All aboard…. time to jump on the TGV ..my favourite way to travel. Aix to Nice close to the dreamiest of coastline. Via Toulon then a brief diversion inland to vineyards near Draguignan, it meanders snake-like with great ease close to the coast. A time to sleep or read or just be……under three hours of hypnotic glory and we are there… world famous Cote D’azur and Nice ville… Blinking in the bright sunlight as we come out of our TGV trance we put on our backpacks and head for the beach. I’m here with my kids for a few days and to collect a good friend from the airport. First time in Nice and looking forward to a touch of Italian……
It’s August and busy and I immediately love it! What a surprise: I didn’t expect this! Is it the Italian influence? After all it’s been just the french feel for a long time and what’s that saying ‘variety is the spice of life’. Maybe! It’s a vibrant place full of colour.
First stop, The Hi Hotel Eco Spa & Beach….. something different and rated highly by Conde Naste Traveller magazine as a top place to visit in Nice. I liked it…. didn’t love it….. but it is certainly an option. Funky, cool and ultra-modern design, the staff had a swagger and I felt a little stuffy. The kids first question, as always, was ‘WIFI code s’il vous plait? ‘ I didn’t give them time to switch on as we were whisked off to our designer sleeping pad named ‘White & White’. Hmmmm….. interesting! The best bit was yet to come… The Hi beach club (a strong reason why we chose the hotel) is a happening restaurant with sun beds of all shapes and sizes (some called family houses – shady and padded – wonderful for the little ones) with yoga and massage too. We parked ourselves at the edge of the water and ordered burgers to our bed….. Exquisite!…… and oh what a beautiful beach! This one was wrapped around the Bay of Angels and sat directly in front of the Promenade des Anglais. The sea was clear azure and the pebbles made a refreshing change from washing sandy feet. Hours of fun followed and there were no further questions on WIFI code!
I was in Nice only two days; not long enough! In that time I decided I was definitely coming back and even checked out a few places to buy (dangerous). We mingled in the colourful streets and ate pasta; a tip off from a local and a top dreamy favourite is Portovenere restaurant. Superb! We whizzed about by TUK TUK and hired bikes from The Bicicletta Shop ; definitely worth a stop at if you are looking for a beautiful bike. The kids loved it; so much to see and simply not enough time.
The Hi Hotel grew on me……I couldn’t really fault it and I did love the small rooftop pool and beach club… but the minute I finally saw The Hotel Windsor (a tip off from the Tuk Tuk man) I knew that was my dreamy place to stay in Nice next time. That’s one for my hubbie and I. Nice was a surprise; you know it’s there and you know it’s going to be good but it was exceptionally good. A real treat for me and the children’s favourite!