Nice, France: The Ultimate Guide
Updated: Mar 17, 2022
When I first thought of visiting France, I didn't immediately think about visiting Nice. It's a popular destination but I didn't know much about it. After visiting, Nice is one of my favorite destinations!! It is beautiful, has great food, and is close to so many amazing places! I spent a week with my friend in an Airbnb and a few days in a hotel in Nice. Here is a guide to Nice:
Summer: Nice has beautiful weather in the summer; highs are usually in the high 70s or low 80s and lows are in the 60s. This time of year can also be humid, but the sea feels really great!
Fall: Highs range from the low 70s toward the beginning of fall to the high 50s at the end of the season and lows range from the low 60s at the beginning to the low 40s at the end of the season. This is also the rainiest time of year in Nice.
Winter: Temperatures range from the 40s to 50s in winter. Expect some rainy days in the winter, also.
Spring: At the beginning of spring, temperatures are usually around the 50s. By the end of the season, the lows are usually around the low 60s and highs are in the 70s.
The Euro is used all throughout France, including Nice.
A lot of people in Nice speak English, however, don't assume that everyone speaks English. In my experience, a few people that I interacted with did not speak English. If you're in a non-English speaking country, it's always best to try to speak the common language spoken in the country you're visiting.
Nice has tramway lines that run through the city and there is a bus system that runs throughout the area. The tramway is super convenient if you are just traveling to/from the airport and around central Nice. You can go practically everywhere in central Nice by tram and foot only. The tram and bus passes are also fairly inexpensive. If you plan on using the tram/bus several times, you can get passes for 10 journeys. They also have student prices for 18 to 25 year olds! If you plan on venturing out of Nice, Nice-Ville has trains that go all along the coast and to other large cities in France and Italy.
Vieille Ville (Old Town)
This area is also called Vieux Nice, or Old Nice. Shops, art galleries, and restaurants line the streets of Nice's Old Town. Clothes hang outside the colorful buildings to dry. Old Town is also supposed to be a pedestrian friendly zone, though motorcyclists and bicyclists often ride through these streets. Stalls of food, flowers, and other goods are set up in Cours Saleya, the main market area in this neighborhood, which is held Tuesdays through Sundays. On Mondays, Cours Saleya is home to a flea market! If you don't stay in Vieille Ville, you must at least explore the neighborhood. It is one of my favorite parts of the city!
Jean-Médecin / Le Carré D'Or
These neighborhoods basically overlap and are in the center of town! In this area of Nice you'll find tons of restaurants, stores, and hotels. Rue Massena is the perfect street to be on if you're hungry; it is lined with restaurants and gelato shops! Avenue Jean Médecin is the place to be for shopping as it has all kinds of French and international brands!! Since this area of Nice is central, it's super easy to get around the city and travel outside the city from here.
Nice’s port is full of colorful buildings and even colorful boats (also some yachts, haha)! In Port Lympia you’ll find some amazing restaurants and shops. It’s a nice area of Nice to spend some time and if you walk from the Promenade, you’ll see good views of the west side of Nice!
Promenade des Anglais
The Promenade is basically seven kilometers of beautiful views of the sea. On one side of the Promenade is the beach (which is a rock beach) and on the other side is restaurants, hotels, apartments, and stores! There are even restaurants on the beach, where you can eat or rent chairs! You can’t miss the Promenade when in Nice, sunsets from here are incredible, the beach is huge, and it’s the perfect place to go for a walk and take in the scenery.
Located in Jean-Médecin, Hôtel Vendôme is close to stores, restaurants, and tram stops! The rooms are somewhat small, but nice and clean! The hotel also has A/C and offers parking (for a fee). The parking is kind of small, though, so I'd recommend making sure parking is available before booking if you plan on renting a car.
The Juliette is a small Airbnb located in Vieille Ville. It’s not the most perfect Airbnb, as the bed is in a loft (simply a mattress on the loft) and the front door is a bit difficult to open, but the location is impeccable! Getting to the apartment with luggage can also be quite difficult if you’re taking public transportation and don’t know where you’re going (just speaking from experience lol). Also, pack light because the apartment is on the second floor and the stairway is steep, narrow, and old. Because it’s located in Old Town, the apartment also does not have A/C. Fans are provided, however, and there are two windows and a balcony door that can be opened (the street can be noisy at night). Speaking of the balcony, it’s the PERFECT place to spend an evening with a glass of the complimentary Prosecco provided by the host! The balcony overlooks Rue Droite, a somewhat busy street with loads of restaurants and shops and a few bars! The apartment has a kitchen for cooking or heating up leftovers. It also has a washer, so you can wash your clothes or beachwear! After washing your clothes, you hang them on the clothesline on the balcony and then feel like a local :)
Promenade des Anglais / Beach
As I mentioned before, you can’t miss the Promenade. Head for a walk along the Promenade before finding a nice spot on the beach! When you start feeling hungry, there are restaurants just steps away! One of my favorite things to do is head to the beach to have a picnic and watch the sunset, then walk on the Promenade des Anglais once the sun has set. At this time of day in the summer, the beach and Promenade are pretty busy, so make sure you get there early to find a spot to eat and enjoy the view.
Colline du Chateau & Parc du Chateau
Colline du Chateau (Castle Hill) is exactly what it sounds like. The ruins of Chateau de Nice sit atop a massive hill and Parc du Chateau (Castle Park) surrounds it! I recommend taking the stairs at the east end of the Promenade (next to Hotel Suisse) that take you up to Tour Bellanda. The view from the tower is beautiful and it’s a great spot to stop and rest a bit before making the trek up to the park and castle ruins. On one side of the park you’ll be able to see all of the west side of Nice and then on the other side, you’ll be able to see the port. I also recommend doing this journey to the top in the morning if you’re visiting in one of the warmer months.
Cours Saleya market in Old Town, which happens Tuesdays through Sundays, has a fruit & veggie market area and a flower market area. The food section is open from early in the morning to around 1:30pm. There are fruits, veggies, cheeses, and so much more. They even have little jars of pesto, spices, and sauces! The flower section is open early in the morning and closes around 5:30pm. The flowers and other plants are so beautiful!
In the same area of town as the fruit/veggie market, there’s a flea market! At this market you’ll find antiques, books, jewelry, and vintage clothes! The flea market is only on Mondays from 7:30am to around 4pm.
Nice is so close to other great cities and it’s super easy to travel to and from. Some awesome cities that are day trip-worthy from Nice are Antibes, Villefranche-sur-mer, Éze-sur-mer, Monte Carlo, and Menton. You could spend a couple of hours in some of these towns and an entire day in others, it all just depends on you. If you plan on seeing the towns and spending time at the beach, I'd recommend spending the day in a town. Another great way to day trip from Nice is by tour! We went on a Liven Up tour to Gourdon, Valbonne, a perfumery in Grasse, and a winery in Nice. It was really nice because we didn't have to worry about driving or finding parking and we were able to visit Gourdon and the winery, which aren't accessible by train!
Babel Babel (Old Town)
Babel Babel is a Mediterranean restaurant near Plage des Ponchettes. They offer small plates that are perfect for snacks or a light dinner. They also have dessert, wine, and cocktails! The arayes, which is a meat-stuffed, grilled pita dish, is delicious!
Glacier Fenocchio (Old Town)
If you're looking for some delicious ice cream on a warm summer day, head to Glacier Fenocchio! They have so many ice cream, sorbet, and frozen cake flavors!
Rossetti Restaurant (Old Town)
Rossetti Restaurant is a nice Italian restaurant in Old Town with great pizza and desserts!
Restaurant du Gesu (Old Town)
Restaurant du Gesu, which is located right next to a beautiful, 17th-century church, serves Italian and French food. The polenta with tomatoes, mushrooms, and cheese is delicious!
Chez Pipo (Le Port)
You have to try socca and pissaladière when in this area of France! One of my favorite places for socca in Nice is Chez Pipo. Order pissaladière and mini pan bagnat along with some socca... you won't regret it!
Photos Courtesy of Chez Pipo
Boulangerie Pétrie de la gare (Jean-Médecin)
Boulangerie Pétrie de la gare is near the train station, so it's the perfect place to grab a quick snack or breakfast on the way out of town.
La Favola (Old Town)
Nice is fairly close to Italy, so you have to eat some good Italian food while you're there. La Favola has a great selection of Italian food, from pizza to pasta and everything in between. I recommend the ravioli with prawns!
Waka Bar (Old Town)
Waka Bar has a large selection of drinks to choose from and they even have boozy dessert options! The Ritch Bitch and mojito are both really good!
La Taverne Massena (Jean-Médecin)
At La Taverne Massena, there are so many pizza, salad, seafood, and entrée options. I highly recommend the flammkueche and the assiette Niçoise!
Boulangerie Lagache (Le Port)
Another delicious boulangerie to stop at for a snack or a light lunch (it's also a sandwicherie) is Boulangerie Lagache! They have a bunch of different sandwiches, pastries, and breads!
Boulangerie-Pâtisserie Jeannot (Old Town)
This bakery also has delicious pastries and bread! It's the perfect spot for breakfast and a snack purchase for a picnic on the beach!
Nice is the perfect destination for people of all ages and they have a little bit of everything; you can spend time in the sun or the sea, wander through a museum, try some delicious food, and go on adventures to nearby cities!