‘I visited one of Europe’s prettiest winter sun destinations’

‘I visited one of Europe’s prettiest winter sun destinations’

Although spring flowers have started to emerge in the UK, the weather hasn’t given Britons much to be happy about. In an effort to escape the UK’s dreary February weather, I travelled to Nice, in the south of France.

Sitting on the French Riviera, Nice was once a retreat for France’s wealthy elite and it’s now a popular seaside destination for French and international tourists alike.

Although I’ve visited the city during August before, I found February was a fantastic time to explore with far fewer crowds than in the summer.

The weather was around 15 degrees for most of my trip so although it wasn’t warm enough for sunbathing, I didn’t need anything more than a light jacket.

So what is there to do in Nice?

Nice’s pretty pebble beach is its main draw in summer but it’s not without its charms in winter. In summer, tourists have to pay a hefty fee for a sunlounger to sit on the beach.

In the winter, the beach is perfect for a spring walk and there’s no need to pay for the privilege. It’s also often warm enough to sit on the beach and watch the view.

If wintery beaches aren’t your thing, Nice has plenty of indoor activities. While the Matisse gallery is currently closed for renovations, the Marc Chagall gallery offers an incredible look at the artist’s vast body of work.

As I’d visited the Chagall gallery on a previous trip, this time I opted for the Villa Massena Musee. I loved the museum’s lavishly decorated rooms and it also has a gallery.

It might be winter, but Nice’s famed Cours Saleya Flower market keeps going. I bought delicious fresh lemons and admired the flower stalls. The market is open everyday from 9am until 1pm, except on Mondays.

I love sampling the local dishes and this time I was keen to try socca, a Nice speciality. A crispy chickpea pancake, the best-rated place to buy it in Nice is Chez Theresa, which has been open since 1867.

Although there was a small queue at the popular restaurant, it only took 10 minutes to reach the front. In summer, I can only imagine how long people would have to wait. It was a similar story at Fenocchio, the city’s most popular ice-cream parlour.

After sampling the Nicoise cuisine, head up to the top of Castle Hill to admire the impressive fountain and gorgeous views of the city. Although the climb isn’t too strenuous, it’s much more achievable out of season than in the 30 degree summer heat.

Looking for a beach holiday winter destination? Find out which resort reaches above 20 degrees in March.

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