Unofficial capital of the French Riviera, this glamorous seaside city has been one of France’s most popular tourist destinations since the 18th century.
With its elegant old town, chic shops, lively markets and beautiful coastal setting, Nice combines the sophistication of a big city with the laid-back charms of a beach resort. Bike, jog or walk along the city’s scenic seafront promenade, spend an afternoon exploring the atmospheric old town and dine in restaurants with ocean views.
Go for a stroll along Nice’s iconic Promenade des Anglais, which spans for 4 miles (7 kilometers) along the blue waters of the Baie des Anges. Look for some of the city’s most recognizable buildings along this strip, including the art deco Palais de la Méditerranée and the Hôtel Negresco with its bright pink dome. Rent a sun lounge on the beach and admire the view and dine at a picturesque seaside restaurant.
Enjoy the energy of the Cours Saleya Market, a flower and food market set along a square overlooked by 18th-century houses. Browse displays of orange blossoms and roses and shop for fresh produce and spices. Sip a hot drink at one of the delightful cafés lining the square. Visit in the evening when the neighborhood offers some of the city’s best dining and nightlife.
The market sits at the center of Vieux Nice (Old Nice), a collection of narrow streets that has hardly changed over the centuries. Wander through these charming streets, browsing cute boutiques and stopping at a restaurant to try Niçois-style onion pizza (pissaladière). See some of the architectural highlights found in this neighborhood, including Palais Lascaris, a striking 17th-century mansion.
View a wonderful collection of works by Henri Matisse, who often spent his summers in Nice, at the Matisse Museum. Check out modern art exhibits, including works by César and Arman, at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMAC).
Fly to Nice via Nice-Cote d'Azur airport, which is located 4 miles (7 kilometers) west of the city. Although Nice’s attractions are fairly spread out, it’s quite pedestrian-friendly so many visitors get around comfortably on foot. Alternatively, take advantage of Nice’s bus and tram system and find out why Nice has been a favorite destination of artists, beach-lovers and honeymooners for centuries.