Subject: Nice
Dear Jacqueline - By all means go to Nice. Graciela's reaction is the same one you will get from lots of people, and of course you will want to visit other parts of France - but if you have a chance, go to the Riviera and enjoy yourself!

Nice is, you should forgive the expression, nice. It is a Mediterranean city, with all the good &bad things that go along with the location...sunshine, heat, gorgeous scenery, grunge of all sorts. Yes, there are places that are unsafe, but these exist in all cities. The places you will find yourself will be full of other sightseers, and locals carrying on their day-to-day lives. Just follow the usual precautions about guarding your valuables.

Specifics - I have been in Nice at the end of March, and the weather can be lovely - warm during the day, clear and crisp at night. It can also rain - HARD - so be sure to have an umbrella.

Things to do -- the Market is the top of the list, followed by a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais. There is a park atop a cliff at the end of the Promenade closest to the market which offers some great views of the bay, the harbor, and the ferries going to Corsica.

The market's official name is the Marché aux fleurs, but that is a bit of a misnomer, as it also features a lot of produce (innumerable varieties of olives, for example.)I like to eat breakfast in one of its cafés and watch the passing parade.

Just behind the market are the narrow streets of Vieux Nice, full of interesting shops, restaurants, cafes, open markets, etc. Wander until you are tired, have a coffee or a citron pressé, then wander some more.

Other things to do in Nice: on Saturday mornings, watch the bridal couples arrive - on foot, in limousines, in family cars - at the Mairie (City Hall), just across from one of the entrances to the Market, for the civil marriage ceremony that must precede any church wedding in France. Each couple has an entourage of friends and family, and there is always a crowd on the sidewalk enjoying the show.

Other towns nearby - Villefranche (a short bus ride to the east); Antibes (short train ride west) Cannes - a bit farther. All interesting to explore (Antibes is where you are most likely to find artists painting in the open air, not to mention yachts the size of ferryboats.)

Eze, a village perché in the mountains, a short bus ride away, is also interesting, and worth a visit.

There are museums in Nice, too (though I have to admit that in a number of visits there I have never managed to get to any of them.) I have visited, and enjoyed, the Ephrussi-Rothchild museum, located on Cap Ferrat (between Villefranche and Beaulieu) and there is a Picasso museum in Antibes that is recommended. The old town in Antibes is still partially walled, and there is a good walk along the ramparts.

Cap Ferrat is supposed to be the home of the lotus eaters, who delayed Ulysses' return home to Ithaca. As far as I can tell, the lotus eaters are still in place -- they knew a good thing when they found it!