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Who here likes France?
I must admit that for me France is a peculiar country and that visiting Nice was an interesting experience. Although it bears a large European tradition, France is quite different from any other country I have ever visited. It has a crazy magnetism that draws people towards it and a certain ‘je m’en fiche’ that makes tourists feel free and relaxed.
Nice is a beautiful place located close to the border with Italy. A combination of turquoise sea and rocky mountains welcomes tourists with the promise of an unforgettable vacation. However, not all that sparkles is gold! Meaning that not all the glamor is in fact as real as people make it seem. What things should you remember when visiting Nice? Take a look at the following tips and warnings.
1. If you travel alone, stay away from areas like Promenade du Paillon, Rue de Belgique, Promenade des Anglais, l’Ariane, Les Moulins, Nice Nord or La Trinite. Or visit these places especially at night if, and I repeat, ONLY if you want to get stalked, followed or harassed.
2. Watch out for pickpockets. They are everywhere, especially in the big crowds or in trams or buses. Pickpockets are very skilled and they can steal your belongings without even noticing. The best tip is to carry the amount of money that you consider appropriate for the day and to stash it somewhere underneath the clothes. Tough times require drastic measures!
3. If you are used to sandy beaches, Nice will be a grand disappointment. Here you won’t find a lot of sandy beaches. Most of them are covered with pebbles or even bigger rocks that can become quite dangerous. This means that you have to give up to your flip-flops and replace them with more solid, reliable shoes.
4. Dog poop – animals are cute, but unfortunately some of them are owned by people who don’t have the sense of decency. The possibility of stepping into a dog’s business are quite elevated in Nice so beware of the danger!
5. Late at night, people who want to live (peacefully) stay at home and do not ride the bus. The transportation system is quite well developed in Nice, but most buses stop working around 8 p.m. There are various nocturnal buses but it’s not recommended that you use them. Especially if you are a young woman, traveling alone! You will not find a lot of traffic on the streets during the night because of the risks involved. Most locals avoid doing this because the small streets represent good hiding places for thieves and felons.
6. Positioned by the sea, this is a region that puts great emphasis on fish and related products. And they cook it in a unique and absolutely delicious manner that makes you drool only by looking at it. But, in case you are not a big fan of this you should be very careful when ordering ‘non-fish’ dishes. While eating at a restaurant close to Nice I ordered a pizza ‘Carnivore’ that contained meat, egg and tomatoes. By its name I was expecting a real feast. However, the pizza I got had a raw egg on top of some ground meat mixed with ketchup. The image of the magical pizza haunts me still!
7. Make sure you know at least basic phrases in French! You might come across cases when you will not be able to order your food or buy something because of the language barrier. A good tip is to buy a bilingual guide book that can help you express yourself in French. Information is power, so take advantage of it!
Nice has changed a lot during the last few years and its vicinity to Monaco, Monte Carlo or Cannes makes it a cosmopolitan city. Visiting Nice is definitely a great experience and with a bit of extra attention you can save yourself the trouble of having to get in contact with the local police.
What other tips can you give to travelers who are planning on visiting Nice?