Nice, France is the capital of the French Riviera. It has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and delicious food with cuisine influenced by both France and Italy. It’s also the perfect base to explore more of France and the amazing areas surrounding it.
Nice has a little bit of everything, but it’s the lifestyle that will make you want to extend your stay.
Nice is a city of around 350,000 people, located along the French Riviera. The main areas of the city centre include Nice Old Town (Vielle Ville), the port area, Carre d’Or and Musiciens. These areas essentially spread out in a half-circle from a square called Place Massena — the other half of the circle is the sea!
Nice Old Town (Vielle Ville) is between the waterfront, the port area, Place Garibaldi and Place Massena. If you continue along the coast past Nice Port, you will eventually reach a beautiful area also worthy of visiting, Villefranche-sur-Mer. If you head in the other direction from Nice Old Town you will reach Nice Airport.
Nice city centre is filled with great restaurants, shops, and colourful markets to explore.
Where to stay in Nice
In Nice, there are quite a few great hotels but the best value for money is in the many Airbnb options. Staying in an apartment is great in Nice, as there are many markets and the produce is of such a high quality you may find yourself wanting to cook.
Things to look for when choosing where to stay include wifi, great location, and good reviews. Some of the best locations to stay in Nice would be Nice Old Town, the Port area, and Carre d’Or. Many of the big brands have a presence in Nice if you have a favourite chain or belong to a loyalty program. Also check out effectify.com for information on how to earn free stays.
What to eat in Nice
You can find delicious French food in Nice, including local specialities such as socca (think chickpea pancake), Nicoise salad and fried zucchini flowers. Nice Old Town is filled with cosy traditional French restaurants.
Due to the city’s location near Italy, you can also find delicious Italian food here too. There is really something for everyone, as you can also find a variety of other cuisines in Nice.
There are plenty of speciality food stores such as fromageries to get your cheese, boulangeries and patisseries to get your bread, snacks and other pastries and even shops selling fresh pasta and gnocchi. The Cours Saleya market is also full of delicious fruits and vegetables.
If you’re after supermarkets, some of the best ones are Monoprix, Carrefour City and Bio C’Bon.
How to get around Nice
The best way to get around Nice is by foot. It’s a very walkable city, and most attractions and things to do are close to each other.
Otherwise, another great way to get around and an activity in itself is the Nice bike sharing system, Velo Bleu. Make sure to set yourself up online first, and then you can use the many bike stations throughout Nice.
Nice also has good tram and bus systems in place if you’re looking to explore other neighbourhoods.
Day trips from Nice
There are so many amazing places to visit surrounding Nice. Places like Monaco, villages in Provence and more towns along the French Riviera, are all easy day trips from Nice.
Monaco and most towns along the French Riviera can be reached easily by train. Regional train tickets can be bought at the station on the day.
Some villages in Provence are best reached by bus. Bus tickets can usually be bought from the driver on the bus, ask at the tourist office for more information.
To and from the airport
The main ways to get to and from Nice Airport are bus and taxi or Uber. The bus numbers to look for are #99 #98 and #23, depending on where you are going.
Taxis can have a bad reputation in Nice, so it might be best to opt for Uber instead.
Some of the best things to do in Nice are free. Take in the architecture and daily life by walking around Nice Old Town. Wander through the markets and walk along the Promenade des Anglais. If you want to see magnificent views over Nice and the coast, walk to the top of Castle Hill.
Want to spend the day at the beautiful beaches of Nice? Won’t cost you a thing. The colour of the water in Nice is so blue you find yourself staring at it forever, partly because it’s so beautiful and partly because you’re sure it’s been edited.
If you don’t mind a bit of walk, you can follow the coast around to Villefranche-sur-Mer. Not only will you see some of the most beautiful waters along the way, but Villefranche-sur-Mer is also worth exploring.
Although you can spend the day at the beach for free, Nice also has sections of the beach that are like private beach clubs. Here, you may have a daybed, restaurant, wifi, showers and you can make a whole day of it.
Nice is also home to many museums, including the Matisse museum, Chagall museum and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Bastille Day, on July 14th, is celebrated in Nice with a range of different events and fireworks.
Nice Carnival takes place over a two-week period in February/March, and is one of the oldest carnivals in the world. There are different parades, floats, and events to enjoy each day, so it’s best to plan to be there for a full weekend or more, if you can.
Where to next?
From Nice, you can easily explore other areas of the French Riviera, Provence, Monaco and even Italy within 30 minutes by train. To go further afield, you can reach many other countries in Europe by train from Nice, and there is also an international airport.
We absolutely love Nice and hope you do too!