It has been two years since my last trip to Nice. We tend to visit at least once a year but chose to visit Venice & Croatia last summer. On the day of our departure to Venice we woke up to the terrible news of a terror attack in our beloved Nice. Any other year and we would have been staying at the Negresco and in the crowd for Bastille fireworks.
We were shocked a the events and saddened to see such a wonderful city in the news and vowed to return as soon as possible.
Flying out at the end of March meant we expected the place to be a little quiet, before the Easter tourist season and we didn’t see a noticeable difference in the level of tourists in the city. The bars were buzzing and you still had to book the best restaurants.
There were some obvious changes around on the Promenade Des Anglais as it undergoes serious work. Barricades are now being installed to stop vehicles mounting and driving down the promenade but after the mess has gone, I expect you wouldn’t see any changes to spoil your enjoyment. As we strolled down by the sea, there was little evidence of last year’s incident and no formal memorial to the victims. A small gathering of flowers was the only public mention we could see.
A warm welcome was provided from everyone in the city, hoteliers, restaurateurs, shop assistants – everyone was keen to welcome you back with no overt mention of last year’s events.
The Negresco remains its charming self. The subtle door policy of restricting visitors into the lobby is much stricter now with fewer tourists popping in for photographs, but once inside the place is the same beautiful hotel as it has ever been.
Up on the Pointe de robeau capeu, where the headland sticks out before the port was a new installation, an Instagram friendly ‘#ilovenice‘ installation (there is another one at the airport) which is a great symbol of our love.
The only change we really sensed was that the high end shops look to be struggling. Never before have we seen such active selling from shop assistants in both the independent stores and the fashion houses of Chanel, Hermes and Prada. That may just be the start of the season or a reflection of wider political issues (Brexit, Frexit and everything else.)
Being earlier in the season, the beaches weren’t yet ready. The few sunny days we had meant we could at least have lunch on the beach. Some brave souls were sunbathing and swimming but we kept wrapped up, happy just to soak up the sun!
We also got to visit the Museum of Modern Art (MAMAC), which is one of a few great galleries in the city (Chagall and Matisse both had places here.) A rainy day was a good opportunity to enjoy the various exhibits and installation set across four floors. I have to admit, I am not a modern art fan but there were some cool pieces here. There were also some pieces that I couldn’t understand – but that is art!
As a different break to normal, we got the chance to explore new parts of Nice. We discovered some new restaurants, new shops and the usual warm welcome!
If you haven’t been to Nice then I do recommend a visit!