Nice – The Showpiece of The Côte d’Azur
Nice is the largest city on the Côte d’Azur ─ France’s Mediterranean coast. Here, the cityscape creates a unique atmosphere by combining Mediterranean with typical Central European influences, making it one of the most popular travel destinations. In this article, we’ll show you what we think are some of the city’s most important sights and which nearby excursions all visitors should see.
Places of Interest in Nice, Côte d’Azur
Promenade du Paillon
In the middle of Nice’s city centre ─ located where the city’s bus station used to be ─ is now a 1.2-kilometre-long city park: the Promenade du Paillon. With its shady paths and benches, it invites going for a stroll or lay back in the grass and relax.
The park has a concrete area dedicated to water features that are constantly changing. These will provide excitement and a refreshing cool for both children and adults on hot summer days.
For those interested in botany, or who simply enjoy plants, the park houses a large variety of flora. A walk through the park will allow you to discover plants from all over the world, such as bamboo and eucalyptus.
Promenade des Anglais
The Promenade des Anglais ─ a kilometre-long street directly on the beach ─ is famous for its palpable liveliness. Here, the city seems to pulsate with life and vibrance.
Visitors can leisurely walk, jog, skate, or cycle down the lively street. If you are looking for a less exerting activity, or need some food after all exercising, there are numerous restaurants, cafés, and hotels that offer delicious food and impressive architecture. The most famous of these buildings is the world-renowned Hotel Negresco.
Colline du Château
Rising 100 meters above the city, the castle hill offers you a breathtaking view of the surrounding land and villages. You can reach the top by walking or by taking the lift. Not only does the top have a great view, there is also a spacious park and the ruins of a fortress and a cathedral waiting to be explored.
Old Town (Vieux Nice)
Nice’s old town is one of our favourite stops, despite its low-key nature. You can wander through the small streets and alleys with no particular destination in mind, interacting with tourists and locals as they go about their business. If you are on the hunt for food, there are quaint cafés and restaurants tucked along these side streets ─ far from the hustle and bustle of the main road. Our experiences in these restaurants are rich with kindness and the sharing of many stories
We also think that the numerous churches in Nice’s old town are worth mentioning. Most of them are built in the baroque style, and many can actually be entered by visitors. This allows you to take a look at the many different decorations in each church.
Nice’s cityscape is unique for the array of squares of various sizes. One of the undisputedly most beautiful squares is Place Rossetti. With its large fountain in the middle, it is both a wonderful place for a memorable photo and a sight worth seeing.
You’ll also find the Sainte-Réparate Cathedral on this square ─ characterized by its fantastically constructed dome that spans the entire cathedral. Neighbouring the cathedral is a freestanding, elegant bell tower.
Place Rossetti earns its great reputation for its food. While it is the home to many spectacular cafés and restaurants, people particularly love it for the Fenocchio ice cream parlour. This ice cream shop is known for its incredible ice cream, but also for how many flavours they offer. Some of their flavours can only be found in a few select locations around the world!
Day Trips in The Surroundings of Nice
Although there is plenty to see in Nice itself, we suggest adventuring to the nearby towns as well. Since there are so many, we cannot provide an exhaustive list; however, we will present the ones that we feel are the most worthwhile.
Antibes is one of the oldest towns on the Côte d’Azur. Here, there are sights of interest for all travellers. For those with an interest in art, the Château Grimaldi presents many fascinating pieces. Not only is it architecturally exciting, but it was also Pablo Picasso’s workplace for a while! Today, it houses a wide selection of artwork by many well-known artists from the 20th century.
For music-lovers, we recommend going in July. Antibes is the sight for one of the most popular jazz festivals in the world, so a visit in July could make for an incredibly memorable festival experience.
Located approximately 30 kilometres west of Nice is Cannes. Many know the town for its hosting the annual film festival. However, Cannes has so much more to offer than just this festival. With the two-kilometre-long beach promenade, visitors can find restaurants, cafés, bars, and even casinos all along it. For those looking to lounge, eat, and drink, a whole day can easily be spent here.
Off the coast of Cannes are two islands worth seeing ─ Saint-Honorat and Sainte-Marguerite. Both are easily accessible by ferry. Saint-Honorat is home to a monastery, where the resident monks produce and sell wine and liqueur. Sainte-Marguerite was the site of a French state prison. Today, it houses a museum that tells all that there is to know about it.
Principality of Monaco
A mere 20 kilometres east of Nice, you can cross a national border into the Principality of Monaco ─ which is not ruled by the French president. Many know Monaco as a paradise for the rich and for gamblers. The Casino of Monte Carlo ─ the Mecca of gamblers ─ is considered to be as architecturally magnificent as the neighbouring Opera House or the Hôtel de Paris.
We suggest visiting the harbour of the small city-state as well. Here, “floating cities” in the form of cruise ships drop anchor frequently, as well as the gigantic yachts. But Monaco is not just a luxurious cityscape. There are also places here, like in Nice, where you can stroll through green spaces in the middle of the city, indulging your interest in exotic and domestic plant species in the botanical gardens.
As you can tell, there are many beneficial ways to enjoy the time you spend in Nice and the surrounding areas. You can stroll along the promenades of Nice, enjoy the view from the Colline du Château, or drift through the narrow streets of the old town as you enjoy a delicious ice cream.
If you want to explore the surrounding countryside, the many sights of Antibes, the beach promenade of Cannes, and the luxury of Monaco, then Nice definitely deserves a spot on your travel bucket list. What are you waiting for? Start planning your holiday in Nice now!