Situated along the French Riviera in the region of Provence, Nice is a city surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the rugged peaks of the Maritime Alps. The city's natural beauty and warm climate caught the attention of sun-seeking English aristocrats during the second half of the 18th century, and has also inspired the paintings of French artists such as Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse. Beyond its pebbled beaches and picturesque, pastel-colored buildings, however, Nice has evolved into one of the largest metropolitan areas in France, sprinkled with museums, history-filled landmarks, fine restaurants, and bustling shopping centers to explore. As you discover the seaside glamor of this French Riviera destination, take advantage of a wealth of things to see and do.
Areas & Neighborhoods in Nice
As a port city that predates the Roman Empire, Nice grew over centuries, spreading out from its bustling waterfront and into the surrounding hills. In the city center, a walk around areas like the medieval-era Vieille Ville, the 19th-century Promenade des Anglais, and the commercial hub of Avenue Jean-Médecin trace the city's evolution as a modest settlement, a vacation retreat, and today, a cosmopolitan metropolis.
Once surrounded by medieval city walls, the Vieille Ville-French for Old Town-carries a strong Italian feel and remains essentially unchanged since the 17th century. Narrow alleyways and cobblestone lanes wind among ochre-painted buildings, and sidewalk cafes mingle with tantalizing market stalls selling everything from fresh produce to Mediterranean spices. Find your way to stunning Baroque buildings, which include the 17th-century Nice Cathedral and the sumptuous Palais Lascaris.
Promenade des Anglais
The expansive walkway known as the Promenade des Anglais sprawls along 4 miles (7 km) of the cerulean Bay of Angels, and was named for the English elites who suggested and then funded its construction in the 1820s. Lined with palm trees and landmarks like the historic Hotel Negresco, the promenade is still the place to find sun lovers strolling, cycling, and lounging on the beach.