What to Do in Nice, France
Ahh, the beautiful French Riviera. Nice is the perfect getaway from the cold Northern European winters or grey autumns. It is a perfect close destination to soak up some sunshine. Nice is just a short flight away from everywhere around Europe and will definitely give you that sun boosts any time of the year. Prepare for baguettes, wine and beautiful sunsets. The French style. We will tell you exactly what to do in Nice and around the region to keep you busy and amazed. Let’s dive into the exploration of Southern France.
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How to Get to Nice
Nice is the heart of the French Riviera and, thus, easily accessible from anywhere in the world. Nice Côte d’Azur Airport is one of the busiest airports in France, and this airport also serves as the main hub for travellers coming and going to Monaco. If you find yourself in Paris or anywhere else around France – take the train. From Paris to the main train station Nice-Ville you will get in less than 6 hours. There are many international trains arriving in Nice from Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and even Russia.
Where to Stay in Nice
Nice has accommodation options for all tastes starting from medium priced to luxury hotels. However, we recommend booking early, as during the summer months all the cheap accommodations will be sold out. Here are some great places to stay:
Another great option is Airbnb and we would highly recommend choosing an Airbnb apartment, as those tend to be cheaper in Europe and often are a more local experience as you are staying in someones home, rather than a hotel.
If you are new to Airbnb, you can get a $35 discount on your first booking here, a great way to start your vacation!
What to Do in Nice
Promenade des Anglais
The famous 7km long walkway along the beach is a great way to start Nice exploration. The walkway is famous amongst tourists and locals alike. On a beautiful day, you can run, cycle or just read the book by the beach and enjoy the views. Another thing to do is amaze the beautiful architecture and expensive hotels on the Promenade and daydream a bit.
La Colline de Château (also called Castle Hill)
If you want to be stunned just climb up to La Colline de Chateau and you will be awarded beautiful views of the Medditerean. You will be able to see the Promenade des Anglais, the beautiful buildings along the shore and the Old Town. There is not much left of the old castle, but you are hiking up for the views! A great idea is to watch the sunset and have a picknick at the nearby park, just grab a bottle of wine, some pastries and you are good to go!
Parc du Mont Boron
A beautiful park just 5km away from Nice Old Town. We recommend renting a bicycle for a day and going exploring the park. However, if you feel like you have to get that work out in, it is a nice 1-hour walk to the park and then hiking up and down the serpentine paths. The hike up to Fort du Mont Alban will take you around 40 minutes, and it will not be an easy one, but the views… the views. Grab some snacks and enjoy a day by the nature, we highly recommend this place!
This is the main square of the city. It is spacious and short walk away from the Old Town and the Promenade Des Anglais. The square is lined with palm trees and all the public events and concerts are held here. It is usually busy in the evening hours with locals wandering around, kids playing and street vendors selling all kind of goodies.
Old Town (Vieille Ville)
The narrow, cobblestone streets of Vieille Ville will make you fall in love. The boutique shops and cafes will keep you busy for hours. If cheese and wine are your things, you will be in heaven as there are many places you can purchase locally made, natural products. Place Rossetti is the central square and there you will find the one and only gelato to die for.
Cours Saleya Market
Right in the city centre and connected to the old town Saleya Market is another great place for shopping. Here you can wander around the flower market as well as fruits and vegetables market. The vegetable vendors pack up around 1:30 pm but the flower sellers stay at the market until 5 pm. The smells and the colours of the market will make your head spin and even if you are not up for shopping, walk around and snap some pictures.
Note that on Mondays they have a flea, antique market there!
Musee National Marc Chagall
If you are not a museum or art fan, fret not, this museum is a beautiful collection of Marc Chagall artworks and will not bore you. If you’ve come to Nice you have to learn about Marc Chagall. Also, if you do not know much about the artist (as we) there is a film documenting his life, so it is a great way to learn. A fun fact is that part of the museum was designed by the artist himself, how often artists design museums for themselves?
Day trips Around the French Riviera
Saint Paul de Vence
Saint Paul de Vence is the most beautiful old French town, set high above Nice. The panoramic views of the city are to die for. Also, the old small town boasts so many great dining options. As well, if you are like us, in the seek of authenticity, this is the place. The narrow up and down cobblestone streets are just picture perfect and the classic medieval French architecture is like nowhere else.
You can get to this beautiful village by bus #400. Catch the bus on rue Verdun/Albert 1ere bus stop, which is between the Meridian Hotel and the beginning of the Promenade du Paillon gardens, or catch the bus at one of the stops along the Promenade des Anglais. It takes less than 1 hour to get to Saint Paul de Vence and costs only $1.80 (1.50 EUR) one way.
If you are a beauty product lover like Linda here, do visit the Fragonard Boutique store at the entrance of the village, it has so many great natural French products like perfumes, body lotions and makeup. The brand has been there since 1926 and its products are of exceptional quality.
You have definitely heard of Monaco, the micro-state (2nd world’s smallest country) with shiny cars, casinos and extremely expensive property. But, oh boy, the place is so beautiful.
The Grand Casino is everyone’s main stop in Monaco, and it is definitely worth it. Whatever you are wearing you will feel underdressed, but go and try out your luck and gamble a little. The Princess Grace Rose garden with more than 150 kinds of roses is a must see as well. And, either you are into cars or not, Prince Rainier III’s classic car collection is definitely worth checking out.
You can easily reach Monaco from Nice by public bus. Catch bus #100 from either the Old Port or Place Garibaldi (ask your hotel staff as the bus stop location is changed often). The bus takes a very scenic route and costs only $1.80 (EUR 1.50). It goes every 15-30 minutes and takes only 30 minutes to get to Monaco.
Cannes, similar to Monaco is the place where the wealthy live and honeymooners stay to get a glimpse of luxury life. However, it does not stop you from visiting this beautiful place. La Croisette Boulevard is great for window shopping. Intercontinental, Carlton and Hilton have established their super-shiny hotels on the boulevard with its private beaches, which you can enjoy by renting a lounger and having a fancy cocktail.
Musée de la Castre is a great place to learn about ancient civilizations and it hosts historical artefacts from all around the world. The entrance ticket costs only 6 EUR. And the views from the hilltop again are very, very scenic.
You can get to Cannes by bus very easily, paying 1.50 EUR. Buss #200 runs to Cannes from rue Verdun/Albert 1ere bus stop, which is located between the Meridian Hotel and the start of the Promenade du Paillon gardens. It runs every 15-20 minutes and takes about 1.5 hours.
Antibes is a little magical town between Cannes and Nice. It can be visited on a day trip from Nice and combined with a visit to Cannes. Grand villas and luxury yachts will surprise once you arrive. The town is very laid back and has a luxury feel, so the best way to enjoy it by walking through the charming streets.
Musee Picasso in the Chateau Grimaldi is a beautiful exhibition of some of Picasso’s artworks. It is set in a beautiful location and definitely worth a visit. Picasso lived and worked here for 7 years until his death in 1955. The museum is very intimate and entrance ticket costs only 6 EUR. Be aware, that it is closed during lunchtime from 12 noon to 2 pm.
The beaches in Antibes are far quieter and sandier than those in Nice. And there are so many of them to choose from! There are also many beach bars and clubs if you are up for a little party as well as many secluded areas to spend your time hiding among the rocky cliffs to get the perfect tan.
Take the same bus #200 that you would take to get to Cannes, to get to Antibes. It takes around 1 hour to get there and the price is 1.50 EUR.
The easiest way to get around Nice is on foot. Rent a bicycle to get to nearby parks and get around a bit quicker. There are bike stands offering street bikes that you can rent for a day. If you are travelling around the region choose the public bus as it is the cheapest option. All bus rides cost around 1.50 EUR to the nearby cities and villages. If you want to get, for example, to Cannes faster, choose the train, even though it is a bit more expensive, it will save you some time. Taxis are quite expensive and not recommended, especially because the public transport system is so well-developed.
Eating and drinking
What would be France without great French cuisine and wine? There are many authentic eateries around Nice to sample some great foods. What to do in Nice when you have seen it all? Eat! Eat!
Workhouse cafe is a great breakfast place, the staff is super friendly and the food served is very good. The cafe is quite an inexpensive option for eating breakfast out. If you need to get some work done – this is the place, good wi-fi and quiet atmosphere. Of course, our favourite alternative is getting some pastries from local bakeries and a coffee on the go and eat breakfast on the Promenade des Anglais.
Citrus is a great place for lunch and dinner. The dishes here are served in a unique way and the menu is always changing. The price might be a bit expensive if you are used to budget options, but Citrus might as well deserve a Michelin Star for their service. You are on a vacation, so treat yourself right and be sure to visit this place.
Tribeca Wine Bar Kitchen is great for some post-dinner drinks and is famous for its great wine variety. The vibe is very relaxed, modern and a bit hipster at the same time. A great hang-out place.
If you are looking for some food inspiration and what to eat in Nice have a look at the 10 Must Eat Foods in Nice.
If you are still planning your trip have a look at How to Find Cheap Flight Deals, to get the best and cheapest flights to your dream destination!
And, if you are interested what is in our bag when we travel, to be able to blog, vlog and shoot some great photos – Our Best Travel Gear, might serve as a little inspiration!
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