Updated: Jul 17
Nice is located in the French Riviera, on the southeast coast of France on the Mediterranean sea, bordered by Provence to the west, the Alps to the north and Italy to the east.
Nice is known as the capital on the French Riviera and is the second-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast after Marseille.
The population in the metropolitan area of Nice is about 1 million.
The beautiful city has a lot to offer. Its natural picturesque beauty in combination with lively city ambiance and mild Mediterranean climate attract tourists and visitors all year round.
The town is easy to explore on foot, has some excellent street markets, breathtaking seafront promenade, charming Old town and lively squares. Nice is surprisingly affordable and can serve as a base and starting point to your gateway to the spectacular places on the French Riviera.
What to see and do while in Nice? Here are some ideas.
Main Attractions and Places to Visit:
Promenade des Anglais and the Beach
The most famous seafront boulevard in Nice gets its name from the English expat patrons who paid for it in 1822.
The beautiful promenade attracts like a magnet. It stretches for seven kilometers along the Mediterranean sea, from the airport in the west of the city, to the Castle Hill in the east.
The promenade consists of a two-way street lined with palm trees, cycle paths, wide pedestrian zone
dotted with kiosks, pergolas, restaurants and lounge chairs that give strollers the opportunity to sit, relax and enjoy the view of Baie des Anges.
The wide and long pebble beach is divided into private and public areas. The amazing blue water of the sea is inviting visitors to dive in.
The promenade is also lined with opulent iconic buildings and high-class hotels such as the Palais de la Méditerranée Theater, the Opera House and Villa Masséna Palace, which houses a museum of art and history and is surrounded by a beautiful park with formal French gardens.
Another exceptional building on the promenade is the Le Negresco , which is listed as a National Historical Monument. Le Negresco is a lavish five-star luxury hotel with a world-class art collection.
A walk along the promenade is a wonderful way to wind down, relax, ride a bicycle, skateboard or enjoy a meeting with friends.
Castle Hill ( La Colline du Chateau )
A must-see place in Nice that offers spectacular panoramic views of Baie des Anges, the Old Town, the Port and the Mediterranean Sea.
The Hill is 92 meters above sea level and it's located between the Promenade des Anglais and the Port of Nice.
Probably you would expect to see a castle on the hill, but it was destroyed in 1706 and today all that is left of the castle are ruins.
Another reason to climb the hill is the beautiful park where you can stroll and relax. There are playgrounds for children and meandering alleys that make it a wonderful place for families and picnics. The main highlight of the park is a beautiful artificial waterfall. There is also a historic cemetery and Belanda Tower.
If you don't want to climb the hundreds of steps to reach the top, you can get the free elevator or a little tourist train.
Centrally located at the crossroads of several main boulevards and walking distance to Promenade des Anglais, Old Town, town center, and Albert I Garden, Place Massena is the heart of the city. It's a vibrant place where many public events take place. It is used for concerts, summer festivals and is also a major location for the famous Carnaval de Nice.
The square is dominated by the Fontaine du Soleil, a splendid fountain featuring a statue of Apollo, the Greek Sun God. It's one of the emblematic places in Nice and it's a great place for taking photos.
Colorful buildings with impressive red facades surround the square and enhance the vibrance of the place.
Right next to Place Massena is located the Promenade du Paillon, a green space that features
children’s playgrounds, gardens and a massive water mirror pool equipped with 128 water jets and fountains that spray water in a random pattern.
Avenue Jean Medecin
For some retail therapy the area around Place Massena is a great option. Avenue Jean Medecin which starts at Place Massena is the major shopping street in the city with plenty of stores and brands to choose from. The street is almost entirely pedestrianized with tramlines running along.
On Avenue Jean Medecin is located the majestic Basilica of Notre Dame de Nice, built in the Gothic style between 1864 and 1868.
The Old Town (Vieille Ville)
The picturesque Old Town of Nice is a must-see place. With its labyrinth of narrow alleyways and cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, lively markets, restaurants and shops the area has a vibrant ambiance reminiscent of Italy.
It's a pedestrianized zone where you can easily lose a few hours wandering the streets, sit at some of the many cafes and restaurants or buy souvenirs.
One of the highlights of the Old Town is the Provencal market of Cours Saleya and the flower market. On Monday morning, the Cours Saleya becomes a big open-air flea market.
Exploring the Old Town further, tourists will come across the Palais de la Préfecture, the Nice Cathedral and Place Rossetti.
In the Old town are also located Palais de Justice and the magnificent Opera de Nice, which also faces the Promenade des Anglais.
Place Garibaldi is one of the oldest and the largest squares in Nice named after the Italian military figure, Giuseppe Garibaldi. It was designed by Antonio Spinelli in the second half of the 18th century. A large statue of Garibaldi is situated in the middle of the square.
Centrally located, Place Garibaldi is a crossroad between the Old Town, Nice center and the Port.
The square is not a fully pedestrianized area since it is crossed by a tramline.
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants in the area where you can sit and have a delicious meal.
Port of Nice
The Port of Nice is easily accessible, located next to the Old Town. It serves as a ferry and cruise terminal. You can get a ferry and go to Cannes, Saint-Tropez, Corsica, etc. and enjoy a lovely time sailing along the French Riviera coastline.
Monument aux Morts
Just around the corner from the Castle Hill going towards the Port of Nice is located the Monument aux Morts, a Memorial honoring the 4,000 people of Nice who died in World War I (1914-1918).
The Memorial is carved into the Castle hill park.
St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral
It is the largest Russian orthodox place of worship outside Russia and it is the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedral in Western Europe. The cathedral was opened in 1912, thanks to the support and generosity of Russia's Tsar Nicholas II with the purpose to satisfy the spiritual needs of the growing Russian community in Nice.
After 2011, following a court ruling, the cathedral was transferred to the property of the Russian state and belongs to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.
The Musée Matisse in Nice is a municipal museum devoted to the work of French painter Henri Matisse. It gathers one of the world's largest collections of his works, tracing his artistic beginnings and his evolution through his last works.