When I organized my trip to Provence Cote d’Azur I wondered what place to choose for my stay to be able to visit South of France cities, landscape and villages… Is it better to take an hotel in Nice or in Cannes? Is it better to choose Nice or Menton ? Nice or Marseille? Nice or Aix en Provence? Nice or Avignon ?
Finally, it’s Nice on the French Riviera that I selected as a good base to visit Provence, Luberon and Cote d’Azur. I give you below the reasons why I think that Nice is the best town to stay rather than another city in South of France.
Nice best base town in Provence for its situation
Between sea and mountains on the French Riviera, near the Italian border, the city of Nice enjoys an ideal location for seaside, tourism, cultural visits and even for hiking in the hinterland! Indeed, the surroundings of Nice are superb and the nature promises you grandiose landscapes. For tourism in the area, without going very far, you can discover Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, Beaulieu, Menton and all the small villages perched around.
Nice best base town in Provence for its beauty
By its historical heritage and its geographical proximity, it floats in Nice a little air of Italy. Beautiful palaces along the Baie des Anges, picturesque little streets, houses with colorful facades, restaurants and cafes with lively terraces form the backdrop of this beautiful city.
But Nice also offers a whole range of magnificent beaches such as the beach of Carras, the beach of Centenaire, the beach of the Sailboat, the beach of Lenval, the beach of Sainte Hélène …
Nice best base town in Provence for its climate
Whatever the time of year, Nice welcomes you with sun and softness. Indeed, Nice and its region enjoy a mild and temperate climate with exceptional brightness and sunshine of more than 200 days per year. It is therefore an ideal destination for holidays by the sea all year long.
Nice best base town in Provence for its cultural richness
There are many historical monuments and museums not to be missed in Nice. This city has no less than 14 museums and galleries. Among the most beautiful, the Chagall museum and also the Matisse museum is a must for those who appreciate the painting of Henri Matisse.
Nice best base town in Provence for its touristic visits
Indeed, we cannot be bored in Nice. Here are some tips to discover the city and its small treasures …
For an overview, start by climbing the Castle Hill which leads to a lookout. From here you will have a splendid panorama of the Mediterranean and the surroundings of Nice.
Then, you will have to walk on the mythical Promenade des Anglais and the Baie des Anges. Thus, you will admire the sublime facades of the most beautiful palaces of Nice including the famous Negresco Palace with its beautiful pink cup.
The old town can be visited by getting lost in its alleys. This is where you will find an atmosphere of Italy in the bustle of small lively squares and typical restaurants. You will discover magnificent buildings such as the church of Sainte Reparate, the Opera House or the Russian Cathedral Saint-Nicolas.
Another unmissable place in Nice: Place Massena which is a beautiful architectural ensemble of arcades and red facades of beauty!
Between the castle hill and the Albert 1st Park is the Cours Saleya. This is where you can discover the traditional flower market and local food products. An ideal place to soak up the Nice atmosphere and to make good purchases (regional specialties, olive oil, spices, tapenade, soaps, Provençal fabrics …).
Do not miss a drink in the Girabaldi square (the oldest place in the city of Nice).
Nice best base town in Provence for its Carnival
At the end of February, during more than 15 days, Nice offers tourists and Nice giant and colorful parades that take place day or night with more than 1000 musicians and dancers and hundreds of tanks. This beautiful carnival comes alive particularly with the famous flower battles on the Promenade des Anglais … Personally, I have not yet had the chance to go to Nice during the Carnival but it is planned!
Nice best base town in Provence for its gastronomy
Nice, with its typical Mediterranean cuisine, is full of good restaurants where you can enjoy pissaladieres, pains bagnats, ratatouille and of course the famous salade niçoise. Its gastronomy also has a touch of Italy … Some people say that it was in Nice that was invented the recipe for gnocchi and ravioli.
Nice best base town in Provence for its hotels
Yes, in Nice I was spoiled for choice to find my hotel because the hotel offering is huge. We can find small cheap hotels in Nice, apartments from 70 Euros per night or, when we have a lot of money, beautiful Palaces where the stay must look like a fairy tale …
I preferred to choose good situation and comfort with a nice view, with a budget of about 160 Euros / night.
So I chose the Mercure Nice Marché aux fleurs that met all my criteria.
This hotel is ideally located on the Promenade des Anglais, a stone’s throw from the historic center near the Flower Market. In addition, car parks are located near the hotel. My room was comfortable, well equipped and had a great view of the sea. The continental breakfast was good and plentiful, in short I have no complaints about this hotel that I really enjoyed!