Nice is a beautiful seaside town in the French Riviera, boasting beautiful landscapes, a vibrant arts scene, restaurants, nightlife, and history. Known as Nice la Belle (Nice the Beautiful), the city in the south of France is a very popular travel destination for the French, Italians, and other Europeans looking for a romantic getaway. In addition to the cool sea waters, Nice has many museums, public squares, shops and the Vieux Nice, or old town. In addition to being a port city and tourist destination, Nice is also a major commercial and financial center, also the University of Nice.
Nice is located on the southeast coast of France, on what is known as the French Riviera. The waterfront in Nice sits along the bay, Baie des Anges, and next to the bay of Villefranche. The terrain features Mediterranean trees, like citrus and palms, and flat beaches, though the beach terrain typically features large stones rather than soft sands. The city is surrounded by hills and mountains, including the Ligurian Alps.
How to get there
The main airport in Nice is called Aeroport International Nice-Cote d'Azur, and is located just west of the city. The airport is the second largest in France, with two terminals and flights to Paris and many major European destinations, as well as Moscow, New York, and limited other destinations. Many flights to and from Nice will make connections in Paris.
A small train station is located near the airport, called Nice St Augustin to take the train into Nice. The central train station in Nice is Gare Nice Ville, while a third station, located on the edge of town is Nice Riquier. The French high-speed rail company, TGV, offers quick and frequent service from Nice to Monaco, regional French destinations, like Antibes and Cannes, cities on the Italian Riviera, such as Ventimiglia. Trains between Paris and Nice take about 6 hours and depart frequently. Long-distance trains travel to Nice from the rest of France, Italian cities Milan, Rome, Genoa, and Venice, as well as Moscow, Warsaw, and Vienna.
There are also buses available from many French cities, and ferries to Corsica and other islands off the coast.
When to visit
Nice has a coastal Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers, meaning there's no bad time to visit the city. Nice is a popular summer destination and its beaches can get crowded then, but it's also a common winter getaway, as it offers a reprieve from the frozen regions to the north. In July, the city hosts the Nice Jazz Festival which lasts for a few days and offers great music and dancing.
What to see
Nice is a beautiful French destination with a scenic waterfront, with turquoise waters but a rocky coastline. While the waters are pleasant for swimming, the beaches are not ideal for lounging unless you opt for a mattress or lounge chair rental from one of the nearby restaurants on one of the private beaches. The neighboring Villefranche-sur-Mer is the best bet for a nice beach, but in town, Coco Beach, and Cap de Nice have nice restaurants and cliff jumping shops. Nearby, the Cliff Walk is a hike along the path that follows the coastal cliffs. The Colline du Chateau holds the ruins of the 12th century castle and offers great views of Nice from 92 meters above the water. Port Lympia offers colorful architecture, Parc du Chateau and the World War memorials.
The old town of Nice, or Vieux Nice, features traditional architecture, shops and markets, like the Cours Saleya. The waterfront in Nice is known as the Promenade des Anglais, which was built in 1822 by the English who vacationed in Nice during winters, and offers beautiful vistas of the sunset over the ocean. Along the promenade are hotels, restaurants, and shops. Also nearby is Place Massena, where international cuisines, cafes and bakeries, and shops line a pedestrian zone.
Other attractions in Nice include the Opera de Nice, Saint-Reparate Cathedral, Palais Rusca at Place du Palais, and Place Garibaldi. Museums include the Museum of Asian Art, Musee Matisse, and Musee et Site Archeologiques de Cimiez.
Where to stay
Despite being known as something of a luxury destination, there are all ranges of accommodations in Nice, including the inexpensive hostels like Backpacker's Hostel Chez Patrick, Villa Saint Exupery Garden, Les Camelias, and even some hostels right along the beaches, like Villa Saint Exupery Beach. Some standard hotel options include NH Nice and Hotel Rossetti right in the old town, and Hotel Suisse along the Promenade des Anglais. On the higher end, luxury hotels are plenty in Nice, including Negresco, Palais de la Mediterranee, Beau Rivage, Sofitel, and Westminster.
Last Updated on: November 3rd, 2017