Nice is amongst the largest tourist destinations in France. With 7 kilometres of stretched Mediterranean coastline, Nice is a warm and a loving place with an Italian historical influence, serene coastline and a soulful exquisite cuisine. A rocky but an inviting beach, a vantage point measuring the landscape of the city and an old town that never fails to impress, city offers an embracing stay to anybody and everybody who is a part of it.
The City way from the Airport
If you are landing at Terminal 2, take a free shuttle to Terminal 1. In case free shuttles are not functional, walking distance is upto 1.5 kms or 20 minutes. Cross the Terminal 1 and reach the nearest bus stop. (Do not cross the road). From the bus stop, there is a direct bus to the city. It is the cheapest and most convenient mode of transportation.
- The average ticket per person is 1.5 euros one side and a day pass costs 5 euros for an adult.
- You can take buses numbers 23, 52, 70 and 98 to get to the city.
- The travel time is approximately 30-40 minutes.
Start with CASTLE HILL
Start the day with a walk towards Castle Hill. Get clicked at #ILOVENICE as it faces sunrise and one can get best pictures then. (Like Amsterdam, Nice also has a huge 3D model saying #ILOVENICE). Also it’s a great idea to climb the Castle Hill in the morning when one is less tired and all geared up to explore the city. Although there is an option for the lift, but climbing the stairs would give a perspective of the city from all observatory levels. You can also learn more about the ‘Tourre Bellanda’ and enjoy the castle waterfall. Capture a rare panoramic view of the city from Castle Hill, including the Promenade des Anglais (the coastline), the old port (le vieux port), orange roof tops and cathedrals.
- Try to visit the Castle Hill when it is sunny so that the view would be clear and far sighted. On a misty day, you won’t be able to enjoy the reflection of the sky on the sea.
- There is a café on the top most floor, just in case you want to grab a quick bite.
- There is a drinking water tap as well from where you can fill your water bottles.
An exquisite LUNCH
Climb down and it’s almost time for some bite. As Nice borders with Italy, you can definitely find an integrated mix of French and Italian cuisine. Ratatouille is a must try option if you are in Nice. Also try Pissaladiere (onion pizza with anchovies), Ravioli and Les Farcis (stuffed vegetables with meat rice). Ensure to reach restaurants before 2 pm as most of them do not serve after that. I tried a ratatouille pizza and I have to confess, I could still get water in my mouth just thinking about it.
- Try not to eat in the restaurants right near the beach; obviously they are expensive because of their proximity with the beach. Stroll a little more into the city and you will find more options to eat and drink and at affordable rates!
Never miss the OLD TOWN
The day is still sunny and there is more scope to venture the old town which is called VIEILLE VILLE. Set your feet to walk through the Palais Massena (the main and centrally located square of Nice), Avenue Jean Medecin (the shopping street for a more local retail therapy) and Cours Saleya (the fresh fruit and flower market). Experience an aura of the beautiful city as you pass by the narrow lanes and inspiring squares all drenched in equity of perfection. I also tried ice cream from some local shops (one also had tomato basilica flavour..!), pastries at Henri Auer (one of the oldest shops in Nice) and I also took a juice and fresh watermelon from the fruit market. You can also try ‘Socco’ which is like a huge chickpea flour pancake prepared on a hot flat pan. If there is still some time, it is a good idea to try the St. Nicholas Russian cathedral which is few miles away from the old town.
- Do not forget to catch a glimpse of fake windows. It is said the government was charging the civilians for having windows in their apartment by which they could relish the sea sight and hence, as an act of rebel, people started to paint fake windows!!! Definitely worth a check.
- You can also check museums in the same vicinity, details of which are given in the section below.
How can you miss the BEACH?
All done with city, it’s finally some time for the beach. Promenade des Anglais is a rocky beach but is very comfortable and a great way to spend some beach time. Bathe in the sun as the warm waves entice you to rejoice even more. Beach is stretched around 7 kilometres and is most beautiful beach of the French Riviera. The pebbles are soft, pretty worn and hence do not hurt the feet. You can either carry your own umbrella or can buy one from the nearby shops. There are also private areas that lend umbrellas for 5 Euros for a half day. Sunbeds and drinks are for an extra price.
- You can hire a bicycle from the Promenade which is more eco-friendly and an interesting way of experiencing the city. One just needs to call a number and share their credit card details as a substitute for any deposit or advance.
- Public drinking is not permissible on the beach.
Finally, end this melodious day at Nice with a yet another welcoming dinner. You can visit Palais Massena again as it is even more spectacular in the dark. Roam around the old town, near the beach and near the castle hill as the city glitters in its aura of sheer sparkle in the night. The journey is over but the memories will still remain.
In the section below, please find more details about the museums, parks and the nearby areas that you can visit.
- Best of museums in Nice:
- Musée Matisse (free admission), carries a great collection of works of the artist who lived in Nice and developed his talent here.
- Chagall Museum, on the Boulevard de Cimiez. The collection comprises some 400 works by Chagall himself.
- Even closer to the old city is the MAMAC, or Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary Art, a French and American modern art museum.
- Nice Fine Arts Museum, the Musée des Beaux arts (free admission), has a collection of French and European art from the 16th to the 20th century.
- You can find a list of gardens to see in Nice here.
- If you have more time, or are staying for more days in Nice, you can visit Monaco and Cannes. Buses and trains are easily available for a day tour.
For any further information regarding Nice, please feel to get in touch with me.