The city of Nice (Ville de Nice as they say in French) is the largest of all the cities on the French Riviera. It’s sparkling blue waters, towering mountain range and rugged coastline has inspired many an artist since the 18th Century including the likes of Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and Paul Cezanne.
It’s no surprise this spectacular city attracted so many people of stature. Being a firm favourite for aristocracy during the early 20th Century, Nice gained a reputation as ‘the’ holiday destination for the glamorous.
The city still has an air of luxury but is now much more accessible to all travellers. Nice’s interesting history, combined with the influence from different cultures that have walked its shores has made the city what it is today.
There are so many different parts of the city that are worth visiting…but to make things easier, we’ve made a list of our favourite spots to help you plan your holiday in the town of Nice.
Promenade des Anglais
We begin our list with the most famous place in Nice, and perhaps the whole of the French Riviera; Promenade des Anglais. This stretch of coastline spans seven kilometres. It’s where many come to relax in the heat of the Mediterranean sun, either on the beach, at one of the many seaside restaurants or sat on one of the famous blue chairs.
The promenade takes its name from the hundreds of English people who use to make their way over to Nice in the winter to avoid the bitter cold of their home country. It became a favourite winter vacation spot for the Brits.
The promenade is part of the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels in English), which is the coastline that extends from Nice to Cap d’Antibes. The famous Negresco hotel is situated on the promenade and it’s the epitome of the glamour once associated with the city.
One of the most authentic and prettiest parts of Nice is the Old Town otherwise known as le Vieux de Nice. With its shady alleyways, colourful facades and typically Mediterranean shutters, it attracts many tourists every year looking for a taste of authentic France.
The old town is brimming with restaurants, bars, ice cream shops and small stores selling typically Provencal items. Expect to find dried lavender, handmade olive oil shops and Provence Rosé.
It’s a great place to be in the evening, as happy hour starts around 5 pm attracting drinkers (both local and tourists). The town has a real buzz about it around this time. What to visit in Nice.
Cours Saleya Market
Just outside the old town you’ll find the Cours Saleya Market. From Tuesday to Sunday, the market comes alive with flowers! This flower market is one of the best, and the city is famous for the gorgeous blooms sold here. The market also sells a great deal of fresh fruit and vegetables every morning which is typically French.
On Monday the market turns into a flea market, it’s amazing to see the incredible trinkets on offer.
The Castle Hill park (le Parc de la Colline du Château) is located on the hill at the end of the promenade. It’s conveniently close to Cours Saleya making it a great stop following your time at the market.
The hill provides an incredible view of the city, you can see everything from the stretch of the promenade to the port and the mountains beyond.
Many think a castle sits upon the hill, but unfortunately, that castle is no more. The castle overlooked the bay of Nice from the 11th to the 18th century but was torn down when Louis XIV conquered the city.
Mount Boron is a Mediterranean forest located on the east of Nice. It has 11km of marked trails, surrounded by towering trees of pine and many rare species of plants. To make the most of the forest, we’d recommend doing this as a day trip so you can enjoy your surroundings.
From the fort of Mont-Alban, nestled in Mount Boron, you’ll see the most incredible views unfold in front of you. From Italy to Estérel, you’ll see both the bay of Villefranche, the peninsula of Cap-Ferrat, Nice and the mountainous of the Alps.
To get to Mont Boron, take bus number 14 from Nice.
Now, you can’t come to a vibrant city like Nice and not head into town. The nightlife in Nice is lively, but it can be hard for travellers to find the best spots in the city.
You’ll come across many bars whilst discovering the town, but sometimes it’s best to have some guidance. We host a great pub crawl of the city, we go to the best bars Nice. So, not only will you have an amazing night, but you’ll also meet a group of incredible people along the way.
Why not read our blog that talks about our favourite bars and clubs in Nice? If you decide to head on a bar crawl with us, you’ll definitely visit one of these bars! We really know how to party!
Try some local delicacies
One of the best things about travelling is trying the food, am I right? One of the nicest things about Nice (no pun intended), is the range of food that is specific to this region.
With Middle Eastern and Italian influences, some really interesting dishes have been created. Here is a list of all the things you have to try whilst in Nice.
- Socca: The most famous culinary specialities of Nice. It’s made from chickpea flour and usually served with a sprinkle of pepper.
- Panisse: Another speciality made from chickpea flour, but it is often fried.
- Pissaladière: flatbread with onions, olives and anchovies
- Salade niçoise: Tuna, tomatoes, salad and other raw vegetables, anchovies, hard-boiled eggs, olives and olive oil vinaigrette.
- Pan Bagnat: A sandwich version of the niçoise salad. All of the above nestled in a nice fresh bread roll.
There are many museums dotted around the city, all satisfying the tastes of different travelers.
Here is a list of our favourites and museums worth visiting in Nice:
- Palais lascaris (Old Town)
- Musée matisse (Arenes de Cimiez)
- Museum of modern and contemporary art (Promenade des Arts)
And viola, your trip to Nice is now organised! What to visit in Nice in one simple blog, you can thank us later!
Hopefully we’ll see you on one of our walking tours (we do a half day tour of Nice where you can tick off many of the highlights above in just over four hours) or our pub crawl of the city!