Welcome to Nice

Guide to Nice, France
“Colour is all…colour is everything, colour is vibration like music” Marc Chagall

If colour and light could create a city, it would be Nice. The light of the Riviera has always drawn painters – Picasso, Matisse, Chagall and their acolytes came to capture the deep azure blues, the dawn-rose pinks, the stinging citrus yellows and the damp, jungle greens of this Romanesque city and its breezy coast. Gently warmed by Mediterranean sun, the town slopes down to the pebbled shore, a cascade of rose-pink 19th century buildings and quirky, elegant shops and restaurants. Author Willa Cather genteelly recoiled at 'the glare and blaze of Nice,' but alongside the drama of its sweeping bay and alluring, fairy-lit nightlife, the city offers wonderful museums, food and green spaces, lush with tropical plants.

Nice is the capital of the Riviera, but where Paris is proud and formal, Nice is a soft seduction. Bordered by the Promenade des Anglais, with its instantly recognisable Belle Epoque Negresco hotel, Nicoise locals cycle, rollerblade and walk their dogs- Nice is very much an outdoor city, and life is mostly lived under café sunshades, on the beach, or in the vibrant streets. It may rain occasionally- but then the fresh scents of greenery and lavender are released, and the pebbled beaches shine like polished jet. Driving is unnecessary- walking the main areas that lie between the Negresco and the port is easy. Sitting outside a harbour café in Nice, with a chilled bottle of rose, watching the boats and the artists painting them, is one of life’s true joys.




Guide to Nice, FranceGuide to Nice, France



See

Vieux Nice

Old Nice is a cat’s cradle of ancient streets, now packed with little boutiques, art galleries and restaurants more
Nice Tram - Opera Vielle Ville

The Colline du Chateau

The Colline du Chateau is the gentle hill which divides the Old Town and the port more
Rue des Ponchettes / Rue de Foresta Montee Montfort 06300 Nice Bus T32 towards Tour Bellanda T1 towards Vieux Ville

The Matisse Museum

A sorbet-pink chateau in Cimiez Park houses this celebration of the city’s great artist, Henri Matisse, who was resident in Nice from 1917 to 1954. more
64 Ave Des Arenes De Cimiez 06000 Nice 33 4 93 81 08 08 Bus Numbers 15, 17, 20, 22, 25. Stop "Les Arenes / Musee Matisse

Eat

Le Chantecler

Old school in the best sense, Le Chantecler has two Michelin stars and offers fine dining in the Grand European tradition - velvet Louis XIV chairs, panelled walls, dramatically patterned carpet and shell-pink tablecloths. more
Hotel Negresco 37 Promenade des Anglais 06007 Nice 04 93 16 64 00

Le Bistro du Fromager

In an old, curve-ceilinged cellar of brick and stone, the atmosphere is cool and rustic, and the walls are lined with cases of wine. more
29, Rue Benoit Bunico 06000 Nice 04 9313 0783 Tram - Opera Vielle Ville

Le Bistro d'Antoine

This hugely popular restaurant is family-run and almost always busy, so it pays to book in advance more
27 Rue de la Prefecture 06000 Nice 04 93 85 29 57 Tram - Opera Vielle Ville



Guide to Nice, FranceGuide to Nice, France



Drink

La Civette du Cours

By the flower market, in the pretty Cours Saleya, this traditional bar is ideal for morning coffee as it faces the glorious banks of scented blooms, and has a South-facing terrace more
1 Cours Saleya 06300 04 93 80 80 59 Tram Opera Vielle Ville

L’Effervescence

In the old town, this simple champagne bar has a certain elegance without ever drifting into pretentiousness more
10 Rue de la Loge 06300 Nice 04 9380 8737

L'Odace

This is an authentic South of France nightclub, even better for people watching than for dancing. more
29 Rue Alphonse Karr City Centre 06000 Nice Tram - Jean Medecin

Sleep

Hôtel Le Negresco

Aside from its excellent restaurant, the Negresco is still the place to stay in Nice more
37, Promenade des Anglais 06000 Nice 04 93 16 64 00

Palais de la Mediterranée

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Josephine Baker stayed here when it first opened more
13, Promenade des Anglais 06000 Nice 04 92 14 77 00 Gare Nice Ville or Nice city centre train station is on Avenue Thiers, just over one km away. Taxis are available from the station to the hotel and the average journey takes ten minutes.

The Grimaldi Hotel

Formed by two old mansions round an interior courtyard, the Grimaldi is privately owned and very affordable for a four star establishment in Nice more
15 Rue Grimaldi 06000 Nice 04 93 16 00 24



Guide to Nice, France

IN THE MOOD


READ

Night Without Stars- Winston Graham

 My Father’s Glory - Marcel Pagnol

WATCH

Jean De Florette

To Catch A Thief

LISTEN

Chansons Francaises - Henri Salvador

Dizzy on The French Riviera- Dizzy Gillespie

TIPS

In July, the city hosts the Festival du Jazz in Cimiez- over the fortnight, all types of musicians arrive in the city, and the atmosphere is lively. Nice has plenty of festivals throughout the year, which add an extra edge of fun to a trip, but be sure to book accommodation in advance.

The Promenade des Anglais is very long- don’t assume you can walk to any address along the bay from your hotel. Equally, the beach begins at the airport- so don’t assume ‘close to the beach’ also means close to the city centre.

To visit coastal towns such as Juan les Pins or Antibes, with their beautiful beaches and elegant old towns, take the train- much of the centres are pedestrianised, and parking is a nightmare- walking from the station, however, is easy. The Train des Pignes offers a picturesque ride toward the mountains - Entrevaux is a lovely place to stop to discover the Medieval city.

To find the port in Nice, walk right round the Chateau de Colline- from the centre, it appears that beyond the hill is the sea; but the port is tucked behind it. From here, there are ferry trips to Corsica, St Tropez, Monaco and San Remo- scuba diving is also available.

 There are plenty of patisseries and alimentaires in the old town, where you can assemble a picnic to take to the beach- eating out can be expensive, and this is a lovely way to save money. At sunset, the beach attracts groups with guitars and bottles of wine- feel free to join the party.




Getting Around


CLICK HERE FOR OUR GUIDE TO GARE DE NICE-VILLE


CLICK HERE FOR GUIDE TO PARKING AND LOCATION OF CAR PARKS IN NICE.

Driving in Nice isn't always easy, and you have to keep your wits about you as drivers often cut in at speed or overtake in seemingly odd places. 

Apart from that, it's not too difficult and sauntering along the coast road, or driving up into the hills behind Nice can offer great rewards because of the views.

Take particular care on the Corniches. They offer spectacular views, so be careful not to become distracted. Also, drivers will sometimes attempt death defying overtaking maneouvres on bends.







More France




Holidays in Nice

Ride the Autoroute Du Soleil

Drive from Calais to the South of France