In a nutshell: The urban jewel of the Cote d'Azur, with a style and swagger of its own.
Don't miss: Promenade des Anglais, Plage des Ponchettes, old town bars, Castle Hill
A good game of rugby, it is fair to say, generally involves a few scratches and scrapes; the inevitable bashed leg, the odd bloodied nose. Nice, it is probably fair to mention, spends its days actively avoiding anything so rough-and-tumble. And if it does somehow bruise a shin during an evening's stroll along its famous Promenade des Anglais, then it certainly won't be telling you about it or showing you the damage in the pub after the final whistle.
In some ways, there is no more unlikely a French city to be picked as a Rugby World Cup venue. Nice will not bridle at the suggestion that it is scarcely a hotbed of rugby. Its local team, Stade Nicois, plays in the third tier of the French game, and has only existed since 2012 – when its predecessor, the wordily-named Rugby Nice Cote d'Azur Université-Racing, was liquidated. Its little home, the 3,000-capacity Stade des Arboras, will not be staging fixtures at the 2023 tournament – that role will fall to the 35,000-seater Allianz Riviera (which is mostly used for football, though Toulon play here on occasion). In Nice, try to talk about a “line-out”, and you will probably be shown into the queue for the latest club.
And yet, when it comes to destinations for long weekends and rugby-related trips during Rugby World Cup, it is hard to think that any city (with perhaps the exception of Paris) will be more in demand than this sparkling jewel of the Cote d'Azur. Nice may not be wholly up to speed with drop goals and knock-ons – but you could barely ask for a better place to catch a game in the late summer of 2023. The weather will be gorgeous, the scenery glorious – and you are likely to journey home with a suntan as well as sporting memories.
The seafront is the main focus, of course. The Promenade des Anglais runs alongside the Mediterranean for four miles, thronged with cyclists, walkers, runners, families – and idlers who just want to enjoy the view. On one side of its camber is the beach – one long arc of shore, but with several sections (such as Plage des Ponchettes, Plage de Florida and Plage de l'Opera). On the other are some of France's most gilded hotels – the likes of the Westminster Hotel & Spa, Hotel Le Negresco and Palais de la Mediterranée. These are places for sophisticated stays – for sunset cocktails and whispered evening conversations.
But then, a trip to Nice does not have to be about high elegance and even higher cost. Indeed, the city caters to all budgets. The narrow streets behind Plage des Ponchettes – Rue du Moulin, Rue du Pontin, Rue de l'Abbaye – are filled with bars which deal more in beers than bottles of something vintage. This is also the “old town”, where the Baroque Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate holds pride of position on Place Rossetti, and the Marché Aux Fleurs Cours Saleya (market) sells local produce (as well as the flowers that its name suggests). From here, it's a short walk up the Colline du Chateau (Castle Hill), where the remnants of the city's medieval fortress look down on the beaches – and the Port Lympia. The yachts in this large marina may be super-expensive, but the panorama comes for free.
Content supplied by the Telegraph’s travel expert Chris Leadbetter