Many people like to get away from home when Christmas has started to become stale and the New Year celebrations approach. With its warm weather and glamorous lifestyle, the South of France is a great destination to choose for a New Year break.
The town of Nice provides a useful base and backdrop to any short breaks of this type, designed to soak up the celebrations and see in the New Year in style.
New Years Eve in Nice
In the afternoon of New Years Eve, the Place Massena is the place to be, especially if you have children with you. The square will be brought to life with shows featuring characters from famous French cartoons, and the atmosphere is one of festivity and camaraderie.
There are also events and shows held in the Place Garibaldi during the day on New Years Eve, again mainly aimed at children. This entertainment often consists of storytelling, and can be delivered on some occasions by famous French children’s authors. The level of audience participation is high, and children can really enjoy themselves here.
As you might expect in France, as the evening wears on there are a number of great bars and restaurants to enjoy celebrations in. Some of the best restaurants are associated with hotels, and so can be pricey.
Having a drink and a bite at a cheaper establishment, and then hitting the Promenade des Anglais is perhaps the most cost effective way of enjoying New Years Eve in Nice. Taking a bottle down to the harbour to enjoy as midnight nears will put you right in the heart of where some of the more glamorous parties are taking place.
New Years Day
One super event which takes place in Nice on New Years Day is the concert at the Acropolis in the Salle Apollon. Guests are treated each year to a superb programme of music, played by the Philharmonique de Nice. This is a lovely way to soothe any lingering hangovers that you may have from the night before, and to begin the New Year in a relaxing and stimulating way.
A skating rink is also present in Nice, and usually offers special events for the festive season. Beginners or experienced skaters can enjoy four daily skating sessions at the rink, which has a great atmosphere at this time of year.
Nice is a great place in which to experience New Years Eve and the following few days. With great places to eat, as well as top level concert to enjoy, all in a great climate, it is hard to think of anywhere better to see in the New Year.
Christmas Time in Nice
Nice, the jewel in the crown of the French Riviera or Cote d’Azur, is a magical place to spend the festive season. This year, between December 1st and January 2nd the city has scheduled a host of memorable special events and activities to charm even the most hardened of Scrooges and make this Christmas one that will never be forgotten. It’s a busy time of year so make sure you compare car hire at Nice Airport prices early.
In Place Masséna, there will be a Big Wheel and many other attractions for children every day during the season from 11am until midnight. Father Christmas will also take up residence here on his sleigh every weekend in December and continuously from 22nd to the 25th of December from 2pm to 7pm.
He will no doubt be receiving sacks of mail during his residency — visitors can add their letter to his pile by dropping it off at one of five collection points along the Promenade des Anglais from where one of Santa’s helpers will pick it up and take it to his grotto.
Christmas Markets in Nice
There will be a Craft Village in the Place Masséna, where visitors will be able to browse a huge range of stalls and watch artisans working on Christmas-themed crafts and displaying their wares. Afterwards, those feeling active could head over to the ice skating rink which will be open every day for four sessions of an hour and a half each at 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5pm. Both experienced skaters and beginners are welcome; the cost is 5 euros each but this includes skate hire.
There are many other events going on throughout the city — parades, animations screenings, fireworks displays, puppet shows and a whole host of musical concerts including everything from medieval music to a jazz band from New Orleans. And the truly incredible part of it is that all of these events are completely free of charge.
There is a full program of events for Place Masséna with something happening almost every day from 22nd December through to 2nd January. There is also a lot happening in Place Garibaldi between the 23rd December and 1st January, every afternoon from 2pm. Tourists can have their photo taken with one of Santa’s elves here.
Christmas visitors may also wish to catch the carol concert and procession at the Notre Dame church on December 8th and see a screening of Christmas animations at the Northern ports of Nice later that evening.
Food and Drink
In regard to food, the city is home to some of the world’s finest restaurants so somewhere to enjoy the traditional feast will be easy to find, but there are also special champagne and oyster bars set up at this time of year for a true taste of decadence. Any tourist visiting Nice at Christmas will find themselves truly spoilt, and will find it almost impossible not to have a ‘Joyeux Noël’.