in Nice. I stopped along the way to dig my toes into the sand while sipping a cocktail in one of the rented lounges. The next day I wanted to go and visit the Cours Saleya Flower Market. This is not really advertised a lot and it was something that I was very keen on doing. Hundreds of vendors come and sell may different varieties of flowers and the place looked like a garden that is always in bloom. I took plenty of photographs.I had already known few areas of Nice, and decided to get a bit ambitious and try a very worthwhile walk which is near the rooftop of the Collines Nicois, the Nice, and the SEntier Canal de Gairault. I set out north on foot from Cimiez. From there started a broad pathway with the Canal de Gairault, which is a famous jogging route. The route winds up gently around the hills, around two to three kilometers. The Vieux Chemin de Gairault brought me down hill to a local French restaurant, Halte te Gairault. And then I walked back through the Tour d’Amour and Parc Chambrun ,down avenue Henry Dunnant to St Maurice and back into town. The walk took me a good three to four hours. The view over Nice, and the silhouette of the iconic Chateau d’Azur overlooking the city was astonishing. I totally recommend it, with a good walking map and a bit of a taste for exploring and discovery.
Only an hour away from Nice is the huge Mercantour National Park,which is a beautiful rugged national park with gorgeous mountain lakes and streams that are located in the valleys that are 3000m-high. A hike through this surely made my day. The park is the hub for Ibex (bouquetin), mountain goat (mouflon), chamois as well as marmots, cattle and white hares. I decided to camp on a spot, which very close to Lac Nègre. Much later did I realize that beyod the boulders where the river was flowing ,was the entire herd of Ibex grazing. The whole experience of watching them was so peaceful. As we hiked through the mountains we would come across small dairy herds. The entire mountain range is dotted with tiny cattle and dairy farm. The Vallée des Merveilles has about 100,000 rock engravings that are all prehistoric. The GR52A (Grande Randonnée) runs through the whole park, across to Sospel, and up the Vallée de la Roya, from Colmars in the west, to the Col de Tende. The park is an absolute incredible place for hiking, where there are many places to stay overnight and trails to hike. During my stay in Nice, I hiked two different paths. The first day, I went ahead with Vallee du Boreon to the Lac de Trecolpas, a beautiful small tarn encompassed with peaks. Starting from the Vacherie du Boreon I climbed steadily back through woods and made it back to my start point. The following day I drove several kilometers through a big unpopulated river valley to La Madone de Fenestre. I started from the distant and isolated cluster of buildings and church at La Madone . From there I headed towards the high mountains. Turning into a small hanging valley, only to look down onto the five Lacs de Prals. The path dropped down between this group of small lakes. It was a superb spot for a mid-walk lunch break. I then continued around Mont Caval through the woodlands and once again back to the start point. It was an excellent four hours to complete my circuit.
The last day in Nice I took a walk and visited the Old Town –Vielle Ville. It felt like walking through a medieval village tucked into some part of history. The cobbled narrow pathways, fringed on either side by old buildings and red tile roofs was magical. I ended my evening along the beautiful port side of Nice. It was lovely to watch the boats coming in and to see all the yachts slowly dancing on the waters of the French Riviera.