on April 15, 2011
If you were to ask the question "What is the first thing you should do in Nice?", the answer would be simple. Take a walk along the Promenade Des Anglais. There is nothing that better evokes images of the French Riviera than the palm-lined road that runs along the beach and looks out onto the tranquil waters of the Mediterranean. When I arrived on the Cote D'Azur there was only thing on mind. So, after dumping my bags in the apartment I was renting, I took myself out for an afternoon stroll. I had already had a bit of a taste of the scenery on show when I flew in. My flight had taken a delightful loop into the airport, which provided a wonderful view of the Bay of Nice and the promenade. However, as wonderful as the view from the plane window was, it could not compare to the scenery up close. When I ambled down Avenue de Fabron and onto the Promenade, the first thing that struck me was the colour of the sea. It was the most stunning shade of blue I had ever seen. It was a deep and remarkably dark colour. However, within the dark waters there seemed to be a hidden trace of turquoise that gave it a bizarrely electric feel. Even though the Promenade curved away invitingly towards the centre of the city and just looked perfect for a stroll, I was felt unable to move. Instead, I was transfixed by the waters - they seemed to have an almost hypnotic appeal. So, I simply stood and stared. As it was winter, I could not walk down the beach and wade into the water as it would have been infinitely too cold. So, I just continued to stare.The walk along the promenade was truly wonderful. Promenade Des Anglais has four lanes of traffic that are divided by a thick verge of palm trees and shrubbery. As I began to walk towards the city, I found myself in something of a daze. Everything just seemed so very pleasant. To my right, the sea lapped against the shores of the gravel beach and shimmered with hypnotic beauty. To my left, were the palms that swayed in the breeze. Beyond the trees, at decent intervals, were some truly awe-inspiring buildings that offered some outrageously classical French style. These included some older structures - such as university halls - that evoked regal elegance and others that had an almost art-deco feel. I was overcome with a sense of having arrived, that this was a place in which I needed to spend a significant amount of time. The scenery and the architecture on the promenade were wonderful. However, so too was the array of people on show. There plenty of rather chic individuals dressed in black and sporting all the latest labels. There were also hundreds of people using the promenade as exercise space with joggers and cyclists abounding. Also, even in winter there were plenty of people sat on the beach enjoying the sea view. At times, I honestly did not know where to look. Should I drink in the natural beauty of the sea and the palm trees? Should I enjoy the stylish local architecture? Or, should I do a bit of people watching.The Promenade des Anglais runs along the length of the Bay of Nice. It is around 5km in length and may well be the greatest place on earth to go for a stroll. It is so wonderful that scarcely a weekend goes by where I do enjoy its wonders.
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