Rather than give you the typical destination guide full of museums, I decided to list the things I personally love to do, see, and eat in Nice, France.
Nice has so much to offer its tourists and locals.
Nice (pronounced like the word Niece) is located in the South of France on the famous French Riviera, also known as le Cote d’Azur.
Nice is nothing like I expected, but that’s a good thing.
We were lucky enough to spend a whole month in Nice, which means we ran out of touristy things to do and could chill out like a local.
Nice isn’t easy to describe, but Nice is to Paris, what New York is to Beverly Hills, what Texas is to California, what the east coast is to the west coast etc.
Same country but a different vibe. And not better or worst, just wonderfully different.
Don’t get me wrong, the people of Nice are still very French. They love their wine, cheese and baguettes, but Nice has a flair all its own; it is, after all, on the French Riviera.
Here are some of the reasons why I loved Nice so much.
You might be interested in reading: Nice France: Titillating and obscure facts you didn’t know about
1-Anytime is an excellent time to come to Nice because of all the sunshine…
I read somewhere that Nice has an average of 300 days of sunshine annually, making it the perfect place to go for its year-round mild weather.
Spring & Autumn
Spring and Autumn are the best times to go to Nice in terms of weather. It’s warm and sunny but not sweltering hot.
As early as February, you can start to wear t-shirts and shorts and then there’s the famous Nice Carnival, one of the most popular events on the French Riviera, which attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators every year.
The summer months, July and August, are the hottest and busiest time of the year.
Temperatures rise to the 80’s F and 90’s F, but the city and humidity intensify the heat, and it can feel 10 to 15 degrees hotter than the thermometer reads. Luckily gelato ice cream and the sea are never far, so it’s easy to keep cool.
There’s also the world-famous Tour de France in July, which passes right through Nice.
If you think Nice is just a summer or spring destination, think again. Even on a cold day, Nice is still destination-worthy as long as you know what to expect.
Temperatures can drop to the 40’sF (5c), and it can rain up to 7 days a month, but the city still has plenty to do, especially around Christmas time and New Years’.
Here’s the 10-day forecast in Nice, France.
Here is a live webcam of “Le promenade” in Nice, France, where you can see how beautiful it is right now.
2-Try At least five local dishes
Remember how I said Nice was different? Well, that goes for the food too.
You definitely can see and taste the Mediterranean influence. Think Mediterranean diet and lots of foods made with resources from the local countryside: Olive oil, garlic, anchovies, fruit and vegetables etc.
Here are five very typical dishes you can easily find throughout Nice.
Socca: A type of pancake made from chickpea flour. It’s excellent street food. Make sure you ask for pepper and salt.
Farcis Nicoise: The word Farci means stuffed. This dish is made from vegetables such as tomatoes, zucchinis and mushrooms- all stuffed with breadcrumbs and ground meats. If you see this on the menu, do yourself a favour and try it.
Pissaladière: Think of this as a Provençal pizza without the tomato and cheese. It’s essentially an open-faced tart topped with caramelized onions, olives and anchovies.
Pan-bagnat: In addition to your typical
The best way to describe it is a salad in a sandwich because the filling is essentially a salade niçoise: hard-boiled eggs, olives, garlic, tomatoes, tuna or anchovies. All are served on a large country roll (pain de campagne) bathed in olive oil. Optional seasonings include balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, but never mayonnaise.
Salade Niçoise: (French pronunciation: [ni’swaz]. I believe Julia Childs made this salad famous in the U. S., but it originates in Nice, France. It usually comes on a bed of greens topped with fresh vegetables such as fresh tomatoes, green beans, olives and sometimes eggs and tuna. There are many variants, including sometimes being served with potatoes in the salad potatoes.
Salad Niçoise would be the perfect meal after a hot day of swimming.
3-Be A Stalker And Gawk at one of the McMansions of The Rich And Famous
Nice and its surrounding area are the playgrounds for the rich and famous. For instance, Bill Gates, Keith Richards, Elton John, Tina Turner, Sean Connery and even Brad Pit and Angelina Jolie all have homes in the area. Not your typical home. Hotel-sized homes.
Just for kicks and giggles, here is a photo of Bill Gates Villa, which he purchased for over $76 Million. Microsoft Co-founder Paul Allen’s Maryland Villa is minutes away.
We never got to see any of these famous homes.
4-Watch The Tour De France
The Tour de France, primarily held in July, begins in Monaco and passes through Nice, and we were there to witness it. I’ll never forget the sound of hundreds of cyclists pedalling past us in a frenzy. And then it was over within minutes, and we all jumped into the sea to cool off.
5-Swim In The Mediterranean Sea Every Day
One of the best parts of being in Nice was enjoying miles and miles of coastline beaches. You could spend the whole day at the beach.
Make sure you always wear
If rocky beaches aren’t your thing, you could visit the beaches in neighbouring towns with sand, like in Menton, the last city in France, before you arrive in Italy.
Or you can pay 15 to 20 euros a day for a private beach. Many private beaches truck in sand, put out private beach chairs and servers who will take your drink order. It’s also less crowded because not everyone wants to spend 15 to 20 euros to sit in their own chair.
6-Visit a park
The park is a great place to take your younger kids. Here are a few to check out.
- Parc du Chateau:
- Central Nice play area:
- Parc du Castel des Deux Rois
- Parc Phoenix
7- Take public transportation to see the city or Visit Monaco
Getting around Nice is relatively easy and inexpensive. There are more than one hundred bus routes in the 27 towns making up Nice Côte d’Azur and an 8.7 km tramway line that crosses the city.
A 10-trip ticket for 10€ is your best deal; otherwise, a single ticket called a solo will cost you 1.50€ with unlimited stops for 74 minutes.
The tickets are good for both the bus and tram; buy them from a bus driver or a vending machine at the tram stop.
We took the bus to Monaco, a few towns up from Nice, and it cost the price of one ticket. You can’t beat that.
There are also charming trains you can take to get away for the weekend. We took a train to Digne les bain from nice for around 40 euros per person.
8-Rent A Bike And Explore The City
Throughout France, you’ll see these little self-service bicycle rental systems. Nice is no different. It’s called Vélo Bleu ( Blue bicycle).
Self-service bicycle rental is a practical and economical service available 24 hours, seven days a week, with over 1200 self-service bicycles and 120 stations located around the city. It’s a great way to discover the city unhindered by public transportation schedules. Don’t forget to make use of the 34 km of cycle paths.
Rental rates are about 1€ a day, but the first 1/2 hour is free. The number of times you can use the bike within the period you paid for is unlimited(€5/week; €10/month);. Find out more: www.velobleu.org.
€1/day; €5/week; €10/month. The first 1/2 hour is free, and the number of times you can access the bike within the paid period is unlimited.
9. Take A Walk Along the infamous “Promenade Des Anglais.”
Taking a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais is the epitome of the French Riviera. Always bustling with parades passing, people walking, tourists relaxing, people rollerblading, biking, and jogging. There are lots of restaurants and things to look at as you walk, skate, or cycle.
10-See Some Art At the “Musée Matisse.”
Much of World-Renowned French Artist Henri Matisse’s lovely art is housed at the Musee Matisse, located not far from where Matisse used to live. This vast museum shows Matisse’s works from earlier, more traditional periods to the end of his career. They even have some of his personal effects on display. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop to pick up some prints of his work and souvenirs for folks back home.
11-Go back in time:
Old Town or “Vieux Ville” is oozing with atmosphere. Take a stroll down its many narrow streets, and you can’t help but get a true sense of Niçoise culture.
Stop and peruse the many shops to buy typical fruits, yummy cheeses, fresh bread, Provençal wares, wine, clothing and more. There is also a labyrinth of restaurants to eat at, with fun bars and nightclubs to visit. We spent a lot of time discovering new sections of this part of the city, which made me feel like a rat in a maze.
12-Take The Mini Train up to the Chateau for breathtaking views
The miniature train will take you from the Promenade des Anglais to the château gardens high above Nice. Remember to take your camera with you! The train passes Place Masséna, then runs along the maze of lanes in the old town, continues past the famous flower market, then climbs up château hill, where you can admire the splendid view of the beautiful Baie des Anges.
It returns via the seafront esplanade along the Baie des Anges and Promenade des Anglais.
13- Eat Gelato
During the summer season, it can get quite hot. I’m talking sweltering hot where you feel like you’re in an oven. What better excuse do you have to try the many types of gelato? Just remember one scoop is “un boule,” and flavours are called “parfum.” Unexpected but good flavours are watermelon and lavender.
14-Ride The Carrousels
Self-explanatory. Kids and adults love carrousels.
15-Drink Good Inexpensive Wine
My husband loves wine. We were surprised to learn that bottles of wine which were 10, 20, or even 30 dollars in the US and Canada, were but a few euros in France. Yahooooo.
BONUS: Shopping in Nice, France
Avenue Jean Médecin, or “The Avenue,” as the locals call it, is the main shopping street in Nice, where you can find all kinds of shops, some restaurants, coffee shops, major department stores like Galeries Lafayette and chain stores like H&M and Zara. There is also a supermarket called Monoprix and a movie theatre. At the southern tip of the street is Place Masséna, the main square of Nice, which leads to the Promenade des Anglais.
Avenue Jean-Médecin, 06000 Nice, France.
But my favourite place for a leisurely day is the Marché aux Fleurs (Flower market) on Cours Saleya, a lively and vibrant market. A must for anyone visiting Nice!
Every morning, except for Mondays, when an antique market replaces it, the marché aux fleurs is filled with stalls selling flowers, fruits, vegetables, soap, and
Address: Marché aux fleurs
Cr Saleya, 06300 Nice, France
Expand Your Horizons
There are so many more reasons to visit Nice, but one of my favourite reasons to travel and visit places like Nice is to see and explore new places and expose and expand my children’s horizons. People often think that you cannot enjoy travel once you have kids or that it is too expensive.
You might be interested in reading: 10 Reasons Why You Should Travel With Your Kids Even If They Won’t Remember.
If planned carefully, a trip to Nice can be done affordably and on a budget. We usually use Airbnb to find apartments or houses to rent because it’s more comfortable than a hotel and less expensive. If you want to book a hotel, try Booking.com.
If you would like to learn more, you should visit the official Nice website for more information at www.en.nicetourisme.com/