Nice in the Winter, 11 top Reasons to Visit (+ Tips!)

Last Updated on July 11, 2024 by April Nicole

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Are you unsure about what to do in Nice in the winter? I’m here to help you to make your choice.

Visiting Nice in the winter offers a unique and enchanting experience on the French Riviera.

As a seasoned traveler who has explored this charming city during the colder months, I understand the challenge of finding exciting activities when the beach is not an option.

Many visitors often wonder what things to do in Nice in the winter, thinking they might miss out on the city’s renowned vibrancy. However, the off-season unveils a different side of Nice, filled with cultural events, quieter streets, and delightful local experiences.

From exploring the picturesque Old Town and enjoying the local cuisine to visiting the numerous museums and attending the famous Carnival of Nice, there’s no shortage of winter activities.

My expertise in this subject stems from multiple winter trips to Nice, allowing me to discover and share the hidden gems and seasonal delights that make this city a perfect winter destination.

If you are in a hurry, here’s a summary of what to do in winter in Nice France:

Nice in Winter Weather

Nice in Winter

This city is a fantastic place for summer and winter holidays because it has over 300 sunny days. In winter, Nice experiences moderate temperatures, ranging from 13°C to 16°C. When snow does fall in the city during the winter, it usually only lasts for one day. February is the wettest month throughout the winter.

Therefore, those who are coming at this time of year should park warmly and remember to bring an umbrella. Snowfall covers the city’s mountains, making the weather ideal for skiing. It’s the most impressive time to see the city without bumping into other visitors because it’s tranquil.

The rich flora is preserved by the moderate climate, which gives the environment an amazing appearance. Fruits are quite appealing to look at and smell, especially oranges and lemons. Travelers may enjoy the abundance of natural beauty that surrounds Nice in the city’s sunny gardens, mountains, and stunning shoreline.

Why Visit Nice in Winter?

Nice in winter a great chance to explore the city and observe how Nice functions normally without the hordes of tourists. Because the hotels are more affordable, base yourself in Nice and make your way across the region from there. Speaking about utilizing Nice as a base, there are several day trips you may take from Nice. So remember that as well.

Best Things to Do in Nice in Winter

Travelers can be guaranteed of a wonderful time because there are so many exciting things to see and do in Nice throughout the winter.

Enjoy a Meal at a Often Booked Niçoise Restaurant

You should definitely taste the traditional Niçoise cuisine served in a lot of restaurants; you can more easily walk in and obtain a table right away in Nice in the winter. Old Town Nice’s Chez Acchiardo Restaurant is one of the more authentic. A blend of Mediterranean and Niçoise cuisines are served there. There are currently four generations in the Acchiardo family, which has been in business since 1927. To be honest, the best places to eat Niçoise food are in Old Town.

Try Chez Pipo for some of the greatest socca in Nice. They have the best chickpea pancakes in town, according to the locals. Another choice is to wait in line at Old Town Nice’s Rene Socca on Rue Miralhéti. Even if there’s a long wait, they provide a ton of other little Niçoise treats, such stuffed peppers and fried sardines. Next, grab a seat on their patio and savor your inexpensive street food.

See the Nice Christmas Market

Nice in Winter, christmas market in nice

The Christmas market in Nice is a must-see if you visit in December. The market succeeds in giving Nice the atmosphere of a small winter wonderland, despite the city’s lack of snowfall.

Lose yourself in the maze of decorated stalls, each offering unique and handcrafted gifts that are perfect for your loved ones. From traditional wooden toys to intricate ornaments, you’re sure to find something special that will bring joy to your family and friends. And don’t forget to treat yourself to some delectable French delicacies – from freshly baked pastries to melt-in-your-mouth chocolates, the market is a food lover’s paradise.

Visit Nice Old Port

Nice in Winter

One of the best sights in Nice is the Old Port, sometimes called Port Lympia, which is close to Old Nice. The port is vital even though it did not exist in the ancient and medieval periods. It serves as a marina, a walking area, and a commercial port.

The city’s center area, the port district, is both quite modern and rich in history. It has a nice but cosmopolitan feel because to the mix of modern stores and trendy eateries with antique shops.

See A Few Pieces of Art in a Local Museum

Nice in Winter

Nice has the second-highest number of museums in France, behind Paris, with its 19 museums and art galleries. The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Nice (MAMAC), which has an amazing collection of 1300 works of art by various artists, is one of the museums you should see.

Other museums you should visit are:

  • Palais Masséna – It’s worth visiting this museum, which is located in a gorgeous Neoclassical estate on the Promenade des Anglais. The location is not only stunning, but it also provides you with historical information about Nice via paintings, artifacts, photos, and vintage posters.
  • Musée National Marc Chagall – French and Russian painters’ works are housed at this museum. More than a thousand paintings, prints, sketches, sculptures, mosaics, and other works are included in the collection. The collection of 17 paintings with religious themes, separated into the Old and New Testaments, is, however, the most important item.

People watch at Place Masséna & Avenue Jean Médecin

Nice in Winter

The center of Nice is located at Place Masséna and Avenue Jean Médecin. The city’s central plaza, Place Masséna, offers plenty of room for strolling and relaxing. The area is lined with cafes and eateries.

At the centre of the square, going toward the Old Town, you will find the famous fountain called Fontaine du Soleil (Sun Fountain). It is often the meeting point for locals. The statue of Apollo at the centre of the fountain symbolises the sun, and the bronze statues around him represent the planet.

There are other sculptures on street lamps farther up the square. “Conversation à Nice“, is the name of this artwork by Jaume Plensa. Make sure to visit Place Masséna in the evening since these statues, which depict kneeling men, shine in the dark.

Visit One of Nice’s Beautiful Churches

Nice in Winter

The stunning cathedrals in Nice are a must-see while on vacation because of their exquisite architecture and rich historical significance. Beautiful churches can be found all across the city, although Old Nice is home to the majority of the city’s churches. Built in the 12th century, the most famous is the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate.

Another magnificent cathedral that stands out in the city is the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral, which has colorful turrets and dramatic minarets from the Russian architectural heritage. The city’s Chapelle du Saint-Sépulcre in Place Garibaldi, Chapelle du Saint-Suaire in Cours Saleya, and Chapelle de la Miséricorde in Cours Saleya are a few additional noteworthy churches.

Check out the Promenade Des Anglais

Nice in Winter

This stunning seven-kilometer beachfront with its breathtaking views of the flawless blue seas of the Mediterranean helped Nice become a globally recognized travel destination. One of the most well-known promenades in France is the Promenade des Anglais.

There are many enjoyable things to do when visiting this location, such as cycling or riding on the authorized lanes while taking in the amazing surroundings, watching Nice carnival parades pass by the promenade, and relishing in the breath-blowing views of the ocean from the terraces of the cafés. Travelers may attend a number of concerts held on the promenade. There are other sights to see along the route, such as Jardin Albert 1er, one of the city’s oldest parks.

Take a Day Trip to the French Alps

A great day trip from Nice that includes skiing, snowboarding, snow activities, and après-ski fun is the Nice Ski Bus. Ski trips to Isola 2000, Valberg, Gréolières les Neiges, and Turini Camp d’Argent leave from Nice rail terminals at different times.

In addition to hiking and playing with the kids in the snow, the breathtaking Côte d’Azur resorts offer skiing and snowboarding. In addition, the resorts serve hot spiced wine, raclette, and fondue as snacks.

Find out more information here.

Enjoy a Drink at a Seaside Bar in Nice in Winter

Nice in Winter

Along its promenade, Nice is home to various seaside bars that provide a wide selection of drinks, including delectable cocktails. Travelers can enjoy drinking cocktails while taking in the stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea from the spectacular balconies that these bars boast. The best bars along the water are Movida, L’Eden, and Waka Bar. These establishments ensure ideal sunset moments with an apéro nearby.

Nice’s restaurants and bars are prepared for the occasional drop in temperature, even in the winter months. Several beautiful rooftop bars are available where you can relax outside, soak up the sun, and get toasty next to heaters. The Hotel Meridien’s rooftop bars, which are located directly on the Promenade, are among the best options.

See a Concert or Opera

Nice in Winter

The magnificent Opéra de Nice is a performing arts institution that presents concerts of classical music, ballets, and operas in an elegant setting. The Nice Philharmonic Orchestra and the Ballet Nice Méditerranée are housed in Opéra de Nice, which is situated in Old Nice and is around ten minutes from the city center.

Since its 18th-century opening, the opera theater has played host to a number of well-known productions, including as “Lucia di Lammermoor,” “Aida,” and “Cendrillon.” The opera house currently works with local orchestras and presents shows by the Nice Philharmonic Orchestra and Ballet Nice Méditerranée. Additionally, the opera theater contains a Diacosmie that makes costumes and scenery.

Enjoy the Best Panoramic Views of the City

Nice’s seafront and old town are breathtakingly beautiful to see. To see those views, you can visit a lot of locations; the majority are free.

  • Colline du Château – The ideal spots to take in an extensive view of Nice are the park and the hill of the former castle. From Old Town to the Promenade des Anglais and Old Port, the views are breathtaking! Don’t forget to see the cemetery, the tower, and the castle!
  • Parc du Mont Boron – Extends and provides a wider and better panoramic picture of Nice from Castle Hill Park. Climb up to the Fort of Mont Alban for views over Villefranche-sur-Mer and Cap Ferrat on one side, and Nice and the Alps on the other.
  • Panorama de la Baie des Anges – Truly a beautiful location with breathtaking sea views. The view of the Baie des Anges and the port of Nice is magnificent from the perspective of Boulevard Carnot on the low corniche.

Go Shopping in Nice in Winter

It is inevitable that throughout your visit, you would want to shop in Nice. Winter sales begin in the middle of January and last for around one month. Make room in your baggage since you can stock up on warm-weather things at a fraction of the price.

It’s not difficult to locate excellent shopping along the Cote d’Azur. Nice has two shopping malls, Nice Etoile on Jean Medecin in the center of Nice and Cap 3000, on the opposite side of the airport (take Bus 12 from the center of Nice), aside from the department store Galeries Lafayette.

Enjoy Some Traditional Jazz Music Live

One of Nice’s oldest caverns, La Cave Romagnan, hosts the finest jazz in town on Saturday nights from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. Due to the tight space, arrive early. While others are obstructed and belly up to the bar in an attempt to obtain a drink, you have to press in to view the band. Additionally, there are several art installations (pictures, sketches, and paintings) by regional artists on the walls, many of which are for sale. It is a really classic pleasure from long ago.

Address: 22 Rue d’Angleterre, 06000 Nice, France

Shapko Bar in Old Town, next to Place Rossetti, is another place in Nice that has music every night. They have a ton of cover bands as well as R&B, rock, funk, and jazz. Nice spot to go every night of the week if you want live music. It may get really hectic depending on who’s playing. Music plays from roughly 2:30 a.m. until about 10 p.m.

Address: 5 Rue Rossetti, 06300 Nice, France

Experience Carnaval de Nice 2024

The renowned Nice Carnival takes place in the middle of February. The dates in 2024 are February 17–March 3. With imaginative parades centered around an annual theme, this carnival takes place over two weeks. King of Pop Culture is the theme for 2024.

People compete to grab bouquets of flowers and mimosas that are thrown into the audience during the “Battle of the Flowers” procession. As of the writing of this article, the cost of a carnival ticket for 2024 range from 14,00 € to 28,00 € depending on the procession.

Click here for the official Carnival of Nice website

Have Lunch at a Cat Cafe

Nice in Winter

Being cozy is the ideal place to have lunch in Nice in winter. The cat café in Nice, La Ronronnerie, is a great place to spend a delightful winter’s day. Curl up and enjoy the purr of Jaya (Bengal Snow), Evoli (Selkirk Rex), Edguard (Sphynx), Luke (Maine Coon), and Leon (American Curl). That’s right—a café featuring cats! Plus, the place is controlled by cats.

Address: 4 Rue de Lépante, 06000 Nice, France

Explore Nice’s Old Town’s Vibrant Markets

Nice in Winter

Nice’s local markets are lovely, filled with everything a tourist might want, and visiting them is a terrific chance to meet people and discover a little bit about the way of life there. Winter is a better time to explore these marketplaces than summer. Vieux Nice boasts one of the nicest local markets around.

There are tons of vendors in the neighborhood offering flowers, fruits, veggies, and anything in between. Every day except Monday is market day. There are amazing fish markets to visit inside the alleyways of old Nice. When it comes to preparing the type of fish one has selected to bring home, it’s usually a good idea to get the locals’ guidance. The finest locations to shop are markets, particularly for those using Airbnbs.

Final Thoughts on Nice in Winter

Winter in Nice offers a blend of serene beauty and vibrant activities. Visitors can indulge in the unique charm of the Promenade des Anglais, enjoy the warmth of local cafes, and explore the festive Christmas markets. The mild Mediterranean climate makes it ideal for leisurely strolls through the historic Old Town, or for engaging in outdoor sports like hiking in the nearby hills.

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  1. I have yet to visit Nice but it does sound lovely. What a great place to go and soak in the culture and explore new places. I would love to go to see the Old Port, check out the promenade and even see a Christmas market or two whilst there. A day trip to the Alps would also be lovely and a great experience.

  2. I have never seen a city with a name that describes it so well! Nice looks so lovely and the vibe is wonderful. I’m definitely putting in on my list of destinations for our trip to France!

  3. We used to go to Europe during Spring Break. It was still cold and not a lot of visitors were in most places so it was nice for lines and such. I never did make it to Nice though and now I’m getting a little more conservative with my travel so I likely won’t. Thankfully, I can live vicariously through posts like this one. 🙂

  4. Your post about Nice in winter is a delightful read! 🇫🇷 The way you capture the charm of the city during the colder months, from the festive lights to the cozy atmosphere, is truly enchanting. It’s wonderful to see a different perspective of Nice beyond its summer allure. Thanks for sharing your winter experiences and the hidden gems that make Nice a fantastic destination year-round. Wishing you more magical moments in this beautiful city!

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