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  • SeaDream-in-Nice-France - SeaDream I and SeaDream II in Nice in the dazzling South of France.
  • Phoenix-Park-Nice-France - Grapevines in Phoenix Park in Nice, France.
  • Peillon-Nice-France - Peillon is a picturesque fortified village about 15 miles north of Nice, France
  • Promenade-du-Paillo-Nice-France - The Promenade du Paillon in Nice, France.
  • France-Gourdon.jpg - Gourdon is a former feudal village high on a mountaintop near Nice, France.
  • France-Eze.jpg - The medieval town of Eze offers spectacular views of the Cote d'Azur, France.
  • Nice-France-Promenade-Tere-Moana - Tere Moana has a port of call in Nice, France, where you can stroll along the Promedade Des Anglais.
  • France-Villefranche-old-town.jpg - The old town of Villefranche sur Mer, France.
  • Nice-France-flower-market - Tere Moana takes you to one of Nice's most famous attractions, the Cours Saleya Flower Market with its fresh smells and colorful sights.
  • France-Villefrance-sur-Mer.jpg - The beautiful town of Villefranche sur Mer is a suburb of Nice, France.
  • France-Beaulieu-sur-Mer.jpg - Beaulieu sur Mer is a picturesque village near Nice, France.
  • France-Biot.jpg - Visit Biot, a hillside village north of Cannes, France.
  • France-Le-Cannet-Bonnard-Museum.jpg - The Bonnard Museum in Le Cannet, France, features the work of the post-Impressionist artist Pierre Bonnard.
  • France-Cagnes-sur-Mer.jpg - Cagnes sur Mer is a picturesque village minutes from the airport in Nice, France.
  • France-Cannes-harbor.jpg - The harbor and old quarter of Cannes, France.
  • France-Cannes-Saint-Honorat-Island.jpg - Isle Saint Honorate Island is a short ferry ride from Cannes, France.
  • France-Cannes-Croisette.jpg - Walk along the beautiful beach of Cannes, France.
  • France-Cap-dAli.jpg - Cap d'Ail is a seaside resort between Nice and Monte Carlo in the South of France.
  • France-Cap-dAntibe.jpg - Cap d'Antibes is a four-mile-long peninsula south of Antibes, France.
  • France-Nice-Carnaval.jpg -  Carnaval, the two-week celebration full of parades, costumes and parties in Nice, France.
  • France-Coceau-Museum.jpg - Visit the Jean Cocteau Museum in Menton, France.
  • France-Ephrussi-de-Rothschild.jpg - Tour the Ephrussi de Rothschild Museum in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, near the port of Nice, France.
  • France-Cannes-Film-Festival.jpg - Walk the red carpet in Cannes at the famous Cannes Film Festival, held each May.
  • France-Fete-du-Citron.jpg - Lemon Fest transforms the streets of Menton, France, each winter.
  • France-Cannes-Foundation-Maeght.jpg - The Maeght Foundation  in Saint-Paul de Vence, near Nice, France, has one of the largest collections of 20th century European paintings, sculptures and graphic works.
  • Monaco-Grand-Prix.jpg - Cruise to Monaco in May to be part of the excitement of the Monaco Grand Prix.
  • France-Grasse.jpg - Grasse, north of Cannes, has been a key city in the French perfume industry.
  • France-La-Turbie.jpg - La Turbie, France, overlooks the principality of Monaco on the Cote d'Azur.
  • France-Nice-MAMAC.jpg - The Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary Art in Nice, France, is dedicated to the history of the European and American avant-garde movement.
  • France-Menton-garden.jpg - The Garden Maria Serena overlooks the sea in Menton, France.
  • France-Menton-harbor.jpg - Stroll through the streets of Menton, France, to the scenic harbor.
  • France-Mercantour-National-Park.jpg - Mercantour National Park in southern France is home to more than 2,000 species of flowering plants.
  • France-Mercantour-National-Park2.jpg - Cyclists love the challenge of the mountainous terrain of Mercantour National Park, France.
  • Monaco-Monte-Carlo-Casino.jpg - Tuxedos are optional, but a visit to the Casino in Monte Carlo is a must.
  • Monaco-Monte-Carlo.jpg - The lovely principality of Monaco hugs the coast on France's Cote d'Azur.
  • France-Mougins-Museum-Classique.jpg - The Museum of Classical Art in Mougins, France, features Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities.
  • France-Mougins-Muesum-Classique2.jpg - Enjoy classical art in a very modern setting at the Museum of Classical Art in Mougins, France.
  • France-Mougins.jpg - The medieval center of Mougins, France.
  • France-Nice-Musee-Chagall.jpg - Stroll through the Musee Chagall in Nice, France.
  • France-Biot-Musee-Leger.jpg - The Ferdinand Leger Museum stands at the foot of the village of Biot, France.
  • France-Nice-Musee-Matisse.jpg - Musee Matisse in Nice, France, houses the largest collection of Henri Matisse's works.
  • France-Antibes-Musee-Picasso.jpg - The Musee Picasso is housed in what was formerly Chateau Grimaldi in Antibes In the South of France.
  • France-Golfe-Juan.jpg - You can see re-creations of Napolean's landing after his escape from exile in Elba in Golfe-Juan, France.
  • France-Mercantour-National-Park-snow.jpg - Mercantour National Park offers winter skiing and incredible views.
  • France-Nice-Massena-Square.jpg - Massena Square in Nice is a hub of local transportation and commerce.
  • France-Golfe-Juan-port.jpg - The marina in Golfe-Juan along the French Riviera.
  • France-St-Paul-de-Vence.jpg - Saint Paul de Vence is one of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera.
  • France-St-Tropez-old-port.jpg - St. Tropez is known for both the old port and its beautiful beaches.
  • France-Cote-dAzur-trail.jpc.jpg - The temperate climate of the Cote d'Azur makes it a great vacation spot for runners.
  • France-Vallauris.jpg - Vallauris, once the home of Pablo Picasso, is an artists' haven.
  • France-Vence-Chapelle-du-Rosaire.jpg - The Vence Chapelle du Rosaire was designed by Henri Matisse.
  • France-Vence.jpg - The historic village of Vence, France.
  • France-Villeneuve-Loubet.jpg - Villefranche sur Mer is a mix of old and new.
  • France-Tourettes-sur-Loup.jpg - Tourrettes sur Loup is a charming medieval village between Nice and Cannes, France.
  • Azamara-Quest-balcony-dining-Nice-France - Enjoy a romantic dinner for two accompanied by the glittering lights of Nice, France, on an Azamara cruise.
  • Cathedral-Nice-France - The Basilique-Cathédrale Sainte-Marie et Sainte-Réparate de Nice in Nice, France, is dedicated to the the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and St. Reparata.
  • Hotel-Le-Negresco-Nice-France - The Hotel Le Negresco in Nice, France.
  • Palais-Lascaris-Nice-France - Inside Palais Lascaris (Le Palais), a 17th century baroque palace in Nice, France.
  • Saint-Paul-de-Vence-France - Saint-Paul-de-Vence is one of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera.
  • Villa-Massena-Nice-France - The Grand Gallery of the Villa Masséna museum in Nice, France.
  • Villefranch-Nice-France - Villefranche-sur-Mer adjoins Nice in the South of France and offers the region's only sand beach.
  • France-Antibes.jpg - Antibes is a resort on the Cote d'Azur, France.

Nice, France travel guide: What to do & see

our guide

The vibe

Located in the heart of the Côte d'Azur on the southeast coast of France, Nice is the second largest city on the Mediterranean after Marseille. The natural beauty of the region and its mild climate came to the attention of the English upper classes in the second half of the 1700s, when an increasing number of aristocratic families spent their winters there. The city’s main seaside promenade, the Promenade des Anglais (Walkway of the English) owes its name to those long-ago visitors.

Nice, like much of Provence, has influenced and been influenced by artists. There have been so many paintings of the Cote d'Azure that to stroll in Nice feels like walking into one of those familiar paintings. Henri Matisse lived in Nice for nearly 40 years and is buried there. There are museums in Nice dedicated  to the works of Matisse and Marc Chagall. 

In the second half of the 20th century, Nice enjoyed an economic boom primarily driven by tourism and construction. Today, the city is still known for its famed waterfront but is an increasingly ethnically diverse port city.

Cruise ships that call on Nice

Top reasons to go

  • Musee Chagall features the artwork of Marc Chagall, including some of his famous stained glass.
  • Musee Matisse contains paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings, paper cut-outs and illustrated books, as well as objects and documents bequeathed by Matisse and his heirs
  • Cours Saleya is one of the best outdoor markets in all of France.
The Grand Gallery of the Villa Masséna museum in Nice, France.
Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / Creative Commons BYThe Grand Gallery of the Villa Masséna museum in Nice, France.

Top things to do and see in Nice

In addition to its alluring seaside location, Nice has intriguing history.

Culture & history

Nice's origins lie among the Gallo-Roman ruins of Cimiez, in the hills up the Boulevard de Cimiez from downtown. Cimiez also contains a monastery and some museums, including the Matisse Museum, dedicated to the works of Henri Matisse who lived and died in Nice, and Archeological Museum of Nice-Cimiez. Today, most of the city's inhabitants today live closer to sea level.

The Colline du Chateau overlooking the Baie des Anges and harbour offers a spectacular vantage point overlooking the city. Not much is left of its ruined castle besides crumbling walls. Still, climbing up the stairs to reach the platforms 90 metres (295 feet) above Nice is well worth the view. There is also an ascenseur (lift) which will take you three quarters of the way up. Be aware that the castle park closes at around sunset. Expect to be escorted outside if you stay longer.

Shopping

The old town (Vieux Nice) beneath the hill is a maze of streets and alleys, with many picturesque houses and boutiques, as well as Parc Phoenix, a botanical park with over 2,500 species of plants and a variety of animals. Vieux Nice is well worth exploring even if you don't want to go to the market, but it would be a pity to miss the extensive Cours Saleya, considered by some to be the best outdoor market in all of France. Food, flowers, antiques—you never know what you'll find but you'll be exposed to all the vibrant colors, sights and aromas you'd expect of this seaside city. 

 

Tourrettes sur Loup is a charming medieval village between Nice and Cannes, France.
Courtesy of Visit Côte d'Azur • OT Tourrettes-sur-LoupTourrettes sur Loup is a charming medieval village between Nice and Cannes, France.

Best bets for dining

Cuisine is definitely one of the delights of Nice, where both ratatouille and salad Nicoise were born. As in the rest of Provence, chefs here are partial to fresh herbs. Expect dishes to feature bay leaves, basil, thyme and oregano along with garlic. This is also the area where much of  France's olive oil is produced, and it's used liberally in dishes here. Not surprisingly, the bounty of the Mediterranean is also a staple. Nice has an abundance of excellent restaurants. While the ambiance of Vieux Nice may be the most coveted, it's also the priciest; if you're ready to splurge on an exceptional meal, that's the place to go. It is possible to find less expensive and equally delicious options, too, on almost any corner.

When you arrive

Docking information

Smaller ships dock at the Quay de Commerce. The port is east of the town center and a 30-minutes walk to the old town, Vieux Nice. There is a free shuttle service most of the time.

Larger ships tender in the nearby Villefranche, 20 minutes away from Nice.

Getting around

Taxis are readily available at the cruise dock. You can also hail a taxi in the street or approach one at a taxi stand. All taxis in France are metered and you pay per taxi, not per occupant.

Free Wi-Fi

  • A public wifi network is available at the “Quai des États-Unis” close to the Opera de Nice.
  • A large number of cafes and restaurants offer free Wi-Fi, too.

Need to know

Documents: U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport.

Language: French, though English is understood by most people in the tourism industry.

Store hours:  Shops are usually open from Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 7:30 pm. Smaller shops might close during lunch time from 12:30 am to 2 pm. As an exception boulangeries (bakeries) stay open also on Sundays.

Tipping:  A 10% tip is greatly appreciated by any service personnel but not mandatory. Bargaining is not practiced in France.

Currency: The euro

Special dress code:  Proper resort wear is expected in all restaurants; don’t expect service without shoes or shirt even if it's hot. 

Safety:  Nice is considered to be safe for tourists. As always, be aware of your surroundings and stay in public areas.

Shorefox and Wikitravel contributed to this guide.

Your take

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