1. Pushing the boat out
Choose from whale watching rides, tours that take in celebrity homes, trips from Cannes to the Lerin Islands: Île de Sainte Marguerite (where the ‘Man in the Iron Mask’ was incarcerated) and Île Saint-Honorat (where monks brew Limoncello) and high speed ferries linking Nice with Calvi and Bastia in Corsica.
2. Art of the matter
There are museums and galleries dedicated to Picasso (Antibes), Chagall (Nice) and Matisse (Nice). More contemporary pieces can be found in Nice’s modern art gallery, MAMAC. For longer stays, it is worth stopping at Saint-Paul de Vence – the artist’s town if ever there was one.
3. Southern specialities
Nice’s Old Town is by far the best place to try regional specialities, including salade Niçoise, pissaladière and socca. If you’re keen to get even more involved, you could take a cookery course that takes in a local market and shows you how to prepare the produce.
4. A multi-sensory experience
Having visited Nice’s Cours Saleya market, you’ll be well aware of the importance placed on artisanal produce. On the port is a sweet shop with a difference – flowers being one of the main ingredients! Alternatively, make the short trip to Grasse to see how flowers are made into perfume.
5. Cinema season in Cannes
In May, the town is inundated with visitors. Out of season, there are still plenty of sights to see, related to its cinema heritage, like the avenue of stars. Arrive just after the ‘circus’ has rolled out of town and you can have your picture taken on the red carpet like Angelina Jolie et al!
6. Minuscule Monaco
Given its size, you can see the main sights in a day. Apart from the port with its mega yachts, there’s the palace and Princess Grace’s tomb in the cathedral. If designer shopping is out of reach, grab a light bite at Café de Paris and watch the ‘super cars’ pull up opposite before venturing into Italy.
7. Hit the (private) beach
Whilst there’s no sand on the beach in Nice, you will find the cobbles getting progressively smaller as you move further along the coast. A sandy spot with a snack bar is located near the port in Antibes. Otherwise, hire a sun lounger on one of Nice’s reasonably priced private beaches.
8. Flora and fauna
Park Phoenix near the airport incorporates one of the world’s largest greenhouses, containing themed gardens. The park is also home to pretty patterned birds, insects and fish, as well as reptiles from tropical climates. Adults will also enjoy the monastery gardens in the Cimiez district.
9. Cycle, skate or promenade
It may take its full name La Promenade des Anglais from the English holidaymakers that flocked there for centuries to walk along the sea front, but nowadays there are more ways to get around. Look out for tour groups on segways, rollerskate hire operators and Vélo-Bleu bike stations.
10. Night at the Opéra
If you’re looking for an excuse to get dressed up, they don’t get better than a night out at the opera! Tickets can be snapped up at bargain prices if you book in advance and are prepared to sit up in the balcony. Nice’s opera house can be found in the Old Town, next to the Cours Saleya.