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Nice, Nice

France's insider take:

Nice is chock-full of high-energy eating, drinking, and culture, all of which reflects the city's Italian heritage and proximity to Italy. Nice is the fifth largest city in France and is far more than a resort. It has genuine local color, embodied in its street food and the vibrant old town of Vieux Nice. The more literal local color extends to the city's hues: The typical French beiges and grays are mixed with ocher, yellow, and terra-cotta buildings, especially toward the port. It's all loud, very Southern and hectic, more Naples than Paris. Wander through Vieux Nice and duck into the shadowy, whispering Cathédral Ste. Réparate on the Place Rossetti. You can wander for hours among the arcades of the pink-hued Place Masséna, or take a tram ride starting there—a 1-euro bargain that takes you past the Old Port and allows several drop-offs in Vieux Nice. And then there's the Musée Matisse. The local entry in the Côte d'Azur art wars is housed in an impressive villa and contains pieces from all aspects of the artist's career. For a panoramic view of the town and the blue, blue sea, climb the Parc du Château, between Vieux Nice and the Old Port; its cliffs are dotted with pines and an artificial waterfall that looks over the city.

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