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10 Best Things to do in Nice, France

Situated along the French Riviera, Nice is known for its beautiful beaches, art, and culture. It is a popular destination for those on holiday and for cruise ships porting in Villefranche. If you are looking for things to do in Nice while here for the day, you will have no shortage of activities.

10 Things to Do in Nice, France

The best way to really experience all that Nice has to offer is by taking some time to explore it. While you could take a guided tour, Nice can easily be explored on your own.

Here are the most popular 10 things to do in Nice:

1. Promenade des Anglais

One of the main streets in town sits just above the beach along the Mediterranean and is where you will find some of the most beautiful buildings.

Promenade des Anglais translates to “Walkway of the English,” which is referencing the English-speaking Brits that made this a popular vacation destination.

Today, the waterfront district is prime real estate with colorful architecture and pedestrians wishing to enjoy the beautiful Nice weather and views.

2. Place Massena 

This is the central square in Nice and a two-minute walk from the Promenade des Anglais.

You will know you’ve arrived when you see the black and white tiles, fountains, and statues that adorn the square.

3. Nice Beaches

Nice has one of the most picturesque shorelines and it is easy to see why people flock here to the beaches here.

If you are not familiar with the French Riviera, the beaches here are a bit different than what you may find in other parts of Europe.

French Riviera Beaches

The beaches at Nice are quite rocky and tend to drop off quite dramatically from the edge of the coast to the water. If your feet are more used to sand than rocks, you may want to wear a pair of water shoes or sandals for water.

The public beaches at Nice are free and you will find that many of the locals go topless, so if you are traveling with children to Nice, you might want to prepare them!

While many of the beaches in Nice do not have access to toilets, La Plage Publique de Beau Rivage (one of the best public beaches in Nice) does have toilet facilities along with showers and a lifeguard station. It even has artificial sand.

4. Matisse Museum

With limited time and so many things to do in Nice, you might not have time to go to all of the art museums in the city.

© François Fernandez Courtesy Matisse Mueseum

Located on Cimiez Hill, the Matisse Museum features a vast array of his work. The collection in this museum is extensive: 31 paintings, 450+ drawings and prints, and nearly 60 sculptures.

If you decide to go to the Matisse Museum, you will want to make sure that you download the app and bring your earphones so that you can enjoy an audio tour.

Note: Museums are closed on Tuesdays

5. Nice Opera House

The current opera house was built in 1882 after the previous building burned during a fire.

This building was built in a Baroque Revival style on the exterior while containing a magnificent ceiling fresco by Emmanuel Costa.

Because of its legacy, the building has been deemed a historical monument.

6. Statue of Liberty Replica

Nearby the Opera house on the Quai des États-Unis is a 4.5′ tall replica statue that was designed by Frédéric Auguste Barthold to commemorate the 100 anniversary of World War I.

This is similar to the replicas found elsewhere like in Paris’ Luxembourg Gardens.

7. Castle Hill (Colline du Chateau)

Take one of two options to reach Castle Hill: stairs or a lift to see the stunning views of the French Riviera.

This is the highest point in Nice at 92 meters above sea level.

You can view Promenade des Anglais and Baie des Anges on one side and Port de Nice on the other.

There is simply nothing quite as stunning in Nice as the views from Castle Hill.

Monument aux Morts in Nice France

8. Monument aux Morts at Castle Hill

This war memorial, which is one of the largest in the county, honors the nearly 4,000 people in Nice who lost their lives in World War I. On the memorial (significantly carved into the wall of the city) reads:

“La ville de nice a ses fils morts pour la France. Souvenez vous des oeuvres que nos peres ont accomplies de leur temps et vous recevrez une gloire et un nom immortels.”

Translates to

“To the city of Nice whose sons died for France. Remember the works that our fathers accomplished in their time so that they will receive glory and an immortal name.”

9. Port of Nice

The Port of Nice is one of the largest harbors in the region and where many cruise ships that are sailing the Mediterranean dock.

If you want to take a trip out to Corsica, this is where you will be able to take a ferry.

Little Train Tour of Nice & Monaco

10. Little Train Sightseeing Tour

When you only have one day in Nice, you might want to take the Little Train Sightseeing Tour.

It picks up at Promenade des Anglais, where there is also a ticket station.

The tour goes throughout Nice, allowing visitors to easily see all major points of interest.

It even stops at Castle Hill for about 10 minutes before returning to Promenade des Anglais.

The train tour is audio-guided and headphones are provided.

When time is of the essence in a city, you really can’t see everything. Spending one day in Nice, France gave us a good glimpse at this beautiful region and we really felt like we were able to experience quite a bit!

Hotel Negresco

Where to Stay in Nice, France

BEST Nice France Hotels on the Beach

When staying in Nice, you will most likely want to stay somewhere that is close to the water and the city center. If you are looking for the best Nice France hotels on the beach, we have two that you should take a look at.

Hotel Negresco (featured above) Book Now

This family-run hotel sits just steps from the sea and is located within walking distance to Promenade des Anglais and Place Massena. It is both charming and elegant with beautiful architecture and artistic detailing. On-site breakfast is available.

Radisson Blu Hotel Book Now

This contemporary hotel faces the sea on Promenade des Anglais and has everything you would expect to find at a Radisson: pool, bar, restaurants, fitness area, sauna, etc.

One thing that does set it apart is the panoramic view from a rooftop terrace. On the beach, you will find loungers and umbrellas available for an extra fee.

Wifi and cable TV are provided as well.

BEST Cheap Hostels in Nice France to Consider

If you are traveling to Nice on a budget, you might want to stay at a Hostel. They are so much more affordable and can be just as nice in terms of what you will use it for (sleeping). These are our two top choices of Hostels in Nice:

Hostel Meyerbeer Beach (Book Now)

This hostel was voted BEST HOSTEL IN FRANCE in 2017 and it is easy to see why. Meyerbeer Hostel is centrally located and within walking distance of many popular places, including the train station and bus.

It is only a street away from the Promenade des Anglais (where you can pick up the Little Train Tour) and the beach.

A bonus is that the hostel has AC which is not something you will always find.

You will also find a grocery store nearby (there is a mini fridge in the room) and many restaurants within a few minutes walk.

Your stay includes a free French breakfast (Pastries, Yogurt)

Buses and the train station are within walking distance of the hostel.

Villa Saint Exupery Beach Hostel (Book Now)

This hostel has recently been renovated. Like traditional hotels, you will find a 24 Hour Gym and Sauna, bar and gaming area (table tennis), and free wifi.

It is centrally located, about a 10-minute walk from the beach and 20 minutes to the old town.

They offer a free walking tour which is included with your stay.

Monaco Signs

Day Trip from Nice to Monaco

Are you looking for a nice day trip from Nice? Consider spending a day in Monaco. Monaco is known as the playground for the rich & famous and it is easy to see why.

It boasts one of the most luxurious casinos in the world along with a high-end shopping district.

Monaco Monte Carlo Casino

More than likely, you won’t afford to spend the night in one of the luxury hotels in Monte Carlo, so take a day trip and see why this place is so famous.

How to get to Monaco from Nice

A trip to Monaco from Nice can be taken a few different ways. If you are coming from the Port in Nice, the best option is to take Bus #100 (Monaco/Menton).

It is cheap and tickets can be purchased right on the bus by the driver. The trip takes about 45 minutes and the views are spectacular.

Another option how to get to Monaco from Nice is by train. Nice Riquier is the closest station to the Port.

The train to Monaco is 25 minutes, considerably less time, but as with trains, it can actually take you more time than the bus depending on when you arrive at the station and when the train takes off.

Have you been to Nice? What were your favorite things to do in Nice?

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