Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Nice (France), along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
In this article, I’m sharing some of the best places to visit in Nice as well as interesting facts and attractions that shouldn’t be missed while visiting.
The Vieille Ville is Nice’s most historic and atmospheric neighborhood and offers elegant charm, an authentic style, and many boutiques offering interesting fashion in an exquisite setting.
There are numerous markets and architectural gems in this area, making it perfect for spending half a day exploring on foot. Highlights of this historic area include the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate, the Palais Lascaris as well as the market at Cours Saleya.
Vieille Ville is also home to many great restaurants and bars making it a perfect place to spend a nice evening.
Castle Hill park (le parc de la Colline du Château)
Castle Hill Park is a unique landmark in Nice. The greenery and mace of footpaths that can be found here today is the result of King Luis XIV’s efforts to completely dismantle the once monumental cital of Nice.
Today the area serves as a great viewpoint from which the Baie des Anges, the Vieille Ville, and the port are visible. There is also a beautiful waterfall located here which is worth checking out.
Make a day trip to Gorges du Verdon
Gorges du Verdon is Europe’s biggest river canyon. It is located around 150 km north of Nice and can be visited on day trips. The canyon is a fantastic natural site and is situated near the lakes of Sainte-Croix and Castillon as well as many picturesque villages.
There are many ways to explore the canyon. There are many great hiking trails to be found here as well as kayaks and horses. There are also scenic roads leading through the canyon.
Marc Chagall National Museum
The interesting Marc Chagall national museum is dedicated to Marc Chagall’s 17 paintings depicting the Biblical message of Christianity. He was a famous artist that considered these paintings his most important works and asked for them to be displayed together in one building.
But there are also many secular paintings as well as other religious works found here. In total, the museum features around 400 paintings, drawings, and pastels.
Cathedrale Saint-Nicolas a Nice
The Cathedrale Saint-Nicolas a Nice is special as it is one of the few Russian Orthodox Churches in the region. It is the property of Russia and was built here in 1912 as a gift of Tsar Nicholas II.
The church resembles a typical Russian church and shares some similarities with the famous St. Basil’s cathedral in Moscow. The cathedral is surrounded by greenery and feels very tranquil, a perfect place to slow down and relax.
Promenade des Anglais
Promenade des Anglais (Promenade of the English) offers an incredible 7 km of seafront footpaths that are a dream come true for everyone who loves a good walk along the sea.
The name of this fantastic boulevard is related to the members of the English aristocracy who liked to spend their time on the shores of Nice during the 18th century.
Promenade des Anglais also serves as a cycling path and gets very busy during the weekend as many families decide to take a walk here.
The Sainte-Répérate Cathedral is one of Nice’s cultural and historical landmarks and is located in the beautiful Old Town area. It is dedicated to a Palestinian girl killed for her religious beliefs during the third century.
According to Christian myths, her soul turned into a dove the moment she was beheaded. It is said that her body was put on a boat blown by the winds towards the Baie des Anges, Nice’s Angel Bay.
The cathedral offers many interesting artifacts and does a great job telling the interesting story of Saint Reparata, the patron saint of the city.
Jardin du Monastere de Cimiez
Jardin du Monastere de Cimez is a beautiful park measuring almost 10,000 m² in size. It is designed in an Italian-style and served the former monks as an orchard and vegetable garden.
The garden offers a fantastic fragrance of flowers and also offers a great view of the city. Cimiez Monastery, as well as other historical sights, are closeby and the Jardin du Monastere de Cimez is the perfect place to rest while going sightseeing in the area.
Basilique Notre-Dame de Nice
Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice is another religious highlight of the city. It is built in a beautiful Neo-Gothic style of architecture and was inaugurated in 1868.
The basilica is Nice’s largest church and offers two 65 m high square towers that can be seen from many places within Nice. The east front also offers beautiful rose windows depicting the Assumption of Mary. The church is also very beautiful at night as it is lit up with beautiful colored floodlights.
Cours Saleya Market
Cours Saleya is the most famous market in Nice’s beautiful Vieille Ville. The market is open daily and attracts large numbers of visitors as well as residents to its excellent produce vendors.
This market is also known for its excellent array of flowers reflecting the proud history of flowers for Nice’s history. The city was the first to establish a market for wholesale cut flowers in the world.
Cours Saleya is also a great place even if you aren’t interested in buying anything as you’ll get the chance to experience the lively atmosphere, which is fantastic and shouldn’t be missed.
Enjoy the beaches
One of the main draws of Nice and its surroundings are the many fantastic beaches that can be enjoyed here. The southern coast of France is a paradise for water-, sand- and sun-lovers during the summer months.
The most famous beach is Plage de Carras, Nice’s main city beach. It is situated right along the Promenade des Anglais and is a perfect way to combine Nice’s city attractions with a refreshing bath in the Mediterranean Sea.
Alternatively, you can head to Plage des Marinieres, just east of Nice. It offers scenic views and is nestled into a beautiful bay surrounded by the hilly coastline of the region.
Musée Masséna is situated in the most beautiful villa of the Promenade des Anglais. It is dedicated to art and offers a collection of artworks and historical artifacts. Most of the works on display come from Nice and its surroundings.
There is also some antique furniture to be found here that originated from the Massena family that once lived here. The most interesting aspect of the museum is its display of Napoleon and his personal memorabilia.
Watch a football game (OGC Nice)
OGC Nice is the club of choice for football fans in Nice and its surroundings. The team plays in France’s Ligue 1 and regularly qualifies for the Europa League.
Even though the team isn’t as prestigious as PSG or Olympique Lyon, coming here to watch a game is a great experience for those who enjoy football, even if you don’t follow the French league.
Witnessing the French Ligue 1 in person is a memorable experience and Nice’s Allianz Riviera stadium with a capacity of 36,000 is a great place to do so.
Mont Boron is a scenic hill that separates Nice from Villefranche-sur-Mer. The hill is where many of the region’s richest residents live. One of the marvelous villas here even belongs to Elton John.
The Fort du Mont Alban is situated on top of the hill and is worth a visit. One of the key attractions of Mont Boron is its great panorama. From here you can not only see Nice and its port but also the neighboring Villefranche-sur-Mer.
Walking here from Nice’s city center can be quite exhausting in the summer but once you made it here you will not regret it. However, the best time to visit is more often in late spring or early autumn.
The carnival of Nice is one of the most colorful in Europe and is considered one of the best in the world. This carnival has a long history dating back to the 13th century and is now attracting more than one million visitors a year.
It is held in February or the beginning of March and is characterized by its joyous parade. Each year the city picks a different theme so no two Nice carnivals are ever the same.
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