Top Tourist Attractions and Things to do in Nice (France)
Nice is the largest city of French Riviera, and the unofficial anthem of this city is Nissa La Bella that provokes some positive sentiments when you visit this beautiful city.
Artists from all over the world cherish the sublime this quaint town and its sceneries that are unique of their kind. Today, Nice is considered as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe having exalted art galleries and astound museums for the visitors.
With all the lofty choices, Nice attractions become even more interesting because of the various cuisine options, a touch of Riviera glamour and no doubt, the kinky climate.
Scenic landscapes abound in Nice, France, and you can also visit many fascinating attractions in this city located in the French Riviera.
There are several diverse things to do in Nice such as visiting interesting museums, exploring the Old Town and admiring the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea.
Discover the city as you stroll along vibrant neighborhoods, with halts at city squares. You can shop for fresh produce and flowers at the buzzing Cours Saleya Market–it’s one of the most appealing activities in Nice.
Make a trip to Castle Hill, discover a beautiful Russian cathedral, and see the Cimiez Monastery with its extensive gardens.
There so many places to visit in Nice that help you unwind on your vacation. Relax along the extensive stretch of the Promenade des Anglais where you can sunbathe, walk along the various gorgeous beaches, and eat or drink at the numerous restaurants and bars.
The city has excellent weather for the most of the year. If you are looking to enjoy summer, then the best time to visit Nice is between May and October although July and August can get hot.
Those who wish to explore more destinations can travel to Monaco, a country situated close to Nice.
Read this guide to know the details of what to see in Nice and where to go during your trip to this lovely city.
Let’s take a look at Nice tourist spots!
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- Best Day Trips from Nice: Beaches, Mountains, & Islands (France)
- A Week in French Riviera Travel Experience – Exploring Nice with Friends!
- Best One Day Trips from Paris: Overnight Trips from Paris (France)
- Points of Interest: What to See and Places to Visit in France
- Top Tourist Attractions and Things to do in Paris (France)
Table of Contents
- 1 Experiences and top things to do in Nice, France
- 2 Top Landmarks and attractions in Nice
- 3 Practical information and Nice travel tips
- 4 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Experiences and top things to do in Nice, France
Explore Nice’s Old Town (Vieille Ville)
More like a web of alleys, Vieille Ville is the oldest part of the city and Nice’s sightseeing hub. The broad boulevards and ebullient squares like Place Massena are always a delight to see.
The ochre-colored apartments and Colline du Château in the east make this place finest Nice tourist spot. The squares are lively day and night because of the cafes and creperies.
The touch of Italian architecture is very prominent here which is clearly because Nice became a part of France after the Treaty of Turin in 1860.
When you enter the Old Town in Nice and walk along its narrow streets, you can feel the pleasant atmosphere of this charming area. You can see the neighborhood dotted with colorful buildings, and experience the lively energy in markets such as Cours Saleya.
A visit to the Old Town is among the best things to do in Nice to live life the local way. The Old Town has important historic structures, cultural experiences and plenty of shopping places.
Castle Hill, Cathedral of Sainte Reparate, Lascaris Palace, Opera de Nice and Place Garibaldi are some of the exciting places here. Foodies can eat and drink at the several delightful restaurants or bars.
For many tourists, exploring the Old Town is one of the most fun things to see in Nice.
Check out Villa Massena – Musee d’Art et d’Histoire
One of the tourist attractions in Nice if you wish to get an understanding of local history is to visit the Villa Massena-Musee d’Art et d’Histoire.
The fabulous villa with impressive interiors and a beautiful garden houses a museum where you can see displays, artifacts, artwork, military memorabilia and various other exhibits related to the history of Nice.
It also hosts some temporary exhibitions. One of the highlights is a set of personal items belonging to Napoleon and his wife Josephine A library in the museum contains thousands of important historical documents.
You can also take a look at the rooms of the villa that has lovely décor and furniture.
Duke The Rivoli donated this exalted villa from the 19th century located on Promenade des Anglais such that it will serve as a public museum for the local community. Édouard André who designed the Monte Carlo Casino was responsible for setting up the gardens in this museum.
Tourists wondering what to see in Nice must visit the impressive architecture in the Belle Époque mansions here. There’s a collection of artwork from the 19th century on the second floor while the intriguing Napoleon’s Death Mask and his wife Empress Josephine’s Tiara are showcased on the first floor.
Enjoy the beautiful clear water beaches
It is impossible to resist the allure of the Mediterranean Sea, and the best time to visit Nice and its beaches are during summer time.
There are many private and public beaches in Nice where you can sunbathe or enter the waters. While public beaches are free, you have to pay a fee to access facilities on private beaches such as locker rooms, mats, lounge chairs, changing rooms, security locker and more.
Remember to wear water shoes in the water and outside as the shore is not sandy but pebbly and rocky.
Soak in the sun or wade in the water on the beaches be it Beau Rivage, Blue Beach or Castel Beach–it is one of the most fun things to do in Nice.
Check out Mont Boron
A rare area of open terrain that rises to a height of 200 meters from the water is located between Cap-Ferrat and Nice’s seaport. Fort du Mont Alban is a masterpiece of this place that was constructed in the 16th century.
This Bastion is a delightful Nice tourist spot and remains open to the visitors all the Summer. Be sure to visit this antiquity if you are in France.
Other attractions include Port Hercules, F1 Grand Prix circuit, the palace, the antique car collection of the prince, museums, and the Larvotto beach.
Visit Musee National Marc Chagall
Chagall himself designed Musée Marc Chagall. He was so dedicated to it that the museum itself became a coherent work of art. After laying out the plan for the gardens, he decorated the Concert Hall and the buoyant glass windows in it.
However, the main reason for the construction of this museum was to place Chagall’s paintings here. The series of 17 biblical-themed paintings that were divided into Old and New Testaments were also kept here. Nice’s tourist attraction contains many prominent paintings like Resistance, Liberation, Resurrection, and Triptych.
Even if you don’t find time to visit all the museums in the city, you must visit the Marc Chagall museum as it is one of Nice top attractions. It has a fantastic collection of paintings by the artist based on biblical themes along with more than 400 other artworks.
Admire 12 large paintings from the Old Testament in the main room based on the books of Genesis and Exodus. In another room, there are five more works from the Old Testament with themes inspired by Song of Songs.
It doesn’t matter if you are religious or not, this is one of the must-do art activities in Nice. Don’t miss seeing the film on Chagall’s life.
Top Landmarks and attractions in Nice
Promenade des Anglais
You can never get enough of the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea when you are in Nice. The best place to view the sea is from the Promenade des Anglais. It is a vast promenade that also features some beautiful beaches.
Every Nice city guide cites the promenade as a must visit place. Relax on a lounge chair on the paved promenade or grab a drink and a bite to eat at the seafront restaurants and bars.
Strolling along the promenade is one of the top tourist attractions in Nice along with other activities such as skateboarding, cycling and roller skating.
The vibrant, busy markets of Cours Saleya are a tourist magnet. Taking a walk here is one of the most enjoyable Nice points of interest.
Cours Saleya is well known for its flower market as well as markets for fruits, vegetables, spices, and more. Meat, seafood, cheese, and other food items can be bought here too. Flowers of every hue and fragrance fill the Flower Market every day except for Monday.
Every week on Monday, it turns into a flea market where you can get furniture, jewelry, kitchenware, paintings, vintage purses, and clothing as well as various other delightful knick-knacks. Keep your shopping bags ready!
There’s plenty to eat and drink at the Cours Saleya especially the lip-smacking local snack ‘socca.’ Every Nice city guide mentions that trips to Nice are incomplete without visiting this market.
Parc du Chateau (Castle Park) or Castle Hill (Colline du Chateau)
Colline du Château is situated in a park on the eastern side of the city and considered as one of the most jubilant and panoramic Nice’s highlights. The steep hill presents such a majestic view of the azure sea in Baie des Anges that you simply can’t take your eyes off.
While there is no castle today, at one point the hill was home to a citadel in the 11th century. It was eventually destroyed, and currently, this area is a park. It is an excellent place for some interesting activities in Nice.
There are some ruins of the citadel, a cemetery, an artificial waterfall, and the Bellanda Tower from where you can see spectacular sea views. The site also has a café and a playground for children.
Castle Hill is one of the most fabulous places to visit in Nice and to reach here; you can climb the steps or take a mini train. You can also ride on an elevator (Ascenseur de la Chateau) situated at the end of Quai des États-Unis near the Hotel Suisse. Pick any Nice guide, and you will find Castle Hill listed in it.
Nice Cathedral (Cathedrale Sainte-Reparate)
The most aesthetic work of Architecture and famous Nice’s point of interest – The Cathedral has a majestic facade and the patterned dome that present a brilliant sight to the visitors. This building was constructed in the 17th century having a vivacious baroque construction.
A visit to the Cathedrale Sainte-Reparate built in the 1680s is one of the Nice highlights as it is a beautiful example of Baroque architecture. Dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the cathedral also contains the relics of Saint Reparata, a virgin martyr.
Located near Place Rossetti, the façade of the building is simple, while the interiors are small but impressive. Additional constructions include a bell tower and side chapels.
Take a tour of the dazzling interiors that consist of ten chapels, three organs and a high altar where you can see a picture of the Glory of Saint Reparata.
Trips to Nice offer a chance to see magnificent gems like the Monastere de Cimiez. The Cimiez Monastery, the Franciscan Museum, and church are a few centuries old.
The Gothic monastery dates back to the 14th and 15th century with sparkling frescoes. This building presents multiple reasons to be visited like the lavish gardens and the exquisite lawns with colorful flowerbeds, pergolas and a terrace that offers a breathtaking view.
A tour of this amazing site is one of the must do in Nice. Explore the museum for an understanding of Franciscan history from the 13th century onwards.
Monks continue to live in the monastery. Visit the church to see some beautiful paintings by Ludovico Brea. Famous French artist Henri Matisse is buried in the cemetery near the monastery.
Another unmissable aspect here is the exceptional garden that surrounds the area. You can also visit the Roman ruins of Cemenelum in the vicinity. Located close by is the Musée Matisse where you can see the works of Henri Matisse.
Located on the western side of the Promenade des Anglais – Parc Phoenix covers almost seven hectares filling up a lot of Nice’s attractions in it. Visitors can leave their kids to stroll and soak up the fresh vibes here.
One of Europe’s largest modern greenhouse is also located here that contains 20 themed zones with around 2500 various plant species growing along the ponds.
Moreover, animal compounds and terrariums are also present here giving it a touch of the zoo as well. Turtles, tropical spiders, flamingos, mandarin ducks, and iguanas can seem to roam in the greenhouse – all these delights get Park Phoenix on the list of Nice points of interest.
A lovely public square, visiting Place Massena situated near the Promenade des Anglais is one of the Nice tourist attractions. If you are curious about what to do in Nice that lets you relax and watch the world go by, this is your answer.
Look around, and you will see reddish buildings reflecting Italian architectural styles and a tramline running straight through the square. There are some modern art installations/sculptures too that look amazing when illuminated at night. You can also eat at one of the restaurants along the square or go shopping.
Practical information and Nice travel tips
Why should you visit Nice?
Nice is a beautiful city in France where you can visit and explore many outstanding art galleries and museums. This city attracts always many artists around the world. And also the scenic landscape in the Mediterranean Sea is admirable for all travelers around. Many top beaches are worth to visit in Nice. There is a plenty of restaurants, and bars you can chill, drink wines, and spend some relaxing time in the beaches. Don’t miss to try many local dishes made with seafood and olives. Even some street foods are must-eat when you visit Nice for the first time.
When is the best time to visit Nice?
- Summer (May to August)
- Summer is the highest season and you can expect big tourist crowds around this time of the year
- You can witness Jazz Festival if you visit in July
- The average temperature is 23°C
- Autumn (September to November)
- September to October is the best time to visit Nice
- The weather is starting to get colder at nights
- Winter (December to February)
- Winter in Nice isn’t so bad and sometimes sunny. The temperature rarely goes down below 0°C
- It is comfortable to walk around (it keeps you warm) and explores other parts of the city
- There are lesser crowds as this is the low season for this city
- Spring (March to April)
- This is also the best time to visit Nice as the weather starts to be warmer
- Trees are starting to bloom and there’s more sunshine
- There are many festivities happening around this time of the year
Do you need a visa for Nice?
France is part of the Schengen area and citizens of EU group of countries can freely enter while citizens of USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia can enter the country just with their passports and stay for 90 days. You can check our complete guide on how to get a Schengen visa and as well to see if you’re eligible to enter the country with just your passports or if you’ll need to apply for a visa prior entry.
Where to book your flights to Nice?
You can book your flights from this flight booking website!
Do you need an insurance?
Remember this: anything can happen! Read our take on why you need a travel insurance and how it can save you money when things go unplanned – read it here.
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