Europe’s biggest international football competition kicks off this summer in France, and supporters from all over the continent will travel over in hope of catching some of the excitement. However, not everyone’s interested in the beautiful game, so a quiet 90-minute adventure is the perfect way to escape the footie fever. The sun-drenched city of Nice will host four games throughout June, and we’ve come up with the perfect activities you can enjoy in peace until the final whistle blows.
Climb Castle Hill
Head to the top of the Colline du Château (Castle Hill), which was once the site of a powerful fortress. After climbing up to the summit, your reward will be sensational views down into the city as well as out to sea. With the stadium’s chants and cries a full 10 kilometres away, you can explore a quiet nirvana of green gardens, colourful flowers and a stunning hidden waterfall.
Embrace Your Inner Shopaholic
Why settle for football shirts when you could be hunting down the best fashion finds in France? The city’s finest international designer stores can be found down Rue Paradis, while Avenue Jean Médecin is full of places to spoil yourself — including a regional branch of the famous Parisian department store Galeries Lafayette.
Unwind in the Port
At the base of Castle Hill is the picturesque Port of Nice, which is full of gleaming superyachts the size of small houses. Surrounded by pastel-coloured hotels, bars and cafés, Port Lympia is the ideal retreat from the streets of the Old Town. Relax and enjoy a coffee at one of the many alfresco bars, or treat yourself to a glass of chilled champagne while you look out onto the port.
Try Stand-Up Paddleboarding
The hottest new sport to sweep across the French Riviera, stand-up paddleboarding is a fantastic way to spend a couple of hours. This calming activity offers you the a chance to gaze back at the city from sea level, but you’ll feel a world away with nothing but the sound of the water around you. Quick to pick up and easy to navigate, you’ll be a natural in no time.
Rollerblade down the Promenade des Anglais
This picturesque walkway was named the ‘Avenue of the English’ in 1860 after the flocks of British tourists who enjoyed strolling along the seafront in winter. The 4km esplanade is a pleasantly relaxing excursion today too, and its smooth surface makes it perfect for scooters, skateboards or a gentle bike ride. You can hire roller blades too — as well as crash pads, just in case! — and glide down this elegant boardwalk in your own time.
The wonderful art Gallery Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain offers a slice of culture you won’t find in the football stadium, with marvellous works from both Europe and American masters of the past century. With exhibitions ranging from pop art to realism, this museum is the perfect haven for those seeking peace and quiet.
If this has enticed you to embark on your own escape, take a look at our Adventure Page for more info.