Where do you even begin when it comes to the top 10 things to do in Nice, France? The beaches, of course, define this city, as does its magnificent location and the pure contentment it offers, but Nice’s restaurants and nightlife scene give a run for its money. The French Riviera’s variety of intriguing galleries and museums is sometimes ignored, but those who miss out on the opportunity to marvel at stunning art in this beautiful region of the world are fooling themselves. Nice also has one of the best bar scenes in France, making it a location with everything for everyone.
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1. Old Town / Vieux Nice
Nice’s Old Town is formed of lofty tenement houses lined together along narrow, shadowy streets. Restaurants, boutiques, and galleries of local artists occupy the ground floors. Everything from Provencal spices to handcrafted jewelry and cosmetics is available here. Simply enter and allow yourself to get carried away by the past, which is still very much present here.
The Old Town of Nice (Vieille Ville), often known as Old Nice (Vieux Nice), is located right below Colline du Château. To the south, it is bordered by the Promenade des Anglais, while to the north, it is bordered by the Paillon River.
Nice’s Old Town is filled with old tenements, churches, and squares. A walk through the small and shaded streets transports you practically back in time, allowing you to feel the essence of Old Nice.
While strolling through Nice’s Old Town, you can’t afford to ignore some of the city’s other attractions such as:
- The Cathedral of St. Reparata
- Place Rossetti
- La Porte Fausse (false gate)
- Lascaris Palace
2. Place Masséna
Place Masséna is the central meeting place for Nice residents, located between Old Nice and the modern parts of the city, at the crossroads of several major boulevards and only a stone’s throw from the Promenade des Anglais.
Admire the scenery while dining at one of the many restaurants hidden beneath its arcades or shopping at its best stores.
The red clay of the façades, the white window frames, the arches, and the square shape of the northern half of the Masséna Square reveal the architectural influence of Italian Piedmont.
Place Masséna is also a prominent site for the well-known Carnaval de Nice.
3. Musée national Marc Chagall
Musée national Marc Chagall is a museum dedicated to the art of painter Marc Chagall, with a concentration on his religious works. The museum was built during Chagall’s lifetime and displays a set of seventeen paintings portraying the biblical message that Chagall painted and donated to the French government. The books of Genesis, Exodus, and Song of Songs are illustrated in this series.
Chagall himself gave specific instructions for the garden’s construction and chose where each of his paintings would be displayed in the museum. Chagall designed the mosaic that spans the pond as well as the blue stained glasses that adorn the music theatre.
4. Promenade des Anglais
The Promenade des Anglais, with its perfectly paved stretch facing the Mediterranean, is one of the most famous French promenades. A crescent-shaped harbour bordered by palm trees is lapped softly by azure waves. Tourists here sit at chairs on café terraces and simply see the world go by. Those who like to be more active might take advantage of the designated bike lanes or go for a jog along the beach. The Nice carnival parade passes by every February. The Bataille des Fleurs, with its flower-covered floats, attracts visitors from all over the world.
The Promenade des Anglais is approximately 7 kilometers long, connecting the city’s seaside airport to the southern extremity of the old town. The Jardin Albert 1er, one of Nice’s oldest parks, is about halfway along. It has traditional landscaping, ponds, and fountains. There’s also the Théâtre de Verdure, an open-air theatre erected near the end of WWII. It also organizes concerts, which have drawn great artists like Edith Piaf and Sting throughout the years.
5. Colline du Chateau
There are numerous routes to get to this viewpoint, including steps, roads, a railway, and an elevator. After reaching the top, you can enjoy the hill’s grassy meadows, shady nooks, and 18th-century artificial waterfall.
With the greatest vistas in town, it’s no wonder that Colline du Chateau is a favorite stop on Nice sightseeing excursions. Take a walking tour up to the hilltop vantage point; take an e-bike tour and glide up the hill before continuing along the French Riviera coast; or visit as part of a Nice day excursion from Villefranche-sur-Mer or Monaco.
6. Rent a bike
One of the best things about Nice is how easily accessible it is for guests who do not have a car. Nice is virtually crisscrossed by bike lanes, the majority of which run along the stunning coastline. So why take the tram or walk around Nice when you can experience this old city by bike?
Nice boasts a plethora of bike rental alternatives for guests, which is logical given its cycling accessibility.
The Vélo Bleu is a well-known bicycle rental company in Nice, famous both among locals and tourists.
The Roller Station is another excellent though slightly more expensive choice.
7. The Old Port of Nice
The Old Port of Nice is a vital infrastructure hub for Nice and, indeed, the entire French Riviera, serving as one of the principal harbors for boats sailing across the Mediterranean Sea. It can handle both ships run by ferry companies and private yachts of tourists arriving in Nice by sea on their own watercraft.
Old Port de Nice is located roughly in the center of Nice, and aside from its commercial functions, it can be considered a noteworthy leisure spot, peppered with numerous sightseeing opportunities. It is situated in the so-called Old Nice district (Vieux Nice). The port is accessible by car and train on land.
8. Take A Mediterranean Cooking Class
Sign up for the Mediterranean cooking lesson in the house of local culinary enthusiasts to learn how to cook like a local, from a local. Your host will teach you how to prepare traditional French Mediterranean meals using local products, which you will then share. They will be on hand to provide you with information not only about cooking but also about Nice.
9. St Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral
This cathedral, regarded as one of the most significant orthodox churches outside the Russian Federation, is the culmination of the Royal Family’s attempts to meet the spiritual requirements of Nice’s rising Russian population
The construction was built in the Old Russian style, but contemporary features give this Cathedral its own individuality, such as the Greek cross plan with five domes depicting Jesus and the four evangelists. The cathedral also has a rich iconostasis created by the Khlebnikoff workshops in Russia.
When it comes to Nice, the world-famous coastline is only the top of the iceberg. The city has enough museums, churches, and ruins to keep history buffs busy for days. There are also plenty of places to spend money: Place Masséna has a plethora of retail choices, while the Cours Saleya has everything from freshly cut flowers to brocante (flea market) kiosks. Just remember to spare some energy for after sundown, as Nice features one of the Riviera’s busiest nightlife scenes.