Places to Visit in Nice
- The old city is must
- A day trip to Monaco is another
- Morning Fish Market at Place St. Francois
- On Mondays: Brocante – antique market
- The Apollo Statue in Place Massena
Unique Things to See and Do in Nice
- Walk along Promenade des Anglais
- Buy Olive oil in Vieux Nice (old town)
- Buy flowers at The Cours Saleya
- Admire the art of Matisse at the Musee Matisse
- Visit the Russian Cathedral
“Nice chose France”
Most people come to Nice for the warm sun, great food, and long stretching beaches (although they are filled with rocks and not sand), but what makes Nice so unique is its rich history of different cultures occupying its lands. Interestingly enough, that is also the history of France, on the whole, with different regions are so distinct in geography, people, and customs. In Nice the two main dominate cultures that have influenced the culture we see today is Italian and French.
Up until 1860, Nice had belonged to the Italians, but Italy’s hand was forced after the French supported their fight against Austrians. Italy had to give up Nice as a repayment and that’s how Nice became a part of France. You can really feel both of the cultures in just about everything- particularly the colours of the old buildings and the architecture itself.
The food is mixture of fresh ingredients with some Italian influences of dishes like pasta. Whereas you can feel the French influence on Italian dishes, like the famous Socca, a chickpea pancake- a version of the Italian farinata. There are many debates on were food dishes came from, the French side or the Italian side. Examples are Nicose salad and ratatouille. Regardless, the food is scrumptious and worth exploring.
Getting around Nice
Travelling around Nice is quite easy and not too expensive. Of course the best way to see any city is to walk through streets, and Nice is no exception, but getting to and from the airports and different areas of town is sometimes necessary to take public transit.
This is the best way to get around. It is fast (17minutes from one end to the other) and fairly inexpensive, 1.50 Euros. Purchase tickets at the vending machines at your stop. Take note: the machines take coins and microchipped credit cards only. Another tip: To start the machine, press the green button. If you purchased a booklet of tickets for the bus, they will also work for the trams.
If you plan on taking the bus and the tram it is worthwhile to buy a booklet of 10 tickets. The bus at regular price costs 1.50Euros, but with the pre purchase of tickets, the price drops to 1Euro. The tickets are good for 75minutes worth of travel and you need to validate your tickets at the yellow machines- this is true for Trams as well.
Important! You have to flag down the bus driver or he’ll drive right past you! And when you want to get off the bus you have press the red button for the next stop. Most busses come every few minutes (up to 5 minutes) during the day, and then in the evening they can take up to 20 minutes.
You can also purchase either a Day Pass (5Euros), Week Pass (15Euros), or Month Pass (40Euros). For the month pass you’ll need to present your passport. These passes won’t get you as far as Monaco though.
For those who are traveling with your smartphones, you can download an app called Lignes d’Azur which will give you itineraries, schedules, and maps.
The Velo Bleu. Self service bike rentals are everywhere! And they are exceptionally cheap. For 1day 1Euro, 5Euros for a week, and 10Euros for a month! And the first 30minutes are free, so you could literally travel to a destination in 10minutes and drop off your bike for free! There is quite a process to get started with the bikes, but once you get the hang of it it’s super easy. You can start by downloading the Velo Bleu app. And you can use your credit card to pay (through the app or at specific spots like the train station – again chip credit cards only).
Did you know…?
The Promenade des Anglais acquired its name from working class Nicoise referring to the upper classed English who strolled along the promenade with their parasols.
Did you ALSO know…?
That the Statue of Apollo, situated in the middle of the Fountain Soleil on Place Massena, was dismantled since the 1970s because Apollo’s “manliness” was too big for their liking. The sculpturer even tried to resize it, but it wasn’t good enough and therefore banished from the ladies sight. In 2011 after engaging the public’s interest, the Statue of Apollo and the 5 bronze statues were returned to their original spot.
Best time of year to travel to Nice
Nice is great for warmer weather and the temperatures start rising sooner than in other parts of the country, so if you are looking to travel to France in spring, head south first and then travel up north. During the summer time the temperatures can get quite warm. The summer months being June, July, August, and September. The temperature rarely rises above 30C, and being so close to the see the temperature doesn’t dip that low either. This is why the English/British made the French Riviera their winter resort spot- where the weather with warm.
Ready to plan your visit to Nice? Check out these popular guides and trips.