After a couple of recent trips to cold climate destinations, I was really craving a proper summer holiday, complete with palm trees, sunbathing and water activities. This summer, I particularly gravitated towards Nice in the South of France with its reputation for amazing beaches, colorful architecture, yummy Mediterranean food and of course, perfectly sunny weather. There was no surprise, it did not disappoint. Here's my take on what you simply can't miss there...
- PLACE MASSÉNA -
Located in the heart of Nice, Place Masséna is renowned as the main square/plaza in town and is the prime location for concerts and musical events. Where Old Town meets the newer parts of the city, this plaza is complete with shopping boulevards, plenty of bars and restaurants and an easy access to the local trams link. There is also plenty of green space and fountains where you'll find locals enjoying the French Riviera sun.
- OLD TOWN -
We were lucky to find our accommodation in the heart of Old Town (Vielle Ville) where we enjoyed wandering around and getting lost in the most quaint, picturesque alleys. The best part is that Old Town is lined with lively markets where you can buy your fresh produce, clothes, and souvenirs. In the morning, it's bustling with locals, then later transforms into a more chill atmosphere, ideal for dinner and drinks.
- PROMENADE DES ANGLAIS -
When in Nice, you definitely can't miss the Promenade. This was literally the first and last thing we saw when we were there and still can't get over the amazing views that we witnessed. The sparkling blue-ish green color of the water is unlike I've ever seen before. The pictures just don't do it justice. It's a great place to stroll, people watch, have a picnic, skip rocks, reflect on life, lol...the list goes on.
- CASTLE HILL -
Panoramic views of Nice in 3 different ways; the city, the sea, and the harbor. It's a short walk from the Promenade and Old town. Once you get there, you can take the free lift at the base which you may have to queue up for, or if you feel like the challenge, take the stairs, which for me, makes the views even more rewarding. It is definitely worth going here for sunset, so plan in advance and check the closing times.
- JUAN-LES-PINS BEACH -
One of the main reasons why we chose Nice as our summer destination was the fact that there was plenty of beaches right on its doorstep. We decided to visit Juan-les-Pins, which is less than half an hour train ride from Nice. It's definitely one of the more popular beaches of Cote d'Azur, with its soft sand and clean waters, there's a good reason why that is. The only thing I would criticise is the lack of restaurants nearby, so I recommend packing your lunch before you visit!
- ST PAUL DE VENCE -
The hilltop village of St Paul de Vence is known to be one of the oldest medieval towns in the French Riviera. We took the train to Cagnes Sur Mer and got on a 15 min bus ride straight to the village. At first glance, St Paul de Vence looks like something straight out of a fairy tale. As I walked through its winding cobblestone streets, I fell in love with the character of this place. Elegant fountains, vine-covered stone walls, and statues tucked into walls, I could not put my camera down. St Paul de Vence is also filled with art galleries, charming boutiques, and cafes. After a couple of hours of walking around, we rewarded ourselves with delicious gelato and watched the sunset with the breathtaking views of the mountains.
When to go: Nice is mostly sunny all year long but of course, spring and summer months are ideal for the perfect weather. March-June if you want to avoid the busy holiday period.
How long: I would say 4-5 days would give you enough time to fully enjoy Nice, relax for a day but also have time to explore neighbouring cities such as Cannes or Monaco.
Getting around: Nice is quite a small city so everything is pretty much within walking distance. But if you are feeling lazy, the cheapest and easiest way to get around is by tram or bus. To get to nearby cities, I recommend taking the train - just make sure you know check train times and the stations you need to get off at.
We had an amazing trip to Nice and surprisingly covered a lot of places in 4 days with enough time to relax. Although I did not mention all the tourist spots, I hope this post will inspire you to visit Nice for yourself! I will surely come back in the next few years to visit more places on the French Riviera.
If you have any questions about our trip and itinerary, feel free to drop us a message below 🙂