NICE

Welcome to California!

There was a definite Cali vibe when we drove closer to the Côte Azure that I started feeling nostalgic about our road trip last year. Still one of my best traveling experiences to date, the weather, the palm trees, the brightness of the day, all looked and felt like I was back on the highways to the Central Coast or even Tahoe. The only thing missing I suppose was the occasional IHOP or Denny’s for a stopover, but that would be asking too much at this point. We’re in Nice today and it’s looking quite good so far.

Getting into Nice was impressively quick and quite scenic. Good job in making a good first impression. After a couple of rounds driving around the block, we finally found a good parking spot and leisurely walked over to our hotel, where I noticed it’s not a city in a hurry – people take time to smile – which was nice to see. Still too early to check in, we took the chance to drop our bags and wander around.

Especially after how it turned out the two days we were in Provence, we felt very lucky with the weather, though I think I’m another shade darker after walking through old town up to Castle Hill and then down a good stretch of the promenade – I can already feel the wrinkles coming out sooner than usual. What I found though was a good-looking city, much much nicer than Aix-en-Provence and just as pretty but in a different way as Saint-Malo. The streetscapes are well-kept and mostly landscaped, there are more well-heeled pedestrians, especially the older kind, and quite walkable based on our little walking tour. Place Rosetti in the Vieille Ville was an enviably cozy hangout and the beaches along Promenades Des Anglais, thanks to the bright sun, was as azure as it could get. There was a comfortable, pleasant, cool breeze while we walked by the shore, somewhat busy but manageable, and most people appeared to be having a good time.

If there was anything I found head scratching it was the beach itself. It’s completely covered with rocks! For the life of me why anyone would lay down on rocks to get some sun is mind-boggling, even just walking on rocks is questionable. The water though is a beautiful, unreal shade of blue that is likely the inspiration for this silly behavior. From afar or up close it’s a beauty to see and unquestionably the lifeline for the city. It’s a shame we’re only here for one night so we’ll have to make as much of our short time as possible.

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