Renting a villa on the French Riviera? Gillian Thornton has ten reasons for spending time in Nice – a city that's still chic and vibrant more than 150 years after it was made popular by the British aristocracy
Stroll along the elegant Promenade des Anglais for that unforgettable view of the sparkling Bay of Angels. Treat yourself to a drink or a meal at the Hotel Negresco, where guests have included Sir Winston Churchill and the Queen. The Beatles wrote Fool on the Hill here on a piece of hotel notepaper.
Nice is justifiably proud of its statistics. More than 2,000 hours of sunshine a year, six miles of coastline, 300 hectares of green space, and 150 ponds and fountains. So chill out in its many parks and gardens and just watch the world go by.
The Romans arrived in Nikaia three centuries after the Greeks and set up their own town, Cemenelum, a mile or so back from the coast. Now the smart district of Cimiez, it still packs a historic punch with the remains of thermal baths, paved streets and houses. The adjacent amphitheatre is used for concerts in the summer months.
Cimiez is also home to a hilltop monastery with tranquil gardens and a museum dedicated to painter Henri Matisse, who came to the town in 1917 and loved it so much he never left. Housed in a red and white Genoese-style villa, the collection charts the development of his work throughout his life. Matisse lived in various houses in the town, but spent his final years at the Hotel Regina in Cimiez, built in 1897 for the first of several visits by Queen Victoria.
The olive groves in front of the Matisse Museum are dotted with busts of legendary jazz musicians and the annual summer festival brings enthusiasts from near and far. Loads of al fresco atmosphere for jazz lovers.