Nice is the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes département and the 7th most populous civic city in France. Its area is about 721 square kilometers with more than 1 million inhabitants.
The City of Nice is situated on the French Riviera and it is the second-largest city of France on the Mediterranean coast. It is also the second-largest city in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur trailing the city of Marseille.
Nice is located about 30 kilometers from the border of Italy and France. In addition, it is 13 kilometers from Monaco and its airport serves the region. The nickname of the city is ‘Nice la Bella’ which can be translated to ‘Nice the Beautiful’ in English.
Nice la Bella is the title of the city’s unofficial anthem which was written in 1912 by Menica Rondelly. The city is a great place to be especially if you are touring the French Riviera.
Highlights of Nice
There are lots of interesting things that make Nice to be thick. You will find the Terra Amata which is an archaeological site displaying the proof of ancient use of fire. The city’s vital location and the presence of port have helped its maritime development.
Nice’s natural environment attracted the English upper classes in the eleventh hour of the 18th century. This opened up the city for tourism and has boosted its economy. That is why the major seaside promenade in the city was named Promenade des Anglais (Walkway of the English).
The city’s clear air as well as soft light have enticed famous painters like Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall and Arman. You will find their works in museums in the city like Musée des Beaux-Arts, Musée Matisse and Musée Marc Chagall.
The hotel capacity in Nice is the second largest in the country. It is one of France’s most visited cities with over 4 million annual tourists. As the capital of the County of Nice, its airport is the third busiest in the country.
Nice is an ideal place to visit, in fact, one of the best in Europe. With top art galleries and museums set aside for Matisse and Chagall, this is surely the best city to be. Whether you are visiting alone or with your family, there are fun spots that will turn you on from the beginning to the end.
The weather here is friendly and that is why so many tourists flood here every year. Exploring Nice is not as easy as ABC, especially for a stranger, and that is the essence of this guide. You will be exposed to the best ways to enjoy the city so that your trip will be successful.
What are the best things to do in Nice? Let’s explore together.
- Promenade des Anglais
The Walkway of the English is a cool place to visit when you are in Nice. It is a splendid walkway adjoining the Mediterranean. It is a basic part of the city life that was recreated in the 1820s.
Famous Promenade des Anglais plays host to the bouncy Nice Carnival parade which is usually held every February. Families, couples skateboarders and joggers can also be found passing through this route all year round.
Promenade des Anglais bends for 7 kilometres and you will find the 19th-century palaces on its eastern part. You can be seated on the beaches or take shade under pergolas or palm trees.
- Vieille Ville
Vieille Ville is the oldest portion of the city and contrast of modern boulevards and broad squares. It is a combination of alleys with restaurants and local shops. You will also find lively cafes which remain bubbling until the early hours of the day.
Parc de la Colline du Château
Parc de la Colline du Château is located on the eastern part of the city. It features a steep hill from which you can catch a glimpse of the French Riviera. You will also have the opportunity of seeing the blue sea in the Baie des Anges from the hilltop.
You can easily catch the sight of great landmarks like the port and Hotel Negresco. You can get to the top of the hill by foot from Vieille Ville if you are fit. However, there is a free elevator on the ground to help you during summer.
- Musée Marc Chagall
Musée Marc Chagall is a museum named after the artist whose works are exhibited there. Its garden layout is well designed and there is a concert hall with stained-glass windows.
The museum’s major goal is to show the great works of Marc Chagall. These include the series of 17 paintings having biblical themes – the Old and New Testament. These works include Resistance, Liberation triptych, Resurrection, just to mention a few.
- Nice Cathedral
This cathedral is situated in Vieille Ville and a landmark to behold with its patterned dome. It was constructed in 1600s with splendid, bizarre design and has 10 well-decorated chapels. You will be amazed by the paintings, sculptures and gilding.
When you step into the square in front of the cathedral for the first time, you may be confused. There is every chance that you won’t get the picture that it is the cathedral for the city.
However, when you get into the cathedral, it becomes a different ball game. Its alluring designs will keep you entranced that you may not want to leave.
- Cours Saleya Market
Cours Saleya flower market is situated in the old quarter of the city. It is a place where you can purchase flowers and fresh produce. It is opened every day except Mondays when it is used as a flea market.
If you will be staying in an apartment during your trip to Nice, this market is an ideal place to shop. Apart from fresh produce, you will be able to buy regional delicacies such as socca which is produced on site. The flowers here are sourced from Alpes-Maritimes and Provence countryside.
The flower stalls remain open till 5.30pm when the food sellers would have closed for the day. You may be tempted with free samples by many sellers so that you will not leave their stalls without buying. In order to avoid the tourist rush, you should arrive at the market early.
- Musée Masséna
Donated in 1919 to the city by the Duke of Rivoli, this 19th-century edifice is situated on Promenade des Anglais. It was donated on the provision that it should be used as a museum to display local history to the public.
There are gardens designed by famous Édouard André who also designed the garden at Monte Carlo Casino. Some of the great works exhibited in this museum include Napoleon’s death mask and his wife’s Tiara. On the second floor is the collection of 19th-century French art.
- Dining in Nice
There are lots of delicacies that can be enjoyed in the city of Nice. Salade Niçoise is a local dish made from a hard-boiled egg, tomatoes, green beans, Caillier olives and anchovies.
Salade Niçoise is a very popular French cuisine and your trip to Nice isn’t complete if you don’t try it. You will love it with Bandol’s rosé wine or Bellet’s white.
Another popular dish in Nice is known as Socca. It is a casual street food produced with chickpea flour. It is a cross between pancake and flatbread with vendors selling it in the old quarter.
You will also love Ratatouille, a popular vegetable stew in Nice. It is produced from aubergine, tomato, peppers and courgettes. Other delicacies include onion tart and fougasse bread. You will not mind Daube Niçoise, a grilled-beef stew, with tomatoes, bacon as well as red wine.
- Parc Phoenix
Located on the western part of Promenade des Anglais, this park is really a great place to be. If you will be visiting with your kids, this is an ideal park for you and your family.
Kids get in free of charge but adults have to pay €3 to enter. There are so many side attractions in the park and you will enjoy every bit of them.
With 20 themed zones and 2,500 plant species, you may not be able to get it better elsewhere. The plants grow in the latest greenhouse which is one of the biggest in Europe and in an array of gardens.
In addition, there is an animal region with various animals like otters, turtles, tropical spiders and so on. Wandering about at will in the greenhouse are Chilean flamingos as well as iguanas.
- Nice Beaches
Beaches on this part of the world are pebbly and very beautiful to tread. There are private and public beaches with various features for fun seekers. You can make use of private sections so that you will be more comfortable.
- Monastère de Cimiez
Monastère de Cimiez is located on the northern side of the city centre. It was established far back in the 9th century by the Benedictines. It is along Boulevard de Cimiez which happens to be one of the most splendid roads in Nice.
Boulevard de Cimiez can boast of bizarre 19th-century hotels as well as mansions. Monastère de Cimiez has charming gardens with topiaries, flower beds, pergolas, geometric lawns and so on.
- Other Museums
The Matisse Museum has one of the biggest collections in the world and it is located in Cimiez. On the other side of the city, behind the Phoenix Park, you will find the Museum of Asian Art with a pavilion for a Japanese tea ceremony.
In addition, there is the Museum of Modern Contemporary Art (Musée d’art Moderne et d’art Contemporain), MAMAC. At this museum, you will find on display pieces from Lichtenstein, Yves Klein and Warhol.
Your visit to Nice can never be complete if you don’t see the Cap-Ferrat. It is located on the eastern part of the city, precisely on the Boulevard Napoléon III. The area features 20th-century mansions that are delightful to typical tourists.
You can get into Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild so that you can see treasured sculptures, paintings and furniture. Also, Cap-Ferrat is lined by a coastal track with opportunities of taking pictures on the Riviera’s fabled bumpy coastline.
- Allianz Riviera Stadium
This stadium hosts the city’s major football club, OGC Nice. This 35,000-capacity stadium was purposely built for Euro 2016 hosted by France. From August to May every year, you can watch live football matches at the stadium.
- Mont Boron
This mountain is situated between Cap-Ferrat and the sea port in Nice. It has a height of about 200 meters and pushes up sharply from the water. It is open terrain with carob, olive and pine groves adorning it.
You can stroll to the southwestern part of the mountain to catch a view of Baie des Anges and Colline du Château. If you go to the other side, you will be able to see Cap-Ferrat clearly. However, this mountain is only open during summer.
Nice is a beautiful city to see and that is why it is usually called Nice la Bella. It is the best place for you to enjoy your vacation, especially with your family. With other great features like the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Musée des Beaux Arts and Palais de la Méditerranée, this is the best place to be.
With this guide, the puzzle ‘where is Nice located‘ should no longer bother you. The city is packed full of landmarks and attractions which will make your vacation memorable. If you really want to get the best from your trip, and get into the insights of the city, you might consider taking a walking tour around the old town of Nice finished with the best views from the Castle Hill of Nice.