Bastille Day on the Opera private beach in Nice

14th July 2007

Bastille Day in France.

Opera Plage - Nice Opera House is the building on the left at the back of the beach across the Promenade des Anglais

We had planned to go to Antibes for a day on a sandy beach but decided not to risk disruptions to train/bus transport on this French public holiday.

Decided instead to go to a private beach in Nice. There are two big advantages to using the private beaches, the first is sun loungers which keep you off the hard pebbles, it's bliss, plus there is matting to walk to the sea and to the restaurant etc. The second advantage is the lack of paraphanalia required for a day in relative comfort on the free public beaches. It's quite arm-toning, carrying parasols, fold-up chairs, picnics etc. The biggest disadvantage of the private beaches is the ban on bringing your own food and drink but it is understandable.

view from Opera Plage looking east, you can see the trees on the Chateau HillThe Opera Beach is close to us and one of the cheaper private beaches, 12 euros a day for a lounger and parasol. Bit of a swizz as we paid for 2 loungers but only got one parasol and we like the sun but only from the shade of a parasol. The loungers were all squeezed up next to each other. For 25 euros, you can get a main course and a drink included with your lounger and parasol. We have been to this beach before, it's not the best. The loos are not great, the floor is always soaking and the service is a bit haphazard but it is great to be off the pebbles. We usually take a couple of beach chairs to the public free beaches but it is a performance carrying them sometimes. Nice pebbles - jelly shoes essential even on the private beachesDaughter doesn't get her own lounger, she scooches up with me or husband or lies between us on her lilo, she's in the sea most of the time. I've written a bit about private beaches in Nice, the link is here:

Private beaches in Nice

It takes ages to catch the eye of a waiter. For lunch, husband and daughter shared a ham and cheese baguette and a plate of chips brought out to our loungers, there are small tables at hand. This is the cheapest option rather than moving to the restaurant area for a proper lunch. If you prefer to eat a light meal at your lounger you can choose any meal from the main menu or ask for a snack menu, they will usually oblige, it's mostly baguettes or chips. There is a sign by the entrance saying 'no picnic allowed' meaning you can't bring your own food and drink. It's OK to just leave the beach buy a sandwich or go to another restaurant, leave your towel on the lounger and you can return when you want. Once you are installed on a private beach though, it's an effort to get dressed again to go and find lunch and all around I could see people surreptitiously eating their own food and drinking from their own bottles of water.

We paid 4,50 euros for the baguette, 6 euros for the chips and 6 euros for a glass of beer. Lemonage was 3,50 euros and I had a coffee for 2,50 euros so we did it on the cheap really, plus I sneaked in my own picnic. The waiter was happy to bring us free carafes of water.

Opera beach is pretty crummy I have to admit, if you want more luxury and nicer surroundings then it is worth paying a bit more and going the Castel Plage on the left or Beau Rivage on the right. The Beau Rivage is about the best you're going to get in Nice.

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