Interested in Nice?
We'll send you updates with the latest deals, reviews and articles for Nice each week.
Topics include Transportation, France: For Foreign Visitors & more!
Nice has two main assets. First, it is a historically-rich Franco-Italianate city that mixes old and new, with many markets, bars and restaurants and is beside the sea. Second, Nice is the travel hub of the French Riviera, offering you easy access for excursion by bus and rail to over a hundred towns and villages, back into the mountains, as far East as Italy, and as far west as deep Provence, a jumping off point for Corsica and access to the must-see tourist destination of Monaco. You can spend all your time in Nice, or split it with many other fascinating places.
If you hope to spend a lot of your time on the beach, be aware all Nice beaches are pebbly - not sharp stones, but round flat "galets" and just a bit uncomfortable to walk on perhaps, so make sure you have suitable footwear, or prepare to pay for beach club sunbeds and parasols. (If you want a sandy public beach, you will need to travel to neighbouring towns such as Viillefranche, Antibes, Juan le Pins or Cannes) The sea at Nice, along the 4km Baie des Anges, dips away quite sharply and the tidal pull at the city-end of Castel is strong. The town public beaches have lifeguards/ assistance.
The beach is nonetheless crowded in high season, and your backdrop to the beaches is the road traffic along the busy Promenade des Anglais. Nice is not necessarily the best choice for a family beach holiday, however Nice does offer the charm and sophistication of French and Italian culture, which is something your average beach resort singularly lacks.
There are a dozen or so private beaches in Nice but also large swathes of open public beach. The private beaches offer a lounger, umbrella and towel plus changing area and bathroom for a little over 20 Euro a day. Most also have restaurants where you can order food and drinks brought to your lounger (bringing your own food and drink is frowned on). On a weekend in high season, you may need a reservation. On either public or private beach, the galets (pebbles) are hard on the feet and the local solution is "jellies", inexpensive footwear which you can park at the water's edge before a swim. Waves in the Baie des Anges are generally mild, good from a family stand point, but in the crook of the Baie at the Castel has a strong outward tidal pull that can catch the unwary by surprise. For beach wear expect lots of tiny swim-trunks on men and topless ladies, so depending on your home culture, consider what you feel comfortable exposing. If you crave a sandy beach, you need to catch the bus to nearby Villefranche, Beaulieu, or beyond.
A lot of the main hotels border Promenade des Anglais, and room charges are highest for that sea view. Cours Saleya borders the sea end of the Old Town. On Monday morning it is a bric-a-crac and antiques market, and for the rest of the week, a market of flowers fruit vegetables in a charming setting. By afternoon the market is replaced with extra cafe tables, which give way to restaurants by night. At the top end of the old town is Place Garibaldi, where the traditional Cafe le Turin is situated on the corner, serving fabulous seafood, and numerous open air cafes where you can linger over a drink and soak up the ambiance.
Then there is the Old Town. Wander down narrow streets, get lost in the muddle that is old Nice. Explore quirky shops, busy cafes, many restaurants and in the square of the Fontaine du Soleil and the Cathedral Ste Reparte, the must-try hundreds of flavours of Fennochio ice cream (the violet is most often talked about) Then when you need that great aerial photo of Nice, head for le Chateau. Be prepared to climb quite a few steps, not for fainthearted! and be rewarded with the fabulous views of one of Frances most photographed panoramas, stretching out over the Baie des Anges, Cap d'Antibes and the Esterel. When you get to the top you will be glad you did.
The Port is well worth a visit. Great restaurants and cafes, multi million pound yachts, ferries to Corsica. Great night time too.
If you have any money left then hit the modern commercial town. The main street Av Jean Medecin is home to many fashion shops , the shopping mall, Nice Etoiles and the upscale department store Galleries Lafayette.
Expect very busy roads with solid traffic most of the time except in the pedestrian streets. Very much a place for those who like city life. Good shopping and if you are looking for the locally produced soaps, flowers etc, the prices on the market cannot be beaten in any of the shops.
So much to see, so little time!