Shhh! Celebrate your Nice property purchase with a glass of rosé in these three rooftop bars.
1) La Terrasse, above Hotel Le Méridien
Le Méridien barely advertise their jaw-droppingly beautiful rooftop. For good reason. If word of La Terrasse broke out, Nice’s hoi polloi would bellyflop into the plunge pool, then snatch all the free snacks from the hotel’s venerable guests. But for smartly dressed punters, this 10th storey bonanza is the city’s ultimate escape.
Head barman Lucien Dulac bangs out cocktails like Bourbon-based Carmen and Prosecco-fuelled Jasmine Royal for €13 a pop. Black slates are used to deliver hearty mains for €25: think Black Angus hamburgers and croustillants de gambas. The biggest bargain is a bottle of peerless Côtes de Provence Roseline. At €31, it’s a snip when shared between friends.
We have two tips for visitors to La Terrasse. Firstly, look like you’re actually staying here. Access Le Méridien’s lobby via the escalator. Give a confident nod to the reception desk as you bear left. Then bash the 9th floor button in the bank of elevators like you mean it. The rooftop bar is reached via an additional set of steps. Secondly, bring a set of sexy swimming trunks, not your manky Adidas running togs. La Terrasse’s tiny heated pool has poseurs aplenty.
2) Aqua Bar, above Aston La Scala
Aston La Scala used to be so disorganised that you could bring your own takeout coffee to its rooftop bar and enjoy a three-hour sunbathe in peace. This writer did just that for years. Given the hotel’s sublime location – right on the Promenade du Paillon with sea views panning over the Old Town – it’s still missing a trick. And that makes its 8th floor Aqua Bar the rooftop bargain of the decade.
Just wander in from the street. Then veer left away from the reception staff to the double elevator bank. Ride up to the 7th floor. Here Le Blue Bar offers fabulous year-round views. But the summer-only Aqua Bar, one flight of stairs up, is top de la top. Grab a sunlounger or take a dip in the panoramic plunge pool (it doesn’t seem to matter if you’re a guest or not). Drink prices are lower than the Cours Saleya. Ricard pastis is €5, a large glass of Champagne costs €12. Or split a bottle of AOC Coteaux Varois en Provence for just €26.
3) La Terrasse de Nice, above the Radisson Blu
It’s the titan of all roof terraces. The daddy of millionaire sipping spots with 700m2 of lounging space, plus a vast rooftop pool. Granted, La Terrasse de Nice has a woefully unoriginal name, but it makes up for it with bumper views over the Baie des Anges. It’s also a fab spot for a pre-flight lunch: Nice Airport’s Terminal 1 is a 5-minute taxi, or 30-minute walk, away.
As with Le Méridien, it pays to be posh, despite the fact the establishment is publically accessible. They don’t like just anybody sipping €13 glasses of Domaine de Colombier Chablis under their chic 1950s awnings. Simply saunter through the electric sliding doors past reception. Or book ahead for a rooftop lunch of salmon à la plancha (€20) or steak tartare (€20) with a fromage sharing platter (€12) to finish.