Visit Nice and its surroundings: the unmistakable ones
Nice is an incredible, charming and surprising city! In summer and winter it is a great place to live. In summer we enjoy the sea and in winter we are only one hour away from the ski resorts. What a dream!
Lulled by the Italian culture, we enjoy strolling in the narrow streets of Old Nice, swimming on the pebble beaches or the rocky beaches of Coco Beach, discovering the main squares: Masséna, Garibaldie… a walking tour is the best way to discover the city! Nice remains a relatively human-sized city. Right in the center, the streetcar makes traveling easier.
The only drawback is the relatively high cost of living compared to the French average.
Whatever the opinions, Nice is making the news!
The mythical promenade des anglais
This palm-fringed walk starts from the hill of the Château to the Nice airport and is seven kilometers long with its private beaches and famous blue chairs. The Promenade des Anglais was a chic and touristy symbol barely two years ago, today a duality appears between beauty and the memory of a dark night on July 14, 2016, a date that the people of Nice will never forget.
The original touch: renting blue bikes to ride the beautiful promenade (a bit sporty to check in but quite feasible!): I recommend you to do at least the part that goes from the Quai des Etats Unis to the Negresco Hotel!
Place Massena and Avenue Jean Medecin
The avenue Jean-Médecin, is the district of the hyper center in Nice, starts from the place Masséna and ends at the railway station of Nice.
It is an area that can be divided in two: a first part quite posh and based on shopping around the place Masséna, and a second part more popular in the northern half of the avenue Jean Médecin.
A Free walking tour around Nice Old Town :
The Nice free walk is great introduction of Nice old town with locals guides. It’s a fun and interactive way to discover the city on foot. Feel free to tips your guide at the end of the tours. Book Free walk in English Here
A coffee break on the Place Garibaldi and the Port of Nice
The port of Nice is one of my favorite neighborhoods: a popular, lively and lively neighborhood!
Places not to be missed: the magnificent Place Garibaldi, many antique dealers’ galleries, the little marsh of Nice.
The port of Nice has retained its Mediterranean flair, and the neighborhood should appreciate itself even more with the construction of line 2 of the tramway, linking the port of Nice to the Nice airport.
The Castle Hill and its incredible view
The castle hill in Nice is, in my humble opinion, the most beautiful place in Nice. Five magnificent panoramas are accessible from the hill :
- At the highest point, with a view of the bay of Nice, its Promenade des Anglais and the mountains.
- Close to the playground for children, view on the port and the hill of Mont Boron,
- Bellanda Tower: view on the Baie des Anges
- Belvedere near the exit of the elevator
- Cascade du Château, an artificial waterfall, but very pretty!
Two possibilities to get to the castle hill.
- From the seaside : At the end of the Quai des Etats-Unis, and before the turn of the Quai Ruba Capeu, is the first entrance which can only be taken on foot (the climb is quite steep). You still have to choose between the elevator or the stairs along the Bellanda Tower.
- From the port of Nice : not recommended if you are on foot. Take the ascent to the castle and follow the long path to the end to reach the cemeteries.
Stroll through Old Nice and the Cours Saleya
The old Nice is located at the bottom of the place Masséna towards the Promenade des Anglais.
During your visit of the old Nice, I recommend you to see mainly the Cours Saleya, where is held almost every morning (except Monday) the famous flower market. Other places not to be missed:
- The courthouse square
- The Rossetti square and its glaciers, which I will tell you about below.
- The Saint François square and its small fish market”.
The panoramic view of Mount Boron
Mount Boron is a Mediterranean forest located on a hill to the east of the city. The site offers many walks with beautiful views over the Baie des Anges and the bay of Villefranche. Don’t miss the Mont Alban fort at the top! The view is sublime.
To go to Mont Boron, take the city bus number 14 from Nice.
Coco Beach and the Reserve
The beaches of the Reserve in Nice are located after the Port on the way to Cap de Nice between the beaches of the Military Baths and Coco-Beach. Pretty beaches of large pebbles one of many small rocky creeks embrace the port of Nice. The negative point: the port and its boat fumes is very close… Very average to swim. I really recommend it for a walk and not a swim.
The majestic Russian Cathedral
The Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Nice is sumptuous and is, moreover, the most important religious building of the Orthodox cult outside Russia. The contrast between the Mediterranean architecture and vegetation is quite surprising and it is worth the detour.
A stone’s throw from the train station. The bus 75 will drop you next door.
TASTE THE CULINARY SPECIALTIES OF NICE
To visit Nice is also to discover the culinary specialties of Nice, adored by its inhabitants.
- Socca: This is one of the most famous (and best!) specialties from Nice. The socca is based on chickpea flour, I advise you René Socca in the old Nice!
- Panisse: another specialty based on chickpea flour, usually fried. A must try!
- Pissaladière: An “onion tart with anchovies”: incredibly good!
- Niçoise salad: tuna, tomatoes, salad and other raw vegetables, anchovies, hard-boiled egg, Niçoise olives!
- the sandwich version of the Niçoise salad: tuna and/or anchovies, raw vegetables, hard-boiled egg, Niçoise olives and olive oil, all in a round bread soaked in oil.
- Farcis niçois, daube niçoise etc..: in Nice, we have our niçoise version of the classic dishes 😉 let yourself be surprised !
For the sweetness, the famous ice cream, I recommend Azzurro, which is located in Piazza Rossetti. By searching on tripadvisor, you will certainly see Fennochio, as “the best ice cream in Nice” but I really advise you to try Azzuro, the home-made of course!
WHAT TO DO AROUND NICE
- Cannes: where the famous film festival takes place every year. Not to be missed: the visit of the Lérins islands by boat!
- St Paul de Vence for its cultural and artistic note. This village is one of the meeting points for artist souls.
- Monaco which lets appear a world apart with its royal palaces, its princes and princesses, its billionaires, its 125 different nationalities…
- A trip to Italy, to Ventimiglia, via Menton, the city of lemons.
- Walking in good company in the Mercantour Park is a must.
- Roquebrune Cap Martin for its picturesque medieval village overlooking the sea
- Villefrance-sur-Mer: the small Mediterranean town. Not to be missed: the citadel of Villefranche.
- Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat: The almost island of the billionaires, with incredible luxury villas. Things to do: the path around Cap Ferrat starting from the “Passable” beach, and swimming in one of the pretty little coves!
- Eze village:a medieval village between sea and mountain… one of the most beautiful villages of the South. This small village perched above the sea is one of the most beautiful villages of France. To visit also: the exotic garden of Eze.
- Menton: a small town, near Italy, known for its lemon festival and sunshine.
- Antibes: for its Fort Carré, The old Antibes is also really worth a visit, with excellent restaurants. To do also: the tour of the Cap d’Antibes and its magnificent houses.
- Villages to visit around Nice: Peille, Saint Agnès (the highest perched village on the coast), Coaraze and its sundials, the ruins of Châteauneuf-Villevieille, Saorge, Tende, Entrevaux: it’s worth it!
TRANSPORTATION IN NICE
Tramway and bus serve in the city are very well. For one week, there is a pass that costs 15 € and allows you to use public transport without any travel restrictions.
The small +: soon the streetcar will arrive at the airport
If you stay in Nice even do not bother with a car. And rent one instead to discover the surroundings.
What is the best way to get to Nice?
- By car, the A8 takes you directly to the city. If you come by car, prefer a hotel with parking.
- By train, Nice is served by TER and TGV. It is unfortunately very long because the railroads are not made for TGV. Count 3h00 on average to reach Marseille, 5h00 for Paris …
- The international airport is also very well developed with low cost flights or not to most of the French cities but also the world.
- For vacationers, the port also allows cruise ships criss-crossing the Mediterranean to call at Nice.
Leaving Nice by transport :
- by train : for information on the TER, click here
- by bus: it’s the cheapest way because the Alpes Maritimes General Council allows you to take the bus with a ticket at the price of 1 € whatever the length of the trip…
- by car: car rental. My advice is…
It seduces you finally by the beauty of its districts, its unique light and the mildness of its climate.