Loung chairs and umbrellas on the beach in Nice, France (Glow Images/Getty)

Port of Nice, France (Nice CVB)

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What to do in Nice

The rise and fall of Nice's historic Palais de la Méditerranée mirrors that of the city itself. The Palais opened in 1929 as a casino and hotel and quickly became a magnet for French socialites. Its elegant white exterior was built in classic Art Deco fashion, and its seaside location along the bustling Promenade des Anglais was one of the choicest pieces of real estate in the city. But as Nice fell into a period of municipal decline in the post-war years, so too did the Palais. By 1978, in fact, it was shuttered. It wasn't until 2004 that the Palais reopened after a years-long, $159 million facelift, this time as a five-star luxury hotel—a sign of Nice's rebirth as an fashionable vacation destination and a salute to its gilded past. The French Riviera swagger is back, albeit in a town that retains its own unique hustle and charm.

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