At Essential Sailing, we love the history, culture and cuisine of the places we visit almost as much as the sailing to get there. Our Captain’s Blog brings you a taste of what to expect from our luxury crewed sailing holidays around the French and Italian Riviera. In this blog we indulge ourselves in the vibrancy of Nice.
Sit back and be inspired.
This magnificent all-year-round resort, so agreeably named ‘Nice’, is a vibrant city, shaped by a colourful past. It offers visitors a fascinating blend of ancient and modern, innumerable attractions, a wonderful climate, and a carefree joie de vivre, as it sits beside the glittering Baie des Anges (bay of Angels), basking in the scorching Mediterranean sun.
Nice was originally founded by the Greeks in the 14th century BC, followed by the Romans, who had a settlement at Cimiez (later ruined by the Saracens). Nice thrived again in the Middle Ages, first under the Counts of Provence, then under the Italian Dukes of Savoy. Unified with France only as recently as 1860, it remains a strong Italianate character, admirably combining Italian temperament and lifestyle with French finesse and savoir-faire.
Thanks mainly to the English, Nice was already Europe’s most fashionable winter retreat by the 1860s, with exuberant belle époque hotels springing up along the fashionable palm-lined waterfront, which is aptly named Promenade des Anglais. Nearby, the narrow alleys and vibrant markets of the Vieille Ville (Old Town) contrast boldly with the broad boulevards and designer boutiques of the modern metropolis that fans out from place Masséna, Nice’s handsome main square. The entire city is cradled by the impressive vine-clad foothills of the Alpes-Maritimes.
The delightful setting has attracted many artists over the years. As a result, Nice is blessed with more museums and galleries than any French town outside Paris.