The perfect strike -by Paul Baldacchino during Malta Open

The French Riviera - Nice

One of the best corners of the Med must be the French Riviera. My 4th trip for this year found me at Nice, the 'gem' of the Riviera, France's 5th largest city with its marvellous promenade and the quaint old quarters. The absence of direct flights renders it less attractive to Maltese travellers though I did spot a Maltese couple will always find Maltese at shopping zones.

The city centre and the hotels are just a short ride away from the airport. Vieille Ville is the historic part of Nice, a medieval village with narrow streets curving between old buildings with red-tile roofs, small restaurants and open-markets. Nice is famous for the mythical Promenade des Anglais with its shingles beach, hundreds of joggers and an endless stream of cyclists.

Shopping is another attraction, a fat wallet is recommended... Rue Paradis and Rue de Suède are home to the most famous fashion studios; Rue Masséna has the enormous Galeries Lafayette, second in size only to its Parisian branch. Avenue Jean-Médecin and Rue de Verdun are filled with the outlets of popular chains. In Nice, fashion shopping is much more than just a process of walking from one shop to's a meticulously planned spectacle requiring a visit to every important attraction in the city centre.
Art and antiques fans will be delighted with the little artistic studios and curiosities shops situated along the narrow streets around the Old Town Cathedral.  At night, I was looking for a nice place to spend the evening over a glass of beer and I got entertained at Vieux-Nice, in the Old Town, a labyrinth of vibrant pubs and bars with street performers and tempting ice cream parlours.
A stay at Nice can be twinned with visits to other famous spots along the French Riviera. These include, Saint Troppez, Cannes, Villefranche and the famous Monte Carlo at Monaco, home to F1 and Princess Grace.
Nice has a delightful countryside. For the nature lovers, I recommend day trips to Ardeche region, Cevennes National Park and Lake St Croix. If you have hired a car, drive up to Dentelles de Montmirail for spectacular views from these small mountains. For longer stays, you may include a trip to Corsica, a destination that still eludes me... next year?? hmmm...

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