Spring has finally arrived, and temperatures are really warm in Nice. If you are looking for some original places where to hang out, this post contains a selection of hidden gems: private gardens. What about being surrounded by plants and trees for your 5 o’clock tea, under the sun? Or just to enjoy a cocktail in a quiet and cosy place? And I also found the Garden of Eden, read more to know where it is!
Behind its cut stone frontage, so typical in the local architecture, what a surprise to find this little tropical garden in the heart of Nice! Every single detail aims at disorienting the visitor : tiny bamboo wood, the relaxing music of the fountain and from the budgerigars and parrot that live in an incredible hevea tree embracing a ficus.
♣ Useful information :
Coffee costs €2.5 and beer is € 5. You can use free wifi.
The bar is open until 11pm, year round whenever the weather allows it.
You can also have dinner in the garden during summer, except on Sundays. The Windsor has a market menu at € 29, and the kitchen is open from 7 to 10 pm.
Finally, the artistic spirit of the hotel is not to be missed. Every year, a modern artist settle some art pieces in the lobby. Some marks of the 2011 exhibition by world-famous local artist Ben are still visible.
Hotel & Spa Windsor ****
11 rue Dalpozzo
La Villa Victoria
This 4 star hotel is located on the opulent-looking boulevard Victor Hugo, only 7 minutes walk from the Promenade des Anglais, and is the host of a sumptuous garden of 2000 SQF.
Under the shadow of a lovely pavilion, sitting at a small table or lying on a deckchair, you can enjoy the luxury of silence, surrounded by orange trees, rosemary bushes, and other Mediterranean plants.
The garden is open to outside customers and only offers bar service. Open year long when the weather is nice enough and at night usually until midnight in the summer.
♣ Prices: The coffee is charged € 2,50 and bottled beer starting from €4,60.
Hotel Villa Victoria ****
33 Boulevard Victor Hugo
This 4 star hotel is situated at the beginning of the Promenade des Anglais, near the old city, just where the sundial lies (remember my post on free visits and activities?), but be careful as the hotel is located a little behind the frontage, hidden under the castle.
At La Pérouse you will find a charming terrace, shadowed by orange and lemon trees.
♣ Useful information :
There are menus for lunch and dinners at €39.
The cocktail bar is open year round and there is a happy hour every day from 5 to 7 pm, also on the weekends, with cocktails at €10. Otherwise the average prices are quite high, a glass of wine costs a minimum of €6. But you can come at any time for a coffee (€3) or a beer (1664 – € 6).
Please note that the swimming pool has a private access for the hotel’s clients.
Wifi is free of charge but only on a low-speed basis for customers that are not staying at the hotel, high-speed is available with an additional cost.
Hotel La Pérouse ****
11 quai Rauba capeu
This spacious and pleasant Mediterranean garden is a sweet treasure of Nice to discover before or after the visit of the Museum.
The terrace is open every day, except on Tuesdays, from 10 am to 5pm.
The refreshment stall offers free wifi and the shadow of olive trees… you can also find some snacks and sandwiches at a very reasonable price.
You will sit in this garden feeling emotional when you read that every detail of its design, as for the museum, was supervised by the artist himself, who inaugurated it in 1973.
According to the painter’s constant references to religion, and the museum being built in order to host the Biblical message masterpiece, we find out that the garden represents the Eden, the beginning… It does reflects the serenity that the artist wanted to achieve for this spiritual place. From the stall you can admire the sober lines of the building by architect André Hermant, a partner of Le Corbusier.
N.B. : Every year in the garden some agapanthus flowers bloom in memory of Marc Chagall’s birthday, on July 7.
♣ Useful information :
Access: You can take Bus N° 15 on Jean Médecin Avenue, stop at Chagall, or also take a 20 minutes walk from the city center.
♥ Every first Sunday of each month, entrance at French National Museums is free of charge.
>> My opinion about the Museum : Nice free Visits.
Musée National Marc Chagall
36 Avenue du Docteur Ménard
Tél : +33 (0)4 93 53 87 32
Excel bar, Hotel Excelsior
Despite the fact that the area is not so touristic, the garden of the Excelsior hotel is a fresh stop to recommend before leaving by train or taking the 99 Bus from the main station to the airport, as it is located 3 minutes walk from Nice Ville station.
This 4 star hotel is a member of the label Chateaux & Hotels Collection, and features a really nice garden, with its own outside bar during the summer and until mid-October. You can benefit from free wifi to post your last pictures and thoughts about your trip to Nice on social media.
Hôtel Nice Excelsior
19, avenue Durante
Les Jardins du MIP (Musée International de la Parfumerie), GRASSE.
As already mentioned in this blog, Grasse is the world capital of perfume, as such, you will find there different museums about perfume or some perfume companies that you can visit (www.museesdegrasse.com). One of them, is the International Perfume Museum, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and you can also visit the gardens of the MIP, which goal is to show how the art of growing fragant plant and flowers used to be organized in the Grasse area.
Come here to enjoy the smell Rose centifolia, jasmine, tuberose, lavender, geranium, juniper, orange blossom, etc…
This is definitely the most aromatic green spot of this post, and its main attractive feature, is the abundant picnic tables, in a colorful setting and in the shade of cypress trees, with the sound of the irrigating fountains ancient system.
Information panels in the field provide useful information in english: extraction techniques, flowers used in famous fragrances, scent families classified by olfactory areas, the interaction between flowers and insects, the production quantity in Grasse (around 30-40 tones for the Rosa Centifolia)… I was particularly interested in smelling the raw material used in the perfume industry.
For example, I learned that the black currant buds are used in 2 fragrances that I Love : Dune by Dior and In Love Again by Yves Saint Laurent. And also that the lemon grass verbena that I grow on my balcony is often used to replace a limon essence in perfume…
The purpose of the sustainable project of the MIP’s gardens is to contribute to the conservation of the diversity of species traditionally cultivated for perfumery.
♣ Practical information:
Spring (April): 10:00 a.m to 5:30 p.m
Summer (May to August): 10:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m
Autumn (September to November 10): 10:00 a.m to 5:30 p.m
Regular price: €4
On presentation of the regular price ticket of one of the sites (MIP/MIP Gardens): half price on the second ticket (validity 7 days)
Les Jardins du MIP
979 chemin des Gourettes