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The heart of Nice is the city center, an area that can be explored on foot quite easily. Within this region are several walks, and you could easily walk from one end of the city to the other in under an hour. These walks include walks in the old town near the flower market, or along the Promenade de Anglais, which offers some great views of the bay. And while not a large city, Nice is actually second only to Paris in numbers of museums and galleries, and like Paris, Nice is home to several unique neighborhoods.
The Old Town ("Vieux Nice")
A dense area of narrow winding streets dating back to the sixteenth century. The famous Flower Market in the Cours Saleya remains a must see attraction, including the stall of local character Thérèse, queen of Niçois Socca. The neighborhood features cafés, souvenir shops, and lots and lots of flowers. The market is open every day until 1:30pm except on Mondays, when a flea and antiques market is open instead. On Place Rossetti in the centre of the Old Town is the Cathedral St Réparate, and Fennochio's, the Nice ice-cream maker of hundreds of exotic flavours which attract queues of visitors daily.
Climb the zig-zagging steps to the top of the hill of the chateau ("Colline du Chateau" - there is no actual Chateau now) , where from the western balustrades you can enjoy the finest views over the Baie des Anges towards Cap d'Antibes and the Esterel, and from its eastward-facing side, over the port of Nice with its luxury yachts, cruiseships and daily ferries to and from Corsica.
The port area doesn’t attract as many tourists, and in many ways this is the best-kept secret. It is near the Old Town, offering great harbor views and features some excellent restaurants and hot nightspots. You can reach it by foot from Vieux Nice via Place Garribaldi and rue Bonaparte, or following the sea around the Raba Capeu - "where the wind steals your hat"
The Sea Front
If you need to relax or just take it easy, then the Promenade des Anglais is the place to be. With its bustling beaches (private, paying alternating with free public ones), it is the place to bike, run or roller blade. It offers delightful (if pricey) seaside restaurants and is the place to get some of the best crepes in Nice. Everyone walks the Promenade.
South of the main railway station Gare SNCF and the rue Massena (Zone Pietone)/ around rue de France and bd Victor Hugo is the upmaket residential district called Musiciens, with streets named after composers like rue Berlioz. The area is popular with apartment rentals and "second homes" of French, Italian, British, and Scandinavian origin, due to its closeness to the central area whilst being safe and attractive.
Queen Victoria's favourite location about two km north of the centre, an area of fine villas and streets named after members of the English monarchy, Roman antiquities, the monastery and its gardens which offer fine views over the city, the Matisse Museum, and a popular picnic area for Nice families under the shade of the olive trees.
The Russian district ("Eglise Russe"/Tsarewitch)
A kilometre north-west of the centre close to the rue Gambetta, home of the old orthodox Russian Cathedral, with its classic 'onion' towers, it marks Nice's long historic connection with pre-revolutionary Russian Monarchy.
Parc Valrose is the site of the science faculty of the University of Nice a kilometre north east of the centre. The park can be accessed in term time and is an enchanting setting with a small lake, classical folly, and lush vegetation, leading up to the magnificent Chateau Valrose, which houses the University administration. In recent years, security has increased. Technically, entry is restricted to faculty students and staff, though in practice you can enter discretely through the upper gates at Cimiez or the lower entrance, without challenge, within normal hours weekdays in term time. The surrounding streets are home to many villas dating back the the Belle Epoche, and nearby is the quirky concrete church of St Jeanne d'Arc.
A little further off the beaten tourist track, a kilometre or so direction airport is the residential area of Les Baumettes, which is home to the Musee des Beaux Artes Jules Cheret , and a little further, the The Musée international d'Art naïf Anatole Jakovsky, a fascinating collection of modern "primitive" sculptures and paintings.
Ariane and Les Moulins
These two neighbourhoods are areas of large-scale low cost social housing, mostly a concentration of tower blocks housing a high proportion of north-African and francophone sub-Saharan African population. Unlike many countries where the city centre is home to deprivation, French authorities tend to locate their large-scale social housing obligations to the suburbs: Les Moulins north of the airport , and Ariane along the Route de Turin several miles to the north of the city center.