Attractions in Nice
Nice is an attraction in itself with its beautiful blue-green sea, shopping, exquisite food and drink and with its beautiful art deco facades. A main attraction in Nice is therefore to stroll around the city and let it be part of the relaxing holiday days.
- See DigoPaul for dictionary definitions of Nice, France. Includes geographical map and city sightseeing photos.
Old Town (Vieille Ville)
The Old Town is arguably Nice’s most picturesque part, where narrow cobblestone streets circle between old, low-rise buildings with red roof tiles. At times you feel set back to the Middle Ages. Here are many small family run restaurants and street stalls where you can buy everything from food products and locally produced wine in bottles or barrels.
Henri Matisse lived several times in Nice during his lifetime, and his groundbreaking artwork was clearly inspired by the colors and views of Nice. The museum is dedicated to the artist’s life, work and influence. Here you can also see several of the artist’s personal belongings, and here is a gift shop where you can buy prints of his paintings.
The Matissemuseet is located at 164 Avenue des Arenes and is open daily from 11am to 10pm. 1000 to 1800. Closed Tuesdays. Entrance fee NOK 35, free for children.
Le Chateau (Chateau Parc)
The best reason to visit Le Chateau is the amazing views you get over the city and the sea. You can choose to take the lift for around ten kroner or you can choose to climb the height of 92 meters via the stairs, which are free of charge. Access to the stairs can be found at Monte Lesage or on the east side of Rue Rossetti.
Le Chateau means the Castle, but the 12th century castle itself was demolished by Louis XIV in 1706, and the only thing left is a 16th century tower, the Bellanda Tour.
Promenade des Anglais
This famous seafront promenade was built by Englishmen in the 19th century and continues to attract the world’s rich and beautiful people for a pre-dinner dinner at an upscale restaurant. But the promenade has become a symbol of both Nice and the entire French Riviera, and it always lives on. Here, tourists stroll among youths on roller blades, and here crepes and refreshments are sold from carts as joggers and cyclists pass by. Here are also several of the city’s better restaurants, but the price level reflects as much the location and the Mediterranean view as the raw materials and the chef’s efforts.
Cours Saleya flower market
One of Nice’s most visited attractions is the famous flower market, which takes place every day except Mondays, from noon. 0600 in the morning. On the other hand, the antique market is on the mander. The rest of the week you will find an impressive selection of flowers in all colors and shapes, and it is a delight to just stroll around and be seduced by one scent more beautiful than the next. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants and patisseries around the flower market.
You will find the flower market between Place Massena and the old town.
St Cathedrale Cathedral
In the middle of Nice’s liveliest square with outdoor restaurants and bars, the baroque 17th-century cathedral St Réparate. Right here, both Greek and Roman temples used to be located, and you can really feel the historical rush from the area, surrounded by a maze of narrow cobbled streets.
The cathedral is open daily from 7 am 0800 to 1900, free admission.
Palace of Lascaris
This 16th century palace was built by Jean-Paul Lascaris, Field Marshal of the Duke of Savoy. Here you can see exquisite frescoes, huge candelabras and chandeliers, paintings and porcelain vases. In the roof of the entrance hall you can see the coat of arms of the Lascaris family with the somewhat optimistic slogan “Not even the lightning strikes us”!
The palace is located at 15 Rue Droite and is open Tuesday to Sunday at. 0800 to 1200 and 1400, free admission.
Carnival in Nice
Nice carnival is one of the most traditional in the world on par with Venice and Rios, and has its roots back to the Middle Ages. During some hectic, colorful and festive weeks in February, costume parades and parades are held almost daily every year.
Cathedrale Orthodox Russians
One view most people expect in Nice is the six loop domes of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Boulevard du Tsarewitch. Built in the early 1900s under the orders of Tsar Nikolai II, with its exotic shapes and cheerful colors, it is a powerful sight.
It is inspired by the famous Vasilij Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square and is located north of Nice Railway Station.
Nice is a relatively small city, and if you want to get to know the city, you can do so in no time. The best way is on foot. Activities and what to do during a day in Nice depends on the time of year you travel.
If you plan to visit several museums and attractions, it is worth investing in a passport that gives you priority access to over 60 different places in and around Nice. The Carte Musées Côte d’Azur costs around £ 85 for a day pass, 145 for a three-day pass, and 225 for a week pass.
An easy way to see most things is to join a guided tour with one of the open sightseeing buses, with comments in optional language in earphones. These have a route with eleven regular stops, where you can hop off, stay as long as you want, and hop on the next bus at your convenience. The ticket costs approx. 150 kroner, possibly 175 kroner for a two-day pass. You can pre-order these and get more information from City Discovery. But be aware that you miss out on the many quaint little streets in the old town, as these are simply too crowded for the buses.
Below you will find suggestions on what to do if you are traveling in high season, which is the summer months characterized by sun and heat.
Day 1 in Nice
The first day in Nice should start with a French breakfast. In most hotels you will be served the main ingredients for a good French breakfast, which consists of delicious fresh croissants and bagels with jam, yogurt, juice, coffee and tea. Shine the sun and it’s warm, sit in one of the many cafes and enjoy breakfast there as you watch the people in the city waking up. This is a good start to the day, and you are ready to experience the beautiful Nice has to offer.
In Nice there are many great markets, and we recommend that you head for Cours Saleya. This is the largest marketplace in Nice, and it is a popular market for both residents and visitors. There is a fruit, vegetable and flower market by day, and it is almost full of good scents and vibrant colors. If you are here on a Monday, there is an antique market here. After walking for a few hours, it might be time for a coffee cup and some food. At Cours Saleya, there are many great cafes and restaurants where you can gather the energy to continue the day. An alternative is to go to one of the old town’s shops and shop for picnic food on our next recommended visit for the day.
The best reason to visit Le Chateau is the amazing views you get over the city and the sea. You can choose to take the elevator up (this costs 1 euro per person) or you can choose to climb the height of 92 meters via the stairs for free. The stairs can be found at Monte Lesage or on the east side of Rue Rossetti. The 12th-century castle was demolished by Louis XIV in 1706, and the only thing left is a 16th-century tower, the Bell Bellanda. Here lies a beautiful waterfall, and in the northwest corner of the park is a cemetery which is the last resting place of Italy’s national hero Guiseppe Garibaldi, who was actually born in Nice.
In the afternoon you can take a bus or taxi to the Cimiez district and visit the Matisse Museum, dedicated to the famous artist Henri Matisse, who lived in Nice for much of his life. He was buried in the cemetery of the 16th century Monastery de Cimiez. In Cimiez you can also see the remains of two thousand-year-old Roman baths, an amphitheater and an arena, and here is the Cimiez Archaeological Museum, with artifacts from before Roman times.
Now go back to the hotel to change clothes and get a shower before it’s time to think about dinner. There are hundreds of eateries all over Nice, but it’s fine to combine dinner with an experience and a good view. Samsara restaurant is located on 2 Rue Rossetti, just off Cathedral Saint Réparate and Colline du Château. The place specializes in food from the Nice area, and you can choose from meat, fish, octopus and salads. The main courses are around 120-150 kroner. Afterwards you can go down to Johnnys Wine Bar in the neighboring building, where you will be served jugs of local wine on the outdoor terrace for around 40 kroner.
Day 2 in Nice
After a hearty breakfast, head to one of Nice’s seemingly most misplaced buildings, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, located just northwest of the city’s train station. But the explanation is simple. The Russian aristocracy used to come to the French Riviera when winter ravaged the worst in St. Petersburg and Moscow, and Tsar Nikolai II built the cathedral around 1905, modeled on the famous Vasilij Cathedral in Moscow. The sight of the big colorful loop domes next to the palm trees is pretty weird.
Afterwards, you may want to head down to the beach and spend the morning soaking up the sun in a deck chair and swimming in the Mediterranean. It can be smart to bring sandals, as the beach is not sand but pebbles and gravel. Bring your own bath towel. Leave your valuables in the hotel if you do not have someone who can keep an eye on them while you are in the water, as the beach is regularly visited by professional thieves.
Alternatively, you can go shopping in Nice’s shopping streets. The easiest and nicest are the pedestrian streets, such as Rue Massena and nearby streets, where you will find everything from clothing stores such as Armani and H&M, bookstores, shoe stores, souvenir shops and specialty shops including gourmet food. Sit on one of the sidewalk cafes with a coffee or beer when you feel like it, and enjoy the atmosphere in Nice.
At sunset, it’s time to take a long walk on Nice’s long and stately Promenade des Anglais. Here you will meet young people and families on tour, joggers and skaters, street artists, musicians and other tourists. Strolling under the palm trees with the scent of the colorful and well-kept flowerbeds as the sun goes down is a very peaceful experience, even if it is full of life and mess around you. Here is no problem to find a nice restaurant to dine at, and afterwards you do not have a long way to the most lively nightlife area of the old town.