Once ashore Nice reveals itself as a town with a fascinating history, an amazing blend of cultures, French and Italian, busy market places and modern hotels both along the front (the Promenade des Anglais) and at the nearby airports of the Nice Cote d'Azur and the Cannes-Mandelieu heliport. Nice's popularity as a relaxing holiday resort is in part due to its sub-tropical climate. The average daily temperatures in January are 13 degrees C/55 degrees F and in July 26 degrees C/79 degrees F. Not surprisingly, Nice is viewed as a winter retreat for the thousands of tourists arriving by air, by car and by motor yachts and pleasure boats. The on-land facilities for chartered yachts are good around the "Old Port" as well as for the swanky yachts encouraged to stay off-shore before going on to the Monaco harbour to view the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix.
Historically Nice attracted the earliest traders and it was recognised as a good "watering-place" for the Greek and Genoese boats. Nice was probably named by the Greeks around 350 B.C. The name "Nikaia" was given in honour of a victory over the local Ligurian tribes. It soon became the busiest trading port apart from the Roman town of Cerenalum that is now been absorbed as a district of Nice. By the 16th Century increased fortifications helped defend the city from pirating and at this time Italian was declared the official language. Later after many Franco-Italian wars, frequent sieges and two major plagues in 1792 the port was taken by the armies of the 1st French Republic and French became the official language. During World War II the town suffered greatly from occupation first by the Italians and then by the Gestapo. Areas around the ancient port were also bombarded by the Americans in 1944 in the run-up to landings and liberation by American paratroopers.
Amongst the list of history museums and "must-see"places to visit, the cathedral, the Baroque churches and the Botanical gardens should be high on the list. Nice is a tourist magnet when all the festivals commence. This will start early this year since the selection of Miss France 2010 is taking place in Nice on 15th December 2009. The Festival of International Musicians is another festival week which will use the Opera Hall, the National Theatre of Nice and the "Conservatoire a Rayonment Regional". Nice's museums include the Museum of Human Palaeontology, the Archaeological Museum and the Regional Museum of Asian Arts. For art lovers the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (NAMAC) are both well worth a visit. The Cote d'Azur itself has lots to offer the more mobile tourist industry and we are sure to see an increase in luxury yachts in the Baie des Anges particularly when the Monaco Grand Prix motor racing week begins. The exodus can be quite dramatic, but for those still intent on exploring Nice there are still the beaches for swimming and jet-skiing and the restaurants to sample the local food. The well-known "salade nicoise" is basically a tomato salad with green peppers, the"bouillabaisse" a fish soup, the "pissaladiere" a pie with onions and anchovies and "socca" a type of pancake made from local flour.