With nearly perfect weather conditions all year long, and an array of things for travelers of all ages to see and do, you should definitely consider the city of Nice for your next vacation destination. In addition to its exceptional climate, Nice is filled with so much elegance and beauty. You’ll find art and culture around every corner, from the historic architecture of many of its buildings to the charming plazas filled with cafes and boutique stores. We’ve compiled a list of Nice’s attractions, and though many will visit a few such as the Promenade des Anglais and the beaches of the French Riviera, we suggest you try to visit each and every single one of these places.
1.Promenade des Anglais
The Promenade des Anglais is one of the most famous seafront stretches in all of France. The paved promenade spans over four kilometers and is a popular place for cyclists, skateboarders, roller skaters, segways, and those on scooters to spend an evening; if you don’t bring one yourself, you can rent one from the Roller Station located there. Going on a walking tour of Promenade des Anglais is one of the best ways to really see all of its iconic landmarks such as the giant iron sculpture La Chaise de SAB or the art-deco Palais de la Mediterranee.
The Musee Matisse is dedicated to the work of Henri Matisse, a French artist renowned for his paintings, sculptures, and prints. The museum opened in 1963 and has since then accumulated one of the world’s largest collections of his works. Much of the permanent collection was donated over the years and today you will be able to see over 236 drawings, 68 paintings and gouaches, 57 sculptures, 218 prints, 95 photographs, several books that were illustrated by him, documents, ceramics, stained glass, and an array of objects which belonged to Matisse among other things.
Address: 164 Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez, 06000 Nice, France, Phone: +33-4-93-81-08-08
Named after French military commander, Andre Massena, Place Massena is one of the most historic public squares in all of Nice. On any given day, you’ll be taken aback by the square which is lined with stone pines and palm trees. There are several public events held there throughout the year, many of which attract crowds from around the world. You’ll find military processions, musical concerts, performances, parades, carnivals, banquets, and other celebrations which are fun for the entire family. One of the most famous is the corso carnavalesque which is an annual carnival and parade usually held in February.
4.Parc des Arenes de Cimiez
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One of Nice’s many historical monuments, the Parc des Arenes de Cimiez comprises the remains of a Roman amphitheater. It was originally constructed to entertain the people of the city with games. You can still see the visible anchor points of the velum which was added at one point. The amphitheater, which has been renovated several times over the years, continued to serve its original purpose for many years after as it was home to the annual Nice Jazz Festival. Though the festival is no longer held there, the amphitheater is still such a wonderful historical site to see when in Nice.
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Locally known as Vieux Nice, the Old Town of Nice is one of the must-visit attraction when traveling there. In addition to the array of historical sites and structures you can see, you’ll also be able to take part in the never-ending buzz of activity that’s always taking place there. Immerse yourself in the baroque Mediterranean vibe of the surroundings; you can go on a walking tour to get an in-depth understand of the history and culture that surrounds you, visit the many boutique shops which line the streets, or indulge in local cuisine in one of the many cafes and restaurants found in Old Town.
6.Cathedrale Orthodoxe Russe Saint-Nicolas
The Cathedrale Orthodoxe Russe Saint-Nicolas is the largest Russian Orthodox church in the world outside of Russia. It was built in Nice in the early 1900s as a way of accommodating the growing Russian community there. Even before you go inside the cathedral you’ll be amazed at the beauty of the cathedral’s exterior and its colorful onion domes. The interior is furnished with ornate decor and design that is absolutely breathtaking to witness in person. Be sure to take along a local guide for a more in-depth understanding of the structure and the role it played in history.
Address: Avenue Nicolas II, 06000 Nice, France
7.Parc de la Colline du Chateau
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Parc de la Colline du Château, also known as Castle Hill, is now a historic hilltop park from which visitors will be able to see panoramic vistas of the city. At one point, there was actually a castle up there though now all people will be able to see are the ruins. The lush green park is high up and catches a great breeze from the Bay of Nice - making it perfect for picnics and to just spend some time outdoors. There are several walking paths where you can enjoy the scenery, take in the sunset, and even get some exercise.
The Flower Market in Nice is considered to be one of the most beautiful and special markets in all of France by the National Council for the Culinary Arts. Just walking through the rows of colorful flowers and plants will put you in an amazing mood. There are hundreds of different flowers available at the market such as dahlias, fuchsias, geraniums, and much more. Breathe in the fragrances, have a chat with the florists and horticulturists, and take your pick of beautiful bouquets to take back with you. In addition to the flowers, the popular open-air market also has fresh local foods, produce, and much more.
Address: Cours Saleya, 06300 Nice, France, Phone: +33-4-92-14-48-00
Having many names in the past such as Place de la Republique and Place Napoleon, Place Garibaldi is a famed public space that is now named after Italian nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi. The square was built toward the end of the 18th century and was once considered the entry gate to the city. Today, visitors will be able to see a statue of Garibaldi in the middle of the square. It’s also a great place to slip into one of the many roadside cafes and restaurants to have a drink or meal with friends or as you people watch.
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10.Musee des Beaux Arts de Nice
Housing a collection of art that spans centuries, the Musee des Beaux Arts de Nice is a favored attraction among tourists. The museum, which wasn’t established until 1928, is housed in a private mansion which was built by a Russian princess in 1878. It was initially named after Jules Cheret, an artist who lived in Nice during his final years and whose many paintings can be seen in the museum today. Some of the other interesting pieces you’ll see include ceramic works by Picasso, sculptures by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, and paintings by Claude Monet and Raoul Dufy.
Address: 33 Avenue des Baumettes, 06000 Nice, France
11.Cathedrale Sainte Reparate
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Cathedrale Sainte Reparate, or the Nice Cathedral as it is more commonly known, is a Roman Catholic cathedral which was initially built in the late 1600s but had continued renovated until 1949. The cathedral’s body which you see today is a part of its original 1650’s construction. The national monument was built over the remains of another cathedral, the St Mary of the Castle, which was consecrated in 1049. The Baroque interior has ten chapels which are worth seeing; some of the are dedicated to Saint Joseph, the Saint Rose of Lima, and Saint John the Baptist.
Address: 3 Pl. Rossetti, 06300 Nice, France
12.Musee Marc Chagall
© Musée Marc Chagall
Musee Marc Chagall was inaugurated in 1973 and is dedicated to the life and works of painter Marc Chagall. Most of the pieces in the national museum are of his works that were inspired by religion. You’ll be able to see the series of 17 paintings which illustrate the biblical message from the books of Genesis, Exodus, and the Song of Songs. Since the museum was established while Chagall was still alive, he himself decided where each piece would be displayed in the museum. He also created the blue stained glasses in the concert hall and the mosaic which overlooks the pond.
Address: 36 Avenue Dr Ménard, 06000 Nice, France, Phone: +33-4-93-53-87-20
Also known as Place du Port, Place Ille-de-Beaute is a beautiful public space that is surrounded by neoclassical architecture. This particular plaza is often overlooked in favor of the Promenade des Anglais and other places, but shouldn’t be, as the hidden treasure offers stunning sights of Nice, the port, and its surroundings. In addition to seeing the historic architecture, you will also be able to see the many boats docked in the port, visit the harborside bars and restaurants, or climb Castle Hill to see the picturesque view from up top. One of the best times to visit is in the evening, as the sun is setting and as the plaza becomes illuminated.
14.Monastère Notre Dame de Cimiez
Founded by Benedictine monks in the 9th century, Monastere Notre Dame de Cimiez comprises several sections such as the actual church, the cloister, the cemetery, and the gardens. The entire monastery and its surroundings have been classified as a historic monument, and rightly so. Inside the church, you’ll be able to see several breathtaking architectural and decorative aspects. Keep an eye out for three major paintings: The Crucifixion of Louis Brea, The Pieta of Louis Brea, and the Deposition. The extremely well-landscaped garden is remarkable and surrounds the building, while the cemetery is a little way off and houses the burial sites of painters Raoul Dufy and Henri Matisse.
Address: Place Jean Paul 2, 06000 Nice, France, Phone: +33-4-93-81-00-04
15.Promenade du Paillon
Spanning over twelve hectares, the Promenade du Paillon is a stunning green space that can be found in heart of Nice alongside the Promenade des Anglais and the National Theater. It was designed by landscape artist and gardener Michel Pena in 2011 and has since then become a popular place for people to gather. Though picnicking on the lawn is prohibited, visitors are encouraged to walk around and marvel at the thousands of trees, shrubs, and perennials. Some of the promenade’s main features are its water mirror, a monument dedicated to General Nice Massena, and a bronze reproduction of Michelangelo’s David.
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Nice is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in France. Here, you’ll find an array of both public and private beaches. Some of the public beaches which are definitely worth visiting are the Beaulieu-Sur-Mer, which is a large stretch of beach with barely any waves because of the protective cove, and the Villefranche, which has an amazing atmosphere and is surrounded by eateries and restaurants. La Reserve is a quieter and more isolated beach that can be found right past the port. If you’d like more amenities during your beach experience, you may want to splurge on access to a private beach; this can cost anywhere from 20 Euros upward but comes with chaise lounge, added security, changing rooms, restrooms, and more.
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17.Fort du Mont Alban
A fort found on the peak of Mount Alban, the Fort du Mont Alban is a fabulous and rare example of military architecture from the mid-16th century. This particular fort was built between 1557 and 1560 by Italian military engineer and architect Domenico Ponsello. The fort has survived many attacked, both during war and of natural causes, but has stood strong. It was first opened to the public in 2010 and is now open to visitors every summer. You’ll get a magnificent view of Monaco and the Bay of Villefranche and Cap Ferrat from the fort.
The Palais Lascaris is a 17th century aristocratic building which is now being used as a museum. After taking in the marvelous architecture, head inside to see the museum’s stunning interior and the extensive collection of historical musical instruments it houses. Key rooms in the palace which you shouldn’t miss are the ceremonial room, the chapel, and the breathtaking stairway. You’ll see over 500 instruments on display there; some of the more notable pieces in the collection include an 18th century recorder by Johann Christoph Denner, a bass violin by Paolo Antonio Testore, and one of the first prototype harps built by Sebastien Erard, a renowned French instrument maker.
Address: 15 Rue Droite, 06300 Nice, France
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Located right in the middle of Nice’s Old Town, Place Rossetti is a popular place to visit for both locals and tourists. The public square boasts of some of the best views of the 13th century Cathedrale Sainte Reparate, another must-visit attraction when in Nice. All of the historic buildings and structures which surround Place Rossetti, along with its charming atmosphere, give people visiting the plaza a more authentic experience. Spend your time taking in the sights, enjoying a break at the fountain and people watching, or indulging in some local treats from the surrounding cafes.
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20.Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
Situated on the French Riviera, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is a French seaside villa that was constructed between 1905 and 1912. Architect Aaron Messiah constructed the architectural marvel under the commission of Baroness Beatrice de Rothschild, a member of the wealthy Rothschild banking family. It remained a family home until her death in 1934, when the property was donated to the Institut de France and opened to the public. Today, visitors will be able to see an array of items within the villa that were handpicked by the Baroness such as antique furniture, sculptures, Old Master paintings, and an extensive collection of rare porcelain. The surrounding gardens are identified as one of the most ‘Notable Gardens of France’ by the French Ministry of Culture.
Address: 1 Avenue Ephrussi de Rothschild, 06230 Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France
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© Restaurant Jan
Restaurant Jan is the brainchild of Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, an expert of culinary arts who wanted to bring the flavors of his childhood from Middleburg, South Africa to the bohemian district of Nice. The fine dining establishment focuses on serving fresh, honest food that celebrates the flavors of South Africa but is still inspired by its current surroundings in the south of France. The Menu Klein Jan is a popular option to try as it is a five-course tasting menu comprising South African cuisine blended with French techniques. They also have a beautifully-designed private dining room that has a family-style setting and a view of the open kitchen.
Address: 12 Rue Lascaris, 06300 Nice, France, Phone: +33-4-97-19-32-23
© L’ane Rouge
At L’ane Rouge, you will be able to experience examples of extraordinary culinary arts. Imagine roasted chestnuts with foie gras or poached oysters tossed with green apples - these are the type of delicious entrees you’ll find at the award-winning restaurant. Their renowned for their seafood entrees and some of the more popular options include the capoun fish with lobster butter, the cod cooked with smoked green wheat, and the wild braised seabream served on a bed of parsnip puree. Complete your meal with a cheese plate or delicious desserts like the poached pear or one of their homemade sorbets and ice creams.
Address: 7 Quai des Deux Emmanuels, 06300 Nice, France, Phone: +33-4-93-89-49-63
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23.La Reserve De Nice
© La Reserve De Nice
La Reserve De Nice is a magnificent gourmet restaurant which can be found on the waterfront at the entrance of the port - its location provides diners with panoramic views of the Baie des Anges. It is housed in a beautiful art deco style building which was originally a residence constructed in 1862. Patrons will get the opportunity to go on a culinary journey as they feast on innovative Mediterranean cuisine. Popular items from their menu are the wild fish served with roasted asparagus, the seafood stuffed cannelloni cooked in a leek and lemon fondue, and the three cheese ravioli cooked with cream and truffles.
Address: 60 Boulevard Franck Pilatte, 06300 Nice, France, Phone: +33-4-97-08-14-80
L’Uzine is a restaurant and bar located in the heart of Nice with a dynamic and lively atmosphere. The modern Mediterranean bistro is inspired by flavors from around the world but have been adapted to give patrons a unique taste (and sound) of the ‘Riviera’ - on most nights you’ll find local bands serenading diners. The seasonal menu changes throughout the year to fully envelop the freshest ingredients, but some of the most popular choices include the risotto du jour and their saumon a la plancha. Complete your meal with one of their mouthwatering desserts such as the cheesecake, tiramisu, or chocolate mousse.
Address: 18 Rue François Guisol, 06300 Nice, France, Phone: +33-4-93-56-42-39
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© Maison Gusto
One of Nice’s most popular dining establishments, Maison Gusto serves an array of European, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. The intimate and cozy interior make it the perfect place to have a romantic date night or a delicious dinner with a group of friends. Maison Gusto is also a popular choice with vegetarians as it has one of the larger and more varied vegetarian menus in the area. Dishes that patrons can’t stop raving about include the mozzarella burrata, the ravioli al tartufo, their Bell Italiano burgers, the tiramisu, and the citron panna cotta.
Address: 12 Rue Lascaris, 06300 Nice, France, Phone: +33-4-93-07-28-68
25 Best Things to Do in Nice, France
- Promenade des Anglais, Photo: s4svisuals/stock.adobe.com
- Musée Matisse, Photo: elophotos/stock.adobe.com
- Place Massena, Photo: IMAREVA/stock.adobe.com
- Parc des Arenes de Cimiez, Photo: Konstantin Gushcha/stock.adobe.com
- Old Town, Photo: Aleksandar Todorovic/stock.adobe.com
- Cathedrale Orthodoxe Russe Saint-Nicolas, Photo: IMAREVA/stock.adobe.com
- Parc de la Colline du Chateau, Photo: Leonid Andronov/stock.adobe.com
- Flower Market, Photo: GVictoria/stock.adobe.com
- Place Garibaldi, Photo: lffile/stock.adobe.com
- Musee des Beaux Arts de Nice, Photo: vdvtut/stock.adobe.com
- Cathedrale Sainte Reparate, Photo: Jonathan Stutz/stock.adobe.com
- Musee Marc Chagall, Photo: Musée Marc Chagall
- Place Ile-de-Beaute, Photo: ArTo/stock.adobe.com
- Monastère Notre Dame de Cimiez, Photo: Paul/stock.adobe.com
- Promenade du Paillon, Photo: Margarita/stock.adobe.com
- The Beaches, Photo: Aleksandar Todorovic/stock.adobe.com
- Fort du Mont Alban, Photo: dudlajzov/stock.adobe.com
- Palais Lascaris, Photo: aerogondo/stock.adobe.com
- Place Rossetti, Photo: bbsferrari/stock.adobe.com
- Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, Photo: santosha57/stock.adobe.com
- Restaurant Jan, Photo: Restaurant Jan
- L’ane Rouge, Photo: L’ane Rouge
- La Reserve De Nice, Photo: La Reserve De Nice
- L’Uzine, Photo: L’Uzine
- Maison Gusto, Photo: Maison Gusto
- Cover Photo: bbsferrari/stock.adobe.com