Nice City Guide
The French city of Nice is situated within its famed Côte d'Azur region (the French Riviera) on its southeastern Mediterranean coast. Nice was founded by the Greeks who named it after Nike, the goddess of victory but it was the Romans who popularized Nice as a vacation destination for it possessed the hill of Cimiez within its folds, which was famous for its mineral springs.
The Romans then went on to build baths and an amphitheater at Cimiez and these structures are some of the best preserved attractions in Nice today. In fact the Roman amphitheater is currently used as hosting venue for the city’s famed annual event- The Nice Jazz festival, which is held in July and attracts scores of visitors to vacation in the city.
In addition to this music fest, the medieval city of Nice also hosts yet another popular and heavily tourist-trafficked annual event, the Nice Carnaval, which is held over three weeks in February and features many parades, floats and masked balls.
Nice may have lost some of the glamour that it had in the early 19th century when it was a favored vacation hotspot for British and Russian aristocrats but city continues to attract its fair share of holiday-makers who come to enjoy its quaint old world attractions, amenable weather and exciting annual events.
Where to stay in Nice
Sea Front Hotels
The Promenade des Anglais, which lines the shingle filled beaches in Nice for approximately five miles (8 km) is one of the star attractions of the city. This promenade has featured as favored recreational spot since Victorian times. Joggers, strollers, walkers, roller-bladers, all converge on the sea front in Nice to appreciate the sea view and the gentle sea breezes. The Promenade des Anglais is home to some of the best and most luxurious hotels in Nice which are immensely popular with celebrities and other members of the jet set.
Vieux-Nice (Old Town) Hotels
The Vieille Ville of Nice is its Old Town area, which is a pedestrianised enclave. This ancient heart of the city features picturesque, narrow winding streets that host closely packed houses that sport red-tile roofs. Also located here are numerous ancient churches, fantastic restaurants, bars and the famed ice cream parlors of Nice that offer a wide assortment of treats in unusual flavors like fig, tomato, lavender and rose.
Other attractions located here include the city Opéra and the famous Cours Saleya flower and food market. The Vieille Ville area of Nice offers a wide variety of accommodation options that include reasonably priced boutique and historic hotels and cottages and pensions. If you enjoy a bit of local flavor on your vacation, then the Vieille Ville promises to be the perfect fit for you.
Masséna is the verdant town center of Nice. Located here is the city’s main square, Place Masséna, which is surrounded by iconic red buildings. Also located here are many lush parks like the Albert I Gardens and the Masséna Gardens along with the city’s main shopping locales like Avenue Jean-Médecin and the pedestrianised Rue Masséna. If the focus of your Nice vacation is to shop for French fashions then the Masséna area hotels should probably get your vote on where to stay in Nice.
Places to see in Nice
The Matisse museum in Nice commemorates Henri Matisse who spent the last few years of his life in Nice. The museum features many artworks that he created in Nice along with other works that have been donated to the museum. The permanent collection at the museum contains some of his famous masterpieces like the Portrait of Madame Matisse, Nymph in the Forest and Nude in the Armchair with a Green Plant. If you are an arts enthusiast then the Musée Matisse should feature as a must-do attraction on your vacation to Nice.
The Chateau de Nice Park
The Colline du Château Park is situated on a hill between the Old Town and the harbor is one of the many verdant enclaves in Nice that offers gorgeous views of the Promenade des Anglais, the Old Town and the wide expanse of the Mediterranean Sea. The park also offers added attractions in the form of ancient Roman ruins and a waterfall.
Musee des Beaux-Arts Jules Chéret
The Musée des Beaux-Arts Jules Chéret gallery is yet another prominent arts repository in Nice and is housed in the former home of the Ukrainian Princess Kotchubey. This collection features modern contemporary works of the 19th and 20th centuries and offers sculptures by Rodin, Rude and J.B. Carpeaux and artworks by masters like Renoir, Monet, Boudin, Raffaelli and others.
Cours Saleya Food and Flower Market
Nice’s famous main market, the Cours Saleya is a constant hub of activity that offers a cornucopia of sights and tantalizing, smells. This market which captures the essence of Nice is populated with vendors of flowers and fresh produce. The market also offers many restaurants, cafes and souvenir stores, which are definitely worth perusing on any visit to Nice.
Marc Chagall Museum
The Russian contemporary art master Marc Chagall spent much of his career in France. The Marc Chagall museum in Nice offers the largest permanent collection of his works and includes paintings, sculptures, ceramics and lithographs. The Marc Chagall Museum is a highly recommended attraction in Nice.
St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral
The Russian Orthodox Cathedral is acknowledged as one of the most beautiful buildings in Nice and dates back to a time when the Russian nobility holidayed here in the early 19th century. This typical onion-domed topped Russian Cathedral which is the largest cathedral outside Russia was built by Tsar Nicholas II in 1912. Today the structure presents a rather incongruous but interesting sight on the palm fringed landscape of the French Riviera.
Best time to visit Nice
Nice is bestowed with a typically Mediterranean climate that is characterized by hot summers and mild winters. The hottest months in Nice are usually July and August when temperatures usually register daily highs of 81 F (27C). The maximum temperatures recorded in winters in Nice are usually 50-59F (10-15C). It is estimated that the busiest months for tourist arrivals in Nice are generally February and July, for this is when the city hosts its famed annual cultural extravaganzas. Hotel and flight rates to Nice during this peak tourist time are usually quite high but if you plan to book your travel to Nice through Fare Buzz, you have no cause for worry, for you are assured of great flight and hotel deals at all times.
We at Fare Buzz periodically offer fantastic flight deals for Nice so if you are in the market for cheap air tickets for Nice, you would do well as to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter so that you are in the know of these cheap air flights for Nice and can plan your vacation budget accordingly.
Getting around in Nice
Nice is served by its Nice Cote d’Azur airport, which is located four miles (6km) to the west of the city. The Nice Airport welcomes a whole host of air carriers from all parts of the globe, which make getting to choice vacation destination extremely easy. The Nice airport is connected to the city center by way of public buses, airport shuttle buses, taxis, trains( the TER and SNCF train stations are located close to the airport) and even chauffeur driven motorbikes.
Transport within the city is provided mainly by public buses and taxis though much of Nice is compact enough to navigate on foot. However if you want to visit the other famous destinations of the Cote d’Azur like Cannes, Antibes, Monaco , St Tropez and others which are located outside Nice then it makes sense to rent a car for the duration of your vacation in Nice.
The Nice airport is equipped with outposts of most of the popular rental car agencies, however if you wish to have more favorable car rental rates, you would do well as to book your car rental with Fare Buzz before you arrive in Nice. We at Fare Buzz offer a wide array of well priced car rentals for Nice which can be easily reserved via our regular booking platforms.
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Where to shop in Nice
Nice, considered by many to be the heart of the French Riviera, offers a multitude of spectacular shopping options. Designer boutiques, street markets and antique stores line the city’s main boulevards and promenades and offer a veritable treasure trove of delights.
Magenta Square is the epicenter of shopping in Nice and most visitors set out on their shopping expeditions from here as they stroll drown the various pedestrianized alleys and promenades that surround the square. It must be mentioned that Magenta Square is also a prime spot for people watching in Nice and thus is much favored by locals and tourists alike.
The main shopping streets around Magenta Square include streets like Rue Paradis, Rue de Suède, which host big name fashion brands like Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Armani and many more. Also located here is the original store belonging to the popular French apparel brand, Façonnable. Other favored spots include Rue Masséna, home to an enormous outpost of the Galeries Lafayette chain and Avenue Jean-Médecin and Rue de Verdun, which host outposts of chains like Sephora, Bonpoint amongst others. These varied shopping options around Magenta Square prove that shopping options in Nice are not limited to high-end, designer wear.
Aside from fashion finds, shoppers will be delighted with many antique stores, artists’ studios and curiosities shops that line the many streets around the city’s Old Town Cathedral. These stores offer a wide variety of products from the Provence region like hand-painted posters, silk lampshades, provencal pottery and more. Also worth perusing is the Marche a la Brocante, an antiques market held on Mondays at Cours Saleya.
Where to eat in Nice
Numerous chic bistros and restaurants in Nice, serve delicious fare crafted with the bountiful fresh produce from the region. Reputed restaurants in Nice currently include eateries like Kesuke Matsushima, Diamont Noir, Don Camillo Creations, Sapore, Le Bistro Gourmand, In Vino and Les Deux Canailles. For more wallet-friendly eats do try dining spots like Café Turrin, Gesu Restaurant, Acchiardo, Escalinada and Tavern Massena.
Nightlife in Nice
Nice is known as the ‘Queen of the Riviera’ and it accordingly features a thriving nightlife scene which features bars, pubs, beach bars, and discotheques and of course casinos. The city’s nightlife haunts are concentrated on areas like the city center, the pedestrian zone, Cours Saleya, Vieux Nice and Port. Some popular haunts located here include bars and pubs like B spot, Club Akathor, Ghost Pub, Bar Blue Whales and Le Happy Bar. Discos in Nice that rock until the wee hours include Discotheque L’Etoile, Le Feeling, Discotheque La Perle and Discotheque le High Club.