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The best things to do in
Nice

Language:   French

Currency: EUR

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Nice is one of the most popular cities in the French Riviera. It is a city that combines the glitz and glamor of the region with the grit and grime of the real world much like Hollywood. Rather than film stars, however, Nice is a city of wealth and luxury with a vibrant atmosphere thanks to its location by the Mediterranean Sea.

Considered the Jewel of the Riviera, the French city has long been influenced by Italy, and this impact can be seen along the streets. Nice is a city where the hustle and bustle of life can melt away, and travelers move from one landmark to another while taking advantage of the wonderful things to do in Nice. Alternatively, you can just sit under the warm sun for hours and enjoy the sounds of the sea.

Nice is a destination with a certain je ne sais quoi, perfect for any traveler looking for a unique vacation destination. Here are some of the best things to do in Nice France:

Some of the best things to do in Nice

Vieille Ville

Vieille Ville

Perhaps the most famous building here is Cathedrale Sainte-Réparate (Nice Cathedral). The 17th-century Baroque architecture cathedral is a popular place among tourists exploring Vieille Ville. It's located west of a square with an abundance of restaurants and gift stores surrounding it.

The square also hosts La Fontaine historique d'Obélisque, a drinking water fountain directly opposite the cathedral. It's an excellent place to take a break while exploring the best Nice has to offer.

Reaching several Nice landmarks from the Vieille Ville is easy. Palais de la Prefecture is a 17th-century Baroque church that is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. There is also the Baroque Palais Lascaris, which was also built in the 17th century and housed the Counts of Castellar.

Place Masséna

Place Masséna

One place that's hard to ignore is Place Masséna. The historic square is at the heart of Nice, and you'll likely see a crowd of tourists here regardless of the time of the day you choose to visit. Here, you'll also find Fontaine du Soleil (a fountain with bronze sculptures and a statue of Apollo), which is perhaps Nice's most notable landmark.

Behind the fountain, to the east, is one of the main entrances into Vieille Ville. All around the Place Massena are a variety of restaurants, retail shops, and hotels, so you're never far away from delightful shopping or mouth-watering authentic French cuisine.

The square is bordered to the south by Jardin Albert 1er garden and crosses paths with Promenade du Paillon. You should also take some time to enjoy the soothing sound of the trams as they pass through the square. You can also board one and get a ride around town.

Promenade du Paillon

Promenade du Paillon

Stretching from Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain and Théâtre National de Nice down to Promenade des Anglais, Promenade Du Paillon is a beautiful verdant park in the heart of Nice. This urban park, which won the grand prize at the Victoires du Paysage in 2014, is a wonderful place to visit during your trip to Nice.

While there's plenty of greenery all along the park's path where you can relax and have a picnic as you admire the architecture of the surrounding buildings, the park's main attraction is Miroir d’Eau, a section of the park with water jets just west of Fontaine du Soleil. Popular among tourists young and old, you should join other visitors in the tradition of getting close to the water show. Don't be afraid to get wet.

An interesting fact about Promenade du Paillon is that it is built over the Paillon River. That's how it got its name. However, don't let walking over a river spook you. The Paillon River is dry most of the time and was the subject of jokes among the locals and visitors before the park was built in 2013. If you're curious about the river, walking up north past Palais des Expositions will reveal its unconcealed parts.

Promenade des Anglais

Promenade des Anglais

According to studies, Nice gets 174 days of “strong sun” a year, so warm weather seekers should feel happy here.

Anyone looking for a break from winter or a proper sunny summer should head to Nice and experience Promenade des Anglais. The street is the most popular attraction in the city as it offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea across the seemingly endless stretch of beaches.

The diversion of traffic makes it easy to stroll along Promenade des Anglais and lap up the sunlight. This casual walk will likely top your list of things to do in Nice that are unforgettable.

Port Lympia

Port Lympia

While it's certainly not one of the largest ports on the French Riviera, you'll find yachts of various sizes and fishing boats ready to take on the Mediterranean Sea. Around the port, you'll also find restaurants to enjoy fine Mediterranean cuisine and buildings in pastel pink, mango yellow, and deep crimson red. The scene could well be straight out of Italy or an impressionist painting.

While at Port Lymbia, you can't miss Monument aux Morts de Rauba-Capeù, a 32-meter-high war memorial across the street from the port.

Monument aux morts de Rauba-Capeù

Monument aux morts de Rauba-Capeù

Monument aux morts de Rauba-Capeù (The Monument to the Dead of Rauba-Capeua) was built between 1924 and 1928 by Roger Séassal, an architect known for his work throughout Nice. The imposing monument, built in honor of the individuals from Nice who lost their lives during the First World War, is one of the biggest cenotaphs in France.

The stunning monument, which is 32 meters high, is situated at the bottom of Castle Hill, directly opposite Port Lympia. Here, visitors can take in stunning views of the surrounding area and La Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels) while sitting and honoring the memory of those the monument was built to remember.

After spending some time at the monument, you can walk up Castle Hill to Parc de la Colline du Chateau, where you can see a panoramic view of Nice.

Musée Matisse

Musée Matisse

As the name suggests, the Musée Matisse is a gallery featuring the work of French painter Henri Matisse. Housed in a stunning 17th Century Villa, the museum first opened its doors in 1963. It is one of the world's largest displays of Matisse's work, featuring some of his most-known and loved paintings, sculptures, and sketches.

Henri Matisse, who lived in Nice between 1917 and 1954, donated many of the artwork within this museum to the gallery. It also features numerous personal artifacts donated by his estate and heirs, allowing visitors to gain an even deeper understanding of the artist, his work, and his life.

Musée Masséna

Musée Masséna

Visitors looking to learn more about Nice's rich history should step through the doors of the Musée Masséna, located on Promenade des Anglais, next door to Le Negresco Hotel. Within the walls of this historic Villa, visitors can learn more about the history of the region and explore the exhibits dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte.

One major selling point of the museum is the property's expertly maintained floor, allowing visitors to see how the Villa, designed by architect Hans Georg Tersling, looked in its glory years. You can also explore the gardens, which were landscaped by the highly-regarded Edouard Andre.

If you're interested in learning more about Napoleon and his family or the history of one of France's most stunning regions and cities, Musee Massena is a wonderful place to visit.

Le Negresco Hotel

Le Negresco Hotel

In addition to being a storied hotel with tastefully furnished rooms and themed suites, Le Negresco has an extensive collection of artwork decorating its hallways, suites, and its famous Royal Reception Room. Each floor has different art themes, and if you're staying at the hotel, you're encouraged to wander around the floors to appreciate the art collection.

Guests at the hotel who like vintage items may enjoy taking a ride on the elevator, which has maintained its look since the hotel's opening in 1913. The look includes the classic control on the inside, which has since been decommissioned in favor of something more modern.

If you decide to stay at another one of Nice's fabulous hotels, you can still appreciate the artwork decorating most of the interior by reserving a table at Le Chantecler, the hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant. Remember to book well in advance as the restaurant is very popular, and even guests at the hotel may not be able to get a spot easily at short notice.

Other Art Museums

Other Art Museums

Pinning down just one must-visit art museum in Nice is difficult. The city is home to an eclectic range of art museums that should be explored by those who love art and history.

Parc de la Colline du Chateau

Parc de la Colline du Chateau

Parc de la Colline du Chateau (Castle Hill Park) overlooks the sea, and tourists from all over the globe head there to snap selfies with Promenade des Anglais behind them. If you're seeking the best view of the promenade, you'll find it here close to the waterfall. The park is a perfect relaxation spot to finish off a day of sightseeing and exploration.

It is also a great way to burn calories after eating rich French food. If you're wondering why it's called Castle Hill Park, it's because the location had a military citadel from the 11th to the 18th centuries. After multiple bombardments over the years, it was finally destroyed by King Louis XIV in 1706.

You can walk to the park from Vieille Ville, but if you're not in the mood for an uphill hike, there's also an elevator that ascends the hill, allowing visitors to save their energy for further exploration once they arrive at the summit.

Mont Boron

Mont Boron

You can make the case that Nice's most alluring attraction is the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea it offers via Parc de la Colline du Chateau or Promenade des Anglais. However, what you may not find in many travel guides is information on the fantastic views from Mont Boron. As the name suggests, Mont Boron is on a hill east of Port Lympia.

Once you make it to the top, you'll find Parc du Mont Boron, a large park with hiking trails to help you burn off the calories from the sumptuous French cuisine you've been taking advantage of during your trip. Within the park, you'll also find Fort du Mont Alban, a 16th-century fort that still has its structure mostly intact. While the fort's interior isn't accessible to the public, history buffs will enjoy observing the well-preserved exterior.

But the main attraction of Mont Boron is the gorgeous views of the Mediterranean Sea that are arguably better than what you'll observe from Parc de la Colline du Chateau. As if that wasn't enough, looking down the slope to the east will reveal some gorgeous villas to make you appreciate the best part of living on the Mediterranean coast. The ideal place to enjoy these views is Point de vue sur Villefranche Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, close to the park's east entrance.

Unlike other parts of Nice, you won't find a crowd of tourists here, so you can enjoy the clear air and views in a serene environment.

Libération

Libération

Tucked into the center of Nice, this dynamic neighborhood exudes a unique charm that seamlessly blends history with a contemporary allure. This spot is a haven for food lovers, offering an array of mouthwatering delicacies at its bustling markets like Marché de la Libération, inviting bistros, and artisanal shops. The neighborhood's rich heritage, with colorful facades and architectural gems like the restored Gare du Sud railway station will captivate history buffs who will love the sense of a bygone era.

Marche aux Fleurs Cours Saleya

Marche aux Fleurs Cours Saleya

Located on the southern border of Vieille Ville, Marche aux Fleurs Cours Saleya is an outdoor fruit and flower market that anthophiles will surely enjoy. Open every day except Monday, the vendors sell a range of colorful fresh flowers, herbs, and an assortment of fruits and vegetables. The market also has a section for antics.

The aroma of the flowers and the fresh Mediterranean breeze offer a soothing atmosphere that’ll make you want to stay in the market all day, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. If you’re into street food, plenty of options are available, including Pan Bagnat, Pissaladière, and the local favorite, Socca.

In the Summer Months (June-September), the market is open late into the night. This allows visitors to shop underneath the stars. Be sure to stop by an ATM before visiting the market, as most vendors will only accept cash.

Château de Crémat

Château de Crémat

Both serious and casual wine enthusiasts can visit the tasting rooms to experience the delight of some of the best wines in the region sourced from organic grapes from the vineyards around the chateau.

You can either come in for quick wine tasting, take a full tour of the vineyard and the delightful interior of the chateau, or spend up to 5 hours in a picnic in the gardens, where you’ll enjoy the curated picnic basket with pissaladière, crudites, cheese, and local favorite, pan bagnat. Taking advantage of the picnic option is a wonderful way to enjoy the tranquil environment here while you savor fine wine and tasty local dishes.

Before you leave, you should stop by the shop on the premises to get a bottle or two of your favorite wine.

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

The villa's grounds are just as impressive as the building, with nine gardens, each with a different theme. Beyond the villa, other attractions include glorious beaches, Villa Les Cèdres (once the most expensive house on earth), and the Cap Ferrat semaphore built under the instruction of Emperor Napoleon III.

AGS Formule 1 at Circuit du Var

Just 90 minutes away from Nice, AGS Formule 1 at Circuit du Var is perfect for the car enthusiast during a trip to Nice. After enjoying the various attractions the city has to offer, travelers can visit AGS Formule 1 to explore the 1.4-mile-long auto racing track.

Visitors can take advantage of the driving courses and speed around the track in a Formula One car. The tight corners and fast straightaways will give drivers a real sense of what it’s like to be a Formula One driver. Visitors can choose from a number of Formula One cars as they learn the ins and outs from highly trained driving instructors.

Nice is a beautiful city full of culture. Both French and Italian residents have influenced it over the centuries, and its past comes to life through the city streets. The South of France city is a must-visit for any traveler who wants to see some of the best views the Mediterranean has to offer. Beyond the sublime views, the long list of things to do in Nice will keep you appreciating the allure of the city long after your visit.


Weather

Socca

Local Favorite: Socca

Socca is a street food you will find around the gorgeous French Riveria city of Nice. The food item is a thin, crusty pancake made from chickpeas cooked in a woodfire pizza-style oven. While the hot side is crusty, the inside of a socca is soft. You will see kids tucking into Socca following a day at school. It is also a food item locals enjoy with a glass of wine or beer at a bar. Rumors suggest socca originated in 1543 when Turkish armies invaded Nice. As the story goes, the Nice fighters ran out of bullets so, they mixed chickpea soup and hot oil. They then poured the mixture down the walls of the city onto the heads of the Turks. Regardless of how effective that was, the Nice fighters tasted the oil and chickpea mix and immediately fell in love with it.

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