Nice is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and sought-after cities on the Côte d'Azur. Why this is so, you know at the latest after a look at this article.
I don't know about you, but I love the south of France! One city seems to be more beautiful than the other, not to mention the magnificent beaches and promenades that invite you to stroll and relax. Every time I just think about it, I'm drawn to the French Riviera. One of the most popular destinations in the beautiful south of France is the port city of Nice on the sunny Côte d'Azur. And that's exactly what I would like to introduce to you today - best things to do in Nice, including great insider tips from two French people.
Tips for your journey to Nice
Located in the scenic south of Europe and in the southwest of France, the fifth largest city in France with its nearly 350,000 inhabitants is easy to reach by all means. Of course, it is particularly convenient to travel to Nice by plane, especially since you have a wonderful view of the wonderful city in the heart of the Côte d'Azur shortly before landing. Cheap flights you get for example from Geneva already from 81 CHF per person. If it is a direct flight, the flight time is less than two hours. By train, you can also see a lot of the enchanting landscape, but this option can be a bit more expensive and, depending on the train connection, can take between 6 and 11 hours.
By car you can also expect a good 4.5 to 8 hours - of course always depending on your starting point and the traffic situation. If you do not want to travel by car, but would like to explore the surrounding cities, then a cheap rental car is of course recommended. A very special arrival is the one by ferry, where you can marvel at the beauty of Nice from afar.
The Highlights of Nice - Insider Tips from Two Frenchmen
Fantastic beaches, a charming old town and famous festivals - these and many other things come to mind when you think of the port city of Nice. Not without reason, because Nice is much more than - as the saying goes - the city of the rich and beautiful. As soon as the mild winter is over, more and more tourists are attracted to this impressive southern French city. But why is this city, of all places, so popular? Is it the beautiful weather? After all, Nice has the warmest and most constant climate on the entire Côte d'Azur. Well, there is nice weather elsewhere, too. To answer this question as best as I can, I simply asked two French people who have already visited this city several times.
The charming old town of Nice
Of course, one of my first questions was probably a pretty popular standard question: What should you definitely have seen in Nice? Sure, after all most tourists don't want to miss anything once they are already there. The answer of the two Frenchmen came rather quickly and as if from one mouth: "La vieille ville de Nice", translated - "the old town of Nice" in English.
Visiting the Vieux Nice is the highlight of any city tour....
You could almost say, in just about every answer, the old town somehow came up at some point. It seems to be a popular attraction for many tourists. "Visiting Vieux Nice, which translates as old Nice," said Renan, one of the two Frenchmen, "is clearly the highlight of any city tour. It borders directly on the Promenade des Anglais, is virtually between the famous Masséna Square on the west side and Castle Hill on the east side, and is great to explore on foot." Hustle and bustle at the daily flower, vegetable and fish markets, as well as admirable buildings steeped in history, are just some of the things that make this part of Nice so special. "You can get just about anything you can imagine at the markets," Renan says. "From extraordinary spices to exotic fruits, everything is included here."
Strolling through the beautiful little streets of the well-preserved old town of Nice, you will automatically pass some sights. These include, for example, the famous Nice City Hall, also known as the Hotel de Ville, and the Cathédrale Sainte Réparate, a 13th-century cathedral designated as a historical monument. But Renan also raves about the well-preserved and beautifully painted old homes that give the town a special charm. Some even compare the atmosphere there to that of a small Italian town. But that's no wonder, because after all, Nice has changed hands from time to time in the past.
Cours Saleya - A marketplace with culinary delights
Also typical for Nice are the numerous beautiful squares of the city, which are full of small French cafes and restaurants that you can visit, for example, after an extensive sightseeing tour or even after the one or other shopping tour to take a little break. Because in addition to the many historic buildings, there are also "many small stores in Nice that simply invite you to stroll," says French Tiphaine. Especially the main street of the old town at the famous market place Cours Saleya is known for its diverse shopping opportunities. "If you like it a bit classier, however, you should rather go to Rue de France and the adjoining Rue Masséna, where you can find not only small souvenir stores, but also some chic boutiques," Tiphaine tells me. "The popular Masséna square even has the famous Galeries Lafayette department store."
What immediately comes to Renan's mind when we talk about the Cours Saleya are also the many market stalls set up, where you can not only get the freshest ingredients, but also delicious traditional food. We are not talking about crêpes or foie gras, as we are used to in France, but rather the so-called socca. This is a kind of pancake, but a savory version, made with chickpea flour. Renan also recommends the French onion tart Pissaladière with anchovies and olives, as well as the lighter version Salade Niçoise, a Nice-style salad. To this I only say "Bon appétit"!
La Promenade des Anglais - The boulevard of Nice
The approximately 5 kilometer long promenade, the so-called Promenade des Anglais, with its exclusive hotels and its long beach is without a doubt the most famous part of Nice. Some of these hotels can be booked at https://karta.com. The boulevard of Nice shines with beauty and luxury, one expensive hotel follows the next.
The boulevard of Nice shines with beauty and luxury…
There is also no lack of restaurants here, but they are usually not for the budget-conscious - not least because of the top location. Deep blue skies, palm trees as far as the eye can see, and luxurious buildings give the promenade a special glow. Among the most striking buildings are the 5-star Hotel Negresco and the 5-star Hotel Hyatt Regency Palais de la Méditerranée.
If you want to observe the leisurely bustle on the promenade and watch the beach visitors bathing, you can grab one of the blue metal chairs that are freely available to you. So some like to take a little break, watch the action and admire the expensive cars, which are not exactly rare to see here. The Promenade des Anglais is not only one of the main attractions of Nice, but also an important artery of the city. Whether during a leisurely stroll, a bike ride or jogging - the boulevard can be explored on just about any path and is simply impressively beautiful. Tiphaine reveals to me that she personally would prefer to jet along on a bike or inline skates, if she happened to have either of those with her.
At the end of this magnificent promenade, by the way, is the port of Nice, which is well worth seeing, but not comparable to a typical marina, such as those in Cannes or Antibes. This harbor is much too remote for the rich to display their huge yachts there.
Famous museums and a charming opera house
In addition to a variety of inviting cafes and restaurants, Nice of course has a lot more to offer, because the city is rich in art and culture. Thus, you can visit here, similar to the French capital, countless museums - from the Musée Matisse, which is located in the rich district of Cimiez and gives an overview of the entire work of the artist Henri Matisse, to the probably most popular museum in Nice, the Musée Message Biblique Marc Chagall, which is a real must for every Chagall fan. Also very popular is the Theatre de la Photographie et de l'Image in the heart of Nice. In this former theater you will find an exhibition that presents almost every kind of image from photojournalism to plastic photography. It is not uncommon for Nice to be called an art metropolis because of its many art museums.