Elegant French resort of Nice is just ideal for a short break away


IT has all the glamour of the South of France, with white sand beaches, elegant promenades, stylish shops and art galore.

Nice is just the ticket for a quick getaway and just a short hop from other jewels of the Cote d’Azur.

It is also the subject of our City Stay Q&A . . . 

From its pastel-pink battlements on Castle Hill and the palm-lined beachfront boulevard below to its dazzling beaches, France’s fifth-largest city abounds with style and basks in glorious sunshine from May through till October.

This Cote d’Azur dazzler is also handy for day trips to flash Monaco, quaint Antibes or the perfumeries of Grasse — as well as the celebs’ hangout of Cannes.

Stroll along Nice’s vibrant cobbled streets for art-deco architecture and ornate 19th-century property porn to rival Paris.

The palm-lined main boulevard of Promenade des Anglais hosts a quintessentially French market on a Saturday, selling flowers, goats’ cheese, cured meats, cakes and lavender soap.

More of a hike is Castle Hill, for panoramas of the Old Town and port.

Souvenir hunters must visit the Fragonard perfumery for soothing scents made in nearby Grasse, and enjoy artisan candied fruits at the 200-year-old Maison Auer boutique.

A guided wine tour, on foot, is a great excuse to ditch the map and switch off.

For £67.34 the four-hour stomp takes in tastings around town and a three-course al-fresco dinner.

Our charming guide Nadia Farmer was a fount of local knowledge. See nicefoodandwinetours.com.

The Cote d’Azur’s top contemporary art gallery, the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (mamac-nice.org) specialises in pop art and Eurorealism and deserves several hours of your time.

For a taste of France’s culinary prowess take a trip to the legendary Hotel Negresco in Carré d’Or, the heart of the city.

Built in 1913 by architect Edouard-Jean Niermans, creator of the Moulin Rouge, the pink-domed establishment has hosted a century of royalty and celebrities including Elton John.

There’s a piano bar and two restaurants, while a spacious lobby brims with enough art to feel like a gallery.

At newly refurbished La Rotonde brasserie, headed up by a Michelin-starred chef who has won the Meilleur Ouvrier de France award, we enjoyed lobster linguine and scallops, as well as cocktails concocted with local lavender honey.

Enjoy lunch with a view at Le Saint Paul Hotel, in the hills overlooking the sea.

The only distraction from the views are the scavenging seagulls which threaten to swoop down for a grab at your food.

The 5H hotel offers outdoor table service on a roomy veranda where we feasted on oysters, duck-liver paté and freshly caught sea bass, all washed down with Provence rosé.

For a more economical lunch, pack a picnic and take the train to nearby Cannes.

Sitting on the beach, we tucked into a French stick, Brie, Bayonne ham and Dijon mustard.

If le hamburger is more your thing, check out the Hard Rock Cafe on the sea front for a fun, retro-American dining experience with familiar tunes.

Lively bars spill out on to the streets in Place Garibaldi, in the Old Town.

Try Blast Bar, a late-night hangout serving food and an array of booze.

The cocktail menu may be sparse but the service is efficient and jolly.

Le Méridien is famed for its rooftop — advance booking is essential, and dress smart to avoid being turned away.

The easyHotel, again in the Old Town, provided an ideal base for our busy weekend, starting at £39.54 a night and with easy access to the train and tram services.

Rooms are large, clean and spacious, with TV, ample storage, tea and coffee, hair-dryer and soaps.

The continental breakfast buffet more than sets you up for a busy day of sightseeing, with croissants, bread, jams, mini-crepes, yoghurt, berry compote, cheese and ham.

Reception staff are happy to advise on your plans for the day and help with map-reading.

The free pots of chocolates placed around the communal areas are a nice touch.

The easyHotel chain’s new Stay Easy, Stay Safe pledge guarantees the highest level of cleanliness and safety in rooms and public spaces.

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