There are some cities I secretly hope that lesser people will know about so that I can ‘hoard’ them to myself forever. The capital of Côte d’Azur, Nice is definitely one of those! But it’s really difficult to contain this love I have for Nice, as I could not help posting photos on social media and writing about Nice on this site. In 2007, I visited Nice for the first time, and again in 2013. It’s a city that I believe I’ve permanently left a piece of my heart in. As I love to say,
Nice is very nice!
Here are 16 wonderful things to do in Nice!
1. Take a morning/evening walk/jog at Promenade des Anglais
With a name as grand as “Promenade des Anglais”, this famous beachfront faces the vastness of the Mediterranean Sea. The special part about this beach is that it is full of pebbles. In summer, the beach is packed to the brim with beach-lovers. In winter, the beach is much more isolated, even serene.
2. Cycle everywhere, especially along Promenade des Anglais
Nice makes an excellent place for cycling. I’d thought of renting one of those bikes available at Promenade des Anglais to get my way around, but we simply didn’t have the time for this (and also because the weather was very cold).
How to rent bicycles with Vélo Bleu bikes: There are 1,750 of these bikes parked at around 175 stations around the city. Right of access will cost €1 a day. The first 30min are free, from 30min – 1 hour will cost an additional €1, then €2 for every subsequent hour. To rent, book online or simply show up at a bike station with your mobile phone and banker’s card. Call the company on local number 04 3000 3001, provide your card number and they’ll unlock the bike.
3. Take a Segway tour around the city
I would have loved to try this if my travel companion wasn’t nursing a back injury at that time. Based on reviews on TripAdvisor, this is a fun activity to do in Nice! They will teach you how to operate a Segway, then bring you to key attractions in Nice.
Segway tour is available via Segway Mobilboard
(2 Rue Halévy | 04 93 80 21 27 | website)
One hour with a guided tour costs €30, two hours €50. Read reviews on TripAdvisor.
4. Visit Old Town for Marché aux Fleurs (Flower Market)
Cours Saleya at the Old Town of Nice, is a flower market with plenty of atmosphere, bustles with activity. There are lots of flowers sold here at very attractive prices – I was imagining living in Nice and decorating my apartment with these colorful flowers! You can also buy food like local produce, fruits, cheese etc here.
Tue, Thur, Fri: 0630am – 1800pm
Wed, Sat: 0630am – 1330pm
Sun: 0630 – midday
Closed: Mondays, afternoons of public holidays
More about the markets on Best of Nice blog
5. Check out the fun, artistic, animal-themed playgrounds
Kids in Nice are very lucky!
6. As well as the random carousel
7. Hop on the city tram
I love trams, maybe because it brings to mind an old world that doesn’t exist in my city, Singapore. Nice’s city tram is modern, not the old-school kind, but still draws me in.
8. Admire Nice’s Architecture
9. Hang out at Place Massena
The largest square in Old Nice, Place Massena is a charming, historical district of Nice. This place has stunning Neoclassical structures around, surrounded by buildings with red facades. I especially loved the tiled floors, statues, fountains, the ambience.
10. Watch your thoughts and troubles drift away with the Mediterranean Sea
One morning, I stood for a very long time just staring out into the sea, letting the breeze take away all my troubles, letting the peace and calmness take over me.
11. Admire the amazing sunset from Promenade des Anglais
The evening I reached Nice, the sky was pink on the left and yellow-orange on the right. A sight to behold!
12. Watch the sun set and planes take off, from Castle Hill
Castle Hill is a hike up many steps to the top of a hill, overlooking Nice. We went up and saw the most spectacular view of beautiful Nice from here, especially in the setting sun’s magnificence. You can also see planes take off in the distance. The visit to Castle Hill completed my second trip to Nice.
While you’re up there, also get enchanted by the sound of the sea waves rushing off the pebbles below you.
13. See youngsters chill at the beachfront
Sometimes in the evenings, youngsters will hang out here and partake in their own activities. I was particularly mesmerized by a guy who was skating as gracefully as a dancer.
14. Eat gelato at either Fennochio or Cesar Milano
15. See the Nice that Matisse lived
The French artist, Henri Matisse, lived in Nice for about 37 years. There is a museum in Nice – Musée Matisse – dedicated to his work. This article here is a great write-up on Matisse’s art produced when he stayed in this city he loved dearly.
164 Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez – 06000 Nice
Open 10am – 6pm all year round (closed Tuesdays, some public holidays, 1 Jan, 1 May, 25 Dec and Easter Sunday)
16. Take day trips out of Nice
Nice enjoys close proximity and easy commuting to other coastal towns along Côte d’Azur. It is very easy to do town-hopping and check out places like Eze, Villefranche, Antibes, Cannes, etc! I wrote a quick guide on how to do town-hopping this way.
Visited: Nov 2013
Image credits: Segway image is from Segway Mobilboard’s Facebook). All other photos were taken by me.
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