Things to Do in Nice, France
Southern France is a must-visit! The colorful architecture, beautiful beaches, and friendly people are just a few of the reasons why it’s so easy to love! When visiting southern France, Nice should be on the list! In this post, you’ll learn about all the things to do in the beautiful city of Nice along with fun day trips to take! I suggest setting two days aside to see Nice and four days total if you plan to take day trips to Antibes, Cannes, and Monaco.
Quai des Etats Unis
The Quai des Etats Unis is a walkway that connects to the famous Promenade des Anglais which goes all the way to the airport. This walkway is great for taking walks, biking, or relaxing. On one side, you’ll have beautiful views of the ocean and on the other, the beautiful architecture of the city.
Parc de la Colline du Château
Although it is a bit of a hike to the top, the views of the city you get are worth it. At the top is Castle Hill, which was a fort used for the military. It stood from the 11th century to the 18th century. Now the area is a park. The hike itself is also beautiful and there’s a manmade waterfall you’ll encounter along the way. The beautiful blues of the water in contrast to the bright orange and yellow buildings of the city are stunning from the top of Castle Hill.
Cours Saleya Market
Local markets are popular in Europe and the Cours Saleya Market in Nice is no exception! The market is lively and has numerous vendors. One block from the beach, the market is also in a great location. There are all sorts of fresh foods to try in addition to fresh produce, flowers, and handmade goods. I recommend buying the soaps they sell at the market.Southern France is known for their soap making and the scents are amazing. They make for great gifts too! Make sure to also try socca while you’re there. This flatbread, which is made out of chickpea flour, is a traditional food of Nice. Make sure to go to the market early in the day because the food vendors start to pack up a little after 1 pm.
Cathedrale Sainte Reparate
When walking around Old Town, this is a church worth taking a look at. Entry is free and the architecture on the inside is stunning! There has been a cathedral there since the 11th century, but the one we see today was built in the 17th century. The cathedral is named after Saint Reparata, who is the patron saint of Nice.
Nice is known for its pebble beaches, instead of the sand beaches we all know. You can’t have a trip to Nice without going to the beach! I had never seen water so blue until I visited Southern France. The beaches are insanely beautiful. I recommend also going at sunset, as those are also insanely beautiful.
The #ILoveNice sign is a cute addition to the city and is great for photos! The walk is not far from the beach and the sign overlooks the ocean.
Monument aux Morts
A short walk down the street from the #ILoveNice sign is the Monument aux Morts, which is a WW1 Memorial dedicated to the residents of Nice who lost their lives during the war. The monument is cut into the rock on the side of the hill and was built in 1928.
Walk Around Old Town
Nice was once part of a kingdom that later became a part of Italy; therefore, the architecture of the city is very Italian. The many shops and cafes along with the bright colors of the buildings make the old town great for walking around!
Day Trips from Nice
Cannes is a 1-hour train ride from Nice and is great for a day trip! The city is known worldwide for the Cannes Film festival, but there are many other reasons why it’s worth a visit!
Le Suquet is one of the older parts of the city and climbing the hill will result in incredible views. At the top, there is a Romanesque style church called Notre Dame de l'Espérance. The neighborhood is not a far walk from Marché Forville and walking to the top doesn’t take too long.
Palais des Festivales- Cannes Film Festival
You can’t visit Cannes without seeing the Palais des Festivales! This is where the International Film Festival takes place every year and the biggest celebrities come from all over to attend. There are tours available to see the inside of the building.
Marché Forville- try fleurs de courgette
Marché Forville is another great market to go to. There’s a large array of products to buy and the market is always bustling with locals and tourists alike. Don’t be afraid to practice some basic French while you’re here. The vendors love the effort and are extremely friendly. Some of them might even start a conversation with you if they know a little bit of your language to see where you’re from and why you’re visiting!
Make sure to try fleurs de courgette, which translated in English, means zucchini flowers! The flower of zucchini is taken and then fried. I was hesitant to try a fried flower, but after tasting one, I had wished I’d bought more! They were super good, and I highly recommend them.
Go to the Beach
Contrary to Nice, Cannes has sand beaches, which make it a great place to lay out and enjoy the weather! Plage Mace or Plage de la Croisette are both lovely beaches to go to. The water is crystal clear, making it perfect for swimming!
Walk Along Boulevard Croisette
Walk along Boulevard Croisette if you want to see all the big hotels that the movie stars stay in! Look for the InterContinental Carlton Cannes Hotel and JW Marriot Cannes Hotel as you walk along the boulevard. Both places are known for hosting many celebrities over the years.
Monaco is a 1-hour train ride from Nice and is known for being home to the super-wealthy. About one-third of the country’s residents are millionaires! It's not surprising to see a Lamborghini or Ferrari every couple of minutes. Monaco is also the second smallest country in the world, and you can walk from one side of the country to the other in 56 minutes.
Monte Carlo Casino
The world-famous Monte Carlo Casino is Monaco’s main attraction! Multiple movies have been filmed here including a couple of James Bond scenes. Something interesting to know is that it’s illegal for the locals to gamble, but in return, they don’t have to pay income taxes. Sounds like a fair deal to me!
The construction on the casino began in 1863 and since then, additions have been made to it. Some places in Monaco are known to have strict dress codes, but at the casino, you’re allowed to enter the main lobby in smart casual attire. Entrance is also free!
Prince’s Palace of Monaco
The Prince’s Palace of Monaco is home to the royal family of Monaco. The Grimaldi’s have been Monaco’s royal family since the 15th century. The family was put in the spotlight when Grace Kelly, the famous American actress, married Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956. The hike to the top of the hill where the Palace is located is a bit of a trek so be prepared. Although the palace is a private residence, the state apartments are open for tours. You’ll have great views and you’ll be able to see majority of the whole country from atop the hill. You’ll also get a look at Port Hercules, where all the million-dollar yachts are.
Antibes is a 30-minute train ride from Nice and is great for a more laid-back experience. The town itself is quaint and the ocean is beautiful.
Walk around Port Vauban
Take a walk around the fortified walls to enjoy the views and look at the million-dollar yachts. The port is home to some of the largest, most expensive yachts in the world. The Kardashians have even rented a yacht from the port. Also keep an eye out for Le Nomade, a modern sculpture created by the Spanish artist, Jaume Plensa.
Rent a Boat for the Day
Although the port is home to expensive yachts, you’re in luck! There are also boats you can rent for a really cheap price! You’re not required to have a boating license either. This is a great way to see the coastline and find stunning swimming holes. Renting a boat makes for an extremely fun day!
Wrapping it up
There you have it, a great guide to Nice and surrounding areas! Southern France is absolutely stunning and the people in this region are extremely friendly. There are so many different places in this region worth visiting, that you’ll want to spend a huge amount of time here. Do it! Go see all that Southern France has to offer!