Bestowed with year-round sunshine, glamorous seaside location, and amazing hilltop views, Nice is one of the underrated destinations in France. While, it’s often easier to overlook Nice for Paris, spending some time in this coastal city will prove you wrong and soon you will be hooked. Already thrilled to explore Nice? Here are 8 best things to do in Nice that will give an essence of French Riviera.
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1. Walk along the iconic Promenade des Anglais
Running along the Bay of Angels from the Nice Airport to the Old town (Vieille Ville), the 7KM stretch of Promenade des Anglais is one of the famous places to hang out in Nice. Thanks to the English aristocracy, who fell in love with the beautiful panorama along the coastline, the iconic Promenade des Anglais was laid out in the late 18th century.
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Wide enough, Promenade des Anglais has two different dedicated lanes: one for cyclists and other for skaters. Get yourself some champagne, ham, & bread and enjoy the sweeping views of Baie des Anges by the blue chairs. The promenade is where most of the famous events happen. Promenade des Anglais is ideal for relaxing, people watching and offers easy access to other attractions. No doubt, it is one of the best things to do in Nice.
Address: Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France
2. Travel back to the 1700s at Vieux Nice
Characterized by dark alleyways, colourful markets, and quaint shops, Vieux Nice (Old town) is the place to go if you want to experience Nice as it was in the past. With most of the setting being unaltered since the 1700s except for a few restaurants and shops, a stroll across Vieux is a walk back in time.
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In the mornings, the central part of the district turns into a market, the evenings are always buzzing with tourists, and in the nights, you will see a lot of party-goers. Wear your comfortable shoes, browse through the shops, and discover something new. Some of the attractions that you should check out while you are there include Cours Saleya, Castle Hill, Palais Lascaris, and Nice Cathedral.
Address: Vieille Ville, Nice, France
3. Enjoy the wonderful views from Castle Hill
Set at an elevation of 92 metres above the sea level, Castle Hill or Parc de la Colline du château as it is called is a hilltop park in the city of Nice with nicest of views. The historic site where once a castle stood is now home to a man-made waterfall, couple of cafes, and few castle ruins. To get to the top you can either use the elevator or the steps. While climbing up the stairs is really tiring, the breathtaking views at the top will make you forget about the climb.
Never mind a bit of water spraying over your clothes? Get close to the waterfall and enjoy as it cascades down the small cliff. Castle Hill also has a playground with climbing frames for children that suit all ages. And for adults, you have a perfectly fine lawn where you can munch on some fresh baguettes and cheese, followed by countless photographs of the scenery.
Address: 06300 Nice, France
4. Appreciate the work of art at Musée Marc Chagall
Art buff? Then, you should definitely visit Musée Marc Chagall. Following a biblical theme, this national museum is known for its series of seventeen paintings that depict the books of Exodus, Genesis, and Songs of Songs. No wonder the museum is referred to as ‘National Museum Marc Chagall Biblical Message’.
Well lit and cheery, the museum expels an aura that puts you at ease. Take an audio tour of the museum, admire the paintings, and sneak a peek into the life of the artist through a documentary. The ideal time to visit Musée Marc Chagall is during the afternoon.
Address: 36 Avenue Dr Ménard, 06000 Nice, France
5. Get closer to nature at Parc Phœnix
If you are in Nice and are looking for a change of scene, then Parc Phœnix is the right place to head to. Spread around 17 acres, the botanical garden and the zoo of Parc Phœnix offers a great respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, getting you close to nature.
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Take a walk in the park and you will find pelicans, black swans, and ducks swimming peacefully together. But the main attraction of the park is the greenhouse, which is one of the largest in Europe. Named the ‘Green Diamond’, the greenhouse has six different tropical sections each carrying its own set of rare plants, ferns, and other species. The dancing fountains, the picnic and play areas, make it a great option for families with children.
Address: 405 Prom. des Anglais, 06200 Nice, France
6. Visit the lovely Russian Orthodox Cathedral
Just a few minutes walk from the railway station, the impressive Russian Orthodox Cathedral is very hard to miss in Nice. Built in 1859 to serve a large Russian community settled in Nice, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral is the largest one in Western Europe and the wonderful exteriors are more than enough to lure you inside.
Ornately designed, the murals are a joy to look at, not to forget the lavishly decorated ceilings. While the cathedral has undergone several renovations over the years, the authenticity still remains. Sad part though is you are not allowed to take photographs when inside.
Address: Avenue Nicolas II, 06000 Nice, France
7. Treat your treat buds at Fenocchio
If you are a big fan of ice creams, Fenocchio is truly the place for you to go full berserk! Opened in 1966, Fennochio is one of the oldest ice cream shops with over 94 flavours, 59 ice creams, and 35 sorbets. Tomato, lavender, fig, beer, violet, rosemary you name it and they have it.
As far as the preparation is concerned, Fenocchio makes it a rule to use carefully selected, quality ingredients. Step into Fenocchio, look into their menu, try hard to pick a flavour, grab a cup, and then go explore the old town of Nice. When you are done, do come back for more. There’s still a lot of flavours to be tried. Any list of best things to do in Nice is incomplete without a visit to Fenocchio.
Address: 2 Pl. Rossetti, 06300 Nice, France
8. Unwind at the Castel Beach
When someone says ‘beach’, the first thing that comes to our minds will be silky soft sands, right? But, the beaches in Nice are a bit different. And the best of the lot, Castel Beach. The rocky, private beach is a great change from the normal sandy beaches that you usually travel to. Added to the uniqueness is the fact that the beach has its own restaurant which serves delicious food.
Head over to Castel Beach either during the afternoon or in the evening, grab a chair, order some seafood delicacies, and enjoy the wonderful views as you listen to the crashing of the waves with faint music playing in the background. Lounge chairs, umbrellas, and towels are also available for rent. When you are visiting Castel Beach, do remember to wear beach shoes.
Address: 8 Quai des États-Unis, 06300 Nice, France
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Ready to plan your trip? Here you go.