The very name Nice, along with its Cotes-de-Azur neighbours, Cannes and St Tropez, has become shorthand for moneyed sophistication. One thinks of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly toying with each other in To Catch a Thief. It is still a playground for the rich but there is also a more accessible Nice lurking behind the chic façade.
Before it was part of France, Nice was part of the Kingdom of Savoy and ruled from Piedmont in Italy. The city still has a very Italian feel not least in the cooking. The typical local dish is a pancake made from chickpeas called Socca which is found all along the Ligurian coast. Locals love to argue about which place does the best ones. Try the Campo Café on Place Garibaldi at 5 pm and soak up the evening sun with a beer and a crepe.
A good way to get your bearings is by climbing onto the roof of the moden art musem MAMAC - from here you get a view of the entire city. The museum itself hosts world class exhibitions as well as showcasing the work of the region's most famous modern artists. Nice is a city made famous by artists. Take a walk up the hill to Cimiez to the Musée Matisse which is housed in the Villa des Arènes. Next door are the Roman ruins of Cemenelum. If you’re still not sated for art, on the way down the hill there’s the Musée Marc Chagall.
After all that culture why not take a stroll on the Promenade de Anglais which runs along the seafront? Or even better hire a velo bleu for leisurely ride. You can admire the yachts and imagine you’re one of the 60s jet set at play.