Nice, France Travel Guide
Nice is a crowd jewel of the famous French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur region in the south of France. It is the best major city to begin a vacation in the Provence region, and many millions of people visit this colorful, eclectic city each year! From the pastel colored buildings to the sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea at its doorstep, there’s so much charm to Nice, France. (PS, it’s pronounced like “niece” in English, not “nice” as in kind!)
Nice, France was a favorite destination for 19th century European elite, though its roots go back to Greek origins! French artist Henri Matisse later moved to Nice and the city operates a must-visit museum commemorating his works and life.
If you’re thinking about planning a trip to Nice, then keep reading for my best travel recommendations!
Nice is located in the south of France, accepts the Euro as currency, and its inhabitants speak French.
Best Time of Year
The high season for Nice travel is definitely the summer months of June, July, and August. You will see far fewer crowds if you visit outside of these months, but then again, you won’t get to experience Nice at its prime!
Nice has its own airport (NCE), which operates direct flights from JFK during the summer season. Those flights can be quite expensive though, so your best bet is to fly into Paris (CDG) and take a train or budget flight to Nice from there!
Where to Stay & Eat in Nice
Luxury hotels in Nice: Le Negresco, Hyatt Regency Nice Palais
Boutique/Mid-Range hotels in Nice: Le Meridien
Budget hotels in Nice: Best Western Plus Hôtel Masséna, Hôtel Oasis, Hôtel Ozz by HappyCulture
Restaurant LES GARÇONS – 3 Rue Centrale
Chez Acchiardo – 38 Rue Droite
Les Sens – 37 Rue Pastorelli
Comptoir du Marché – 8 Rue du Marché
La Rossettisserie – 8 Rue Mascoinat
Emilie and the Cool Kids – 9 Rue Alberti
HOBO COFFEE – 5 Bis Rue Sainte-Reparate
What to Do & See in Nice
Promenade des Anglais – The most famous aspect of Nice is its sprawling seaside walkway, the Promenade des Anglais, which translates to “Walkway of the English.” It got its name from the wealthy English tourists who traveled there in the 19th century to spend their holidays and walk near the sea.
Colline du Chateau – Also called Castle Hill, the Colline du Chateau is a massive mountain to the east of Nice’s old town. You can take the elevator if you must, but I highly recommend hiking up the hill instead. You’ll be rewarded with one of the most stunning views over Nice and the Mediterranean Sea ever! This park is the former location of a castle, but unfortunately it was demolished by Louis XIV in 1706. Even so, this adventure was one of my favorite things to do while I was in Nice over the summer!
Nice Beaches – Why not spend the day at one of the best beaches in Nice? From Castel Plage to Ruhl Plage, you can find a lounge chair to rent for the day for between 17 and 25 euros and bask under the sun to your heart’s content!
Cours Saleya Market – The south of France is famous for its outdoor markets and the Cours Saleya is the best one to visit in Nice! Come here for fresh fruits and vegetables, beautiful flowers and numerous local Provençal products from the region.
Vielle Ville – The old town of Nice is a dream. From small walkways to cute restaurants and little shops, you’re sure to spend hours wandering this little piece of Nice’s history. Much of the architecture appears Italian, as Nice was actually part of Italy until 1860! Stop by an ice cream shop (glacier) when its hot out, or enjoy a tasty crêpe when it’s cooler.
Place Massena – You should definitely pass through Place Massena during your visit to Nice and admire the stunning colorful architecture and checkered floor tiles of this beautiful open square. Plus, there’s a beautiful sculpture of Apollo with a water fountain (Fontaine du Soleil) in the center!
Lascaris Palace – This musical instrument museum has some incredible traditional French interiors that are worth a visit alone! Plus, entry is free to all.
The south of France is one of the best places you can travel to as an art lover. The whole region is teeming with museums and foundations dedicated to the great artists. Luckily, Nice has quite a few museums to visit within the city limits!
MAMAC Nice – 1 Place Yves Klein
Musée Matisse – 164 Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez
Marc Chagall National Museum – Avenue Dr Ménard
You should absolutely try to explore the surrounding region during your visit to Nice! Menton was my favorite day trip from Nice, but you can also explore the larger cities of Avignon and Aix-en-Provence for an unforgettable experience.
What’s your favorite part of Nice?