10 Epic Things to Do in Nice, France: A Riviera Adventure Awaits

Nestled along the azure shores of the French Riviera, Nice, France, is a captivating city that exudes an irresistible blend of history, art, and coastal allure. 

From its picturesque Old Town to its iconic Promenade des Anglais, Nice offers a plethora of experiences that will captivate your senses and leave you yearning for more. 

Whether you’re an art aficionado, a history buff, or a sun-seeking beach bum, Nice has something for everyone. 

So, put on your sunscreen, pack your adventurous spirit, and prepare to embark on a Riviera adventure that will tantalize your taste buds, awaken your artistic sensibilities, and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

1. Stroll Along the Promenade des Anglais: A Coastal Symphony of Sun, Sea, and Style

No trip to Nice is complete without a leisurely stroll along the iconic Promenade des Anglais, a 7-kilometer stretch of waterfront promenade that has witnessed countless sun-soaked afternoons and romantic rendezvous. As you wander along this sun-kissed path, take in the breathtaking views of the azure Mediterranean Sea, admire the elegant palm trees lining its edge, and marvel at the grand Belle Époque architecture that graces the promenade.

Quirky Detail: Did you know that the Promenade des Anglais was originally called “Chemin Neuf” (New Road)? It was renamed in the 19th century to honor the English aristocracy who had flocked to Nice to escape the industrial revolution and enjoy the region’s balmy climate.

2. Explore the Old Town Labyrinth: A Hidden Gem of Historical Charm

Venture into the charming Old Town, a warren of narrow, winding streets lined with colorful houses, quaint shops, and hidden courtyards. Wander through the labyrinthine alleyways, allowing yourself to get lost in the charming atmosphere. Discover hidden gems like the Cours Saleya, a lively marketplace bursting with fresh produce, local delicacies, and vibrant flower stalls.

Quirky Detail: The Cours Saleya was originally a slaughterhouse, but in the 18th century, it was transformed into a marketplace, earning it the nickname “the heart of Nice”.

3. Ascend Castle Hill for Panoramic Views: A Sea of Colors and History

For breathtaking panoramic views of Nice and the surrounding coastline, climb to the top of Castle Hill, a former citadel that now offers a serene park with panoramic terraces. Take a leisurely stroll through the well-maintained gardens, soaking in the picturesque views of the city, the bay, and the snow-capped peaks of the Alps in the distance.

Quirky Detail: Castle Hill was once home to the Palace of the Counts of Provence, who ruled Nice for centuries. Today, the palace is a ruin, but the hill’s commanding views make it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

4. Immerse Yourself in Art at the Musée Matisse: A Tapestry of Color and Impressionism

Pay homage to the renowned painter Henri Matisse at the Musée Matisse, a haven for art enthusiasts. Explore the permanent collection, which showcases Matisse’s vibrant and expressive paintings, sculptures, and drawings, offering a glimpse into his creative genius. Discover the fascinating story of his life and artistic journey, which spanned over half a century.

Quirky Detail: Matisse lived in Nice for many years, and his connection to the city is evident in his many paintings and sketches of Nice’s vibrant streets, ports, and landscapes.

5. Discover Chagall’s Vibrant World: A Symphony of Color and Spirituality

Step into the world of Marc Chagall, the Russian-French painter known for his dreamlike and colorful works, at the Musée National Marc Chagall. Marvel at his iconic stained-glass windows, depicting scenes from biblical stories and his personal experiences, which adorn the museum’s interior. Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and whimsical imagery that characterize Chagall’s unique style.

Quirky Detail: Chagall was deeply inspired by religious themes, and many of his paintings and murals feature biblical figures and imagery.

6. Explore the Cimiez Hill Gardens: A Tranquil Oasis of Serenity

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and ascend to the Cimiez Hill, a peaceful oasis adorned with beautifully manicured gardens, hidden fountains, and stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Stroll through the Jardin Botanique de Nice, a haven for botanical enthusiasts, and discover a diverse collection of flora from around the world.

Quirky Detail: The Cimiez Hill was once home to a Benedictine monastery, and the remains of the monastery’s cloister and church can still be seen today.

7. Indulge in Culinary Delights at Plage Beau Rivage: A Taste of Mediterranean Bliss

After a day of exploring Nice’s historical gems and cultural treasures, treat your taste buds to a delightful dining experience at Plage Beau Rivage, a charming restaurant nestled right on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. With its sun-drenched terrace overlooking the azure waters and its menu of fresh, locally sourced Mediterranean cuisine, Plage Beau Rivage is the perfect spot to savor the flavors of the region while enjoying the breathtaking coastal views.

Quirky Detail: Plage Beau Rivage has been a beloved spot for locals and visitors alike for over a century, and its iconic white parasols and vibrant atmosphere have become synonymous with Nice’s vibrant seaside culture.

8. Experience the Bustle of Port de Nice: A Maritime Rendezvous

Venture into the heart of Nice’s bustling port, Port de Nice, a vibrant hub of activity where you can witness the comings and goings of yachts, ferries, and fishing boats. Stroll along the quayside, admire the colorful fishing boats bobbing in the harbor, and soak in the lively atmosphere of the port.

Quirky Detail: Port de Nice is home to a number of fish markets, where you can find fresh seafood straight from the Mediterranean Sea. Be sure to sample some of the local delicacies, such as grilled sardines or fresh-caught octopus.

9. Embark on a Day Trip to Monaco: A Glimpse of Riviera Glamour

For a taste of Riviera glamour, embark on a day trip to Monaco, a Principality renowned for its luxury, elegance, and Formula 1 Grand Prix. Explore the historical streets of Monaco-Ville, marvel at the opulent Palace of Monaco, and stroll along the glamorous Casino Square, where the paparazzi often capture celebrities in action.

Quirky Detail: Monaco is home to the world’s second-smallest country after Vatican City. Despite its tiny size, Monaco boasts a population of over 30,000 people.

10. Embrace the Riviera Nightlife: A Symphony of Music and Entertainment

As the sun sets and the stars emerge, Nice transforms into a lively hub of nightlife. From jazz clubs and intimate bars to rooftop lounges and bustling dance floors, Nice offers something for every musical taste and dancing style. Let the rhythm of the Riviera wash over you as you lose yourself in the city’s vibrant nightlife scene.

Quirky Detail: If you’re looking for a truly unique nightlife experience, head to the Carousel Bar at the Negresco Hotel. This opulent bar features a rotating dance floor, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city while grooving to the latest tunes.

Embark on a Riviera adventure

Nice, a city that exudes an irresistible blend of history, art, and coastal allure, is a captivating destination that promises an unforgettable Riviera adventure.  

Whether you’re a sun-worshipper, an art aficionado, or a history buff, Nice has something for everyone. So, pack your bags, embrace the spirit of the Riviera, and embark on a journey to discover the charming allure of Nice, France.