Welcome to Nice!
With its striped beach umbrellas, sparkling blue sea, and Belle Epoque architecture, Nice, France, is chic and sophisticated at every turn. Surrounded by mountains, vineyards, and ocean, Nice is the gateway to the best of the Cote d’Azur. Read on to get an insider’s guide of what to see and do in this quintessential French city.
There are plenty of reasons to visit Nice, including its fantastic food scene, gorgeous beaches, and prime location on the Riviera. As a worldwide local, you’ll get a different perspective of the city by finding the hidden spots that tourists don’t know about.
Where to Begin
Start your journey on the historic Promenade des Anglais. You’ll inevitably see a lot of tourists here. This is, also, where locals come to chill out, relax, walk, cycle, and run; and it is a great place for people-watching, or just enjoying the view.
Next, visit the Nice city center in Old Town, where you can mix with locals who are going about their daily lives. Explore the gourmet shops, old churches, markets, and pavement cafes. A highlight of the Old Town is the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate. There are also several less well-known baroque churches.
Markets in Nice: Insider Tips
Markets are an essential part of life in France. Instead of visiting the tourist hotspot of the Cours Saleya, visit the Marché de La Libération. Near the old Gare du Sud, here you can pick up local produce such as honey, cheese, and olives. Get there early as it starts at 6 am.
Nice’s Nicest Beaches
Nice has an array of beautiful beaches. During Summer, many beaches become jam-packed with tourists or are designated as private meaning you have to pay to enter. To beat the crowds, get a train or bus to Villefranche-sur-Mer. A village around 3 km from Nice, where you can enjoy a quieter sandy beach.
Worldwide Local Tip: For lunch, do as the locals do: buy food from one of the excellent delis and have a picnic on the beach. Enjoy taking your time in Nice; France generally moves at a slower, more relaxed pace.
Live with the Locals in Libération
North of the Nice-Ville train station, Libération is one neighborhood where you’ll see more local residents than tourists. New cafes have sprung up in the area around the old Gare du Sud, and the station itself is being turned into a gourmet food hall. Another area to visit is the port, where locals go out at night. This is where you’ll find some of the city’s best restaurants and bars.
Worldwide Local Tip: The French Riviera Pass gives you free access to Nice’s museums and galleries. As a bonus, you’ll get free entry to sights in surrounding villages like Eze.
What to Eat: Nice Classics
While in Nice, make sure to try ‘Cuisine Nissarde’, a rustic French dish that has been handed down through the generations. You can find them at many restaurants in the city, boasting as the Cuisine Nissarde label. You should also seek out the city’s street food Socca (chickpea pancakes), pissaladière (savory onion tart), and tourte de blettes (Swiss chard tart) are just a few of the things you can try. In the evening, one of the best things to do is watch the sunset from a rooftop terrace. You can find them at plenty of hotels in Nice; France, of course, celebrates its beautiful sunsets. Try Le Méridien Nice, Hotel Splendid, or the Monsigny Hotel.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you are planning a night out in Nice, don’t start too early. Many bars don’t get going until well after 10 pm, and one of the best things to do in Nice is to revel late into the night.
Hop on a Bicycle to Get Off the Beaten Track
Nice has plenty of cycle lanes and several local bike rental shops. Along with cycling through the city, you can also explore the Riviera, visiting vineyards and quiet beaches by bike. East of the Old Town is Mount Boron, where there are lovely views of the coastline. Further afield, you’ll find dozens of small villages where you can get a taste of local life including Peillon, Biot, and Sainte-Agnes.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you want to try the region’s famous wine, ask for a glass (or bottle) of a Côtes de Provence rosé.
Enjoy Your Stay!
With its year-round sunshine, brilliant blue sea, and typical French charm, you won’t be able to help falling in love with Nice. Travel as a worldwide local, and discover the secrets of this authentic French city.