Whether you have 24 hours in Nice or 24 days, you really can make the most of your time in this beautiful French city. You’re probably always going to want to spend even longer soaking up that gorgeous sunlight, watching the twinkling turquoise waters. Who wouldn’t?! However, if like me you’re tight on time, you can easily see a lot of what’s on offer. Well, you can thanks to my seven pearls of wisdom on things to do in Nice…
♥ Feast Like a King
Forget pretentious fine food. Yeah, sure that exists, but it’s the unassuming cafes, bistros and family-run restaurants that offer the food of the gods. Many of them are owned by locals who celebrate family recipes that have been handed down over the years.
Pop to Lu Fran Calin for a welcoming feast, including the most delicious olives. Sit out on the terrace watching the locals, sip on delicious French wine and gorge on The Plate ‘Degustation’. It’s a generous platter of famous specialities from Nice, including the heavenly socca (looks like a chip, tastes much better and it’s probably healthier as it’s made from chickpea flour). You didn’t hear it from me, but they also let you take home any food you can’t finish – something that’s practically unheard of in Nice.
♥ Castle Views
Get your walking boots on and pay a visit to the aptly nicknamed Castle Hill, or Colline du Chateau. As the name suggests, it’s a pretty site that offers perfect views of the famous beach and more. Make sure you take your camera with you as you’ll definitely want to snap away. There’s a free lift (Cours Saleya) for those who can’t or don’t want to enjoy endure the steps up to the top. You can go on foot from rue Rossetti, Montee Menica-Rondelly, or rue Catherine Segurane.
Aside from castle views, you’ll also find a lovely bit of greenery where groups of friends sunbathe, couples smooch on benches and quirky characters practice their tight-rope skills. There’s a small cafe for refreshments and a pretty waterfall for more photos. You’ll also find lots of little hedged lanes that lead to what feels like secret parts of a garden and great views of the harbour. Not bad for a free activity, eh?
In Old-Nice you’ll find markets selling vibrant bouquets of pretty flowers. They fill the air with their sweet scent. They cost next to nothing, so it almost seems a shame to not be able to take them home. You’ll also find fruit and vegetable markets, as well as an antiques market once a week.
♥ Matisse’s House
If you’re into art and especially a fan of the famous artist, Matisse, you’ll want to see the building that he called home during some of the 1920s and early 1930s. It’s not open for public visits, but it’s an impressively elegant building and worth a picture or two. It’s pretty central so you won’t need to go off-track at all. The address is 1 place Charles Félix, Nice. Of course, if you’d rather visit a gallery or museum you’ll find those too. Check this page of the Nice Tourisme site for all the details.
Nice somehow manages to blend old and new. Elegant, classy buildings with typically French shutters line the streets. However, just a short walk to the plaza and you’ll see Italian influences and modern arty touches, like the illuminated statues. After an hour’s walk in the city you’ll be amazed by the diversity.
♥ Beach Life
Everyone talks about the light in Nice. ‘It’s just a different kinda light over there’, they say. You’ll probably be rolling your eyes as you read this, but it’s actually true. Within minutes you can see why artists flock here. Down on the beach it’s most evident. The sun shimmers as the waves roll in and it’s all too easy to use your hours gazing into the distance. Don’t fight it. Grab a blanket and a picnic to make the most of it.
If you’re looking for hotels in Nice and fancy a small boutique, with an adorable hotel pet and honey made by the local rooftop bees, try Grand Hotel Le Florence.
And if you fancy a full on French affair, catch the train (it’s super easy, cheap and offers beautiful views of the coast) to nearby Cannes. These seven pearls of wisdom on things to do in Cannes should come in handy.
And if you’re still not sure about visiting Nice, the fact that you can get return flights for less than £70 from the UK should persuade you…
Do you have any tips to add to this list? Have you been to Nice or is it somewhere that you’d like to visit? X
Big thanks to Nice Tourisme for hosting my visit.