Nice, France

Located in the heart of the French Riviera and a half hour from Monaco, the city of Nice will dazzle you with the turquoise water of its beaches, its local and Italian gastronomy, and its cosmopolitan atmosphere. This city offers colorful and traditional architecture, museums of famous painters such as Matisse and Marc Chagall, and Niçois restaurants where you can try socca, a delicious local specialty made with chickpea flour and olive oil.

An active city with a pleasant climate, Nice has entertaining events all year-round. In June, the popular book fair and the sports car exhibition take place (see links below). In July, dozens of jazz musicians come to play at the Nice Jazz Festival, with concerts set up in Verdure theater in Albert I Park close to Massena square. In December, Massena square and Albert I Park transform into a festive Christmas market. Later on in February, the Nice Carnival, which is the largest carnival in France and the most famous in the world behind Rio’s and Venice’s, fills the streets with parades and giant floats with themes inspired by current events. Lasting two weeks, the carnival features flower battles and the burning of the King float.

Contrast your urban experience with a nature adventure at the Mercantour National Park, less than an hour by car from Nice. You'll be surrounded by over 2000 species of flowers and wild animals such as eagles, wolves and mountain goats. Snow-lovers can find their niche as well, with ski resorts Isola 2000, la Colmiane, Auron and Valberg less than two hours away in the nearby Maritime Alps.

If you have a few days to spare, don't miss out on medieval towns Eze and St. Paul de Vence, or fisherman villages such as Villefranche-sur-Mer. And of course, make time for Antibes to see its impressive port of luxury yachts, as well as Monaco, with its glamour and elegance, both which are less than an hour from Nice and accessible by city bus. Sea-lovers can take a boat ride to Saint-Tropez from Port Lympia or to the coastal islands while enjoying spectacular views of the Riviera. Ferry rides to Corsica and Sardinia are also available year-round. Nice gives time for both entertainment and relaxing without a second of boredom. 

Map of routes and landmarks in Nice:

Route Descriptions

1. Promenade des Anglais and Port Lympia:

Time: ~ 35 min. walking

The route begins at the century-old hotel Le Negresco and follows the seafront on the Promenade des Anglais ("Walkway of the English"). You will pass by bars and restaurants, the Albert I Park and art galleries, then swing around the base of Castle Hill, leading towards the port. The route continues round the port and ends in front of the church of Notre Dame du Port.

2. Jean Medecin and Albert I Park:

Time: ~ 25 min. walking

Beginning at the Nice-Ville train station, head south on main street Jean Medecin, a must-see for shopping-lovers where the Nicétoile shopping mall is located. Pass Place Massena and Albert I Park before arriving at the Promenade des Anglais.

3. Garibaldi Square and Castle Hill:

Time: 30 min. walking

Starting at the conveniently located Place Garibaldi, cross through the heart of the old town (historical downtown) until you arrive at the stairs which reach Castle Hill. Climb the stairs and you will pass the Jewish cemetery, arriving at the 11th century castle ruins. The route ends at the Castle Hill lookout, where you'll get amazing views of the coast and the city.

4. Paillon Park and the historical downtown:

Time: 25 min. walking

Start at the Paillon Park walkway and head towards the old town by going down the broad stairs at Place Massena in the direction of the Nice Opera. Follow the Cours Saleya, where you will see an infinite number of bars and restaurants with terraces. Turn at St. Gaëtan street and you will pass a number of classic historical streets. Keep going until you arrive at the picturesque Place Rossetti, which is located in front of the Sainte Réparate Cathedral at the heart of the old town.

5. Chagall and Matisse Museums and the Cimiez Monastery:

Time: 35 min. walking

Beginning at the Marc Chagall Museum, the route follows the Cimiez Boulevard until it reaches the Roman amphitheater, where you can walk among beautiful gardens and get great views of Nice. There you can also see the tomb of painter Henri Matisse.

Nice beach, Baie des Anges, France

Baie des Anges or Bay of Angels

Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France

Promenade des Anglais

Matisse Museum, Cimiez, Nice, France
1. Promenade des Anglais
2. Massena square
3. Historical downtown
4. Matisse y Marc Chagall museums 
5. Cimiez monastery
6. Castle Hill

What's most popular in Nice

The coat of arms of Nice and the flag of Provence-Maritime Alps-Côte d'Azur

Important Facts

Population

Nice: 343,304

Metropolitan Area: ~1 million

Nearby towns and cities
Villefranche-sur-Mer  (8 km / 5 mi)
Cagnes-sur-Mer  (8 km / 5 mi)
Eze  (12 km / 8 mi)
Monaco  (21 km / 13 mi)
Antibes  (22 km / 14 mi)
Menton  (29 km / 18 mi)
Cannes  (33 km / 21 mi)
San Remo, Italy  (55 km / 34 mi)
St. Raphael  (67 km / 42 mi)
St. Tropez  (112 km / 70 mi)
Transportation
The Nice Airport is one of the busiest in France and has 100 direct destinations. The airport has several express lines by bus to the following destinations: Monaco/Menton, Cannes and Antibes/Golfe-Juan.
 
The downtown, the main streets and the port are all of perfect size for walking. However, there are multiple urban bus lines available (Lignes d'Azur) which cover all of Nice, its suburbs and surrounding areas, and even a number of towns in the the department of Alpes-Maritimes for only 1.50€ per trip.
There is also a tramway line available (and another under construction) which follows the main street Jean Medecin, crosses Massena square and then follows the edge of the old town heading north-east.
Public bikes are available at numerous stations throughout the city. Visit Vélo Bleu to rent and find stations.
Taxis can be requested on the official Taxi Riviera website. An alternative option is to hire bike-taxis, which generally can be found along the Promenade des Anglais and Place Massena.

Matisse Museum

Park Paillon, Nice, France

Paillon Park

Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Nice, France

Russian Orthodox Cathedral

Port Lympia, Nice, France

Port Lympia

Gallery

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