France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   What to See & Do in Nice, France
The heart of the Côte d'Azur (French Riviera), Nice has many attractions for visitors.

 




Famous Nice olives, France

Above, Many varieties of
olives in Nice markets.


 

   

 

Nice is known for its beautiful coastline, and in particular the Promenade des Anglais, a long coastal walkway built by the British in the early 1800s. No matter what the season, on a sunny day people will stroll along, enjoying the beautiful blue water of the Baie des Anges on one side, and interesting architecture on the other (with multiple traffic lanes in between).

All along the promenade are small beaches, many featuring restaurants. The beach is not soft sand, but rather small stones and coarse sand, so be sure to have some footwear. In summer expect crowds.

Tourist trains depart from the east end of the Promenade des Anglais, not far from Place Masséna. The 45 minute tour, with commentary in multiple languages, provides a good introduction to Nice.

The Promenade continues as the Quai des États-Unis, so named after President Wilson brought US support to World War I.

Towering above the Quai is Château Hill, site of a former fortress, destroyed in the early 18th century. Reached via an elevator or stairs, the Hill provides panoramic views of the Baie des Anges and the City.

From the top you'll also see the Port de Nice, with its many yachts, fishing boats, and ferries to Corsica and elsewhere. The port is lined with colorful historic buildings, many of which are restaurants.

Inland from the Quai des États-Unis, and west of Château Hill is the Vieille Ville, or Old City. Old Nice is a warren of narrow streets that is fun to explore on foot. There are many shops and restaurants, and it's a good place for inexpensive shopping and eating, in a charming setting. Many street signs are written in both French and Provençal.

Old Nice is also home to some of Nice's famous churches. The Basilique-Cathédrale Sainte-Marie - Sainte-Réparate (often called simply Sainte-Réparate) is known for its bell tower and tiled dome. Sainte-Réparate was a young martyr who died in 250 and who is also the patron saint of Nice.

The Chapelle de la Miséricorde, a notable yellow building overlooking the Cours Saleya in Old Nice, was built by the Black Penitants in 1740, and its facade was recently restored.

The Cours Saleya today serves as the site of a wonderful market. The colorful blooms of the Marché aux Fleurs are on the west end, while the rest is a lively display of produce, prepared foods, soaps, and more. It's open every morning except Monday, when there is an Antiques market. The market is lined with restaurants that provide wonderful spots for enjoying the winter sun (or summer shade) along with a Salade Niçoise or a cup of coffee.

From the Cours Saleya it's just a few steps through an arched doorway back to the coast.

Nice is also known for its many museums, ranging from prehistory to contemporary art. Some of the better known museums include the Musée Matissse, the Musée Marc-Chagall, the Musée des Beaux-Arts Jules-Chéret (Fine Arts Museum), and the Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain.

The Archaeological Museum is located near the Gallo-Roman Archaeological site. Visitors can roam the ancient streets and see the remains of the amphitheater (Arènes) and Roman baths.

Since the mid 1800s, Nice has attracted Russian aristocracts and other visitors, who left their mark on the city's architecture. Most notable is the Cathédrale Orthodoxe Russe Saint-Nicolas. With its ornate domes and sumptuous interior, the cathedral stands out in Nice (note that there is a small admission fee).

With its gentle climate, abundant sunshine, and excellent food, Nice is a great place to visit. It is also at the center of Riviera transportation, and frequent train and bus service make it a good base for visiting such nearby attractions as Monaco, Cannes, Antibes, and the other coastal beach towns of the Riviera such as Villefranche-sur-Mer or Beaulieu-sur-Mer. Nice itself is a very walkable city, but buses and the tram make it easy to get around when you want a break from walking.


About Nice

Côte d'Azur

Cannes

Monaco

Nice Transportation

 

 

 

Port of Nice, France

Above, the colorful and active Port of Nice.

Below, Lunch along the beach, with the famous Hotel Negresco in the background, Nice.

Lunch on the beach in Nice, France


Vegetables in the Cours Saleya Market, Nice, France

Above, Colorful vegetables at the Cours Saleya Market in Old Nice.

 
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