The French city of Nice is located in the south of the country, not far from the principality of Monaco or the border with Italy. Boasting nice weather, stunning coastline and plenty of activities and attractions, Nice is one of the best places to visit in France. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting Nice France. How to find it, where to stay and what to do, as well as information regarding food and weather in the city – read on to find out more!
As mentioned, Nice is found in the south of France, on the Mediterranean coast. The city is located within the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France, Nice is around a 30 minute drive from the exclusive principality of Monaco, which lies to the east. Further east, around 40 minutes by car, is the border with Italy. This makes Nice the perfect destination for a European road trip, traversing the southern coast of France and Italy. If you are travelling to Nice from Paris then you can expect a longer journey, as the French capital is around a 9 hour drive from Nice. Marseille, Cannes, Monaco and Saint Tropez are also popular destinations found along the French coast, all boasting the same great weather and exclusive, laid back lifestyle, popular with celebrities and sunseekers alike.
Where to stay in Nice, France?
Nice is a popular tourist destination, and there are plenty of great hotels in and around the city, to suit all budgets and tastes. Here is our breakdown of some of the best hotels to stay in if you’re visiting the city. If you’re operating on a budget, then you’ll be glad to know there are also plenty of cheaper hostels and lower rated hotels to take advantage of if you choose.
Hotel Suisse ★ ★ ★ ★
15 Quai Rauba Capeu, 06300 Nice, France
Arguably the best thing about Hotel Suisse is its location. Just across the road from the beach, the pebbles and palm trees of Nice’s beachfront offer a wonderful location to spend your stay in the city. This hotel is located just around the corner from the old port and the attractive Castle Hill can be found just above the hotel, on the cliffs.
Clean and modern, with a more Italian than French style and décor, you’re sure to be impressed with the cleanliness and facilities of your room. There’s also a bar and communal breakfast room where you can sit and read during the day or enjoy a coffee or something a bit stronger in the evening.
Hotel Villa Victoria ★ ★ ★ ★
33 Boulevard Victor Hugo, 06000 Nice, France
Set a bit further back from the coast, Hotel Villa Victoria is located along the leafy Boulevard Victor Hugo, with the impressive Russian Orthodox Cathedral located just a 5-minute walk away. This 4-star hotel is housed in a traditional French townhouse, with resplendent floor to ceiling windows adorning the common areas. The 38 rooms are well stocked with amenities including mini-bars, slippers, water bottles and more. There’s no onsite restaurant but an excellent room service menu is available, and this encourages you to head out and discover some of the local restaurants on offer!
Boscolo Exedra ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
12 Boulevard Victor Hugo, 06000 Nice, France
As one of the only 5-star hotels in Nice, France, Boscolo Exedra is perfect for those visitors to the city looking for a bit more luxury from their stay. Located on the same boulevard as Hotel Villa Victoria, the tree-lined avenue is an attractive place to stay and is just a short walk from both the train station and the beach, with plenty of restaurants and shops in the area too.
The hotel’s white façade greets you on arrival and the elegance continues inside, with the grand marble lobby likely to be the first place you’ll see. The highlight of the hotel is probably the luxury rooftop pool terrace, where you can spend your days lounging comfortably. There’s also a basement spa and guests get exclusive rates to visit the Ruhl Plage private beach and restaurant. The 112 rooms are all decorated in beautiful white, making this modern hotel the best place to stay in the city if you are after something a little bit extra.
What to do in Nice, France?
As you would expect, the bustling French city boasts lots of attractions for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the best things you can do in Nice.
Stroll along the Promenade des Anglais
One of the most iconic seaside promenades in Europe, no visit to Nice would be complete without a stroll along this Mediterranean walkway. The promenade is lined with shops and restaurants, whilst palm trees sway in the breeze and there are sumptuous views of the coastline. The promenade winds along the seafront for 7km in total, but you don’t have to walk the entire thing!
Visit Parc de la Colline du Château
This clifftop park overlooks the eastern part of the city and is probably the best place in Nice to enjoy a gorgeous view over the French Riviera. It’s a great place to watch the sunset and there’s also a cascading waterfall for visitors to enjoy. You can climb up to the park on foot, or there is a free elevator if you don’t fancy the climb.
Admire Nice Saint Nicolas Cathedral
This Russian-styled cathedral is like stepping into Moscow, complete with onion domes and beautiful exterior colouring. Housed in a charming French square, the cathedral offers a nice contrast to other attractions in Nice, and things get even better when you step inside. Ornate sculptures, beautiful paintings and more make the cathedral well worth a visit for anyone spending a few days in Nice.
Join a walking tour in Nice Old Town
The best way to see everything that Nice has to offer is to join the Nice free walking tour of the city. This popular activity is run by Riviera Bar Crawls and is completely free. The tour operates 7 days per week. There will be no more than 9 guests on your tour, so you’ll have good access to your tour guide as they show you around the highlights of the city.
The 2.5 hour tour begins in Massena Square and you can expect to see parts of the Old Town including Rossetti Square and the Opera House. You’ll then take in the Cours Saleya flower market and much more. There’s also a night-time version of the tour, which takes place in the evenings, starting from Garibaldi Square in the city.
As a popular tourist city, Nice boasts all sorts of cuisine. There are lots of seafood restaurants and Italian cuisine is very popular, this isn’t surprising given the proximity to the border with Italy. Of course, there are also numerous French restaurants and if you are up early then you can get to the bakeries in time to purchase fresh bread and pastries.
Some of Nice’s regional specialties include socca – a street food dish comprising a crusty chickpea pancake. There is also the classic salad niçoise (tuna salad) which originated in this part of the world. Both dishes simply have to be sampled when visiting Nice.
The Best Time to Visit Nice, France
Nice follows a traditional European summer season, with the warmest weather lasting from May to September. The city can get very busy during July and August, when French city dwellers descend on the riviera, as well as tourists from across Europe. For this reason, the best time of the year to visit Nice is during the shoulder seasons from March to April and September to October. The weather is still warm and pleasant during these months, but the attractions are quieter because students are still in school. Hotels will be cheaper at these times of year as well, so you should be able to grab a bargain.
Visiting Nice France is one of the best city to visit in the whole of France. The city boasts a warm, sunny climate, delicious restaurants, numerous attractions and great proximity to other destinations, such as Monaco. If you do decide to head to Nice for a few days then you’ll certainly want to experience a free walking tour of the city, which is a great way to orientate yourself and get a flavour for the destination.