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Winter Fun in the South of France

Holiday celebrations in the South of France are in full force. The Christmas Village in Place Massena is just one of the numerous events that take place over the winter period on the French Riviera and what makes this region such a great all year round destination.

During the winter period, the city of Nice remains a vibrant location for both locals and tourists alike, due to the expansive array of free events and activities hosted throughout the region. The bulk of the festivities in Nice are centred around Avenue Jean Medecin, the Promenade des Anglais, Place Massena and the newly renovated Place Garibaldi. In the evenings you will find the city sparkling with thousands of coloured lights.

Baroque’ is the theme chosen for this year’s Christmas Fair, and accordingly the city is festooned with glittering chandeliers, dramatic ‘light’ curtains, ribbons, columns of crystals, gift boxes, and of course giant snowmen and Santa Claus’. However despite all the glitz and glitter, the environment has not been forgotten. All of the lights use new generation LEDs that offer a luminous power 5 – 10 times greater than the formerly used halogen lamps, whilst requiring only one ninth of the power. One of the most popular sites is Place Massena.

Here you will find loads of fun activities for the entire family including an ice rink, various rides, as well as a grand Ferris Wheel – the perfect means of obtaining a bird’s eye view of the beautiful Cote d’Azur, be it day or night. Also found at Place Massena is the Christmas market, a conglomeration of little chalets selling a diverse range of original arts, crafts, and fresh produce – a great source of gifts for friends and relatives. You can also find hearty winter food, ‘vin chaud’ (hot spiced wine) and even a champagne and oyster bar!

French Riviera real estate expert Aideen O’Brien (Managing Director of leading Nice estate agency, Chez Riviera) notes that she is often surprised that people don’t necessarily think of the South of France as a winter destination, “but the very fact that it has a mild climate in winter, does not exclude it from enjoying numerous winter sport opportunities. Snow and the Cote d’Azur are not generally associated together in peoples minds, however the French Alps are easily accessible from Nice”.

There are in fact 10 ski areas in close proximity to Nice with two of the closest being Auron and Isola 2000, bothsituated in the Parc National du Mercantour and only 90 minutes drive from Nice. These two fields alone offer skiers and snowboarders over 250 kilometres of piste. You can take the special Ski Bus from the centre of Nice to both of these ski slopes. The tickets are incredibly reasonable at only 35 euros, which includes a return bus trip as well as a day ski pass.

Aideen concludes that “the abundance of activities available throughout the year, combined with the pleasant all year weather conditions make Nice and the French Riviera such a great destination no matter what the season”.

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