Friday, June 26, 2009

Nice is Nice!

Gilles and I spent a few days in the famous French Riviera town of Nice earlier this week. Gilles had a work conference there, so I tagged along and we went a couple of days early to explore the town. Through the conference we stayed at a beach-side hotel in a room with a beautiful view. It was well beyond our usual price range, so we really soaked up the perks.

Nice was much less pretentious than I was expecting. It is quite a large city with an unbelievable amount of tourists from around the world. You hear other languages being spoken just as much as French or English. It definitely has the laid-back feeling of a beach town, with the best strolling of any town we have ever been in. The Boulevard des Anglais is a paved pedestrian/bike road the skirts along the beach for several kilometers. It is really wide, and perfect for strolling, enjoying an ice cream, and taking in the view.

The beaches are surprisingly rocky. Not pebbles, but fairly large rocks. Not exactly comfortable to lay on, but this can be avoided by renting a seat at one of the private beaches. For a reasonable fee, you get a lounge chair, mattress, parasol, towel, and a waiter at your service. This is how we spend last Sunday, lounging with magazines, and going for a dip in the beautiful blue water whenever we felt hot.

During the first afternoon of the conference, the attendees were treated to an afternoon of beach activities. Gilles enjoyed a bird's eye view of the coast during a parachute ride. He opted out of waterskiing and the crazy flying fish ride though, knowing the motion would get the better of him.