Nice, France

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Cruising to Nice

The capital of the French Riviera

A firm favourite among the rich and famous, the French Riviera is the sort of place that rolls out the red carpet for visitors all year round. And while it may be a regular hang-out spot for movie stars and other celebrities, the good news is that you don't have to be a famous face to feel welcome here.

Basking in glorious sunshine for much of the year and overlooked by the foothills of the Alps, Nice is the heart of the action in the south of France, and a wonderful place to come if you want to experience the best of the country's Mediterranean culture.

First, there are the beaches, many of which have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag. Among those to have received the accolade are the likes of Bambou Beach and Coco Beach, both of which are fantastic for soaking up the sun, splashing around in the sea or enjoying some high-class cuisine at a beachfront restaurant.

When you're done sunbathing, however, you may also want to take a stroll down the world-famous Promenade des Anglais, which runs along the waterfront and is without doubt one of the best people-watching spots in France. The residents of Nice are known for their classy lifestyle and superb fashion sense, and this is where they come to strut their stuff.

If it's culture and history you're after, you'll find loads to keep you occupied in the Old Town - or Vieux Nice, as it's called. Here, the narrow, cobbled streets are lined with charming houses and some truly stunning buildings, including the 18th-century Cathedrale de Sainte Reparate. Over in the new part of town, meanwhile, you'll come across a whole world of designer shops, as well as some fantastic museums and art galleries.

Indeed, Nice is famous for its impressive modern art heritage, and among the best places to come to discover more about this are the likes of the Musee d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain and the Theatre de la Photographie et de l’Image, both of which house world-class exhibits from some of the leading artists on the planet.

By now you've probably got the idea that everything in Nice is of a highly refined quality, and the same goes for the local cuisine. Many restaurants in the city serve fine wines that hail from the nearby vineyards and can't be found anywhere else in the world. The Bellet vineyard, for example, produces one of the smallest appelations in France, with less than 100,000 bottles a year, so seeking out this particular wine will add to the sense of luxury and exclusivity that prevail throughout Nice.

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