Have a nice time in Nice, France

The French Riviera is the beautiful coastline in the south of France along the Mediterranean Sea. It covers about 550 miles and acquired the nickname Cote d’Azur or Blue Coast in 1887. Nice is the largest city within the French Riviera and located right in the center, only 20 miles from the Italian border

With such a rich and long history, there are many reasons to think of why you should visit Nice. It is not only a perfect beach destination however visiting Nice is the ideal summer holiday. Combining history, art, and culture with the Mediterranean climate is the ultimate destination.

Beach it up

The French Riviera is honestly a dream come true. It’s home to some of the most stunning beaches and known for its pleasant weather throughout the year. It is the perfect sunshine and mild climate that makes Nice a year around destination in France.  There are many different options for when you are picking what beach to bum at for the day. Some of the beaches are public, which are free, include no chairs and immersed with the locals. Other beaches are private, which charge a fee for service, loungers and include showers. Whichever option you go for, you will be surrounded with loads of beauty. The beaches on the coast of France are made up more of small rocks/pebbles than soft sand, so be sure to bring some sandals or swim shoes to the beach with you.

Stroll on the Promenade de Anglais

Undoubtedly the most popular tourist destination in Nice, located on the outskirts of the Old Town, the Promenade de Anglais is a bustling promenade with a vibrant cultural scene. This wonderful walkway follows along the bay,  looking out onto the beaches on one side, and on the other such luxury hotels and apartments, casinos and restaurants. Locals call it “La Prom” and it’s where everyone comes to hang out. You can find all sort of people here including, artists, skaters, entertainers, runners, as well as everyone enjoying the beaches and restaurants.  

Explore the Old Town

Nice’s Old Town allows you to travel into the 1700’s as you get lost in a delightful maze of narrow streets full of lively restaurants, galleries, and shops. The only way to get to know the real Nice is by strolling through the colored streets listening to the locals speaking their own language. There are cafes scattered all around the many squares, so take the opportunity to sit down, relax with a coffee and people watch the day away. The area is also home to many restaurants, bars, small shops and boutiques.

EAT!!!

In Nice, there is a mix of unique flavors only available in this region, traditional Nicoise foods with a heavy Italian influence (Italy is only 20 miles away).  Being on the Mediterranean,  seafood and fresh ingredients play an important role in the tasty regional specialties. Some of the most popular dishes in Nice are….

  • Ratatouille (Originated in Nice)
  • Socca (Crispy chickpea pancake usually served as street food)
  • Nicoise Salad (main ingredients- olives, tomatoes, tuna and anchovies.)
  • Raviolis Nicois (stuffed with braised beef)
  • Fresh Olives
  • Moules Frites/ Mussels and fries (typical dish from Belgium however sold everywhere here!)

Drink French wine

France remains one of the top wine producers, with wines of every style and quality level coming from across the country.  Since Nice is in the Provence region of France, it is known mainly for its rosé wines. However there is more to French Riviera than just rosé, in fact, vineyards can be found all along the coast, producing as much white and red as they do rosé! If you would like to learn more about the process and different wine regions in France, go for a wine tasting (there are many available). When you go out for a nice dinner in Nice, pick out a local wine to pair with your meal (red, white or rosé). You might as well just buy the whole bottle, as two glasses is almost the same price!!

Enjoy the water sports

The coast of the French Riviera is just a dream come true. Many people set up their chairs and towels and hang out on the beach for the entire day. Along the coast of Nice there are many different companies set up with different activities for people of all ages. The most popular are parasailing, jet skiing, kayak or paddle boarding and snorkeling. This beach is perfect for families or young adults as there is no sand to play in so renting a paddle board for the afternoon can help keep stay busy.

Day trip to Villefranche-sur-Mer 

Just a short 15 minute ride on the public transportation will take you to the fishing village of, Villefranche-sur-Mer. Here you can find a colorful, quaint town right on the water. Villefranche is a nice little escape, because there are not high rise buildings and ridiculously expensive stores on every corner, like in Monaco and Nice. It’s also not nearly as crowded, so you get more of an quiet coastal experience. Whether you want to relax on the beach, go for a snorkel, take a scenic walk around the city or even take a 30 minute trip over to Italy, there is much for everyone. If you’re planning a trip to the French Riviera, be sure to spend some time in Villefranche-sur-Mer!

Snorkel trip

With how beautiful and blue the water is here in the French Riviera, it would be a shame to not dive down deep and see what creatures roam around underneath. On Airbnb we found an experience with a local who takes you out on his small boat in Villefranche-sur-Mer to some of the most beautiful spots with all different types of sea life and crystal clear water. He provided everyone with a mask, snorkel, fins and wet suite if needed. On our trip to two different locations we got to see tons of fish, octopus, starfish and sea urchins.

Fill up on French pastries

What’s your favorite French pastry?! The classic croissant or something sweeter with a little cream? France is universally famous for its delightful pastries that range from breakfast to dessert. Our all time favorite part of being in France was filling up on all of the delectable pastries served all over the country. For breakfast we would usually start the day off with a warm ham and cheese quiche. For lunch we would buy a crispy croissant with some sliced meat, cheese and fruit jams. And lastly, for dinner we would enjoy a delicious meal typically served with a toasted French baguette. Some of the most popular pastries in Nice are as follows…

  • Croissant
  • Napoleon
  • Quiche
  • Eclair
  • Opera Cake
  • Macaron

Where we stayed

On our trip to Nice, we decided to live like a local and rent a flat near the beach for the ultimate French experience. As with many French flats, the studio was small, the building was quite old and there was no air conditioning throughout the property. We made the most with what we had and we were especially thankful we were so close to the beach and a local pastry shop! We rented our flat on Airbnb from a local who provided us with some local honey and jams, recommendations throughout the city (to explore, eat and drink) and was super quick at responding to our messages. Though there are many different resorts and hotels throughout this beautiful beach city, staying in a traditional French flat makes the experience way better!

Getting to and from Nice

Nice Cote d’Azur International Airport is the second largest airport in France (Paris is first). You can fly directly to Nice from almost any part of the world. Downtown Nice is around 5 miles from the airport and easily accessible by public transport. Make sure to always buy your ticket for the bus at the machines located near the stop or on the bus. DO NOT GET ON THE BUS WITHOUT TICKET. This is the only country we have been to where there are random stops and the police get on the bus and check every single persons ticket. Without a ticket you will face getting a ticket or going to jail.

We hope you have enjoyed our recommendations for Nice!! Now get out there and explore!!!

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