Here it is guys! I know, I know, I’ve been a little OoO lately, it’s definitely taken much more time than it should have, but hey, we all deserve to have a small break don’t you agree? (and I had a few good enough reasons to begin with that I’ll share with you later 🙂 )
I believe that the best way to get to know a city is by asking a local and that’s exactly why I’m here! but I want you to know that there will be some typical touristic sites here too that in my opinion you can’t miss out on. I have included them here for you together with some off the beaten track places too for your trip to Nice.
First thing’s first, I would recommend coming to Nice during the month of May – June or September – October, this way you can avoid all the tourists and trust me, there are a lot. You can see plenty of Nice in 72 hours, but if you wish to explore a little more and visit other areas too, I would recommend adding 2-3 more days to your trip.
Check out my 72 hour travel guide to Nice below.
In my opinion, the best place to stay is definitely and obviously the city centre. If you prefer a fancy hotel, try booking ahead as hotel prices start to rise towards the summer. If you’re looking for the typical touristic place – you’ll probably choose Promenade des Anglais but take into consideration that hotels along the promenade will probably be the most expensive too.
Other options are Place Massena and for those who are looking for a little more adventure, try booking an Airbnb in the old city of Nice, around the area of Jean Medicin or the Port of Nice.
Old City Tour
Start off by heading to the old city of Nice, and more specifically the Cours Saleya market. The market is open Tuesday to Sunday from 6am until 13pm. What I love most about the market is the atmosphere, all the hustle and bustle, fresh products and the smell of some of the famous Nicoise specialities. Head to the end of the market for a taste of the famous “socca” ( kind of like a large pancake made from chickpea flour), make sure you leave some room as up next is the “pissaladiere”. A pissaladiere is quite similar to a pizza just without the cheese, tomato sauce and endless toppings to choose from. It is covered with caramelised onions and anchovies – try it, it’s simply delicious!
After strolling around the market, head over to one of the alleyways leading into the old city. Start off on Rue Barillerie and keep going, you will probably come across “Fenocchio” famous for their delicious ice cream. This ice cream store is normally less crowded than the stall that can be found in the middle of Place Rossetti, but take into consideration that there are less flavours too. If you are adventurous and want a real taste of their special ice cream, wait for later. Don’t be surprised if you come across flavours like Basil, Mayonnaise and Beer!
Take a left on Rue Barillerie and keep strolling along to Place du Palais de Justice where you can find the Tour de l’Horloge, the clock tower, that has been in this location since 1423 and has been ruined and rebuilt many times. The current tower was built by the king of Sicily who ruled during the year 1723.
Head over to Rue du Marché and walk over to Rue Francis Gallo, at the bottom of this street you will arrive at Place Rossetti. Check out the breathtaking Cathédrale Sainte Reparate de Nice and now’s your chance to head over to the “Fenocchio” stall and enjoy a scoop (or more) of ice cream.
The main and historic square in Nice, named after André Massena. Take a moment to look around and admire the red ochre buildings inspired by Italian architecture. Place Massena has always been THE place for public events, some of the well known annual events are the Nice Carnival (February – March), Nice Jazz Festival (July) lots of music concerts during the summer and of course the Christmas market.
Take a stroll along the square, don’t miss out on walking down Rue Massena, where you can find some cute shopping boutiques and excellent restaurants. Right at the back there is also the well known Avenue Jean Médecin, the ultimate street for the shoppaholics (see more info below).
This 18th century Baroque square is one of the most beautiful squares in Nice with endless restaurants to enjoy, this place is the ideal spot to take a break from walking around and enjoy the atmosphere of Nice. Head over to the Museum of Modern Art (MAMAC) and up to the rooftop terrace where you can enjoy a 360° view of Nice. The rooftop is open daily from 10h – 18h, it is closed on Mondays.
Another road near Place Garibaldi that is now known as one of the trendiest places in Nice with people comparing it to the Marais in Paris, is Rue Bonaparte. Here you can find some excellent brunch spots as well as great restaurants and bars to enjoy in the evening.
The Port of Nice
Port Lympia is one of the main harbours for boats that sail across the Mediterranean Sea. It accommodates ferries, yachts and boats from all over the world. Enjoy a refreshing glass of rosé and the breathtaking sunset.
Colline du Château
Known as castle hill is a large green park with ruins of what used to be a castle. Head up to witness one of the most breathtaking views in the south of France, enjoy the fresh breeze and the cold water splashing from the fountains up on the cliff.
You can head up to the cliff from a number of entrances – the Promenade des Anglais, the port of Nice or try the (in my opinion) easier way up, from the bottom of Rue Rossetti and the corner of Rue Honore Ugo. The park is quite big, so feel free to wander around and discover magical corners and some of the castle ruins.
Keep heading up until you reach the fountain, look around and admire the beautiful view of Nice. This is definitely the moment for some of those postcard worthy photos.
Promenade des Anglais
The famous Promenade des Anglais, you can’t come to Nice and not visit it! Take a stroll along the promenade, enjoy the breeze and the atmosphere. Head up to the spot with the well known “I Love Nice” sign (located right next to Hôtel Suisse) and take a shot!
St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral
This amazing place is hidden away in the centre of Nice and is known as the largest Russian orthodox place of worship outside of Russia. Built in the early 20th century for the Russian community that exiled to the French Riviera, the colours and the architecture are simply breathtaking. Although do keep in mind that there is a dress code for the inside of the cathedral (no short revealing clothing allowed when entering the cathedral) and no photos are allowed.
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
This place is truly one of my favourites, although located a short drive away from Nice (Saint Jean Cap Ferrat) it’s truly a must see!
Constructed in the early 20th century by the baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, the villa overlooks the breathtaking bay of Villefranche and Beaulieu. The renaissance inspired architecture is simply beautiful, let alone the light pink colour of the building.
The tour of the villa is very detailed with signs guiding you from room to room and an optional audio guide with all the information about the history of the villa and the exciting life of baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild. The gardens had to be my favourite part of the tour as there are 9 of them, each themed differently. The entrance fee for an adult is €15 and there are different prices for students, children, etc..
The villa also offers visitors a Tea Room with delicious food at affordable prices, nothing like feeling royal for the day don’t you agree?
After a long day at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, head down to one of the beautiful beaches that the french riviera has to offer. The colour of the sea is breathtaking and you can also enjoy water sports like stand up paddleboard, kayaking or simply enjoy a bite to eat and a refreshing beverage at the restaurant. If you head to the right side of the beach, you’ll find a path going all around the seaside, head over if you’d like to enjoy a stroll and take some gorgeous shots.
Click here to download a map of all the spots to visit in Nice
For those of you that are looking for a shopping escape there are a few excellent spots for you to enjoy in Nice and around.
Avenue Jean Medecin – located right in the heart of Nice, this avenue has everything a shopaholic can need like large brands such as Zara, H&M, Foot Locker and more
I would recommend arriving early to avoid crowds, the opening hours are Monday – Saturday between 10am – 19:30pm and Sunday between 11am – 19pm.
Nice Etoile Shopping Centre – located on Avenue Jean Medecin, Nice Etoile is the perfect indoor escape from the heat (or the rain) of the french riviera. The shopping centre has over 100 stores to enjoy and restaurants to eat at.
Rue Alphonse Karr – a shopping street for those with a slightly higher budget, this street has international and french boutiques such as Maje, Sandro, Michael Kors and more. For those looking for adventure with an even higher budget, Avenue de Verdun and Rue Paradis have famous international brands such as Louis Vuitton, Furla, Sonia Rykiel etc..
Cap 3000 – the new renovated shopping centre located in Saint Laurent du Var (a 15 minute drive from Nice). Rumours say that Cap 3000 is going to be europe’s second largest shopping centre, need I say more?
Polygone Riviera – an outdoor shopping centre located in Cagnes Sur Mer (a 30 minute drive from Nice), Polygone was opened at the end of 2015 and has over 150 stores to enjoy and plenty of restaurants to choose from.
It’s very easy to fall into those tourist traps as they are everywhere and waiting just for you! It would be a shame to miss out on some of the best places Nice has to offer. Check out some of the best places that I have personally tried and loved!
Paper Plane – an instagrammable vegetarian brunch place offering delicious dishes such as poke bowls, açaí bowls, avocado toast and more. 14 Rue Gubernatis, Nice
Deli Bo – Offering an all day menu, Deli Bo must not be missed and is ideal for the perfect Sunday brunch and for those with a sweet tooth that would like to enjoy one of their pastries or desserts. 5 Rue Bonaparte, Nice
Le Plongeoir – the “diving board” an original and breathtaking place to go to. Once a fishing boat secured on the rock during the 19th century and today a renovated charming restaurant in the middle of the sea. The menu is quite pricey but the dishes are seasonal and the atmosphere is worth everything! 60 boulevard Franck Pilatte, Nice
Sentimi – one of my favourite Italian restaurants in Nice with delicious pizzas and pastas to enjoy. 2-4 Place Garibaldi, Nice
Le Boudoir – Truffle lovers gather here! This place is well known for their all truffle menu serving dishes such as their delicious beef, parmesan and truffle carpaccio. 10 Rue Chauvain, Nice
Ya Habibi – the best lebanese food I have eaten! If you’re looking for a twist, excellent hummus and great middle eastern dishes – head here! 6 Rue du Congrès, Nice
Gare du Sud – a once old train station and now a newly renovated food court with all kinds of different food stalls for you to try – mexican, italian, indian and more. 35 Avenue Malaussena, Nice
Farago on the roof – an apéro bar located on the rooftop of the Marriott hotel in Nice, the bar is instagrammable, the view is breathtaking and if you’re looking for a place to share a few appetizer dishes and enjoy a drink – this is the place to go to! 59 Promenade des Anglais, Nice
Emilie and the Cool Kids – delicious cookies for you cookies lovers! You don’t need any excuse to come here and taste one of their delicious cookies, let me know which one was your favourite in the comments below! 1 Rue de la Préfecture, Nice
So as you see, there is so much to do in Nice in only 72 hours and so many other beautiful areas to visit too.
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