We are pleased to welcome guest writer Lucas Berger from the online tourism booking website Regiondo for this feature.
Provence welcomes you with open arms and envelops you in the heart of Nissa la Bella (Nice the Beautiful)! With its sweet way of life, the Baie des Anges, the museums, and of course its exceptional architectural heritage, the city of Nice has it all. As such, it’s a must-see during a trip to Côte d’Azur. Here are our top choices for the best places to visit during your outstanding getaway to Nice.
The Vieux Nice
You’ll feel like you’re in Italy in Vieux Nice’s narrow pedestrian streets! Take the time to walk around the area to immerse yourself in the colors and the authenticity of Nice. Start the day by striding across the cobblestone streets of the Vieux Nice and looking around the flower market in Cours Saleya, a traditional market that brightens this already welcoming area (open every day except on Mondays). Architecture and religion enthusiasts will enjoy monuments such as the Prefecture Building or the church of Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur, known for its fascinating frescos and sculptures. Don’t forget to visit the cathedral of Saint Reparata, a stately baroque-style edifice from the 17th century. At the end of the day, take a break and sit down on the terrace of one of the many cafes or restaurants in the Vieux Nice. By the way, you’ll easily find nice vacation rentals in this quaint area of Nice.
The Place Masséna
Tourists and travelers alike usually cross this famous seaside square. The Place Masséna stands out for its grand arcades of offices and various stores, but also for its checkered tile. You’ll stroll by seven perched statues as well as the impressive Apollo marble statue in the Fountain of the Sun. At night, the square (and its seven statues) lights up for a magical show.
The Promenade des Anglais
It doesn’t matter if you’re at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of your stay: The Promenade des Anglais is a must-see that you definitely have to include on your list of places to visit in Nice. Actually, you don’t just visit it, you experience it! Lined with palm trees and the Baie des Anges, the Promenade des Anglais is the perfect place to stroll and breathe the sea air. The Promenade is seven kilometers of pure happiness and a paradise for those who like to rollerblade, skateboard, ride a scooter, or bike! You can also relax on the famous blue chairs or under the scattered pergolas before admiring the view of the sunset on the Mediterranean Sea. If you’re coming to Nice in February, you’ll have a two-week opportunity to see the Nice Carnival on the Promenade des Anglais. For the record of those curious about its name, this renowned place was created in the 19th century by Lewis Way, an Anglican pastor.
The Palais Lascaris
The Palais Lascaris is a baroque-style gem built in the 17th century and listed as a historical monument in 1946. This former residence of the Nice aristocracy is now a magnificent museum and among the best places to visit during your trip to Nice. A rich collection of antique musical instruments, as well as paintings and sculptures from Nice artists, are featured in the museum. The Palais Lascaris is open to the public almost all year long, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (open 10:00 a.m. in the summer).
The Musée Marc Chagall
Marc Chagall himself actively participated in the creation of this unique place. The auditorium and its stained-glass windows were his idea! Located steps from the center of Nice on Avenue Dr Ménard, the museum is home to Marc Chagall’s most beautiful works of art. Whether you’re keen on art, a fan of this versatile artist, or a curious traveler, nobody can remain impassive in front of the featured work. Marc Chagall’s paintings, engravings, lithographs, sculptures, stained-glass windows, and mosaics are truly marvelous! Other artists’ work is also displayed in the museum throughout the year.
The monastery of Cimiez and its surrounding area
This estate is home to 1,200 years of history. If you’d like to recharge your batteries from the heights of Nice and observe its picture-perfect view, there’s nowhere like the Cimiez monastery. In the church, you can admire Louis Bréa’s work, including Piety (dating from 1475), as well as Hercule Trachel’s, the painter of the frescos in the vaults. The cloisters of the monastery and the Franciscan museum, which recounts the lives of monks until the 18th century, are also worth the detour. Don’t forget to go outside, as the area is praised for its calm and beauty. The garden of the monastery and its rose garden are particularly pleasant.
In addition, you’ll be able to stroll down the cemetery alleys where people like Henri Matisse and Raoul Dufy are buried. Be sure to see the former Gallo-Roman city and the archeological museum that will make you travel through time. Why not go for a stroll in the garden of the Cimiez arena, where thousands of olive trees create a unique atmosphere perfect for a family trip?
The Matisse Museum
Matisse lived in this impressive building from 1918 to 1954. This museum, with its 1,200 square meters of exhibition space next to the monastery on Cimiez hill, is a must-see during your trip to Nice. It’s home to a collection of 31 paintings, 38 gouache cutouts, 236 drawings, 218 engravings, 57 sculptures, and 14 illustrated books, as well as a range of Matisse’s belongings. The museum regularly hosts temporary exhibitions to the delight of visitors and art enthusiasts alike.
The St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral
The St. Nicholas Cathedral is a stately religious building—the tallest building of its kind outside of Russia—that welcomed its first believers in 1912 and is still a place of worship. The rich indoor decoration is breathtaking. Beside the numerous historical and religious objects brought back from Russia, you’ll be blown away by the cathedral’s icons, frescos, ornate woodwork, and iconostases.
In Nice, there’s no need to travel to go swimming or to bask in the sun. Nice beaches are close to the city center, and you’ll be able to enjoy the public beaches, such as Le Voilier and Lenval along the Promenade des Anglais, for free. There’s also Sainte-Hélène, one of five certified smoke-free Nice beaches. The Centenaire and Carras beaches are accessible to people with disabilities. The Beau Rivage public beach is also one of the best places to see during your trip in Nice.
The Parc Phoenix
Whether you love nature or not, don’t forget to spend a few hours in Parc Phoenix, a seven-hectare green park entirely shaped by man and built 30 years ago. Its 7,000 square meter tropical greenhouse is home to a wonderful variety of fauna and flora. You’ll find 2,500 remarkable plant species and 75 fascinating animal species. And there’s more: The Parc Phoenix also features playgrounds for kids and various exhibitions all year long!
Castle Hill Park
If you had to choose a place to admire the view of the city of Nice, Castle Hill Park would be it. Even though the castle is ancient history, the park is still here as the perfect place to gaze at Nissa la Bella. It has it all: a panoramic view, archeological remains, shady spaces, and a waterfall. Castle Hill Park also features themed tours, games for kids, and drinkable water fountains. To reach the park, you can take the Art Deco-style elevator located at 1 Rue des Ponchettes.
Article written by: Lucas Berger
Lucas Berger is passionate about travel and guided tours around the world. He works as a Marketing Manager at Regiondo, an online booking software for tourism and entertainment professionals.
Note from New York Habitat:
To experience all of these great attractions in Nice and more, consider booking a vacation rental with New York Habitat! Our Nice vacation rentals offer greater flexibility for travelers, including kitchen facilities and luxury amenities like balconies, gardens, private swimming pools, and more. In addition to discovering the beauty of Nice’s greatest attractions, you can also have the option to live discreetly among locals in a fine furnished apartment for a well-rounded travel experience. Complete a request form to get in touch with a New York Habitat agent to help you start your search, or you can request specific apartments, like this 1-bedroom apartment with a private balcony or this ground-level 1-bedroom apartment with access to a backyard garden and terrace.