A riot of colour and life: rediscovering Nice

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The famous resort town on France’s Côte d’Azur is a vibrant haven for foodies and art lovers

Lunchtime on a warm spring Saturday on the Cours Saleya – Nice’s famous flower market, tucked away just one row of elegant fin de siècle buildings from the sea – and it’s hard to see how any business can be open in town, apart from restaurants and cafés. Everyone, it seems, is here; every table taken beneath the canopies and parasols, queues forming outside the most popular eateries, every bench taken with families tucking into paper-wrapped socca – a salty chickpea pancake – or gelati. It feels like high summer; the sky is a vivid blue, the palazzos and mansions beneath blazing butter yellow and warm, burnished terracotta.

It’s years since I’ve visited Nice, and the grand dame of the Côte d’Azur has certainly had a facelift in the intervening time. The town’s grandiose squares have been repaved, frontages repainted and a new tram system has gone some way to calming the gridlocked traffic. Palm trees billow in the breeze; on the Promenade des Anglais, neat lines of deckchairs are all taken, rows of faces tipped towards the sun. After the grey drizzle of home, it’s like stepping into an Insta-filtered world; a riot of colour and life.

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