Nice: La Ville Arc-en-Ciel. Rainbow City

I am counting the days to my next French vacation. As always, there will be several great cities in the itinerary. It will be difficult to choose a favorite. Two at least hold a special place in my {French} heart. One of them gets mentioned often on the blog, or on the French Girl in Seattle Facebook page: Nice, the queen of the French Riviera. As I was going through old photos the other day, I thought of a new name for Nice: La Ville Arc-en-Ciel. Rainbow city. Why don’t you join me on a colorful promenade niçoise today? You will agree, I know it. Allons-y!

The first thing you notice is the sky. It takes on so many different shades throughout the day, and blue does not even start to describe it. It is best to show it.



Do you see what I mean? While approaching the maze of seemingly dark, narrow, and winding streets of le Vieux Nice (Old Nice,) one might hesitate for a split second. After all, one can’t ignore the neighborhood’s once shady past. They say la fortune sourit aux audacieux (Fortune favors the brave.) Come on, follow me!

Is it Italy? Is it France? Europe, definitely. Everywhere around you, intense sounds, smells, and colors. Bright façades or unassuming walls. Sleepy houses in the early morning. 

Les volets de Nice. Did you notice them? Wood shutters. A world all of their own. Unless their American counterparts, they work for a living, keeping houses dark at night, and cool in the summer heat. Sleepy giants who open one eye as you walk by. They serve the city well, as Nice’s façades reflect into their eyes. Again, colors, so many colors. Shades of ochre, yellow, red, green and blue. You feel yourself smiling. 

Leave le Vieux Nice (the Old Town) behind, and the rainbow follows you.

Place Masséna

La Grande Bleue. The Mediterranean

At sunset, then at night, Nice, la ville Arc-en-Ciel, shines.

Nice, le port

Place Masséna

Palais Rusca. Place du Palais de Justice


Convinced yet? Several years ago, I found it, my Happy Place: It is a lively, hospitable city on the shore of la Grande Bleue (the Mediterranean.) I have friends in la Ville Arc-en-Ciel, and this makes her all the more special. One day soon, I will go back. Until then, whenever I need a dose of good old-fashioned joie-de-vivre, I can look at these photos and pay Nice a visit. And now, so can you.

A bientôt.

My table awaits…


All photos and text by French Girl in Seattle

Do not use without permission.

Thank you.

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What did you think about this article? Let me know in the comment section below, (I love reading your messages and reply to most.) Don’t be selfish and share with a friend! Merci. Véronique (French Girl in Seattle)


  • Quel bel hommage!Je te sens amoureuse …J’aime toujours voir ma ville par les yeux des visiteurs, qui forcément voient les choses autrement. Comme je voyage beaucoup,je sais que les couleurs et la lumière ne se retrouvent pas partout, loin de là.Mais je ne pensais pas que ça avait un tel impact sur des yeux neufs.Pour nous, les couleurs et la lumière font partie de la vie, et on ne le réalise que quand on arrive ailleurs.
    Bon, je suppose qu’après un post aussi élogieux, je vais devoir faire face à une vague de touristes ?! :o)
    Et moi, hier, ravie parce qu’il pleuvait, j’ai passé la soirée devant Twilight IV, savourant la vue des épaisses forêts moussues du nord-ouest américain! ..:o)
    Bonne semaine et bisous d’azur!

    • Bon, tu n’as pas du être trop surprise, Marie. Tu connais déjà mon attachement à ta belle ville. Mais tu as raison, on s’habitue aux choses, aux couleurs, à l’espace quand on y a accès tous les jours. Et puis quelqu’un nous rappelle que nous avons bien de la chance, et nous sommes un peu surpris… Ne t’inquiète pas pour les touristes. Il s’agissait d’une ballade “virtuelle,” et avec les prix des billets d’avion en ce moment, il ne devrait pas y avoir de déferlement dans les semaines à venir. Tu devras quand même me rendre visite un de ces jours. Si tu aimes les forêts, la mousse et le brouillard, tu seras servie! Bisous.

  • Hello Veronique

    A brilliant post and so uplifting. The light in France and Italy is so spectacular even in winter.
    I find Florida to have wonderful light too and one of my favourite states.

    To sunshine and light

    Helen xx

  • Dearest Véronique,
    Oh, that button is tricky but you will remind yourself to stay OFF the orange button till the very end. But let me give you a tip. Put on the side ‘Published on’ the time you want to publish it. Save and click Publish. Than you go back and edit or whatever. If you click publish again, it doesn’t matter as it is being held till the time you set.
    Oh, I guess since we lived for 3 winters in the tropics while working in Indonesia, we do suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Winters are very tough to live through. Can’t blame you for wanting to go to your beloved Nice.
    Hugs to you,

    • Bonjour Mariette. As always, you come to my rescue with your technical expertise. Merci beaucoup. I will give it a try. You should have heard me swear when I inadvertently pushed the “Publish” button – twice! – I was mostly swearing at myself. Poor me. I got to hear it in French AND in English! If you think winters are tough in Georgia, imagine what they are like here, in the Pacific Northwest. Hugs to you.

  • Dear Veronique thank you for very much needed cheer up post. Nice really is very beautiful and I’d like to return there one day. I fell in love with this belle instantly. And when the scorching heat subsides the swimming in sunset is unforgettable.
    Colors are a great solution to winter blues. November can be a real drag, everything is depressingly gray, no leaves and no snow. The in-between-ness is confusing.
    Sandy touched us a bit, very strong winds – nothing compared to NY, but a sleepless night for me glued to CNN.
    Artificial light isn’t helpful, I turned to colors instead to resist the seasonal gloominess .
    More posts like this one please.

    • Bonjour Natalie. I am so glad Sandy did not harm you or your home. The poor people of New Jersey did not fare as well. Like me, you understand the power of colors. I am surrounding myself with orange these days. Looking at it always makes me happy! Take care.

  • Exquisite photos of what looks to be a lovely, exquisite city by the sea! The last photo is my special favorite in this post. Your table is waiting. 🙂 And you’re right, it seems the perfect ‘fix’ for a dark, Northwest winter! Geez, does it ever! lol. Perfection of a post, Veronique, and a real treat on an overcast, drizzly Thursday-in-November Oregon afternoon. Yummy blue sky in these pics. How i miss it already! Gack! How will i feel in January? lol again.

    • Exquisite. That’s a perfect way of describing Nissa la Bella. You and I will need to look at these photos often over the next few weeks and months! By January, we will be sobbing in a soggy tissue, while looking at them through swollen eyelids 🙂

  • Your photos are popping off my screen.We went to Nice..mais malheureusement..pas la vieille partie..Dommage.
    In QC..once the leaves have gone..everything seems monochromatic..until the snow and blue skies.
    So happy I found your blog:-)

    • Bonjour Nana! Bienvenue chez moi! Comment? You went to Nice and missed la Vieille Ville? What happened?! Well, I guess you now have a reason to go back… You have monochromatic in your neck of the woods then? Geez. And I thought we were cursed with “two-toned everything!”

  • thanks i needed that-just back from our house on the jersey shore-by the grace of GOD we only have clean up issues and they are NOTHING compared to atlantic city area (about 45 minutes north from my house) so these happy bright pictures were the best tonic E-V-E-R!

  • How beautiful. I am sure I have mentioned to you that my parents honeymooned in Nice many “moons” ago. Of course, they were living in Toulon at the time, so it wasn’t far to go. Some day I will visit for myself the “scene of the crime.” In this case a crime of passion that produced me nine months later.

    Bises, M-T

  • Wow I really think that city might be one of the most beautiful places on earth. How visually stunning and charming!

    I wish I had money so I could go there to combat my seasonal blues. I tend to get it pretty bad, actually. And it gets worse when you mix in the stress from having to drive in snowy hazardous conditions every day. 🙁

    I might have to look into that blue lightbulb your friend swears by lol.

  • Lovely Veronique! Yes, it really cheered me up here in slightly overcast Carmel-by-the-Sea. Like you am sending prayers to America’s badly hit east coast. No blue bulbs for moi! Hugs, Suzanne

  • Hi Veronique,

    I hope you don’t mind if I follow along. Your pictures of Nice are be very beautiful. I love all of the color, the blue skies and especially the water scene.

    I come to you from blogs we jointly read. By the way, you look so very much like our French exchange student we had several years ago. Marine was from Limoges.

    Our daughter’s husband did his residency at Children’s Hosp. in Seattle so we are familiar with the dark and the wet….For you I am wishing sunshine! Janey

    • Welcome chez French Girl in Seattle Janey! So I look like your old French exchange student, eh? I am originally from Toulouse, in the Southwest. I will pop in chez vous to learn more about your blog. A bientot!

    • Oh Véronique…
      Convinced ? No. TOTALLY convinced? Absolutely yes!
      You are the best ambassador to the city you love so much. You got it: Blue sky, multicolor facades: much better than any artificial light to fight the S.A.D. syndrom. Thank you for the free visit, doctor Véronique.
      A friend of mine – who lives in Nice – recently complained about Nice being too touristic. LOL. Next time she says it, I will tell her the reason why… Because a French girl in Seattle ………..
      I’d love to be there too (one more tourist) with you as a special guide / friend. Maybe one day!

  • Je suis d’accord Veronique. J’adore la cite Nice et la Grande Bleue. We were there last October and it was magnificent. Nice is a happy place! Bonne weekend!

  • These photos are fantastic, Veronique!!! Wow. Do you know that I have never been to Nice?!? Isn’t that crazy? Now, I will have to go…
    Thank you for this insta dose of happiness on this gray day…

  • During many years I had the previlege to return to Nice regularly – for professional reasons! Professional traveling is not always a pleasure, but sometimes it is! 🙂

  • It’s such a grey, wet day here made worse as I have just returned from a week in the sun (blue skies and 30 degrees – back home to 4 degrees!!)However, your lovely post has brightened my day – such a riot of colour. The amazing ochre not to mention the blue sky and the pretty ‘volets’. I remember my very first visit to my penfriend’s house near Bordeaux being reminded to close the shutters to keep out the sun (obviously not something I was used to coming from the North of England!) I haven’t been to Nice for several years but your stunning photos remind me that I should return sometime – until then I shall no doubt come back here to look at your pictures!

  • Oh my what wonderful images Veronique, I’m having a very strong urge to paint my house yellow and paint the window frames blue, I wonder how that would go down with my neighbours haha! I think my happy place is strolling the streets of Paris in springtime..but also working in my garden here in Perth is tres joli aussi, simple pleasure oui!

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