The Best Things To Do In Nice

Written By: Mercedes Taylor

Any city which constantly remains bathed in golden sunlight while the azure waters of the Mediterranean lap at its shores certainly deserves pride of place among France’s top holiday destinations. Especially when it happens to be that silver lining in winter’s cloud, when the season holds the rest of the nation in its frosty grip. And that’s exactly what Nice is. A sunlit city, filled with beautiful surprises that will make you fall in love with it from the very moment you arrive. The largest city on the French Riviera, Nice lies close to the Italian border and south of Monaco, Menton and San Remo while Cannes is located to its south.

By day you will be able to sunbathe on the beach in the glorious warm sunshine, explore the Vieille Ville (Old Town), wander about its cafes, markets and museums and enjoy a panoramic view of the city and its bay. By night you will be able to experience the thrill of its colorful, vibrant nightlife and dance until a new day of exploring dawns. Although it is quite close to a number of glamorous neighbors such as Cannes, Saint Tropez and Monaco, Nice does a pretty good job of standing out as a tourist favorite. Visitors arriving by helicopter from the famous host of the prestigious film festival, Cannes, will actually be able to land at Nice-Côte d’Azur Airport in just seven minutes. Tourists who opt for a high-speed TGV train will arrive at the seaside city in about 40 minutes while those who intend to escape winter in Paris for Nice’s milder climates will arrive at Gare de Cannes in 6 hours.

One of the best places to start your exploration of Nice is the Vieille Ville – Old Town – known for its distinctive Italian style buildings. You will be able to begin your adventure with a hearty breakfast in one of its many cafes; visit the Cours Saleya Market filled with fresh, fragrant produce and even ascend to the Parc de la Colline du Château to enjoy panoramic views of the city.

If you love the arts, you will be able to visit Musée Marc Chagall and admire the works of the artist who actually helped in designing the museum. The Musée Masséna is also another museum which will delight visitors who will also be able to admire its exquisite gardens.


Nice Old Town (Vieux Nice)

Soak up the atmosphere of Nice Old Town (Vieux Nice) as you take a leisurely stroll through its beautiful narrow alleyways. Start with the boutique shops that line the streets and head towards the Cours Saleya, an open air market that operates every morning. Admire the baroque architecture of the buildings and explore the magnificent churches and landmarks of this fascinating district.


Promenade des Anglais

Head down to the Mediterranean Sea and take in the sights with a walk or bike ride along the Promenade des Anglais. This wide promenade stretches for seven kilometres along the beachfront and is a favourite place for the locals to relax, jog or bike ride. Sit for a while on the iconic blue chairs and people-watch as they go about their day.


Cours Saleya Flower Market

As you explore Nice Old Town, you will no doubt be drawn to the Cours Saleya Flower Market! Enjoy the kaleidoscope of colours – bursting from the countless bouquets on display – and take in the amazing mix of fragrances that fills the square. Not just for flowers, the markets also sell a huge range of foods, so come on down and enjoy a feast for the senses!


Matisse Museum (Musee Matisse)

Art lovers – and admirers of the works of Henri Matisse – will certainly enjoy a visit to the Matisse Museum (Musee Matisse), to admire the world’s largest collection of his works. Set in a seventeenth-century villa, the exhibit is outstanding and there is so much to see as you wander through the galleries!


Cimiez Convent (Monastere de Cimiez)

Set in tranquil surroundings, visit the seventeenth-century Cimiez Convent (Monastere de Cimiez) and explore the beauty of this majestic church and convent, as well as the fascinating artworks on display. Take a trip back in time to discover how the friars have lived their daily lives over the centuries, then meander through the cemetery, where famous people such as the artist Henri Matisse are buried!


Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

A visit to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothchild is a must-do for anyone spending time in Nice. Located in a prime position overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, this magnificent rose-coloured mansion was donated to the State by the Rothschild Family, and is open to the public to explore. The highlight for many is the surrounding gardens, divided into nine themes – such as Japanese and Spanish – with fountains that are choreographed to music!



The tiny village of Èze is one of the jewels of the south of France which is probably why it is chosen as a holiday spot by royalty, the rich and the famous. Perched on a rocky hill above the sea, it could not get any prettier. With narrow cobblestone, pedestrian-only streets, wonderful views of the surrounding hills and the azure water below, it is just as it was centuries ago.



Many visitors to Nice note its Italian influences; but Menton, even further east and directly on the French/Italian border, is about as Italian as a place can get without actually being in Italy. From its dialect (which has Italian roots) to its name (which came from the Romans), Menton may be French by nationality, but its heart is all Italian.


Monte Carlo (Monaco)

Monte-Carlo is one of the four quartiers (sections) of Monaco. It is situated on an escarpment at the base of the Maritime Alps along the French Riviera, on the Mediterranean, just northeast of Nice, France. In 1856 Prince Charles III of Monaco granted a charter allowing a joint stock company to build a casino. The casino opened in 1861, and five years later the district around it was declared by the prince to be Monte-Carlo. To revitalize the principality’s economy, Monte-Carlo was transformed into a luxuriously beautiful playground for the world’s rich and famous.

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