Nice trip to ‘la bella Nizza’ and Allianz Riviera stadium
The last group match between Sweden and Belgium during EURO 2016 was the ideal opportunity to visit the UEFA EURO colleagues in the Allianz Riviera (Nice) and to enjoy the good weather & atmosphere in the city.
Fête de la Musique
After booking a great Airbnb in the centre of the city with a great host (see recommendation below), we found ourselves lucky to arrive on the day of ‘Fête de la musique’. This celebration takes place every summer on June 31st in cities and villages across all France. The event spills out from the bars and restaurants onto the streets, with all possible types of music.
“Fête de la Musique is one of those certain nights throughout the year when the French authorities waive normal laws. It is definitely one of the not-to-be-missed events of the summer.”
After enjoying some good drinks and food in Vieux Nice (Nice’s Old Town which looks very nice, like a spider web full of narrow and wriggling streets) and a little party with the Swedish fans, it was time to get a good night sleep to prepare for a busy day.
Match day! But first… RELAX
Arriving the night before the game definitely gave us the advantage to have a good night sleep and to enjoy the full day before heading onto the game.
We first went onto ‘la promenade du Paillon’: a huge green pathway that connects the centre of Nice with ‘la promenade des Anglais’, the popular promenade along the Mediterranean see (+- 7 km’s long). The city is modernizing a lot, but always keeps respecting its history, just like the promenade. After this we bumped into the EURO 2016 fan zone, in a beautiful location. We went for lunch in one of the typical small restaurants in Nice Old Town. There we got into a conversation with two locals (niçois) who asked us for some help: one of them just bough a smartphone for the first time and it was in Russian language. No one at the shop could help him, so the guy didn’t have any idea how to solve this. After some time we could help him changing it to French: he was so happy he bought us some drinks, even if we refused at first, there was no way stopping him. After this we got into a long and interesting conversation. Friendly people there in Nice!
Before the game we just wanted to enjoy some rest and the sea. The only downsize of Nice ‘beach’ is that it’s full of rocks and not so comfortable as sand. Though for one day we didn’t really mind…
I must say the transport to the stadium was very well taken care of. We easily got from Nice centre to Allianz Riviera stadium (5 minutes waiting time and 20 minutes bus ride). The Belgian fans were already in the mood for a devilish party!
It was the second time I visited the stadium and it sure is a beautiful stadium with all the necessary facilities. With its +- 35,000 seats its quite smaller than than Lyon stadium where I was working during the EURO’s. The game itself was not that bad. Both teams had several opportunities to score, but we had to wait until the 84th minute for the decisive goal. Belgium did what it had to do. “Bye Bye Ibrahimovic” could be taken very literally: Sweden was kicked out of the tournament and Zlatan Ibrahimovic played his last game for the national team.
The stadium: Allianz Riviera
Inauguration: 19 September 2015
Owner: Nice city
Capacity: 35,624 seats
“The Plage des Marinières looks awesome: no rocks like Nice centre, but a beautiful sandy beach.”
We took a day trip to Villefranche-sur-Mer, which was advised to us by the locals we met the day before. Villefranche is only 7 minutes away from the train station in Nice, so it was very quick and easy to get there. Once exiting the train, you can immediately see the local beach, and a short walk brings you to the town. Walking into the idyllic town, pastel colored buildings hug the road on the right, narrow streets and steep stairs complete the view. The small restaurants and cafes along the water look so cozy, with the boats next to it tied up along the waterfront. We enjoyed some seafood and wine along the water: just heavenly.
The water is incredibly clear and the beach (Plage des Marinières) looks awesome: no rocks like Nice centre, but a beautiful sandy beach which brings up the holiday feelings. I can only recommend you to visit Villefranche-sur-Mer when you’re in Nice. You can easility combine both!