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The view from the road leading to our apartment (note the snow lingering on the hills behind)


Published 2nd April 2014

Another house move with the menagerie. The five of us together with our worldly goods bundled into our dinky car designed for the narrowest of village roads and drove the hour from the country to the Mediterranean coast. Destination Nice, or as the locals refer to it in their own special Niçard patois - Nissa la Bella (Nice the Beautiful). And that, my dear friends, colleagues and family, it most certainly is. I have travelled and lived in a number of cities. In some, like Cape Town, the locals extol the beauty and wonder of the place and declare theirs the fairest of them all. They have not yet been to Nice.


Anything goes on La Promenade

Since I have begun a comparison with Cape Town I may as well continue with it. I'll start with: 'Nice has everything Cape Town has but more - much, much more.' While Cape Town can boast Bo-kaap, Nice has La Vielle Ville, a medieval maze of alleys and warrens nestled beneath the buttress of an old citadel and hiding a variety of nooky gems from art galleries and restaurants to eclectic spice and olive oil shops. Capetonians may think the palm-lined strip on Camps Bay is the ideal place for the well-heeled, famous and beautiful to strut; Nice has the broad equally palm-lined 10km long Promenade des Anglais where roller-blading, cycling, lounging and going topless are the other activities besides promenading. And lets not mention the continous flow of REAL celebrities complete with the paparazzi in tow as well as the veritable body-beauties that ply the promenade too. While Cape Town trounces Nice's pebbles with its bright white sandy beaches, the water in Nice at least is warm, turquiose and calm. The reason its so calm is that compared to blustery Cape Town Nice is relatively windless. Sure, sometimes the town gets the tail-end of a particularly strong Mistral but by-and-large the wind is confined to the Rhone valley a distant 150 kilometres away.

Our bedroom with a view                                            La Promenade des Anglais

I suppose there is an argument that the mountains on the Cape Peninsula are more spectacular. That I concede, except the views from the mountains just behind Nice are no less dramatic, especially if one can get a view in of the peninsula of St. Jean de Cap Ferrat, a piece of real estate that makes Clifton look like Khayelitsha. Besides, a short drive inland and you can swap your flops for skis. You can't do THAT in Cape Town.

And just one last point, as I don't want to do this binary thing for too long, bear in mind that while Cape Town has Bloubergbaai, Simonstown and Strand to complement it, Nice is almost overshadowed by Cannes, Antibes and Monaco.

What can I say, it's Nice.