Nice France Situated on the Cote D’Azur on the southeast coast of France, Nice is the gateway to the French Riviera.
Upon my arrival, I was astonished at the number of things to do and see in Nice and the surrounding countryside and found myself wishing for more time to spend in this delightful and interesting area.
It’s a good idea to hire a car to explore the neighboring towns and villages since Nice is close to the borders of Italy and Monaco. Nice is also within easy traveling distance of Cannes, Antibes, Cap d’Ail, Eze, Villefranche Sur Mer, and Juan Les Pins, to name but a few interesting day trips, making it the perfect location from which to base yourself.
If you’re traveling by car, there’s a choice of minor roads, national highways, or the motorway to bring you to your chosen location.
To get from Nice Airport to Gare Nice-Ville (SNCF) passengers have two options:
- Take Tram 2 to Jean Médecin stop and walk another 800m to the train station.
- 2. Take Tram 2 to Jean Médecin stop, walk 200m to the stop for Tram 1, get on Tram 1, get off at Gare Thiers and walk another 300m.
When you arrive in Nice France, you’ll be dazzled by the beautiful Promenade des Anglais, which runs along the “Baie des Anges” (Bay of Angels) for several kilometers. This strip is lined with palm trees and decked with flowers. Wonderful old buildings overlook one side, while the sparkling, blue-green sea sweeps out to the other.
The promenade itself is a hive of activity, with smartly dressed natives out for a stroll with their dogs (poodles and bull-dogs are a popular choice!), jogging, rollerblading, or simply relaxing and enjoying the view.
Actually, there is a roller station shop situated at 49 Quai des Etats-Unis hiring rollerblades, Bicycles and skateboards are available to rent but it is advisable to bring an identity card with you.
1/2 Day: 12€
Locks, baskets, child seats are available on demand.
1/2 Day: 10€
Protections: 2€/day or 1€/hour
1/2 Day: 9€
1/2 Day: 10€
The beach itself is lined with restaurants, allowing for an enjoyable meal-with-a-view. Most establishments also hire deckchairs for about €20-30 euros per day.
As I sunbathed on the pebble seafront, I was lucky enough to experience a live band playing wonderful French chansons in the background, against the peaceful lapping of the waves. Pure relaxation!
Towards the old-town end of the prom, you will find the entrance to Castle Hill, which is considered to be the cradle of Nice. You can either walk up the steps or take an elevator (for a small fee).
Seating is available along the way and there are a park and waterfall near the top, complete with a child’s play area. There are many look-out points with telescopes as you ascend the hill to the medieval ruins, giving incredibly beautiful views over the city and bay of Nice. This is really a magical treat not to be missed.
My favorite experience of Nice France was the market, which is open every day (except Monday when it becomes an antique market).
Situated on the Cours Saleya, this is surely a chef’s dream with the production of such high quality that it looks too good to be true! The market provides a wide range of goods including fruit, vegetables, spices, cheeses, cakes, and beautifully hand-made sweets.
I sampled some enormous sweet grapes; while the dried figs and sun-dried tomatoes also proved to be delicious. Flowers have their own dedicated section and it’s a pleasure to wander around the stalls, admiring their rustic beauty.
Lavender products, handmade soaps, and herb-de-province souvenirs are also available, while artists sell painted scenes of local areas.
One tip is always to check whether the picture is a print or an original despite signatures, as this should be reflected in the price. You can then relax in the sunshine with a coffee and croissant at one of the many cafes while deciding what to purchase!
Nice is home to several museums, art galleries, churches and historic monuments making it a cultural feast for the discerning traveler.
I was delighted to discover the Marc Chagall Museum, Nice France, where I saw familiar paintings such as ‘Paradise’ and ‘Adam and Eve expulsed from Paradise’ close up, complete with Chagall’s famous motifs of tall couples, flowers, and animals in wonderful color schemes of reds, blues, yellow and white.
The museum displays a series of biblical paintings, including mosaic, tapestry and stained glass windows. It is situated on the Avenue De Menard and is open from 10 am to 6 pm from November to April, or 10 am to 5 pm at other times (closed Tuesdays).
Free admission the 1st Sunday of each month and for citizens of EU member States under age 26. The admission fee is around €10($12), youths 17 and younger enter for free, although it is occasionally free on 1st Sundays of every month.
Along the coast of Nice, France
Nice France is also a delight for shopping, restaurants, and casinos, so there is never a dull moment. Everything from designer gear to bargain buys, to brand names can be found.
People tend to eat outdoors in the many restaurants lining the streets. You can sit and watch the world pass by while sampling the many culinary delights and wines from the region.
Meals range in price from €15-20 for soups, salads and pasta dishes to €25-35 for meat and fish dishes. Coffee costs around €4. While you are enjoying your meal, you will more than likely be serenaded by musicians playing old romantic tunes on the accordion.
If you want a guided tour of Nice France, a mini-train ride giving a 45-minute tour departs from the promenade across from Jardin Albert-1er taking you through the flower market, old town and Castle Hill park.
Alternatively, a 75-minute tour known as “Nice Le Grand Tour” is also available on open deck buses every half hour, allowing you to hop on and off at the main city sights as often as you please.
You can purchase tickets at your hotel, the airport, the Nice Tourist office or on the bus. This tour includes the following locations: Promenade-Etats Unis, Port Quai Lunel, Mont Baron-Miramar, Croisieres-Bleu Rivage, Place Garibaldi, Acropolis-Barla, Cimiez-Monastere, Musee Chagall, Massena-Verdun, Meyerbeer-Promenade, and Promenade-Magnan. There are several other tours available.
As if Nice France itself wasn’t enough to explore, I found myself taking train journeys by the day to explore the many surrounding towns and villages. It is incredibly easy to travel around and relatively inexpensive.
You can buy a return ticket to Monaco for around €8 and stop off at Villefranche Sur Mer or other towns, to enjoy a sandy beach along the way. Alternatively, you can buy a return ticket to Cannes for about €27 and stop off at Antibes, or Juan Les Pins along the way.
If you want to see amazing boats, Cannes is the place to go – while Monaco gives the impression of having the most stylishly dressed people! Journey time to Monaco is 19 minutes, while Cannes is 40 minutes.
Final trains return to Nice France at midnight, allowing travelers to enjoy a full day exploring other towns along the coast. I hope You Love Nice France.