Nice is a conundrum of a city, with a wide array of attractions and characteristics all melded together to create an intriguing, unique place. The landscape and feel of the city shifts dramatically between the narrow streets and Baroque era architecture of Vieux Nice to the waterfront, along which the Promenade des Anglais draws visitors to the region’s beach. A pedestrianized walkway allows joggers and sightseers an idyllic route to the sea. Both a thriving, multicultural, cosmopolitan port city and a culinary capital, Nice has something for everyone with the sort of glamor which is unmistakeably a feature of the French Riviera.
Things to see
Nice’s most notable attraction may well be the Promenade des Anglais, where cafés, vendors, and street entertainers all jostle for your attention with their – admittedly somewhat overpriced – allure. Dating back to the 18th Century, this walkway not only creates a perfect spot for people watching, it’s also provided visitors with a panoramic view of the azure blue of the Mediterranean, and as long as you watch out for cyclists on the somewhat easy-to-miss bike lane, you’ll find it a relaxing place to wander. It’s also home to the city’s Carnival every February. Place Messena, a square in the old part of the city, also draws performers and dancers, as well as featuring gardens, a stunning statue of Apollo, and plenty of bars and restaurants. Dating back to the 17th Century, the Baroque Nice Cathedral is another slice of historic Nice which contains 10 chapels and a Genoese style tiled cupola.
Hotels in Nice
This being the Riviera, you’d be justified in expecting to find luxury and style – and you won’t be disappointed. There are lots of hotels in Nice catering to the high-end, five-star, customer, and as well as offering WiFi and flat-screen televisions some will offer a beach-front location, sea views. and bars on-site. You’ll also be able to find mid-range hotels well geared to families as well as business travelers. Location and views are key to Nice’s hotel offerings, so expect to pay more to see the sea, or the panorama from the chateaux.
Where to stay
If you’ve come to Nice, chances are it’s for the sea air, so many people opt to stay within a stone’s throw of the pebble beach on the Promenade des Anglais. As well as putting you on hand for the sun and beach experience, you’ll have access to an array of – admittedly expensive – beachfront restaurants, entertainers and be able to watch the flow of amblers, rollerbladers and joggers as they pass by. The Old Town, or Vieux Nice, is full of 16th Century streets packed with color, flowers, and antiques markets. More suburban, the harbor town of Saint-Laurent-du-Var is a glamorous alternative to the Promenade.
How to get to
The most popular entry point to Nice is the Cote d'Azur Airport, which is around 6 kilometers from the center of the city. There’s no direct train service from the airport into Nice, but there are buses which run regularly every 20 minutes during peak hours. Nice Ville station connects the city, and its beach, to many other coastal towns in the region, with regular train departures and connections to resorts including Cannes and Monaco. Talking of Monaco, a 7-minute helicopter ride from Nice to the casino capital can be arranged via Monaco heliport.