Paris is the most popular destination in France, but it’s very touristy and can get overcrowded, which is why Nice, France’s coastal city should be the place to go.
Traces of humans living there can be traced back 400,000 years, but the city was officially discovered in 350 BC by the Greeks. For many centuries, Nice was under control between two great Empires, the French and the Italians until 1861 when it finally became part of France for good. During the times of imperial rule, Nice was popular amongst aristocrats, who went there to get away from the craziness of the palace and city and enjoy time by the sea. Even now, Nice is still the go-to for the wealthy, but you don’t have to own a yacht to have a brilliant time. With that said, here are some hidden gems to add to your sites to see.
Château de Bellet
Many may not think about going to a French vineyard while in Nice, but there’s one that’s lesser-known in the northern part of the city that offers its visitors delicious and unique wines. Château de Bellet is a vineyard that’s been around for 78 years. The family was granted nobility in 1777 and soon after they moved to the area the vineyard is currently located. Those who are looking to spend some time at the vineyard can enjoy a tour of the beautiful countryside followed by wine tastings. Château de Bellet wines have been served at various events such as NATO Summit, European Summit and the wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco and Princess Charlene.
Since Nice is located on the coast, there are various beaches you can enjoy spending the day at (as long as it’s summer). Although some may be touristy, there are plenty of beaches that are known mostly to the locals, one of which is Coco Beach. The place is enclosed with rocks all around, many of which are flat—ideal for catching sunrays on. Near the beach is a restaurant called Coco Beach Restaurant that’s over 80 years old, serving the freshest seafood that’s been caught locally. And of course, given that it’s right by the beach, the views are spectacular.
La Crypte de Nice
20 feet below the ground in the old part of Nice is a 6,000-square-foot crypt that was discovered by accident in 2004. The crypt is a peek into the city’s past during the Medieval Ages, with artifacts such as a tower, walls and parts of houses. If you book a tour, which you must do in advance and a translator is recommended (unless you speak French), you will be able to see the crypt and its remaining artifacts, plus, maps have been posted around the space to help visitors understand what the area would have looked like centuries ago. It’s an interesting and a must-see for those who love history.
Le Séjour Restaurant & Café
There are countless restaurants in Nice where you can dine on traditional cuisine, and one we recommend is Le Séjour Café. This eatery is run by a family and has been decorated in a very home-like style that’s cozy and welcoming. The restaurant serves fresh, homemade French dishes from a very simple menu that changes often. There’s even a veranda where you can enjoy some coffee and fresh air after a delicious meal.
Cave de la Tour
The French love their wine, which is why you will find a wine bar anywhere you go. Cave de la Tour is one of the oldest wine bars in Nice that opened in 1947. This, like many places in Nice, is also operated by a family, and for the most part, nothing has changed here since it opened in the 20th century. There is a large assortment of wines available as well as some bites during lunch. The place only takes cash and closes at 8pm.
Nice is an attractive destination for those seeking a seaside escape in a place that’s not overrun by tourists. If Nice is on your list of go-to places in France, we hope this city guide will help you get the most out of it!
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