Finally! The Nice City guide. Nice (and the French Riviera) remains favorite vacation to date and I cannot stop recommending it to friends and family. Nice is perfectly situated and if you plan your travels well then you get to experience not just the incredible city of Nice but also part of the French Riviera. If you can, I will recommend visiting over a long weekend and if you can spare more - spending up to a week in this part of the world is worth it.
GETTING THERE. If you are flying from London, British Airways and Easy Jet have flights from London Gatwick. Flights are usually quite affordable. If you are coming from North America or another part of the world; you may have a stopover in London or Paris but it is still fairly easy trip. I lived in America when I visited so I flew into London for a few days before proceeding to Nice.
FROM THE AIRPORT. When you arrive at Nice, you have a few options to get into the city. Uber and Taxis are available. You can also take the local bus or the airport express. The Local bust will cost you about 1.50 Euro and one way trip on express will cost you about 6 euros. I chose the express because you can catch the buses at the terminal and it has fewer stops than the local bus. If you choose the local bus route, then look out for signs for Bus 98.
WHERE TO STAY. I stayed in a part of town called Quartier des Musiciens. I chose this part of town because of the proximity to the promenade de angles and it is within walking distance to Old Nice. I will not consider this city center but I did not have to commute more than 20 mins either by bus or on foot to get places so it worked for me. I stayed at Hotel Villa Rivoli which I found via booking.com. It is on a semi-quiet street and the proximity to the Ocean sold me on this place. The hotel is located right behind the famous Negresco. After my visit, I found this review of the property on The Telegraph and I tend to agree with their review. The review does ding the hotel for the lacking restaurant on site but there are so many options around the hotel that I did not find that to be an issue for me.
WHERE TO EAT. While compiling this post, I realized most of my favorite spots were in Old Nice. That part of town has got some incredible food options and you can't really go wrong having all your meals here. Two things that were highly recommended to me - Socca and Moule Frites (Mussels and Fries). My favorite Socca was from Chez Theresa in Cours Saleya market. Her stand is open as long as the market is open (usually till about 1 p.m.). If you miss it - she has a restaurant in Old town that is open later. For the best moule frites, Lou Pilha Leva was highly recommended and I was not disappointed. The saffron sauce was yummy. I ate several meals at Emilie cookies - awesome bagels and pastries. For dessert, I always headed to J. Multari - there are a few locations around town. Other food options: Cafe Marche (lunch only) ; Al Taglio (Pizza) ; Nuef-50 (Italian); and La Rossettisserie.
WHERE TO EXPLORE. I could write an entire post on this and I may at some point because the options of things to do in Nice are endless. My favorite thing to do was a quick day trip to other towns in the Riviera. I only made it to four but there are about twenty different day trip options from Nice. My favorite parts of the city were the Old town; Promenade de Anglais and Cimiez hill.
My Nice morning routine was a stroll along the promenade past monument aux morts; castle hill and port lympia to get to Cours Saleya in Old town. I loved spending time at old town eating socca and exploring the narrow cobblestoned roads of the old town. On one of my wanderings, I stumbled on Lascaris Palace - this hidden gem may not pop up on a lot of Nice itineraries but it was one of my favorite parts of my trip. This post has a guide to everything to see and do in old town. Just on the edge of old town is the oldest square in Nice - place Garibaldi; it is also one of the busiest squares with shopping and eating options and is found right on the edge of old town so it is very accessible.
I was on the Promenade de Anglais daily and could have spent my entire holiday on the promenade. One of my favorite spots on the promenade was Palais Massena. I walked past Palais Massena on my to the hotel on my first day in the city and made a note to visit before the end of my trip. The palace/museum hybrid was an afternoon well spent and a recommendation for your Nice itinerary. For the best view of Nice, head to Castle Hill. It is about 200 step hike but the waterfall and views of the city make the hike worth it. You can access the hill from Old town Nice place Garibaldi or from the promenade.
Cimiez Hill - My favorite parts were the Musee Matisse; the Roman archaeological site and Franciscan monastery - don't miss the church or the Monastery garden. Before leaving Cimiez hill, stop by The Regina hotel famous for being the "home" of Queen Victoria for part of the 19th century. The garden is spectacular.
Other favorites - Russian orthodox cathedral; Notre Dame; Musee Renoir; and Marc Chargil museum.
DAY TRIPS. Because Nice is centrally located in the french riviera - a trip to Nice is the perfect opportunity to explore other parts of the Riviera. During our time in Nice - we visited Monaco; Eze; Antibes and Ville Franche Sur Mer. With better planning, we could have fit other stops into our itinerary. Some other options for day trips I looked into - Cannes; St. Tropez; Menton; Cap Ferrat; St. Paul de Vence. All of these locations are with a two-hour bus ride from Nice. Some are under thirty minutes from the city center.
The best of nice blog was very helpful while planning my trip - check it out here for all things Nice.