A couple of years ago we spent a few days in Nice, just enough to know that this year, spending the year travelling, it was a place we definitely wanted to return. After spending a beautiful 5 weeks in Nice France, we can safely say it was a wonderful decision. Nice for me, is more about the lifestyle than it is about the sights. It’s about walking along the promenade and relaxing at the beach. It’s about going to the markets and going home to cook with deliciously fresh produce. It’s about discovering new streets in the old town just when you thought you knew them all. And it’s about the 12 o’clock cannon that still shocks me every day even after 5 weeks. Nice is a place that should be enjoyed rather than seen. So here’s our guide to Nice to help you plan your trip…
A Guide To Nice France
Things To Do In Nice
One of our absolute favourite things to do in Nice is going to the Cours Saleya Markets and getting all the delicious fresh fruit and vegetables. Oh, and the stunning flowers!
If you love beautiful views and a little bit of exercise then walk up to Castle Hill to get a great lookout over Nice.
Explore the Old Town‘s little streets and see what you find.
Have dinner at one of the cosy French Restaurants in the Old Town.
Spend the day at the beach. Not only is there the main Nice Beach with its public and private sections, but Plage Reserve and Plage Coco if you keep walking around past the port.
Walk along the promenade at sunset. Nice has the most gorgeous sunsets and they’re even more beautiful when you watch them over the beach and promenade.
And to really take advantage of the beautiful fresh produce, stay in an Airbnb apartment and cook a meal or two.
Where To Eat In Nice
Being so close to Italy, Nice is home to some great French and Italian cuisine.
Enjoy a French meal at Bistro D’Antoine, one of my favourite restaurants in Nice.
La Merenda is a cute, tiny little restaurant that serves delicious food with the best fried zucchini flowers. They don’t have a phone so bookings must be made in person.
A restaurant/olive oil shop, Oliviera showcases some of the regions best olive oils with each dish.
Try out the pastries (my favourite is the Chaussons Aux Pommes | Apple Turnover) and baguettes at Multari Boulangerie.
Have a sunset drink along the promenade, Movida was in a great location.
Where To Stay In Nice
Nice is one place where I think staying in an Airbnb apartment really adds to your stay. With such fresh produce available, and when ‘grocery shopping’ is an experience at such a charming, albeit touristy, market, Airbnb allows you to fully experience the destination. Even if you don’t love cooking, you can buy some beautiful flowers to put in your apartment, some fresh pasta and freshly made pasta sauce from Maison Barale, and enjoy a delicious meal. Now that’s not to say don’t eat out, that’s a must too, but having both gives you the best of both worlds. But for that reason, I’d say have a look at Airbnb. Our top picks for areas would be the Old Town (Vielle Vieux), along the promenade but still near the Old Town, and the port area.
Some great hotel options include:
Hotel Negresco – a famous hotel in Nice, very grand, full of history and across the road from the beach.
Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee – nicely designed and good location across the road from the beach.
Boscolo Exedra Nice | Autograph Collection – clean design, central location but in between beach and train station.
Nice is easily reached by train if already in Europe or flying as it has an international airport. If hiring a car in France you could also get there by car. We took a 5-hour train from Paris and this was a nice scenic trip. We booked our train trip through Trainline.
Although Nice has many different transport options, the best way to get around is on foot. You can easily walk between the promenade, old town, port and other parts of Nice. Other options are by using the Velo Bleu bike system, the tram, and bus. Nice is a great base for discovering other parts of the French Riviera, and the main ways to get to other areas are by train, bus and car.
When To Go
Summer (June – August) is peak season in Nice but also the best beach weather. So if the beach is the main reason for your visit, then it’s worth fighting the crowds. You will obviously pay more for accommodation and will find less availability so will need to book in advance. The shoulder seasons are popular too, as they are less crowded and the temperature is milder. This includes April, May, September and October. These months are probably best for hiking and sightseeing, but may not be as favourable for swimming. We have visited Nice at the end of May, June and July. From our experience, there were even days at the end of May/early June that were a little fresh to swim (but many people were swimming and it was still swimming weather). It really starts warming up in June and July is pretty hot.
Getting Out | Day Trips From Nice
A guide to Nice wouldn’t be complete without including all the beautiful places that surround it. There are so many wonderful places to visit from Nice, from the French Riviera, Provence and even Italy. Some of our favourites include Saint Paul de Vence, Monaco and Villefranche-sur-Mer. But there are so many more amazing places to visit too, you can find them all here.
How Long To Stay
Two nights would be a minimum I would stay in Nice to get a small taste of it. But I really do believe Nice is a destination that is better experienced slowly, as it’s more about the lifestyle than ticking off a list of things to do. If you can, stay for a week. And if you want to use Nice as a base to explore the French Riviera, you could easily do a month if you have the time.
If you can, try and stay near the Old Town or the beach if it’s your first visit to Nice, as they are some of our favourite areas. Nice to us is all about the beach, the promenade and the food (markets and restaurants), so as long as you make the most of those, that’s really all you need to know :)
A Printable Guide To Nice
Get your free printable guide to Nice resource page here.