Colorful architecture, a warm climate and a laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle make this coastal city a favorite with celebrities and holidaymakers.
Nice is famed for its azure waters and year-round good weather. The French Riviera city of two million has a temperate climate, glamorous beaches and a laid-back lifestyle.
Much of the action in Nice happens along the water, on the Promenade Des Anglais. The three-mile (five-kilometer) stretch is where locals and tourists converge on the city’s beaches. Hop between cafés, restaurants and bars along the bustling strip. Dodge expensive cars on the road and gaze out at private yachts sailing across La Baie des Anges (“The Bay of Angels”). Nice attracts the world’s rich and famous, from the Queen of England to Angelina Jolie.
Take a stroll through the Old Town, a block back from the promenade, where a mix of Art Deco and baroque buildings with red roofs and blue shutters are the main style of architecture. Wander down narrow alleyways filled with traditional eateries and old churches. Shop with locals for fresh produce at the Cours Salaya open-air market and stop for a coffee in one of the busy squares. Here, sidewalks are packed with diners at any time of the day or night. Sample local cuisine such as “Socca”, a chickpea crepe, or “Salade Niçoise”.
The city’s main square lies on the edge of the Old Town. Place Massena is a busy thoroughfare for pedestrians and a good place to people-watch. Visit at night, when the plaza and its features – a modern art installation and old fountain – are lit up with brightly colored lights.
Climb the hill south of the Old Town for the best views in the city. Castle Hill has been turned into a park with ruins, a waterfall and lookouts. Take the stairs or pay a small fee to ride the elevator, which runs around March through late October.
Nice is easy to navigate on foot, tram or bus. Use the inexpensive city bicycle rental scheme, or do as the locals do and rent a pair of roller skates.