Nice is a beautiful coastal city located in the South of France and is the second largest tourist city in France after only Paris with many interesting tourist attractions. It is known as the Queen of Côte d’Azur (The French Riviera). Nice attracts visitors by its perfect blend of tradition and modernity with its beautiful mountains, amazing hills, charming landscapes, stunning beaches, unique local culture, unique cuisine, etc. Are you planning a long-awaited trip to Nice but don’t know where to start? We are here to help. So, what to do in Nice France? Let’s check out our Nice France travel blog (Nice France blog, Nice blog, Nice travel blog) with the ultimate Nice France travel guide (Nice city guide, Nice France guide, Nice travel guide, Nice guide, Nice tourist guide) from how to get there, best time to come, where to stay, best places to visit and things to do in Nice France to find out the answer!
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Not only crowded, vibrant, bustling, beyond the beautiful appearance, Nice also owns hidden ancient beauty, romance, a wonderful mixed culture. Any visitor also want to come here once to experience walking barefoot on the long pebble beaches, enjoy the beautiful hilltop views, soak in the cool waters of the Mediterranean sea or explore the vibrant flower market color.
Nice France travel blog: Overview of Nice
The city of Nice is located in the coastal province of Alpes-Maritimes, in the Provence–Alpes–Cote d’Azur administrative region of the Southeastern France. Nice is the 5th most populous city in France after Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Toulouse. Favored by nature with a mild and fresh climate, a long stretch of beach with bright golden sunshine, every year Nice attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world.
Nice was once part of Italy’s Savoia and then the Kingdom of Sardinia until Nice was ceded to France in 1860 by a huge vote, against the will of the population. Therefore, in Nice, there are many scenes that still retain the colors of poetic Italy. Incorporated into France in 1860, Nice at that time, with a population of 500,000 people, was still imbued with Italian architecture along the Riviera, especially the old town. Nice has the river Var flowing to the west, overlooking the beautiful Bay of Baie des Anges to the south and leaning against the Alps to the north.
This French Riviera destination always makes a special impression in the hearts of tourists. Therefore, this place always welcomes a large number of tourists to explore annually. For those who have a great passion of travel, the attractiveness of Nice is second only to Paris. Thus, the city of Nice is always the French most attractive tourist destination today. This place has fresh air and pleasant weather, so traveling will be very comfortable and pleasant. The beach here is very beautiful with clear blue water and long pebble beach.
This city is divided into 2 different areas: The old town and the new town. In addition, this old town is also called Vieille Ville. This is the most beautiful place in the city of Nice. When visiting this place, you will always feel the closeness and familiarity of this place. Today, Nice has become the world’s leading resort town.
Many tourists visiting Nice have the same feeling that this place has the beauty of a charming and gentle girl in her twenties. Here lies mystery and infatuation. Therefore, anyone who comes here does not want to return.
Nice France travel blog: When should you visit Nice?
The city of Nice is located in the Mediterranean climate zone, so the weather is mild and warm all year round, the atmosphere is extremely pleasant, suitable for sightseeing and travel leisure.
Spring (March to June): Spring is the best time to visit Nice. The weather in this season is pleasant and mild. Temperatures range from 8°C to 20°C.
Summer (June to August): With 300 days of sunshine, nice climate and mild sunshine. Temperatures range from 17°C – 27°C. This is a very ideal time for a beach trip in Nice, which attracts a lot of tourists from all over Europe every year. Therefore, the summer in Nice is very crowded, and the price of the service is also higher. One thing to note is that the weather can be a bit hot, it will be a bit tiring if you visit and walk around the city.
Autumn (September to November): Autumn is the best season to visit Nice. Temperatures range from 17°C – 24°C in September and drop to 8°C – 16°C in November, with an average rainfall of about 50 mm. The streets are also sparser with tourists at this time. In the autumn, visitors can easily book good hotels and resorts at affordable room rates.
Winter (December to February): Although it is winter, the climate is still warmer and more comfortable than other French cities. Coming to Nice at this time, visitors will have the opportunity to participate in the Nice Carnival, one of the biggest events in the city held in February every year. As well as enjoy the exciting Christmas atmosphere here.
Nice France travel guide: Getting to Nice
Visitors can reach Nice by plane, train, bus or self-drive.
The airport in Nice is Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE) airport, located in the southwest of the city, about 6km from the city center. If flying from European cities, you can fly with Air France, Luxair, Finair, Easy Jet,… To find the suitable routes as well as good airfares from your departure point, you can access Google Flights or SkyScanner.
From Nice airport, you can take bus (No. 98, 99), taxi/uber, airport shuttle service to getting to the city center.
From many French or European tourist cities, visitors can reach Nice by train such as TGV, EuroStar, etc. There are direct train lines but there are also train routes that have to transfer trains. You can use online multimodal transport search engines such as Rome2rio, Google Maps, etc. to find the train route you need.
Bus routes from European cities to Nice also operate daily, making it easy for visitors to find and book a bus to Nice. Famous and popular bus companies are Flixbus, Eurolines, Lignes d’Azur,…
Rome2rio or Google maps are convenient tools to search for buses for your journey.
Self-driving car services are very popular in Europe, you can rent a self-drive car to get to Nice from European cities if you meet the European driving requirements. Self-driving car rental companies in Europe can be mentioned such as Avis, Hertz, Budget, Europcar, and Sixt.
Nice France guide: Getting around Nice
To explore Nice or travel between attractions visitors can choose to walk both saving money while see many interesting things along the way. The tourist attractions in the central area of Nice are basically close to each other, so walking is also convenient.
The public bus system called Lignes d’Azur which operates routes in the city, airport and surrounding areas. The bus operates from 7am to 9pm.
I think to admire the beautiful scenery of Nice is to take a bus up on some high roads in the mountains, when looking down at Nice, you can see the sea and the city. This is the most beautiful scene that I like in Nice, coming to Nice without seeing the scenery from above is really a pity, so you definitely try at least once.
There is Bus 82 (towards Eze Village) going from Palais des Exposition Tram Station (this is the starting point of bus routes to Eze, Monaco…). Every hour and a half with a trip, so the first day we waited for the bus, but on the next day of travel, we took odd trips. That means on the route of Bus 82, there will be Bus 14 and 84 passing by.
We took Bus 14 first because it’s a regular bus, runs every 15 minutes, so we can take advantage of the time when we wait for the bus to stop on the side of the road to admire the scenery, which is more convenient than just standing in one place and waiting for the bus, which is very time consuming.
In Nice, there are also many bicycle or scooter rental services for visitors to use for travelling and sightseeing. The rental price is also quite reasonable, but you need to ask carefully about the deposit policy by credit card, cash, etc. Currently in Nice there is also a shared bike service called Vélo Bleu – visitors can easily rent one for themselves and return bike at the stops of Vélo Bleu.
Mainly used when tourists want to go to Corsica. There are two companies serving this ferry route.
Taxis in Nice are not chosen by many tourists to travel because of the expensive price and basically it is not necessary to take a taxi to travel in Nice. In case you need to go, you can call Uber instead of taxi because the price is cheaper.
Nice’s tram system passes through many areas of the city and its vicinity. The tram in Nice has been open since 2007, operating every day from 4:25 a.m. to 1:35 a.m. the next morning. Visit http://tramway.nice.fr for more details on tram routes.
Nice France travel blog: Where to go & what to do in Nice France?
The city of Nice can be divided into four main areas: The old town (Vieux Nice), the city center, the beach area and the port area (there are a few more but the four above are popular with tourists).
Promenade des Anglais Coastal Road
The Promenade des Anglais is a coastal road for walking along the sea about 7km long in Nice, it is a great place to stroll, watch the sea, cool off, relax for locals and tourists. The place attracts a lot of domestic and foreign tourists to visit. You will be immersed in the fresh, pleasant natural space, enjoy the sea breeze, watch the waves from afar, …
Along this road are restaurants, cafes, shops, hotels, etc. From the Promenade des Anglais, visitors can also easily navigate the direction of attractions. The locals call this street is Promenade or La Prom.
Old Town (Vieux Nice)
Vieux Nice is a small old quarter loved by both tourists and residents in Nice. The old town captivates visitors with its cobblestone streets, typical Mediterranean houses, unique local markets, etc. They bring with historical values as well as distinctive cultural features.
Like Italy and Spain, Nice has narrow Mediterranean-style streets surrounded by tall houses painted in warm colors like red, yellow, pastel and ocher. These Mediterranean-style poetic old streets will remind you of the streets of Hanoi built in the French era.
It is the Nice’s main square, located between the Old Town and New Town. The fountain in the middle of the square depicts stories from Greek mythology, with a 7-meter-tall statue of Apollo in the center. Around the square are old buildings painted red with blue windows typical for the Mediterranean region.
Massena Square (Place de Massena) is a place that visitors can go back and forth many times when visiting Nice because the location of the square is almost in the center compared to the sightseeing areas, this is also the main square. Place Massena is the site of many major events in Nice such as the Christmas market and the French Independence Day parade.
Castle Hill (Colline du Château)
Inhabited by the Greeks two millennia ago, Castle Hill has now become a park with beautiful natural scenery and extremely romantic. When coming here, in addition to admiring the natural beauty of Castle Hill, you can also discover many other interesting and attractive landscapes such as: Baie des Anges, Vieille Ville and the harbour.
Castle Hill (Colline du Château) is a hill facing the sea. Most of Castle Hill’s original structures have been largely destroyed, and now it’s a park with trees, waterfalls, and some remains. However, it is a very interesting spot to visit.
Matisse Museum (Musée Matisse)
Address: Palais Fénelon, Pl. du Commandant Edouard Richez, 59360 Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France
Hours: 10AM–6PM/Tuesday: Closed
The Matisse Museum is located in the Cimiez neighborhood of Nice, close to the Regina hotel, where the painter Henri Matisse once lived. Matisse lived in Nice from 1918 to 1954. The building where the museum is housed is the Villa des Arenes, a 17th-century building in the Genoese style. This residence is also known as Gubernatis Palace after its owners and is set in a peaceful olive grove in Cimiez Gardens. This collection is one of Matisse’s largest in the world and shows the evolution of his art over time.
Henri Matisse draws inspiration from the vibrant colors and lines of the city of Nice to create masterpieces of art. Just look at a sketch of his balcony window, and you will surely see the Mediterranean coastline. The Musée Matisse is an art museum that houses many valuable collections. Currently, this museum has about 70 paintings, 56 sculptures, 236 designs and many very interesting sketches.
This large museum displays Matisse’s works from the early days to the end of his career. It can be said that this place bears the imprint of Henri Matisse. Art-loving visitors to Henri Matisse can get their hands on some of the artist’s masterpieces, as the museum’s souvenir shop sells numerous photographs of Matisse’s artwork.
Pathé Masséna Cinema
Address: 31 Av. Jean Médecin, 06000 Nice, France
The cinema is a house displaying photographic artworks, a separate building from the busy Avenue Jean Medecin. The museum specializes in global works, such as a portrait exhibition of famous Hollywood artists over the decades or a photo exhibition of American Indians. Free admission.
Archaeological Museum of Cimiez
Address: 160 Av. des Arènes de Cimiez, 06000 Nice, France
The Russians are not the first to devote themselves to the alluring beauty of Nice. The ancient Romans also considered this place as their homeland. Visitors to the museum can admire the ruins of the Colosseum, pedestrian streets and even very old public baths of the Roman period. The Archaeological Museum is a blend of the history and archeology of the region. The museum is located in the Nice Cimiez area (right next to the Matisse museum).
Rue De France Pedestrian Zone
Nice’s pedestrian zone is considered a “trap” to tourists. Because the shops here have many attractive forms, from the unique store layout, music, discounts, fashion products, to the cute service of the sales staff. Therefore, visitors who miss coming here cannot help but buy things for themselves or souvenirs for their loved ones.
This is a center of leisure and entertainment activities. Street performances are always take place in this area. For locals and tourists, this is an area for walking, skateboarding, rollerblading because there is no traffic. And of course eateries, cafes, clothing stores, book stores are indispensable. Enjoy a latte or munch on crêpes and watch the people pass by, or stop by the Rue de France for a hearty Italian meal. This is truly an ideal place for tourists.
Port of Nice
Nice’s port is an interesting place to visit. Just standing at a corner of Nice’s old town, near the Quai des Etát Unis street, visitors can watch the Corsian ferries leave. Although it is always busy with ships coming in and out, the boats anchored here are very orderly, neatly. Around the port are very crowded night clubs, busy shops and traffic.
The St Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral
Address: Av. Nicolas II, 06000 Nice, France
Hours: 10AM–6PM/Sunday: 12–6PM
Architectural style: Russian Revival architecture
In the mid-19th century, the Russians came to Nice to travel, trade and live. They needed a place to pray and that’s why the St Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral was built in Nice (French name: Cathédrale Orthodoxe Saint-Nicolas de Nice). It is the largest Russian Orthodox church in Western Europe.
The beach is one of the main attractions in Nice. Currently in Nice there are about 15 private beaches and 20 public beaches. There is a fee to enter the private beaches, guests are not allowed to bring in food or drinks. Public beaches are free but have no amenities.
Nice’s mild weather with clear blue skies and clear sea are what captivate and keep visitors. Nice has a coastline stretching 7km and in particular this coast is not made of sand but by pebbles and pebbles from the Var and Paillon rivers. With its emerald-green waters, Cote d’Azur beach looks like a landscape from a fairy tale.
Cours Saleya Flower Market
Address: Cr Saleya, 06300 Nice, France
Hours: 6AM–5:30PM/Sunday: 6:30AM–1:30PM/Monday: Closed
Saleya Square is located parallel to the US harbor (Quai des Etats Unis). In the past, this was the residence of the rich in the city of Nice. The Palace of the Kings of Sardinia is also located in this square. When visiting the Saleya flower market, you can admire the colorful flowers and freely to choose, interspersed between the rows of flowers are stalls selling fresh vegetables and tubers with colorful trays of chili, fresh squash trays, not only that, here visitors can also enjoy the specialties of the region. This place is rated by visitors as a paradise of macarons and lavender.
This is the scene on my way to Eze Village, stopped at Bus 14 to play and wait for Bus 82 to continue to go, so I took this photo. But in my opinion, you should take Bus 84, get off at La Leopolda station, the scenery is very beautiful. You can stand here and wait for Bus 82 to continue.
Eze Village is an ancient village, up here you will see ancient French architecture, houses close together, like a castle with many families living together. Here, locals sell lavender flowers and perfumes, food and all kinds of things. Actually, I still prefer the scene by the roadside than the old village.
La Leopolda Station
That day, we took Bus 14 from Galibadi station to Col de Villefranche station, then got off to admire the scenery for a while and then took Bus 84 to continue to La Leopolda stop and waited for Bus 82 to go to Eze Village (this station is far from Eze Village only 3 stops, but the distance between 3 stops are long so it’s impossible to walk).
Especially the scene at La Leopolda station is very, very beautiful. I see a lot of cars stop at this station to take pictures and admire the scenery. Unfortunately, we didn’t notice that day, we went more than 1 station because we couldn’t find the stop button on Bus 84 (This bus has the same form as auto). So the two of us got lost on the highway and still had decided to walk back, because it took 30 minutes to wait for Bus 84 to return to the old place, so we risked going. Fortunately, going about 200m, me and my friend were transported to Eze Village by a local.
Nice France travel blog: What to eat?
Nice is quite close to Italy, so the dishes are also a fusion and influence between French and Italian cuisine.
Some popular dishes:
Salade Nicoise: Almost you go into any restaurant, any eatery, on their menu will have this wonderful dish. Salad with tomatoes, radishes, onions, black olives, hard-boiled eggs, tuna and anchovies mixed with olive oil. The recipe is quite simple, using this dish with a little wine will be much more attractive.
Coq au vin (French chicken stew): Coq au vin means “rooster in wine”. This is a delicacy in Nice that is loved by both locals and visitors. The dish is prepared quite elaborately, using delicious pieces of chicken marinated with spices and wine, so that the meat infuses the rich flavor. Then stewed with ingredients such as: Onion, garlic, butter, mushrooms, … to make the dish more attractive. This dish should be served with a special sauce to increase its attractive.
Steak Tartare: This is minced raw beef, mixed with onions, pepper, sauce and egg yolk, then served with rye bread. This is a rather picky dish, because if you are not used to it, it will be difficult to eat, but there are many people who eat it once and want to come back to enjoy it again.
Crepe: Referring to French cuisine in general and Nice in particular, it must be mentioned Crepe cake. Although it is just a simple cake made from flour, barley mixed with eggs, milk, butter, then thinly coated black, golden brown and served with cold cream, chocolate sauce, caramel,… but the taste of this cake will easily conquer the taste of diners.
Socca: A type of thin, unleavened pancake made from chickpea flour – a fairly popular dish in Nice.
Le Pan Bagnat: A sandwich filled with garlic, tuna, anchovies, sliced.
Pissaladière: A pizza-like pie but with onions, anchovies and olives on the ingredients.
La daube niçoise: Beef stew in red wine with onions, carrots and herbs.
Ratatouille: A vegetables stew dish, originally from Nice.
Soupe au pistou: A famous bean soup of Provençal.
The cost of dining in Nice is quite expensive, the average price for a regular meal will range from 9-13 EUR, dessert on the menu is 5-10 EUR, wine around 4-9 EUR/glass.
Nice France blog: Shopping
The shops in Nice are many: From small shops to large shopping malls, from souvenirs to high-end and luxury fashion brands. What to buy as a gift in Nice? Handicrafts, extra virgin olive oil and handmade soaps… are items often chosen by tourists. You can “get” them from anywhere: markets, souvenir shops in the old town… Or if you want to buy famous high-end appliances, you can go to the shopping places below.
Popular shopping places:
- Market: Selling many things from crafts, postcards, books, etc. The old town is full of shops.
- Cours Saleya Flower Market as mentioned above.
- Centre Commercial NICETOILE (Address: 30 Av. Jean Médecin, 06000 Nice, France)
- Galeries Lafayette Nice Masséna (Address: 6 Av. Jean Médecin, 06000 Nice, France)
- Polygone Riviera Shopping Center (Address: 119 Av. des Alpes, 06800 Cagnes-sur-Mer, France)
- Carrefour Nice Lingostière Shopping Center (Address: 202 Rte de Grenoble, 06200 Nice, France)
- Nice TNL shopping center (Address: 15 Bd Général Louis Delfino, 06300 Nice, France)
Nice France travel blog: Where to stay?
Traveling to Nice, visitors can stay at hostels, motels, budget or high-class hotels. Depending on the type of accommodation, the price will vary, for example, if staying in a hostel, the cost for a dorm bed is about 14 EUR/night, in a guesthouse or budget hotel, the price ranges from 35-40 EUR/room/night.
Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Hotel Monsigny (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Hotel Le Negresco (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- easyHotel Nice Palais des Congres Vieux Nice (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Hotel La Perouse (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Hotel Aston La Scala (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
Nice France travel guide: Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Nice you can refer to
- French Riviera Full Day Tour from Nice
- The Best of the French Riviera Day Tour From Nice or Cannes
- Nice Segway Tour
- French Riviera Countryside Full Day Tour from Nice
- The Historical Nice City Half Day Tour from Nice, Cannes, or Monaco
- French Riviera Art de vivre 4-Hour Tour from Nice