There are some cities I secretly hope that lesser people will know about so that I can ‘hoard’ them to myself forever, and Nice is one of those, lol. The capital of Côte d’Azur in France, it’s really difficult for me to contain this love I have for it. I can’t resist posting photos of Nice on my Instagram, or writing about it here!
2007 was the first time I visited Nice, as part of my Contiki whirlwind European road-trip. In 2013, I headed back to Nice again, this time staying for 3 nights,to rediscover it at a slower pace. Now, I believe I’ve permanently left a piece of my heart in Nice. As I always love to say,
Nice is very nice!
I’ve compiled a list of wonderful things you can do in Nice!
1. Take a morning/evening walk/jog at Promenade des Anglais
With a name as grand as “Promenade des Anglais”, this famous beachfront faces the vastness of the Mediterranean Sea. The special part about this beach is that instead of sand, it’s full of pebbles. In summer, the beach is packed to the brim with beach-lovers. In winter, the beach is way more isolated, even being serene.
2. Rent a bicycle and cycle everywhere.
Nice makes an excellent city for cycling. I’d thought of renting one of those bikes available at Promenade des Anglais to get my way around, but we simply ran out of time for this (and also because we were underdressed for 4°C kind of weather).
How to rent bicycles with Vélo Bleu bikes: There are 1,750 of these bikes parked at around 175 stations around the city. Right of access will cost €1 a day. The first 30min are free, from 30min – 1 hour will cost an additional €1, then €2 for every subsequent hour. To rent, book online or simply show up at a bike station with your mobile phone and banker’s card. Call the company on local number 04 3000 3001, provide your card number and they’ll unlock the bike.
3. Take a Segway tour around Nice or even to Villefranche!
I would have loved to try this if my travel companion wasn’t nursing a back injury at that time. Based on reviews on TripAdvisor, the Segway tour is a fun activity to do in Nice! They will teach you to operate a Segway, then bring you to key attractions in Nice, even beyond Nice if you choose the right tours!
4. Visit Old Town for Marché aux Fleurs (Flower Market)
Cours Saleya at the Old Town of Nice, is a colourful, flower market with plenty of atmosphere, bustling with activity. There are lots of flowers sold here at very attractive prices – I was imagining living in Nice and decorating my apartment with these colorful flowers! You can also buy food like local produce, fruits, cheese etc here.
Tue, Thur, Fri: 0630am – 1800pm
Wed, Sat: 0630am – 1330pm
Sun: 0630 – midday
Closed: Mondays, afternoons of public holidays
More about the markets on Best of Nice blog
5. Eat gelato (& cakes & macarons & chocolates).
For gelato, Fennochio has been around since 1966, offering plenty of flavours to choose from. It was closedddd when I was there, sad! So I didn’t get to try. Cesar Milano is also very popular, from what I’ve read.
LAC was great too. Everything looks too delicious & I wanted to buy so many things! My friend and I ended up with chocolates, macarons and a small cake, yummy.
6. Check out the fun, artistic, animal-themed playgrounds
You’ll wish to still be a kid. We randomly came across this while walking around the city. Kids in Nice are very lucky to have such fun playgrounds!
7. Let your kids ride the random carousel
Spotted this carousel randomly near the playgrounds. Europe’s carousels are always so pretty!
8. Hop on the city tram
I love trams, maybe because it brings to mind an old world with trams that doesn’t exist in my city: Singapore. Nice’s city tram is modern, not the old-school kind, but still appealing to see. I didn’t get to try though. (Check out this Nice blog on using the tram!)
9. Admire the architecture of Nice
10. Hang out at Old Nice & Place Massena
The largest square in Old Nice, Place Massena is a charming, historical district of Nice. This place has stunning Neoclassical structures around, surrounded by buildings with red facades. I especially loved the tiled floors, statues, fountains, the entire ambience.
That’s the ferris wheel they had been building! At first glance, I’d thought it was an art installation, haha!
11. Watch your thoughts and troubles drift away with the Mediterranean Sea
One morning, I stood for a very long time just staring out into the sea, letting the breeze take away all my troubles, letting the peace and calmness take over me.
12. Admire the amazing sunset from Promenade des Anglais
The evening I reached Nice, the sky was pink on the left and yellow-orange on the right. A sight to behold!
13. Walk up Castle Hill to watch the sunset and planes take off
Castle Hill is a hike up many steps to the top of a hill, overlooking Nice. Take your time and breaks along the staircase. We walked up and saw the most spectacular views of beautiful Nice from here, especially in the setting sun’s magnificence.
Nice is famous for its small strip of runway at the airport. From Castle Hill, you can see planes take off in the distance. The visit to Castle Hill completed my second trip to Nice.
While you’re up there, also get enchanted by the sound of the sea waves rushing off the pebbles below you. Even till today, I can still remember vividly how that sound was like.
14. See youngsters chill at the beachfront
Sometimes in the evenings, youngsters will hang out here and partake in their own activities. I was particularly mesmerized by a guy who was skating as gracefully as a figure dancer.
15. Explore Nice on foot
My friend and I actually spent a huge chunk of our last day in Nice just exploring the city. This sky’s clouds formation happened on the morning that we were leaving Nice!
See the Nice that Matisse lived
The French artist, Henri Matisse, lived in Nice for about 37 years. There is a museum in Nice – Musée Matisse – dedicated to his work. This article here is a great write-up on Matisse’s art produced when he stayed in this city he loved dearly.
Matisse Musuem (Address: 164 Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez – 06000 Nice) | Website
Open 10am – 6pm all year round (closed Tuesdays, some public holidays, 1 Jan, 1 May, 25 Dec and Easter Sunday)
16. Take day trips out of Nice
Nice enjoys close proximity and easy commuting to other coastal towns along Côte d’Azur. It’s very easy to do town-hopping and check out places like Eze, Monaco, Villefranche, Antibes, Cannes, etc! I wrote a quick guide on how to do town-hopping this way. (We did Nice – Villefranche – Eze – Villefranche for dinner – Nice.)
This is Eze!
Hope you enjoyed this mini guide on Nice!
Where to stay in Nice
I stayed at Best Western Riviera Hotel, a cosy hotel with very helpful staff. Location is very near Gare de Nice (train station), so it’s convenient for day trips that require me to take the train out of Nice. This hotel is also walkable to Promenade Des Anglais although it’s a distance away. Best Western Riviera Hotel is also walking distance to Old Town.
| Planning a trip to Nice? Check out hotel & apartment rates on Booking.com first! |
Visited: Nov 2013
Where I stayed: Best Western Riviera Hotel | Check more Nice hotels on Booking.com
Image credits: Segway image is from Segway Mobilboard (Facebook). All other photos were taken by me.
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