Nice France Things To See – Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links and I may have been compensated for my time writing this article.
Whether you’re visiting the French Riviera for an afternoon or a week, Nice should be at the top of your list of cities to explore. In trying to come up with our top 25 things to do in Nice, we considered the usual tourist spots as well as some of our local favourites. I hope this guide gives you ideas for your next holiday along the Cote d’Azur.
Nice France Things To See
The Old Town is the perfect place to start your journey in Nice. From the beautiful buildings to the fresh market of the Cours Saleya to the charming shops and elegant restaurants, everyone loves to wander these ancient streets. On the way, stop for a tour of the Lascaris Palace, a magnificent museum in the heart of the old city. The seventeenth-century aristocratic building now houses a musical instrument museum. While the collection of instruments is certainly interesting to see, it is the building itself with its beautiful frescoes and intricate tapestries that we love the most.
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Visit the Église Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur de Nice on Rue du Jesus, originally built by the Jesuits in the 1600s. After Pope Clement XIV excommunicated the Jesuit order, the church became a monastery in 1801. The church is lit up at night, so be sure to walk around if you’re in the area after dark.
Stop at Place Rossetti and visit the Cathédrale Saint-Réparate. The baroque cathedral has a beautiful altar and an incredible ceiling that is a work of art.
Traveller’s Note: There is an LCL Bank ATM at Place Rosetti. I use this because they don’t charge extra and I get different denomination notes – I hate it when an ATM gives me a 50!
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Every morning except Monday, you can admire the stalls of the Cours Saleya Market. Grab fruits and vegetables for lunch on a picnic, pick up a souvenir for a friend or stop to smell the roses.
. Brightly colored turnstiles will guide you through the market and to the Opéra de Nice Côte d’Azur on Rue Saint-François de Paule. If you choose, you can walk along the Quai des États-Unis to escape the crowds.
With its colossal statue of Apollo. Relax in Jardin Albert I or Promenade du Paillon. You can also fit in some shopping on Rue France or enjoy the high-quality, wallet-emptying shopping on Avenue de Verdun. Follow the tram line to
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(Station) along avenue Jean Médecin, stopping at the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice, where you continue with more shopping and sightseeing.
When you pass the train station and continue down Avenue Jean Medicine, you’ll find Liberation Market, a local favorite.
Saint Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral should be at the top of your list when visiting Nice. I didn’t add this to my article on what to do with kids in Nice, but once I visited the cathedral with kids I said a collective “wow”. Sometimes my kids like architecture a little more than other kids.
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The interior was not what I expected and I think my jaw literally dropped. The Russian Orthodox Church in Nice is the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral in Western Europe. The cathedral was opened in 1912 thanks to the support of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. The exterior looks spectacular but it is truly majestic. The interior contains a large collection of beautiful woodwork, icons and historical items brought to Nice from Russia during the Russian Civil War.
Get great photos of Nice from La Colline de Château (also known as Castle Hill), accessible through the Old Town via the Montée du Château. But there is no castle here! It was destroyed in 1706, leaving ruins.
During your walk, stop to admire the Cemetery of Israel. This Jewish cemetery and Holocaust memorial is a beautiful place to visit. You can also take the stairs or the elevator (
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) on Montee Lesage. Visit the waterfall, the castle ruins and the garden according to your choice of route. Being the highest elevation in Vieux Nice, it is the perfect location for panoramic views of the port,
Walk to the opposite side of the harbor and stop for a coffee at the Natick Club while watching the sailboats go out to sea. Or walk down (perhaps take the 38 bus) to Cocoa Beach.
On your way back to the Old Town, pay your respects at the Mument aux Morts, which honors the good citizens killed in World War I.
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On the eastern side of the old town you will find Piazza Garibaldi. Admire the 18th century baroque architecture and see the Giuseppe Garibaldi Fountain. Garibaldi was responsible for unifying Italy in the late 19th century. He is known as the “Hero of the Two Worlds” for his military ventures in Brazil, Uruguay and Europe. Interestingly, financial and military aid from the United States.
If you’re looking for a sweet treat, stop by Patisserie Capa. Café de la Place is a great place to stop for a coffee and has good Wi-Fi.
Near the square, you can access MAMAC or Le Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain. This contemporary art museum has a large roof terrace with changing exhibitions.
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A great place to view the beautiful Mediterranean Sea is along the Promenade des Anglais. Rent full-size bikes along the Vélo Bleu promenade, or take a walk and enjoy the atmosphere. We spend many evenings outside while the children run up and down the promenade.
I suggest walking down to Le Negresco, stopping to enjoy the sites. While you’re at it, also consider visiting the Massena Museum.
If you’re looking to get away from that amazing Niçiose cuisine, a trip to Mont-Boron forest park should be on your list. If you lack time or energy, you can go by bus. I suggest traveling to Villefrenche-Sur-Mer on the other side of the mountain. You can always return to Nice by bus 100 or 81.
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Another idea during your trip is to spend a few hours or a whole day in Cimiez. Stop at the Marc Chagall Museum on the way to see the biblical works of Marc Chagall. It’s a fairly small museum, so it shouldn’t take long.
After strolling around the olive grove and visiting the Franciscan monastery and Italian-inspired gardens (free), visit the Musée Matisse to check out the works of another famous artist who made his home on the Cote d’Azur. You can admire paintings and drawings and see Matisse’s furniture, screens and vases.
We also offer the Musée d’Archéologie site of Cimiez et de Terra Amata, the ancient Roman baths of the city known as the Cemenelum. The site includes changing rooms (men and women share the same changing room), toilets, swimming pools, hot and cold baths, political baths (where men discussed politics), a marketplace, a cemetery, a cathedral and more. The pipe system is quite detailed and interesting to see as well. We also stood on the old limestone road, still unchanged after thousands of years!
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Be sure to walk through the Roman amphitheater – yes, there were gladiators here too. This is one of the smaller Roman amphitheatres, holding 5,000 spectators.
Read about everything there is to see in Cimiez. Take bus 15 if you want to visit the Chagall museum first, otherwise take bus 15 or 17 to the monastery and the Matisse museum.
Last but not least, the beach. If you’re lucky enough to visit during the warmer months, you can plan a full day at the beach. Even if the weather is chilly, plan to spend time relaxing by the water. The changing blue waters are exhilarating no matter the season. Even better – grab a bottle of rosé and a pizza and enjoy dinner while watching the sunset
Things To See In Nice, France
Don’t forget that Nice is a great jumping off point for your exploration of the Cote d’Azur. There are countless day trips from Nice that you should also consider when visiting the region. You should also check out our ultimate guide to family travel in Nice for more inspiration. #BeautifulMoments
Traveler’s Note: Consider buying a 48-hour ticket, 7-day ticket or French Riviera Pass to save money visiting museums around Nice. Children under 18 are free. It’s easy to see why people are drawn to Nice. First, the weather is amazing (hello 300 days of sun) and we love how the city is a great mix of France and Italy (which means lots of great food). Its great beaches and beautiful old town are perfect for people-watching. Nice also has great shopping and museums to check out. Plus, Nice is the perfect home base for exploring the small towns and cities of the French Riviera, or if you’re staying as part of a larger tour of France.
In this Nice travel guide, we cover the best things to do in Nice and what to do, where to eat, and more when traveling on a budget.
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The words “budget” and “French Riviera” don’t usually go together, but Nice can still be a budget destination with a little planning.
If you are a backpacker, we recommend a budget of around €35-€60 per day
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