Nice, located in the shimmeringly beautiful blue Cote D’Azur, is rich in history, culture and gastronomy. Often associated with the rich and famous, this French city is no longer just for the rich and famous. Whether you are looking to soak in the sun, tour the old town or perhaps even head into the French hills in a vintage car, Nice is the place to go!
Nice has an interesting history of intertwining cultures - in fact, it was previously Greek, Italian and even British territory. Equally, it was occupied by Germans during WWII. For centuries, Nice has been a gathering point for artists, actors and celebrities, making it a hotspot for art and culture. Today, it’s just as bejewelled for travellers and locals alike.
On your first day of exploring the beautiful city of Nice, hit the main spots from the Promenade des Anglais to Castle Hill. From both locations, you will gain great views over the glittery coast as well as the Old Town. However, do not fret, as the food tour will lead you through the quaint old town where pastel-coloured houses lean over buzzing cobbled streets. Be sure to look up and spot locals chilling atop their terraces or balconies! As well as hitting the main spots, attend the famous Maison Molinard, where you will create your own personalised perfume, the ideal souvenir from your luxury trip.
Whilst Visiting Nice, take part in a unique and unforgettable experience by crafting your own perfume. The Molinard workshop will lead you through the process of creating a unique and delicious perfume whilst teaching you about base notes, heart notes and top notes. Maison Molinard is a famous perfumery dating back to 1849, meaning there is no better place to lead you through the process and creation. Leave Nice with new memories and now a new personalised perfume and book tickets here to create it during your visit!
Promenade des Anglais
Start off your first day in Nice with a peaceful walk along the famous Promenade des Anglais. The promenade gets its name from the English socialites who frequented Nice during the 19th century and required somewhere to stroll and enjoy the sunshine. The walkway stretches 7km along the coast, allowing visitors to admire the immaculate blue waves crashing the pebbly shore. After your morning coffee, march along the coast, at the socialites used to do, and take in your beautiful surroundings. You may even get some style inspiration from the trendy French locals on their way for a swim. If you are looking for a guided tour of this famous spot and other locations, book your ticket here!
There is no denying that Nice is the birthplace of many famous dishes and delicacies. Take Pissaladière, a crisp onion tart, tapenade, the rich olive spread or more famously, the Nicoise salad. Nice has plenty of delights to offer and what better way to experience that than through a guided tour by locals. Meeting at the Fontaine du Soleil, you will wander the streets and ruelles in search of local delights. Book tickets here to ensure you have tickets! You will taste all of the delights mentioned and will finish with lavender and aniseed biscuits which the region is known for.
French Riviera Vintage Car
Is there anything more romantic than touring the hills of the Cote d’Azur in a vintage car? Channel your inner French; put on that headscarf, wear your flowiest attire and head out onto the winding roads of nice. Hit the roads in a Citroën Traction Avant from the 1950s, choosing where you go from the Estérel coast road from Cannes to Fréjus or perhaps the medieval village or Gourdon. Book tickets here to drive away into the French sunset!
If you are looking for pristine views over Nice, look no further than Castle Hill. The hill was previously utilised as a military fortification which explains the 11th-century castle ruins that you will encounter during your climb. On the hike up the hillside, you will pass a luscious waterfall that hangs over the cliff side as gardens displaying a variety of well-manicured flowers. If you’re looking for an in-depth tour of this site, book tickets here to learn more about this famous attraction. Additionally, there is a quaint cemetery located atop the hill, the final resting place for many writers, artists and celebrities from the region. Once at the top, admire the immaculate views over the shimmery blue coast and the pastel-coloured old town.
If you visit Nice for a few days, you will most likely be wandering the historical streets of the Old Town or “Vieux Ville”. In the old town, you will find a plethora of hearty bistros, cafés, and boutiques to wander around and enjoy. The old town is where you will find Place Massenna, Catedral Saint Nicholas and Musée du Palais Lascaris. Wander around the winding streets and admire the pastel-coloured buildings where locals sit out on their sunny balconies, watching tourists and locals navigate the cobble streets below.
Cathedral Saint Nicholas
Located in the Vieux Vieille there stands the Russian Roman Cathedral of Saint Nicholas. This beautifully ornate church was built towards the beginning of the 20th century at the request of Russian Tsar Nicholas II. From its exterior, the Russian Orthodox style is evident. Admire the intricate frescos, onion domes and iconostasis (an intricately painted screen). This pocket of Russian architecture was designed by Michel Preobrazhensky and is a must-visit if you are looking to appreciate beautiful architecture and learn more about Russian influences in Nice.
If you are looking to experience the local culture of Nice and enjoy what the region has to offer, you have to visit the Cours Saleya Market, the famous flower market! Walk through the various stalls located near the Promenade des Anglais and admire the plethora of flowers that vendors sell. There is everything from roses to lilies and even fresh produce originating from the region, such as cheese and artisanal honey. Pick up a fresh bouquet from the local market and press them before going home to remember your trip forever.
Located in the 17th-century Genoese Villa des Arènes, you will find an expansive collection of Matisse paintings. The exterior of the house itself is striking, with red terracotta walls and mint blue window shutters. Inside this glorious museum, you will find sculptures, paintings and sketches, all demonstrating his growth and development as an artist. Head over to this spectacular museum to gain an insight into Matisse’s life as an artist and see some works of art inspired by the region.
On your second day of exploring Nice, it seems fitting to venture further afield, imaging Nice as it once was, pre-glitz and glamour! First, you will start by climbing atop the ancient ruins of Cimiez, which date back to the 1st century. Here you will gain an alternative view of the famous city. However, we will return to aristocratic life by indulging in Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a beautiful building and museum housing a variety of art. However, after a long day of visiting lots of museums and sites, a relaxing afternoon at the beach is a requirement. Indulge in the crisp blue waters of the Cote d'Azur with a drink in hand. After a few glasses, treat yourself to some luxury clothing by visiting the famous shops that Nice has to offer visitors and locals.
Musee Marc Chagall
Musée Marc Chagall is a museum dedicated to the life and work of the famous French-Russian artist Marc Chagall. Marc Chagall is most known for his dream-like paintings and mosaics, which are all on display in this modern conceptual museum. The building itself, built by architect André Hermant, is a modern building with peaceful grounds- the perfect place to contemplate the work of the artist. Admire the mosaics, stained glass, and dreamy paintings, then sit in the surrounding gardens for a while, appreciating the beauty of Nice.
Atop the hills of Nice, you will find the ancient Roman baths of Cimiez. The area was previously a Roman city called Cemenelum and was the capital of the Riviera for over 400 years between the 1st and 4th centuries. The ancient city had an amphitheatre with a capacity of 5000 spectators, a market square and an enormous bath/spa complex which is still visible today at the site. Enter into Roman life by climbing to the ancient ruins of this spectacle and imagine Nice as it once was, pre-celebrities and glamour.
Museum of Photography Charles Nègre
The Museum of Photography Charles Nègre is a lesser-known museum in Nice, dedicated to the work of famous photography pioneer Charles Nègre. The exhibition showcases a variety of famous works from photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson. With over 6,000 pieces of work, the exhibition aims to demonstrate the evolution of photography. Works shops and specialised exhibitions are also frequently held at this spot, so be sure to check the programme in advance.
Place Massena is a central square in Nice and is often the meeting palace for Nice locals and tourists. The plaza, designed by Joseph Vernier in the 19th century, is lain with belle époqu architecture which is evident through the interesting black and white tile floor and terracotta-coloured townhouses that encircle the plaza. There is a fountain where you can find the statue of Apollo proudly standing. Whether it is day or night, there is always a buzz surrounding this central square, with music frequently being played, whether that be by buskers or professionals. Don’t forget to pass by this thoroughfare!
In the Old Town of Nice, France, you will find the 17th-century Lascaris Palace built for the aristocratic Lascaris-Vintimille family. In contrast to the abundance of Belle Époque architecture, the building demonstrates Baroque influences, which are evident through the incredibly rich and ornate facades. The building was a previous private residence, however, it is now a museum dedicated to music. The exhibition showcases over 500 instruments, the majority of which are rare and crafted in the region. A museum is equally a concert place and a special exhibition palace used to educate visitors about the music and culture of the region. Take a trip here to admire the various instruments or simply the building itself!
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
Located just between Nice and Monaco, you will find the exquisite Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild mansion. Located on the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula, you will find this glorious villa, originally built for Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, a well-known wealthy French socialite and art collector. The building is now open to visitors, meaning you can tour the luscious rose garden among other themed gardens where you will find the likes of statues, beautifully manicured shrubs and exotic plants. The building itself is home to various famous artworks, which you can tour at your leisure. If you want to gain an insight into the lives of a Nice socialite, take a trip to this museum.
Le Negresco is a famous hotel that sits on the famous Promenade des Anglais. Much like many of the buildings in Nice, the façade demonstrates the classic Belle Époque architecture that Nice is synonymous with. The hotel is known for the various famous guests that have frequented it during its time. Grace Kelly, Salvador Dalí and Liz Taylor are just a few among many of the hotel's famous visitors. The hotel is equally famous for its cuisine, in fact, its restaurant Chantecler has been awarded two Michelin stars. If you are looking for somewhere fancy to eat or simply want to wander around a Nice celebrity hotspot, look no further.
The crystal blue waters of Nice are a must-visit on your relaxing trip. The pebbly beach is the perfect place to rest after a day of touring the Vieux Ville or climbing castle hill. While there are plenty of amenities on the main beach, Plage Beau Rivage is a popular section of the beach where you can take full advantage of your location. Here you can dine, shower and relax on sun loungers whilst taking in the view around you.
There is no denying that Nice is known for being the destination for the rich and famous. As a result, the region is full of boutiques and luxury shops. Start off at Avenue Jean Médecin, where you will find many high-street shops. If you are looking to indulge in the luxury tht nIce has to offer, head to the old town where you will find many a luxury boutique specialising in gourmet food to high-end clothing. You won’t leave Nice empty-handed with the variety of shopping options available.
More time in France?
Check out our full Côte d’Azur itinerary that kicks off in Nice, but then takes you on a whimsical adventure through the French Riviera.
Where to Stay
Residhome Nice Aéroport - just a ten minute tram from the airport, making it the perfect location for a short trip!
Hotel des Dames - 300m from Nice old town. With a patio and breakfast room, this hotel ensures a relaxing stay!
Trocadero Hotel - the perfect place to stay in Nice, just a 20 minute walk from the seafront.
Hotel d'Ostende - a short walk from Nice’s main train station- an ideal location for a weekend getaway.
Holiday Inn Express - fully equipped with a bar, 24-hour front desk and sleekly decorated rooms.
Hotel De Suède - ideally located just 2 minutes away from the famous Promenade des Anglais right in the heart of central Nice.
Hôtel Nice Azur Riviera - a 4 star hotel located just 600m away from the main town. Stay in this peaceful luxury hotel during your weekend trip!
Hôtel Apollinaire Nice - a contemporary hotel offering beautifully decorated rooms and exceptional service right in the centre of Nice.
Le Windsor, Jungle Art Hotel - a unique hotel located in a 19th century villa. The hotel itself offers a private pool for its guests, a real luxury in the heart of Nice.