courtesy of the Nice Office of Tourisme

“Nice is nice.” That’s the saying I tried to find on a souvenir T-shirt while browsing in the multitude of shops lining the streets of the area we stayed in. Our comfortable third floor apartment, appropriately called “Le Matisse,” was ideally situated two blocks from Place Masséna in the heart of Nice. From our small balcony, we could watch a veritable show on the pedestrianized street below. Street performers appeared after dark and offered some dazzling entertainment for customers at the sidewalk cafés.

The apartment is rented nightly or weekly. Our four night stay gave us plenty of time to visit sights, dine in a variety of neighborhood cafés, spend time at the within-walking-distance beach and take in the vibrant local scene. Besides the excellent location, Le Matisse (listed on VRBO), is a colourful and well-appointed apartment.

Within walking distance was the well-known pedestrian street, Cours Saleya, with its vivid buildings, daily flower market, numerous cafés and the baroque-style Chapelle Misèricorde, dominating the cityscape. We wandered through many narrow picturesque streets to Place Garibaldi and strolled back on the Promenade du Paillon, a delightful walkway with sculptures, fountains and lush gardens. From the old town we took the walkway up to the highest point of Castle Hill. Though the castle no longer exists, the views of Nice, the port and the Mediterranean are breathtaking. We also visited the Matisse museum, a bus ride away on Cimiez hill. Located in a large park, the museum also offers Roman ruins, walking trails, picnic areas and gardens to explore.

As for dining, we liked Restaurant Le Maori, across the street from our apartment, where we were served a delicious meal with a choice of fresh fish and vegetables. We sat outside but were invited in to have a look at the intriguing interior honoring the Maori heritage of New Zealand with unexpected faux stone walls, resembling a cave, and Maori symbols.

This apartment location was lively and fun. We left feeling well-satisfied with all we had so easily experienced. Nice is nice and has a lot to offer, but we were ready for the slower pace and quiet of the countryside…

Jo Anne Marquardt is the author of My Trip Around the Hexagon: Meandering in France and Falling in Love with France, both available at Amazon.com. Her first published book, Falling in Love with France, offers responses to the various questions friends and family have asked her over the years about why she visits France so often. The second book includes illustrations and descriptive notes from her travel journals.

Visit Jo Anne’s website to check out her art: www.joannemarquardt.com.

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Jo Anne Marquardt is the author of "My Trip Around the Hexagon: Meandering in France" and "Falling in Love with France", both available at Amazon.com. Her first published book, Falling in Love with France, offers responses to the various questions friends and family have asked her over the years about why she visits France so often. The second book includes illustrations and descriptive notes from her travel journals. Visit Jo Anne's website to check out her art.

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