The jewel in the crown of France’s famous Riviera, Nice is an attractive and up-market city with scores of attractions for visitors to enjoy.
Here are ten of the best to incorporate into your trip.
1. Spend a day on the beach
Nice’s location on the south coast of France gives it a enviable climate, with hot summers and mild winters. Its inviting blue waters are unique in colour and lap the pebbles of the long stretch of beach that spans the city. Although there’s no sand to bury your feet in, the beaches are still very popular and spending a day soaking up the sun and swimming in the sea is a must for anyone visiting in high season.
2. Walk along the Promenade des Anglais
Separating the beach from the main town is the iconic Promenade des Anglais. Whether you’re walking, sitting, cycling or rollerblading on the promenade, you’ll be able to soak up the atmosphere, take in the view of the Baie des Anges and the old town, enjoy the array of street performances, and of course, treat yourself to an ice cream or two!
3. Visit the markets and the restaurants of the old town
The Old Town in Nice is a bustling maze of winding lanes interspersed with old town squares. The area is famous for its boutiques, souvenir shops, bars, restaurants and colourful markets such as the flower one held in Cours Saleya, and ambling around it is a perfect way to spend a relaxed morning or afternoon. Equally though, the area really comes alive during the evenings in the summer, when people stay out to enjoy the late nights bars, restaurants and live music until the early hours of the morning.
4. Visit the Matisse museum
The famous and innovative art of Henri Matisse was inspired by the vibrant colours and lines of Nice. The huge museum dedicated to his works in Nice showcases his more traditional early days to the end of his career. There are also some of his personal belongings on display.
5. Take a trip to Monaco
Just twenty minutes by train from Nice is the glamorous principality of Monaco. Famous the world over for its casino and the luxury yachts that fill its harbour, its well worth the short train ride to experience this unique place for yourself, and to see exactly how the other half live…
6. Climb up to Nice’s castle
Although little remains of Nice’s hilltop castle, the views of the city and the sea from its panoramic location are stunning. The castle stands 90 metres above the city but if you don’t fancy face the climb, you can always take the lift, which goes three quarters of the way up. The castle grounds in themselves are worth a visit, with an array of flora and fauna and even a waterfall.
7. Visit the Theatre de la Photographie et de l’Image
This museum dedicated to the photographic arts is housed in a lovely building close to Boulevard Jean Medicine. The exhibitions hosted there generally hold universal appeal, and have included those showing portraits of Hollywood celebrities over the decades and an exhibition on American Indians. Entry to the theatre de la photographie et de l’image is free.
8. Take a boat trip along the coast
The coastline along the French Riviera offers plenty of opportunity for excursions by boat. Amongst some of the most popular are whale watching rides and tours that take in celebrity homes. Other options, if you have a little more time available, include trips from Cannes to the Lerin Islands: Ile de Sainte Marguerite (where the fabled ‘Man in the Iron Mask’ was incarcerated) and high speed ferries that go to various cities in Corsica.
9. Head out to Park Phoenix
Located near Nice’s international airport, 20 minutes or so from the city by car, is Park Phoenix. Within the park is one of the world’s largest greenhouses, housing are a variety of themed gardens. The park is also home to an array of brightly coloured birds, insects and fish, as well as terrapins and other reptiles from tropical climates.
10. Explore Nice’s Archaeology Museum and Roman Ruins
Over the centuries, Nice has been home to many different peoples, including the ancient Romans, and visitors to the city today can still see the ruins of a Roman arena and bathhouses. Both are located in the desirable area of Cimiez, as is the neighbouring Archaeology Museum, which has a wealth of exhibits to show.
Laura Lippert is Web Editor at Cactus Worldwide. An established provider of evening language courses, tailor-made language training and language courses abroad, Cactus offers a variety of French courses in Nice.