Southern France is one of my favorite places to visit. Whether I am passing through to somewhere else, headed out on a cruise, or centering my stay around Nice, I love being there. Nice embodies all I adore about that part of the world. The water, the art, the access to so many other areas, the shopping, and, of course, the food. Armed with these Nice travel tips, you’ll find the perfect destination for the whole family, a solo trip, a friend’s getaway, or a couple’s adventure.
While you certainly do it all or do nothing at all, my best suggestion is doing a bit of everything. Plan time to travel to Provence and the wine country to enjoy the hills. Head over to Monaco for an entire day into evening to take in the whole experience. Plan a rest and relaxation day hanging at the beach, and, of course, leave a lot of time to explore the city.
My favorite thing to do in any city is to wander and Nice is no different. You need to plan at least 2 days to wander as there is so much to take in. Plus, you will want to have time to sit in the squares and take in all the sights and sounds of the community. Be sure to wander away from the tourist areas to see Nice as the locals do. Do not miss the farmers market.
Nice Travel Tips: Where to Stay, Play and Eat
Where to Stay
There are two very different ways to enjoy your stay in Nice – a rental apartment/flat or hotel.
If we are staying for more than a few days and want to be able to take full advantage of the local speciality foods, seafood and farmers market, we book a flat in Vieux Nice, or “Old Nice”. There are many ways to book these, but we tend to use Air BnB or Luxury Rentals. We have never been disappointed with either, but we always do our research before booking.
There are also many hotels that offer full apartments with the ability to use the hotel features. Just remember that most of the buildings are small and have no elevators. Do not expect a ton of bells and whistles without paying for them. Life is simple and whole in Nice and the apartments are the same, but the charm and views make up for it all.
Our go-to hotel is Hotel Le Negresco. Located across the street from the beach and a few blocks from the center square, Hotel Le Negresco is a true luxury gem. From the minute you arrive until the minute you leave, the experience is nothing short of special. Each room is unique.
I suggest booking your room with your travel agent, through American Express, or through your private banking services to receive the full benefits offered. Most recently, we booked a suite and were upgraded to a larger suite. We had a water view room with two small balconies that had views for days. Our suite was so well appointed and had the period charm, while maintaining the class and luxury. Upon our arrival, we had a cheese plate, bubbly, fruit and confections. Our booking also came with breakfast and dinner for two in-house.
We also love the bar with its old world style, serving the best cocktails and light bites. Be sure you spend time exploring the entire hotel as each hall, staircase, nook and cranny offer a new delight. And above all…book some time at the spa!
Where to Eat
Anywhere and everywhere! We literally have never been disappointed with any restaurant in Nice. We have made reservations and wandered into places, and every time has been fantastic. And we do prefer to wander. We get out of the tourist areas and try to be the only travelers at the restaurants we wander into.
In Vieux Nice, it is hard to go wrong. Whether its authentic French cuisine, delicate pastries, or fresh seafood, there are plenty of options all around you.
For something different, Nice has a fantastic selection of Indian restaurants to pick from. Royal Kashmir has one of the best selections of curry, naan, and other delicious morsels that I have found in Nice. It is a short distance from Place Massena, which makes it easily accessible to everyone.
One of my favorite parts about visiting Nice is the abundance of markets available to explore. They are bountiful with fresh produce, exotic spices, and other local delicacies that you would be remiss to pass by. Markets are perfect for a quick snack or for sampling a variety of items.
Not only do they have great food, but they also have other products for sale that will blow you away. Vieux Nice is home to many of these fantastic markets. If you wander the beautiful streets midmorning, you are destined to find yourself in the middle of one.
Where to Play
Be sure to plan one or all of these three daytrips during your France visit…
Monaco – Monaco is an adventure all in itself. I suggest heading over midmorning and staying into the night. This daytrip is best planned after a rest day, so you have the energy to head up to the castle and take in the nightlife. Be sure to check out some of our must dos.
Provence and a vineyard – Provence is a short drive away and the day can easily be combined with a stop at a vineyard. You can book a local driver to arrange your day. I would suggest starting by exploring the city, walking through the farmers market, and visiting the centuries old churches and buildings. Grab some lunch at a local cafe and head to a vineyard for a late afternoon adventure and wine tasting.
Eze – Eze is unique in that the town is literally built into the side and top of a mountain. The highlight at Eze is a tasting menu meal at Chateau Eza. Be sure to book your reservation way in advance and hire a driver, so you can enjoy the wine pairing as well. I prefer the lunch tasting menu at Chateau Eza, unless you book an early dinner table in the summer. The only reason being the view, so asking for a table outside is a must.
The rest of Eze you can see on the way in and out. Plan time from when your driver drops you off to walk to the top where the restaurant is. You will want to have time to pop in and out of the shops on your way both to and from your amazing meal.
Where to Shop
This goes without being said, but shopping is an absolute must when you are in Nice. Ranging from high-end luxury fashion to handmade local trinkets, there is a shop for everyone. One of my favorite stores is Moulin à Huile d’Olive Nicolas Alziari, a charming store located right across from the water in Vieux Nice. The array of olives and olive oils is first class. The staff is friendly, and you can’t get a better location to meander in a beautiful old store.
Along with amazing olive oil, Nice has some of the best design and fashion stores in the world. You can truly shop until you drop. When you’ve shopped so much that you’re hungry, macaroons and other delectable candies abound in Nice. You could spend your whole day wandering the streets and sampling these macaroons and other pastries from all of the amazing little bakeries. Nice really is a shoppers paradise.
There is so much to do in Nice, but do not miss the following…
- Farmers Markets
- Day at the Beach
- Carousel – carousel on the corner of Avenue Max Gallo and Quai Des Etats-Unis
- Art Museums – Musée Matisse, Musée National Marc Chagall, or Villa Masséna Musée
- City Squares in Vieux Nice
What is your favorite part of visiting Nice?
I am a home cook that does things my way. In my kitchen, I make breakfast, pack lunches, prepare snacks, and cook dinner. During the week, we eat real food that is homemade, organic, and local. On the weekends we do explore more of our local restaurants. I bake my own bread, juice fresh oranges every other day, and make my own kombucha and other weekly favorites.