Contiki Tours may be a lot of things, but I have to give them this much: They introduced me to Nice. Before my tour, Nice wasn’t on my radar. We had arrived for a few sunny days, in the middle of a cold European winter and I fell in love.
It was the only place during the trip, apart from Barcelona, where we saw blue skies. I only needed a cardigan, after weeks wrapped up in thermals, coats, boots and scarves. For a born-and-bred Queenslander, this was a dream come true!
There was not a great deal to “see” in terms of cultural or historical sights, so I spent a few days wandering around town, having a sleep ins and nursing the occasional hangover by the beach.
I couldn’t wait to go back on my Paris-Athens trip, and was interested to see whether I’d still love it in summer. This time, Nice wouldn’t have the distinct advantage of being the only destination with blue skies and sunshine. Was there more to it than the weather?
Yes. It was definitely busier, but it still had the laidback vibe that I love. Even amongst the locals, you get the impression that most of them aren’t taking things too seriously. Our hotel doorman was never afraid to tell it how it is, but was also easily talked into letting us eat our free hotel breakfast a little early (…as in 3am a little early), after a night out. He stuck to the rules that he absolutely had to, but was not really fussed on the finer points of dining room hours.
The Old Town is particularly beautiful, with candy-coloured buildings, street art and palm trees as a backdrop.
A few days chilling out on the beach in Nice was the perfect antidote to a busy few days in Paris. Naysayers will tell you Nice is a little touristy, a little tacky, etc. It gets the same reputation that’s also lumped on the Gold Coast in Australia and Miami in the US. Personally, I don’t think it earns it. Not as much as the Gold Coast, anyway!
(By the way, I still love the Gold Coast – away from the crowds in Surfers, it’s pretty special!).
Nice has earned a place in my heart for being sunny, laidback, downright gorgeous and a lot of fun. I will definitely be back.