With an international airport and the fast train from Paris, Nice is the first experience of the renowned Côte d'Azur for many tourists. The city was established by the Greeks and named for Nike, goddess of victory, but the Romans started the tourism industry here when they popularised their mineral baths on Cimiez.
British and Russian aristocrats favoured Nice in the 19th century, but today it is more of a commercial centre and not as fashionable as its smaller neighbouring resorts. Nice still has excellent connections, but these are in the mode of transport options rather than the pedigree of its visitors. In spite of modernization, the city retains its medieval heritage in the Vieille Ville (old town), with its closely-packed red-tiled roofs and narrow winding streets packed with shops and small restaurants.
The Cours Saleya has a flower market and food market every morning. There are scores of stands, from large, professionally displayed wares to folding tables set up by family farmers with their produce directly from the farm. Separating the Cours Saleya from the sea is a strip of low buildings.
Once the repository for the fishermens' catch, they have given way largely to seafood restaurants. The other side of the Cours Saleya is lined by terrace cafés in lovely old buildings. Nice's beaches are shingle; only from the peninsula at Antibes do they become sand. The Promenade des Anglais lines the shingle beaches for about five miles (eight km) and has been a favourite for leisurely strollers since Victorian times.
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