Discover what makes France’s Nice worthy of an extended visit.

The Heart of the French Riviera

From as far back as the 18th century, the elite have placed Nice at the top of their list of travel destinations. Nicknamed Nice la Belle, meaning Nice the Beautiful, this city truly deserves its name. From the deep blue waters of the Cote d’Azur to breathtaking city views from Castle Hill and strolls along the iconic waterfront Promenade des Anglais, it’s no wonder Nice attracts over four million visitors a year.

Just a mere 14 km from sophisticated Monaco and 24 km away from the excitement of Monte Carlo’s casino, this coastal city in the French Rivera is famous for its blue waters. But don’t expect the soft sand beaches found on the Caribbean. Here, you’ll discover pebble-covered plages. The staircases along the Promenade des Anglais divide the beaches by name, with public spots interspersed between private seasonal beach bars and restaurants, open from April to October. In true Riviera fashion, visitors can often be found sipping rosé on a sunbed by the sea.

Popular Activities

The bustling city square of the Place Massena is full of fun and adventure. Wander amongst the lush Massena gardens and impressive fountains, which are particularly beautiful when they come aglow at night. Place Massena is also a wonderful spot for people watching, perhaps while sipping a café au lait or glass of wine.

One of the more common activities in Nice is climbing 92 meters above sea level to Colline du Château (Castle Hill), its highest vantage point, where you can visit the ruins of Château de Nice and its beautiful gardens. Once an active military citadel, it was eventually destroyed in the early 1700s by Louis XIV.

Art & Culture

Nice’s clear air and soft light particularly appealed to notable painters such as Henri Matisse, Niki de Saint Phalle, Arman and Marc Chagall. The Musee Marc Chagall boasts many wonderful pieces, but the most famous by far are the 17 biblical paintings which Chagall divided into Old and New Testament.

The magnificent and historic Opera de Nice offers ballet and classical concerts in addition to opera. Although built in 1885, there has been a theatre at the same seaside location for over 100 years prior to that.

Distinctive Architecture

The Russian Orthodox Cathedral, one of France’s national monuments, opened in 1912, thanks to the generosity of Tsar Nicholas II. The largest Eastern Orthodox cathedral in Western Europe, it features stunning “onion” domes and a vast collection of icons, decorative woodwork and items of huge historical value, in part moved from Russia to Nice during the troubled times of the Russian Civil War.

Finally, the picturesque Palais de la Prefecture, also known as the Palace of the Dukes of Savory, has played a leading role in the administrative and political history of the city since the early 17th century. It served as a hospital during the French Revolution and has undergone several renovations over the centuries. Today, it is the home of the Préfet of the Alpes-Maritimes department and remains an essential landmark of Old Nice.

Discover some of these incredible sights for yourself as part of your post-cruise hotel/land extension on 2020 Colors of Provence sailings!

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