Portdenice ©Otc Nice 11 08 2018


Join the beautiful people in the timelessly chic French Riviera town, whose culture, gastronomy and azure coast boast some serious va va voom, says Tristan Rutherford

Travel Time 2hrs 10min

Why go?

Niçoise call October the ‘Golden Month’. The last of the summer crowds have departed with clinking bottles of olive oil and rosé, leaving Nice’s 5km-long beach and palm-punctuated Promenade des Anglais flip-flop free. A cooling sun nourishes chanterelles and sees plump pumpkins piled high at the half dozen produce markets in town, while days are still balmy enough to enjoy life alfresco, with average highs tickling a pleasant 21C.

What to do

Start in the ochre-hued Vieux Nice (old town), taking in boutiques, bars and baroque gems like the Cathedrale Sainte-Reparate and Palais Lascaris. Stop for an ice cream in one of 94 flavours at Fenocchio fenocchio.fr (opened in 1966), then stroll to Cours Saleya, usually a colourful flower market but a buzzy brocante on Mondays. Want the inside line on the city’s food scene? Try a four-hour market tour and lunch with A Taste of Nice (£62pp) foodtoursofnice.com or opt for a class at the home of renowned chef Christian Plumail (£80pp) christian-plumail.com Alternatively, head over to Nice’s edgiest gourmet quartier, Rue Bonaparte, for pintxo joints, crêperies and Brazilian coffee houses, plus organic markets with pour-your-own bio wine spigots like O’Quotidien 2 Rue Martin Seytour. With more museums than any French city outside Paris, Nice’s Musée Matisse museematissenice.org is the most bucolic, residing inside a Genoese villa flanked by olive groves. The £9 entrance fee grants access to all municipal museums over a 24-hour period, including Musée National Marc Chagall and art gallery MAMAC, though be aware, many close on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Where to stay

The flamboyant pink edifice Hotel Le Negresco hotelnegresconice.com has been Nice’s finest seafront hotel since 1913. Just a five-minute walk from the old town, the grand dame has hosted everyone from rock stars to royalty. In the neighbourhood around Place Garibaldi, Hotel Le Genève hotellegenevenice.com sits atop the hipster Café des Chineurs. Here a £13 breakfast of Provençal jams and boulangerie-fresh brioche is served within a curated francophilia of Bordeaux wine crates and vintage ceramics. The city’s newest bargain is Villa Bougainville villabougainville.fr opposite Nice railway station. Staff at this Polynesia-meets-Provence guesthouse will happily point you to local Japanese joints and tagine stops. Nice Pebbles nicepebbles.com has 140 prime apartments across the city, each with enough knives, colanders and garlic crushers to prep the perfect Niçoise salad and market lunch. One of the best kitchens can be found in Apartment Quebec (sleeps four), a stone’s throw from the Café du Turin oyster shack on Place Garibaldi.

Where to eat and drink

Chefs flock to the 200-stall Marché Libération (6am-12.30pm, Tue-Sun) three blocks north of the train station for its bounteous displays of figs, beetroot and Sète oysters. These cooks include Anthéa and Serge, who are behind nearby Polly and Cie pollyandcie.com. The canteen and concept store serves the likes of chicken brochettes with lime and bulgur and juicy steak burgers with Reblochon cheese. The market’s seafood section is also the source for new cevicheria restaurant Peixes 4 Rue de l’Opéra where highlights include swordfish carpaccio. Cuisine Nissarde signatories (see ‘Trip tip’) include the Old Town’s Lu Fran Calin 5 Rue Francis Gallo where chef Daniel Silvetti pairs local classics with AOC Vins de Bellet wine, produced on a tiny, 50ha vineyard above Nice Airport. The hottest news in town is the takeover of Michelin two-star Le Chantecler at Hotel Le Negresco by Virginie Basselot (from Geneva’s La Réserve). Her October tasting menu (£116pp) will include Franco-global creations like Mediterranean langoustine in Turkish kadayif pastry.

Time running out?

Nice has 125km of cycleways, so hire a bike to whizz around on via Vélobleu. velobleu.org


Travel Information

Travel Information

Currency is the euro (EUR). Nice is 1 hour ahead of GMT. Journey time from London is around 2 hours by plane; 10 hours by train.

Getting There

British Airways offers direct fights to Nice from five UK airports including Gatwick and Heathrow. ba.com

Eurostar ply the same route with panoramic views over the Rhône Valley and Provence vineyards. Travellers can lug a total of six bottles of rosé aboard the journey home. eurostar.com


Nice Tourisme has information on everything from events to Niçoise cuisine, and a handy listings calendar. nicetourisme.com

Average daily temperatures and rainfall

Min Temp5681014182021171496
Max Temp131315172124272825211714

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