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The French Riviera Travel Guide

Nice and the Eastern Côte d'Azur

With the Alps and pre-Alps playing bodyguard against inland winds, and the sultry Mediterranean warming the sea breezes, the eastern slice of the Côte d'Azur is pampered by a nearly tropical climate that sets it apart from the rest of France's southern coast. This is where the real glamour begins: the dreamland of azure waters and indigo sky; white villas with balustrades

edging the blue horizon; evening air perfumed with jasmine and mimosa; palm trees and parasol pines silhouetted against sunsets of apricot and gold.

There has been a constant march to this prime slice of the Côte d'Azur, going back to the ancient Greeks, who sailed eastward from Marseilles to market their goods to the indigenes. From the 18th-century English aristocrats, who claimed it as one vast treatment spa, to the 19th-century Russian nobles who transformed Nice into a tropical St. Petersburg, to the 20th-century American tycoons who cast themselves as sheikhs, all have left their mark: Moroccan palaces in Menton, a neo-Greek villa in Beaulieu, the Promenade des Anglais in Nice planted with tropical greenery, to suit English fancies.

This tiny village, its medieval château heavily restored in the 19th century, is best known for its sprawl of overbuilt beachfront, heavily charged with concrete high-rises and with all the architectural charm of a parking ramp. However, if you're a foodie, you may want to make the pilgrimage to the eccentric Musée de l'Art Culinaire.

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Elsewhere In Nice and the Eastern Cote d'Azur

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