Destination: FRANCE

Parks, Gardens, Trees and Flowers
Parks, Gardens, Trees and Flowers

Many Mediterranean cities have lovely parcs (parks) and jardins (gardens), but none more so than Nice. The green swath cutting through the city's heart is only one example, and every street is decked with tubs, planters and window boxes filled with colorful flowers.

Formal parks lie within the city center, forming a green oasis for locals and visitors; the Jardin Albert 1er, L'Esplanade du Paillon and the Espace Masséna are good examples. Also in the city center, the wooded Parc du Château features winding paths and cascading water. The wilder Jardin des Arènes de Cimiez is a beautifully tended olive grove, the wind rustling the silver-gray foliage on the shapely trees.

Lovely, aromatic Aleppo pine trees, planted in 1866, abound in the Parc Forestier du Mont-Boron; they line almost 7 miles of trails that are edged with wild carnations and tiny orchids. Views from this park are spectacular: to the east is St.-Jean Cap Ferrat, and to the west is Nice's own Bay of Angels.

Avid gardeners should head for Nice's Jardin Botanique (Botanic Garden), with a comprehensive and classic collection of Mediterranean flora. The Parc Floral Phoenix is another garden attraction focusing on tropical plants and fruit trees. A vast greenhouse - packed with numerous exotic and rare orchids, among other delights - dominates the 17-acre site.

Trees and Flowers
Most of Nice's trees and flowers are common to all Mediterranean countries, where this vegetation thrives in lime-rich, sandy or poor soil, can withstand months of summer heat and drought, and can endure an occasional wet or cold spell in winter. Olives, palms and pines are native; citrus trees, bougainvillea, mimosa, gerbera and many succulents have been introduced. Roses love Mediterranean conditions, which is why you'll see bigger and brighter ones here than anywhere else. If you're in the countryside - nature's own glorious garden - in April, May or June, you'll find spreads of wildflowers to rival any city park.

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