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What to do in Nice France for one day – sights and useful information 2024

What to do in Nice France for one day – sights and useful information 2024 is the first part of the article South of France itinerary 12 days in Provence and the French Riviera

Why visit Nice?

Nice – the pearl of the French Riviera .

The clean air, mild Mediterranean climate and untouched nature of the region attract more than 4 million visitors to Nice annually.

In the second half of the 18th century, the English upper classes chose to spend the winter months precisely in Nice. The city was also chosen as a vacation spot by the Russian aristocracy in the middle of the 19th century, as Empress Alexandra Feodorovna created the fashion for Nice. Since then, the popularity of Nice has not decreased.

Nice also attracts artistsThe picturesque landscapes and soft light were especially attractive to the famous artists Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Niki de Saint Phalle and Armand. Many writers also find inspiration here. Frank Harris has written several books, including his autobiography “My Life and Loves in Nice”, in Nice. Friedrich Nietzsche spent six consecutive winters in the city and wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra here. Russian writer Anton Chekhov completed his play “Three Sisters” while living in Nice.

Due to its historical importance as a winter resort town for the European aristocracy and the resulting mix of cultures in the city, UNESCO declared Nice a World Heritage Site in 2021.

Do you want a beautiful luxurious life, warm sea and sun? Welcome to Nice!

This is probably how people who like the luxurious lifestyle would start their story. But since I am not one of them, I will show you Nice as I saw it – alive, magical and colorful. Let’s see together what to do in Nice France for one day.

What to do in Nice France, South of France itinerary

Where is Nice located?

Part of the French Riviera, the city is located on the southeast coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea at the foot of the French Alps. The second largest city in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur after Marseille, Nice is about 20 kilometers from the Principality of Monaco and 30 kilometers from the French-Italian border. Routes to Provence and the Côte d’Azur usually depart from Nice .

How to get to Nice?

  • The fastest and most convenient way is by plane . The low-cost company WizzAir often offers tickets to Nice at good prices. Follow in the app. If you are also planning a tour of the area, you can rent a car at the best price here .
  • By bus. But it will cost you many times more than a plane ticket, and the journey is long and tiring. 
What to do in Nice France, Bay of Angels
Bay of Angels from above

How to get around Nice?

Important for car parks in Nice!

You are only allowed to leave your car for one hour in the street parking lots. This applies to the downtown areas of Promenade des Arts, Palais Masséna, Marshall, Palmeira, Corvésy, Saleya and Palais de Justice. If you exceed this time, the fee becomes very high.

Recommendation:

Park in the underground car parks. Nice has a well-established network of underground car parks. With Google Maps, you will find the most convenient option for you and get information about the conditions and the price.

You will find a list of parking lots here .

Where to stay in Nice?

If you are the type of person who prefers comfort, peace and quiet, I recommend the house we stayed in during our stay in Nice. It is located high on a hill, away from the noise and lights of the city, and offers incredible views. The host is an exceptional person, the breakfast is superb, and among other things, the house has an outdoor pool. It is called Castel Enchanté and the rating is 9.4 Excellent. Prices vary according to the month of stay and the number of nights.

What to do in Nice, where to stay in Nice
  • The renowned Hotel Le Negresco offers its guests dazzling luxury and makes its guests feel like they are in a palace. I’m not into luxury, but out of pure curiosity I wouldn’t refuse a night there. The rating is Excellent 9.2 , and the prices again vary according to the month of stay and the number of nights.
  • Le Panoramic Boutique Hôtel offers superb views of the city. The rating is Very good 8.5, and the price for a night for two is 192 EUR.
  • Le capitole are independent apartments near the beach. The rating is Excellent 9.2 and prices vary by season.
  • Le Meridien Nice is located on the seafront and offers all amenities. The rating is Very good 8.1, and the price for a night for two is 520EUR.
  • You will find more suggestions here .

How long should we stay in Nice?

I highly recommend to stand at least three days.

There is a lot to see in the city itself, and if you love museums and galleries, you’ve come to the right place.

Recommendation:

Also take time to visit the villages and towns in the area of ​​Saint-Paul-du-VanceVillefranche-sur-MeEze, Menton and the lesser-known but endlessly charming Lucerne and Coirase. Visit Monaco and Antibes .

But the time is usually not enough so let’s check what to do in Nice France for one day. Sounds impossible? Probably. But this guide will give you lot of useful information and spend you time to wonder what exactly to see and visit.

What to do in Nice France for one daySights in Nice

For one day in Nice I would recommend to explore the city by Hop-on Hop-off bus, tickets can be purchased in advance here .

The Old Port of Nice

It is the old port that, in my opinion, describes Nice the best. The azure water, the colorful houses around in the city-specific architecture , the mix between the new and the old in the face of the old fishing boats and luxury yachts, the magnificent nature and the green hills around.

Recommendation:

Walk to the lighthouse at sunset. The soft light gives a special charm to the landscape.

What to do in Nice France, Port of Nice
The old port of Nice France

Promenade des Anglais

A small and dirty street at the beginning of the 19th century, only 2 meters wide and called the English path (Chemin des Anglais), it was used to connect the right bank with the suburb of the Croix de Marble.  At present, the Promenade des Angles is a long, wide street along the beach and is the symbol of Nice.

Before the urbanization of the city, the coastline was very deserted, with rocky beaches. The first houses were built on a hill , far from the sea, and the rich tourists who visited Nice in the 18th century came here not for the beaches, but for the mild winter climate. Along the coastal zone there were only shipyards and fishermen.

What to do in Nice France, Promenade des Angles Nice

The drive as it stands was built by the Reverend Lewis Way. The name Promenade des Angles was given to the street in 1854-56, when it was widened by 11 meters according to a project by the French architect Francois On. Subsequently, the street was widened in 1878, 1882, 1903. and for the last time in 1932. The villas and gardens along the promenade have gradually collapsed and been replaced by palaces, hotels and casinos, and the many terraces overlooking the vast azure expanses of the Mediterranean allow you to enjoy the magnificent sunsets.

What to do in Nice France, Promenade des Angles Nice
Promenade des Angles Nice

Castle Hill (Colline du Château)

The hill once boasted an impregnable citadel , which was completely destroyed by the soldiers of the French King Louis XIV in 1706. It is easily accessible from the center of Nice and is one of the top attractions in the city, because of the beautiful panoramic view of Nice and the Bay of the angels.

There are three ways to reach the top:

  • To climb the 300 stairs (escalier lesage) from the Old Town.
  • Take the Colline du Château lift from the Old Town to the Tour Bellanda, which takes you almost to the top.
  • Hop on the Petit Train de Nice , the tourist train that circles the city and takes you to the top of the hill. If you want to go back with it, you will have 10 minutes of downtime on the hill.

Recommendation:

Catch the sunset from the hill. The view is unique.

In addition to amazing views at the top, you’ll find a cafe and gift shop. If you wonder what to do in Nice France with kids is good to know that the hill is a popular place for families, as it has a playground, jogging paths and a picnic area.

Explore the ruins of the Chateau, walk the mosaic-covered paths winding through the greenery, see the waterfall .

What to do in Nice France, Castle hill

Opening hours: every day from 8:30-20:00 from 01.04. until 30.09 and from 8:30-18:00 from 01.10. until 31.03.

Bay of Angels

Whether you’re watching the sunset or hitting the beach, Bay of Angels is one of Nice’s must-see spots. This bay epitomizes the beauty of the French Riviera. Even if at first glance it is believed that it is called so because of the surrounding atmosphere created by the warm rays of the sun, the beaches and the alleys around, the origin of the name is different. It comes from the name of a shark (squatina angelus) that once inhabited these waters and has two fins shaped like angel wings. She has not been seen in these parts since the 19th century.

What to do in Nice France, Bay of Angels

Old Nice (Vieux-Nice)

Vieux-Nice is the oldest and most beautiful part of the city. It stretches between the Colin du Chateau – the fortress destroyed in 1706 by the troops of Louis XIV, the seafront, the Couverture du Paillon, the Place Massena and the Place Garibaldi. In the heart of the old town you will find the winding, narrow streets with colorful houses that give a touch of coziness to the city.

The old town smells of different aromas, thanks to the shops that housed the treasures of Provence – lavender, spices, herbs, scented candles.

What to do in Nice France - visit Vieux-Nice
Vieux-Nice

In addition to walking around the old town, you can also explore the exceptional museums of the city that Nice is famous for – the Matisse Museum, the Marc Chagall Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the International Museum of Naive Art and the Simies Archaeological Museum.

Nice Cathedral (Sainte Reparate Cathedral)

The Catholic cathedral is located on Place Rossetti and is the seat of the Diocese of Nice. Construction of the main body of the current cathedral began in 1650 and was completed in 1685. It was built in the Baroque style and the interior is magnificent.

Working hours: Tuesday – Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 14:00 to 18:00. Monday – day off.

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The Municipal Palace (Palais communal de Nice)

The municipal palace of Nice owes its name to the former city hall. It is located in Old Nice on Place Saint-François, the main town square at the time the palace was built. The building was declared a historical monument in 1949.

The Municipal Palace, What to do in Nice France

Garibaldi Square

Another good idea if you wonder what to do in Nice France for one day is to visit Garibaldi Square. Garibaldi was born in Nice, and the square was built in 1773 by the architect Antoine Spinelli. It is the oldest square and one of the symbols of the city.

Garibaldi square, what to do in Nice France for one day

The architecture of Nice

Baroque, Belle Epoque and Art Deco are the architectural styles that intertwine in Nice. I was definitely impressed by the look of the city.

Rossetti Square

Another place to visit in Nice is Place Rossetti. It is one of the most beautiful and lively squares in Nice, both during the day and at night. The cathedral is also located here. Cafes, ice cream shops and restaurants attract thousands of people who come to enjoy the atmosphere.

Invigorate your afternoon coffee at Café Antonia or choose from over 90 flavors of ice cream at Fenocchio, one of the biggest and best gelato parlors in town.

At night, the square is a popular spot for street musicians and the atmosphere is lively . Two of Nice’s most popular gay bars , Bar Bitch and Bar Butch, are located on the square, making it even more cosmopolitan.

Place Rossetti and the Cathedral of Nice

Course Saleya

Another iconic place in Nice is the famous Cours Saleya street. It is a lively place with many restaurants, bars, terraces with cafes, stalls with handmade souvenirs and street food. Here I witnessed one of the most magnetic sunsets.

What to do in Nice France, Course Saleya

Place du Palais de Justice

This pedestrian square is located in the center of the old town. At night, the square is filled with tourists and young people, and the music bounces off the walls of the buildings in the small square. The evening lights of the city give the square a special charm .

What to do in Nice France

The typical French restaurants

Choose one of the many cozy French restaurants and enjoy the superb food and wine.

What to do in Nice France, dinner in a French restaurant

What to visit in the Nice area?

If you don’t have a rental car and don’t have a plan in advance, here are some options you can take advantage of:

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