The first article in our series “Learn French in …” takes you to a sunny, colourful destination, resonating with the marked accents of the south and punctuated by the song of the cicadas … Nice, unmissable capital of the Côte d’Azur, is a “world city”, which bears witness to British, Italian and Russian heritage, and exudes a delightful Mediterranean fragrance … It is the ideal setting for a language study trip in Provence and discovering Mediterranean traditions under the glowing sun.
Travel in Nice : a museum of French art of living
Nice is already famous for its emblematic places, starting with the Promenade des Anglais, affectionately nicknamed the “Prom” by the people of Nice, and which takes its name from the 19th century English community which resided on the seafront of the Baie des Anges a good part of the year and had it landscaped in the 1840s. The 7 km walk under the palm trees offers an opportunity for the most motivated to put on rollerblades or ride bicycles to skirt the prestigious establishments on the seafront, admire the sailboats, yachts and steamers proudly moored, and stop at N° 37 to contemplate the mythical Hotel Negresco.
Since the opening of its doors in 1913, this legendary palace has been welcoming the international Jet Set: artists, politicians and crowned heads are received with pomp. Staying at the Negresco means following in the footsteps (and escapades!) of the painter Dali, Princess Grace of Monaco, the Beatles, Louis Armstrong, Elton John … The Negresco has received celebrities and has begun a collection of works of art and precious furniture, recognized in 2015 by the label “entreprise du patrimoine vivant”, as a true museum of the French art of living…
An artistic way to travel and learn French in Nice
Learning French in Nice means enjoying a culture and art immersion to exchange ideas and discover very diverse styles and heritages.
And the English are not the only ones who left their mark on Nice: the Russian community has also strongly left its mark on the architecture of Nice. The Russian Orthodox Cathedral is one of the most visited monuments in the city, while the Lycée du Parc Impérial was once the palace built to accommodate the imperial family during their stays in Nice.
The illustrious Russian painter Marc Chagall is also featured in a museum dedicated to him.
If your learners are not fond of surrealism, then you can opt for the discovery of the Matisse museum (the artist who was so inspired by the Bay of Angels), or the contemporary art museum … there will be something to suit all tastes!
Old Nice has a concentration of art galleries and varied architectures, a veritable open-air museum. The luminosity, the exoticism of Sardinian, Baroque or Russian architectures, the sweetness of life and the extra soul that emanate from the city, will inspire travellers in their learning of French, as they have inspired the greatest artists.
Living and learning French with “Nissarde” cuisine
Eat in Nice and savour the whole world!
Listed in 2019 in the inventory of intangible cultural heritage in France, Niçoise or Nissarde cuisine is a tasty blend of Provence and Italy, combining dishes from the Mediterranean Sea and those from the Alps. By discovering the cuisine of Nice, the learners are introduced to a great global gastronomic culture, which attests that :
“all the cuisines are made of continual borrowings from each other, but each time recast in a cultural and environmental context”. (Paul Rasse and Franck Debos, « L’alimentation, fait total de la société de communication planétaire »,2006).
The nissarde food is therefore a culinary melting pot, in which learners of French can practice a local language with a strong southern accent … What about a pissaladière, lined with anchovies or a socca, chickpea pancake in olive oil from Liguria. You won’t leave without tasting the Niçoise salad or its sandwich equivalent: the pan bagnat! The coca contains the traditional Provencal ratatouille in a delicious flaky pastry … All this is accompanied by a Bellet wine, harvested in the territory of Nice, and emblematic of the city! White, red or rosé, it will make a perfect refreshment to accompany all the specialties of Nice, in all moderation of course!
What better opportunity to taste these specialties than to live in immersion in a Provencal family who will master the art of the “Mediterranean diet” to perfection and who will pass on to learners, who knows, the famous recipes of Nissarde cuisine!
Enjoy a morning at the Nice Flower Market
Imagine a French course in the heart of a market rich in colors and flavors with our teachers who are as gourmet as they are talented in transmitting French culture … On the Cours Saleya in Nice, very close to the old town, is held one of the most touristic and visited flower markets in Europe. Open all year round, the flowers and plants on offer come from a very rich local production which takes advantage of the mild Mediterranean climate … With the lively café terraces, the greengrocer’s market and the adjoining flea market; Nice flower market is an ideal place of fervour to experience the fresh and popular atmosphere of the French markets.
Nice, the first stop on a major language study trip on the Côte d’Azur
Nice is the first essential stop on a long trip to the Côte d’Azur. The French Riviera conceals a thousand beauties both on the Mediterranean coast and in the hinterland. Antibes, Cagnes sur Mer, Saint Paul de Vence… so many Provençal high places to discover with a guide in French, to appreciate all the diversity of Mediterranean landscapes, traditions and flavours.
When to organize a language stay in Nice?
Nice benefits from an international airport with flights from all over the world all year round. However, life in Nice is marked by annual events which are special moments to experience for foreign travellers. The gigantic Carnival of Nice in February is considered one of the most famous in the world, as well as the Carnival of Rio and Venice. It constitutes a unique spectacle with its multicoloured corsi and its traditional flower battles!
And for a musical journey, the Jazz Nice Festival, the world’s leading jazz festival, is an opportunity to celebrate musical culture in a unique summer setting, under the Nice sun in July….
Ready to learn French in the beautiful capital of the Côte d’Azur?
Vacances Actives Linguistiques, your language and cultural travel agency in France, organizes the entire trip and French courses in Nice, through an itinerary rich in activities and Provencal traditions.