Here’s a confession that might sound odd, particularly from someone who’s about to write about spending a weekend on the French Riviera: I don’t particularly care for beaches. I’ve never been one who could lie out on a beach and relax; after a few minutes, I’m hot and uncomfortable and thinking about what I’d rather be doing instead – which, when traveling, is usually walking around, or visiting a museum, or enjoying a great meal. And as a very, very pale person, the endless sunshine of a beach has never been my friend.
So it came as a surprise to me that I completely loved sun-soaked Nice, a resort town along France’s gorgeous Cote d’Azur. Perhaps it was because, in the middle of winter, spending time in the sun felt like a welcome relief for once. Or maybe it was because there was lots to do and see in Nice besides just lounging on the beach (though you certainly could do plenty of that, if it’s your thing). Or maybe it was because I visited in January, when the temperatures were warm but not too warm and the tourists were there, but not in such a heavy, congested crush as they normally would be. Whatever the case, I found Nice to be delightful, and I would happily return.
On my first morning in town, I gravitated toward the water. I didn’t go to swim, but rather to stroll – along the Promenade des Anglais, Nice’s famed walkway by the water. The Promenade spans four miles along the coast and provides ridiculously beautiful views: on my visit, the water was a crystal clear blue, the Niçois were out in full force, biking and roller-blading, and the sun was blindingly bright. I walked up and down the coast for a long time, and then took the elevator up to Castle Hill, where I was treated with even more stunning views of the water.
All in all, I found the Promenade des Anglais to be one of the more enjoyable places I’ve ever taken a walk. I might not be a “lie on the beach” type of gal, but I am definitely a “stroll along the beach” one, and Nice was a perfect spot to do just that.