Fancy spending your next weekend in Nice? Already wondering about the perfect plan for your visit? Just follow our guide…
From architectural and cultural marvels to laid-back strolls with museums and old palaces dotted along the way… come and discover the niçoise way of life!
1 – Walk along the famous Promenade des Anglais
On 27 July 2021, Nice was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, who named it the “Winter Resort Town of the Riviera”. The Promenade des Anglais gave Nice that je ne sais quoi that nudged it into top place.
This promenade is the classic postcard image of Nice, and may well have been the reason Nice caught your eye in the first place. Known the world over, this avenue stretches across seven kilometres of Mediterranean coastline.
Join walkers, cyclists, joggers, and even bathers, who come down to the promenade at the crack of dawn to enjoy the intense light and distinctive colours of the city, including the breath-taking shades of blue offered by not only the sea and the sky, but also by its iconic blue chairs! The Prom’, as the locals call it, is also renowned for its rows of palm trees and spectacular hotels and palaces, such as the legendary Négresco and The Palais de la Méditerranée.
Keep strolling on down until you reach the Rauba Capeu sundial, at the foot of Colline du Château (Castle Hill). You won’t be able to resist taking a quick selfie in front of the massive #ILoveNice hashtag, the place to be if you´re an instagrammer.
2 – Lose yourself in the old town, Vieux-Nice
Just a few metres away from the sea is Vieux-Nice, the authentic, historical district. It’s the heart of the city, beating day and night, and it’s where you’ll find all the key features of the Côte d’Azur. Small local restaurants, perfume markets, artisanal boutiques, colourful façades, sunny patios and little squares, and remarkable buildings, both private and religious. Get lost in the labyrinth of narrow alleys and explore this lively and charming district at your own pace.
Wander around the Cours Saleya market, open every day except Mondays. It’s said to be one of the best markets in France. A rollercoaster for the senses, you can buy sun-ripe fruits and vegetables, as well as spices and locally-sourced olives and flowers. Even on Mondays when it’s closed, there´ll still be dealers around!
3 – Taste Nice’s culinary specialties
You can only say your trip has been a success once you’ve tried the local dishes.
Nice’s exquisite cuisine is protected under the “Cuisine Nissarde” label and is currently waiting for a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage certification. You can discover the wide range of local cuisine in a quaint bistro, a top-notch restaurant, or out on a terrace with a view overlooking the port, the Old Town, or Baie des Anges (the Bay of Angels).
You’ll be just as tempted by street food stalls selling socca (chickpea flour pancakes straight off a wood fire), pissaladière (onion tart cooked in olive oil), delicious stuffed vegetables, and pan bagnat (a lavish sandwich – the pride and joy of the city).
Also, the wine estates nestled in Nice’s hills produce excellent reds, whites, and rosés. In 2021, the AOC of “Vins de Bellet” will celebrate it’s 80th birthday!
4 – Treat yourself to an incredible view
To see the best views in Nice, you need to go high up!
Check out the Colline du Château (though the castle is no longer there, sadly). At the very top of the hill, above the magnificent and refreshing waterfall, you can peer over the Old City’s rooftops and enjoy a view stretching all the way to the Nice Côte d’Azur Airport and beyond. On the other side, you can see the port and the lighthouse seawall – this view is the stuff of dreams.
The Saint-François Tower definitely has the ‘wow factor’! Constructed in the 8th century and standing 42 metres tall, the tower dominates the Old City and offers a magical 360-degree panorama over Nice. You can visit the tower on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. or from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Prepare for a 288-step ascent up a spiral staircase (wear flat shoes). But the view from up there is worth the effort!
5 – Clear your mind on the Promenade du Paillon
The Promenade du Paillon is a long, 12-hectare strip of nature right in the very heart of the city. It’s perfect for a pleasant walk and is loved by inhabitants and visitors alike. Its exotic and Mediterranean qualities will take you on a trip around the world. Olive trees, vines, carnations, carob trees, pomegranate trees, fig trees, camphor trees, giant bamboo, phoenix palms, giant tree ferns. Over time, nature re-established its rightful claim over the pavement.
6 – Feast your eyes upon the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
Dive into the world of art – from the 1950s to the present day! The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMAC), designed in the early nineties, has become one of Nice’s most-visited locations!
The Promenade du Paillon leads straight to this museum and its attractive exterior, with unique architecture comprising four massive stone towers (thirty metres high) and interconnected by glass walkways. Inside, you’ll find a permanent collection of 1,300 pioneering works of art including pieces from the Ecole de Nice, an art movement developed in Nice at the end of the 50s, which now boasts internationally-renowned artists such as Ben, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Klein, Arman, Warhol, Christo, etc. The rooftops are open to the public and offer a view of the entire city and the surrounding countryside.
Did you like this article? Find more inspiration on the blog of the Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolitan Tourism office, and hurry up and book your flight to Nice to discover what it has in store for you!