Nice is an amazing destination located on the Mediterranean coast of France. The Cote d’Azur area was once renowned as a haven for the rich and famous, but Nice is actually an affordable destination featuring delicious cuisine, museums, beaches and a happening nightlife.
The Cote d’Azur area, situated on the south-eastern coast of France is a hugely popular travel destination because of the fabulous weather, gorgeous seascapes and amazing beaches. Nice features a dynamic commercial center that makes it a great base for exploring the southern regions of France and even side trips to Italy.
Even though it is the fifth largest city in France, Nice attracts an amazing 4 million visitors a year. The inhabitants of Nice have a reputation as enjoying a leisurely pace in life and indulging in simple pleasures.
Nice is set between the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels) and the inland foot lands of the French Alps, and is 560 miles south of Paris. You’ll want to visit if you love exotic landscapes, delicious food and endless days of sun.
What to Do If You Can Only Make A Short Visit
Nice is worth visiting whether you can spare 6 hours, 6 days or 6 months. If you find yourself with only a few days to visit Nice, you will want to spend some time sauntering along the crystal blue waters of the Baie des Anges. Be sure to also visit Vielle Ville, the historic area of Nice where you will find terrific shops, restaurants, bars and beautiful historic buildings.
If you want to take in the gorgeous views that Nice offers, climb to the top of Le Chateau where you will find breathtaking views of the city and Mediterranean Sea.
Even with a short trip, a visit to at least one of the Nice museums is warranted. Just take a look at this list of their museums!
- Massena Museum of Art and History
- Musée National Message Biblique Marc Chagall
- Prehistoric Museum of Terra Amata
- Photography and Picture Theatre
- Franciscan Museum and Cimiez Monastery
- Museum Gallery Alexis and Gustav Adolf Mossa
- Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain
- Musée d’Art et d’Histoire Palais Masséna
- Naval Museum
- Musée International d’Art Naïf Anatole-Jakovsky (Museum of Naïve Art)
Of course, you will spend much your time sauntering along the Promenade des Anglais (called La Prom by the locals). This gorgeous seafront area features beach access, hotels, casinos and many open-air cafes to enjoy leisurely meals. La Prom contours the bay for about four miles and is a great spot for bike rides or people watching tourists and locals from the comfy blue chairs lining the waterfront.
Most of the main tourist areas are relatively compact and within walking distance to central hotels. If you want to venture further out, Nice has a great public bus system and taxis are plentiful and easily arranged from your hotel.
If you have secured a central hotel, you may want to forego a rental car because it is best to explore the area on foot and parking prices are pretty steep. Getting around on a bike is another great way to see the city.
Well, if you so desire, you can book a double decker, open top bus tour. These tours are in English and are available through Nice Le Grand Tour (departures are every 30 minutes from 9:30am to 6:30 pm).
Another popular tour is available from the Nice Convention Visitors Bureau, which offers weekly 2.5 hour walking tours in both French and English. These informative tours focus on Nice’s unique history and architecture.
Or, for something different, there is a 40-minute city tour on the Little Tourist Train, which departs every 30 minutes everyday from June to August (10 am – 7pm) check with the operator for days and times during other months.
Beaches & Water Sports
Not surprisingly, water sports and lounging on the beach are popular pastimes in the Nice area If you’d like to enjoy the water, try swimming in the gorgeous waters of the Baie des Anges. You will find plenty of public and private beaches dotting the stretch along the Promenade des Anglais. Be warned though, these aren’t the sandy beaches of the Caribbean; these beaches are all smooth pebbles so you may be more comfortable wearing water shoes (or sandals). Of course, public beaches are free – but you may find the crowds troublesome. Another option is to pay for the private beaches where your entry fee includes a lounge chair, umbrella, showers, change rooms etc. These private beaches run from 10€/day and depending on the beach, it may also have bar service, waterfront restaurant and water sport rentals.
If you’re intent on partaking in water sports, why not check out the waterskiing, parasailing, and windsurfing offered by different outfits along the Promenade.
If your idea of fun is browsing the shops, then you won’t be disappointed in Nice. With almost 7,000 shops, you’ll find many different ways to kiss your Euros goodbye! You’ll find Nice to have an amazing selection of locally produced food, high-end boutiques, Provencal crafts and wonderful markets.