Top 10 picks for Nice

Couple on Nice waterfront, France

Nice is one of the biggest cities in Cote d’Azur and, we strongly believe, the most charming.

Here you can mix a perfect beach holiday with a spirited cultural agenda.

You’ll suck up the historical energy, with the French, Italian and other European influences running strong.

In the 19th century, for example, Nice was even considered a “Russian” resort. At that time, the “cream of Russian society” came here to escape St. Petersburg’s severe winters and the city was a favourite among Russia’s royal family.

These guys were known for their refined tastes, so if you like Nice you’ll be in good company.

Not particularly cheap for the penny-bound nomad, Nice nonetheless has enough to keep you enthralled for a day or two without breaking the bank.

Image credit: Papagnoc

10. Old Town

Nice opera house and old town, France

The old town has a peaceful feel.

Navigating the narrow streets is not always easy, sometimes they turn into a bit of labyrinth, but in the end it’s worth it – you will discover the real (we mean old) Nice.

The City town hall, cathedral and opera house are all worthy rewards.

Why not stop for a coffee on one of the open terraces or take a peek in one of the the numerous vintage shops?

Or, if you’re keen, you can check out the fish market – in the bowels of old Nice.

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9. Albert I Garden

Albert I gardens in Nice, France
This stately garden is a short walk north from Promenade des Anglais.

It was opened in 1914 and is named after Albert I, King of Belgium.

Until recently it was a huge construction site, but you’re in luck – because it was reopened ceremoniously in 2014.

The gardens hosts not only wonderful palm trees, generous lawns and fountains but also many works of contemporary art. It is a perfect spot to relax after some frantic shopping at Galeries Lafayette!

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8. Des Arènes de Cimiez

Arènes_de_Cimieznice-france-crEdouard Hue

This Roman amphitheater, built in the second century AD, is located in a picturesque park near the Matisse Museum.

The excavation area is open to public – so be sure to check out the mini archaeological museum here.

In the evening, the arena hosts music performances and dramatic open-air performances, often for free. The audience is dominated by locals, including bourgeois from the luxury villas nearby.

Watch for posters announcing performances in the city!

Image credit: Édouard Hue 

7. Matisse Museum

Matisse Museum in Nice France

Henri Matisse lived in Nice, almost half a century (from 1917 to 1954) and, on his death, bequeathed to his beloved city an impressive number of works.

The Matisse Museum in Cimiez district has perhaps the world’s largest collection of his works.

Paintings, sculptures and collages are tastefully exhibited in this 17th century villa on Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez. Entry is EUR 10.

Image credit: Chris Bontemps

6. Marc Chagall Museum

Moses and the burning bush - collection of Marc Chagall Museum

The National Marc Chagall Museum contains his most important works, including the 17 paintings which make up the famous Biblical Message.

The permanent collection contains over 400 paintings, gouaches, drawings, wash drawings and pastels.

Entry is free on first Sunday of each month and for EU citzens under 26. Worth visiting!

5. Cour Saleya flower market

Flower market in Nice

The flower market, located in the old town, near the ancient city wall, sells not only flowers but also all sorts of food.

Housewives and chefs from local restaurants will be seen filling up their stocks.

On Mondays, the picture changes: for a day, Cour Saleya turns into a flea market. You can find anything – from an old door handle to Hermes and Louis Vuitton vintage handbags.

4. Negresco Hotel

Hotel Negresco Nice France

The Negresco Hotel is a landmark in its own right.

This historic hotel recently celebrated its centenary, being not just a hotel, but an emblem of life itself on the riviera.

One of the best examples of “belle epoque” style, you can’t miss it on the the Promenade des Anglais.

Inside, some rooms are decorated in a classical style while others cater to contemporary tastes.

To enjoy the company of celebrities and millionaires will set you back about EUR 330, per night, in high season.

You can join the legend for less, however, with a cocktail in the oak paneled bar Le Relais. You may also like to spend an evening at the hotel’s restaurant Le Chantecler and its brasserie La Rotonde.

Image credit: Krzysztof Biegański

3. Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Villa Ephrusside Rothschild Nice France

The villa of eccentric Baroness Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild is another “must visit” for our list.

During seven years of construction (1905-1912, the capricious proprietor replaced 20 architects!

The villa is located on the headland of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, some 6 kilometers from Nice.

Rooms are lavishly decorated with works of art of from the 15th to 18th centuries. The Baroness collected them passionately and enthusiastically, sometimes haphazardly (there are a few odd picks in there).

There are seven gardens, too, in different styles, from Italian to Japanese.

Now the villa is open to the public, and is well worth exploring.

Do not forget to take an audio guide – you will learn a lot of interesting details about the turbulent life of the mistress.

Image credit:Mark McElroy 

2. Promenade des Anglais

Promenade des Anglais Nice France

Nice is defined by its five-kilometer Promenade des Anglais, which is literally impossible to miss!

It has the beach side facades are characteristic of the “belle epoque” style, combining neo-classical tradition with modern architectural elements.

In high season, there’ll be live music and entertainers to welcome the evening.

Have a walk, a hire a bike or even put on your roller skates next to the benevolent Mediterranean.

You can even settle down with your feet in the water and sink a beer.

When you get hungry, there are a bevy of great seafood options nearby.

Our picks are Le Festival de la Moule (mussels and french fries), Le Marlin (fish, fish, fish) or Taca d’Oli (great local fare, +33 4 93 80 70 93), all reasonably priced.

Image credit: Zaldi Camerino

1. Parc de la Colline du Chateau


At the far end of the Promenade, you’ll come to a set of stairs.

Ascend and be charmed as you climb into Parc de la Colline du Chateau, the spectacular highlight of a day in Nice.

Once atop the cooling greens and with the gentle Mediterranean breeze on your face, you are well advised to find a place to sit, watch the sun set and sip some white wine.

The views are gorgeous, with the sea and Promenade opening up for you on one side and the alps on the other. Not bad!

There’s a small kiosk up top offering champagne, beer and ice cream, perfect for an August evening, or you can rely on some trusty supplies from Carrefour.

What are your friendly tips? Don’t be shy. Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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