Nice is a paradisiacal place located in the South of France on the famous Cote d’Azur, near the border with Italy. Known for the deep blue color of the Mediterranean Sea and the good lifestyle, Nice is a privileged place to visit.
This city has a very Italian feel to it due to its proximity to Italy and the fact that it was historically part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. What makes this city special is the fusion of Italian architecture and landscapes, French-style monuments, and churches with Eastern influences.
We have prepared an inspiring list of things to do in Nice and points of interest.
1. Stroll through the Vieille Ville
The first thing to do in Nice is to get lost in the old town exploring the narrow and curved streets surrounded by historic buildings. The best way to explore the old town is on foot. You will find terraces full of people, markets, traditional shops and charming spots.
If you are staying in one of the hotels in the centre, we recommend you go out following the main streets as Av. Jean Jaures or Av. Jean Medicin. Many shops surround this streets during the day. Some of them can be extremely typical, selling olives and spices of all kinds, vegetables or flowers from the region. But also, you can find very modern ones, such as fashionable clothes shops, many tattoo artists, and artists’ galleries. At night, it is a meeting place for the locals. When you leave these main streets you can find yourself in its narrow streets dotted with restaurants, and nightclubs of all kinds.
2. Things to do in Nice: take a photo at Place Massena
After going down the main avenue, you will arrive to Place Massena. It is a place where you will notice the Piedmontese influence. It can be seen in the architecture of the buildings, in the red façade and the white window frames. Also, they are characterised by their particular square shape.
Above the Sun Fountain inaugurated in 1956, there are five bronze figures . This mitological figures from ancient Greek and Roman times asMars, Venus, Mercury and Saturn. In the centre of the fountain is a seven-metre high marble figure of Apollo.
In addition, there are seven statues of scribes situated on the sides of the main street. There are made of white resin and rise some ten metres above the ground of the square. Due to different lighting effects, these statues can be seen illuminated in different colours at night.
In this square, you will also find other points of interest in Nice. The famous French shopping center: Galleries Lafayette and the Miroir D’eau Fontaine.
3. Enjoy a walk through Promenade des Anglais
The Promenade des Anglais is the most well-known street in Nice. Is a stunning pedestrian walkway that hugs the contour of the Baie des Anges beaches. Some points of interest in Nice are the luxurious structures that can be seen from the promenade. On the Art Deco Palais de la Méditerranée Hotel you will notice on the facade female figures and horses. Le Negresco Hotel is known for its luxurious accommodation and international clientele. Behind the hotel, you will see Villa Masséna, a 19th-century aristocratic mansion set in a Mediterranean garden. From this walkaway you can also access the best beaches of the city.
Dont forget to enjoy the view while sipping an ice cream on one of the famous blue chairs!
4. Learn about its history through its churches and cathedrals
This city is not only unique because of the incredible colorful buildings. But also, because of the different churches and cathedrals with influences from all over the world.
St. Nicholas Cathedral is the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral in Western Europe. Even if its structure was made in the Old Russian style, modern elements give this Cathedral its own identity.
Located in Jean- Medicin Avenue, the Basilica of Notre Dame in Nice is a Roman Catholic church with Neo-Gothic architecture. It impresses all visitors with its huge towers and ornate stained-glass windows.
There are another two important churches to visit in Nice:
One of the best examples of Nice’s Roman Baroque architecture is the Saint Reparata Cathedral, a church constructed between 1650 and 1699.
The Church of St. Jacques has a baroque structure with a Corinthian façade and a 42-metre high bell tower.
5. Discover an exotic paradise
One of the best things to do in Nice is going to Castle Hill.
Thousands of years ago, the Phocaean Greeks chose Castle Hill as the site of their trading post, which led them to discover Nice. Castle Hill owes its name to the formidable fortification built there and destroyed by Louis XIV in 1706; today it is a large landscaped park in the centre of old Nice.
From the city centre there are two routes to get there.
If you are on the seafront the best route is via Mnt. Lesage. Insted, if you are in the historic center we recommend the route starting from the Nice cemetery. Following Francois Aragon street you will find the best view of Nice, small colourful houses, with an Italian touch. You will also enjoy the view of a natural landscape as you walk through the stone paved streets. Following this route you will reach one of the most beautiful and most visited places in Nice, La Cascade. Many tourists stop to appreciate this place surrounded by nature. But they also take pictures or refresh themselves in its water during the summer. From the waterfall, climb the stairs up to Castle Hill, a beautiful viewpoint from which you can see the sea and the whole city.
The greatest is the breathtaking view of the old city’s roofs, Lympia Harbor, and the English Promenade from the summit. There are also a few remnants of an old medieval stronghold, a botanical garden, and a sizable artificial waterfall.
6. A walk through Lympia Harbor
Visiting Port Lympia is another interesting thing to do in Nice.
This impressive harbour was built in the 18th century, on the rock at the base of the historic fortress of Lympia. It is surrounded by old buildings painted in the traditional tones of the town and is home to a large number of yachts and pleasure boats.
The harbour is the departure point for some of the town’s most popular boat trips, including those along the coasts of Nice and Monaco, as well as those that take you to Cap Ferrat.
7. Things to do in Nice: Visit the Flower Market
Nice’s Marché aux Fleurs has been selling flowers to the public for over 100 years. Today, it remains one of the most important markets in France and a point of interest in Nice.
Along with regional flowers, it also sells delectable fruits and veggies. The merchants draw customers with their delicious homemade fare and fresh produce. Locals visit to get guidance on how to nurture the plants, and tourists browse the aisles taking pictures of the vibrant displays and trying the regional specialties.
Although the food court closes at 13:30, the flower market is open until 17:30. If you wish to visit in the summer, it’s advisable to arrive early because it might get crowded during high season.
8. Points of interest: Excursions from Nice
If you plan to be in Nice for more than a week, visiting the nearby towns is one of the best things to do on the Côte d’Azur.
Here you can visit the Monte Carlo Casino and enjoy the wonderful views over the Fontvieille harbor. Of course, you can’t miss the Prince Palace, the Old Monaco Museum as well as the Oceanographic Museum.
A few kilometres from Monaco and the next stop on the train is Menton. A charming little town with colourful houses and traditional Italian food.
For another 7 euros, heading to Cannes is the best way to enjoy a beautiful view of the sea from the train window. Whether you want to go there to shop in its luxury boutiques or to admire its streets, Cannes is a city you have to visit. If you are a film lover, the last week of May is the best time to go and enjoy the Cannes Film Festival.
Nice is one of the best cities to visit in Côte d’Azur. This city impresses all visitors with its museums, art galleries, historical center, and colorful buildings. Moreover, the exotic views from the Castle of Nice will make you love this city.