Are you on the search for the best things to do in Nice, France? We’ve got you covered! Keep reading…
This guide covers the top Nice attractions, including museums, historical sites, and more!
We also list some of the best day tours from the city (and some tasty places to eat!).
Nice truly is one of the best weekend getaways in France and we encourage you to take a trip there!
Did we miss any essential Nice landmarks? Let us know in the comments. Thanks!
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Best Things to Do in Nice
1. Take a Half-Day Boat Trip to Monaco & Eze
Get ready for an unforgettable adventure along the stunning French Riviera on a breathtaking boat trip from Nice to Monaco and Eze. True, this is not in Nice, but it is the most epic half-day trip from the city (leaving you enough time for other activities).
This 5-hour boat trip is the perfect way to soak in the glamour and beauty of the Côte d’Azur.
As you depart from the bustling city of Nice, you’ll be immediately surrounded by stunning views of the Mediterranean, and the gentle sound of waves lapping against the boat will soothe your soul.
The natural landscapes will be interrupted by the views of the Promenade des Anglais and the medieval village of Eze. You’ll also head to Monaco where you will see beautiful Monte Carlo and the Formula 1 Circuit.
You’ll be amazed by the turquoise waters and the towering cliffs and see why this region is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world.
This tour is wheelchair-accessible and books up quickly – so be sure to secure your spot in advance! It operates year-round.
2. Go on a Gorges du Verdon and Lavender Fields Day Trip
A day trip to the Gorges du Verdon and the lavender fields is a journey through the breathtaking countryside scenery of Southern France.
The Gorges du Verdon, also known as the Grand Canyon of Verdon, is a stunning 700-meter-deep canyon that winds its way through the heart of the Verdon Regional Nature Park.
One day tour from Nice will show you all the wonders of Provence, from Moustiers-Sainte-Marie village under a rocky cliff to the Verdon gorges, having stopped in the medieval French town of Castella, the Plateau de Valensole, and the Lac de Sainte-Croix.
The most romantic scenes are waiting for you in the lavender fields. This is a magnificent sight to behold, with rolling hills covered in the fragrant blooms of the lavender plant, creating a sea of purple.
This region is famous for high-quality lavender essential oil production and is one of the most popular spots for photography and picnicking.
The tour of the lavender fields is seasonal (May 15 – July 15).
3. Check Out the Matisse Museum
The Musée Matisse in Nice is a true treasure trove for art enthusiasts, dedicated to the works of the French artist Henri Matisse.
Nestled in the historic district of Cimiez, the museum occupies the grandeur of a 17th-century Villa des Arènes.
The museum boasts an extensive collection of over 200 works, including paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures, that trace the artist’s development throughout his life.
Beyond just the artworks, the museum also holds a wealth of personal objects and archives, offering a unique glimpse into Matisse’s life and creative process.
The Musée Matisse also hosts temporary exhibitions featuring works by contemporary artists and educational activities.
The museum is open from Wednesdays to Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
When you are done exploring the museum, go around to the back of the museum building to discover the ruins of a Roman bath complex in a 2000-year-old olive grove with the ruins of a Roman amphitheater.
Address: 164 Av. des Arènes de Cimiez, 06000 Nice
4. Transplant Yourself to Armenia at Armavir Restaurant
Take the time to visit one of the tastiest restaurants in Nice that offers a cozy terrace and famous Armenian dishes including tolma, tan, lavash, khorovats (Armenian BBQ), and so much more.
I visited Armavir Restaurant this September (2023) and as an Armenian, I can confirm it is delicious and worth visiting on your trip!
The founder of Armavir Restaurant is a family that relocated to Nice from my region (Armavir) and if you check Google reviews, it is quite the beloved place in the French city!
Be sure to finish your stop at Armavir with a warm, Armenian coffee before heading out to explore the rest of Nice.
Address: 40 Bd Risso, 06300 Nice
5. Check Out the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat Peninsula
If you want to escape the crowded city center of Nice and visit one of the most beautiful places nearby, head to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, which is a short journey from the Nice central train station.
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula is home to the famous Saint-Hospice Chapel which was built in the 11th century, as well as beaches like Les Fosses and Paloma Beach.
It’s also possible to do a 12-kilometer (7.4-mile) hike around the peninsula and discover the epic and rocky coastline while getting a little bit of exercise in.
You’ll also find plenty of shops there but don’t leave without stopping at one of the restaurants with panorama views (Le Cap and La Table du Royal-Riviera are two of the best).
6. Go to the Cimiez Roman Ruins and the Archeological Museum
If you’re a history buff or simply enjoy exploring ancient ruins, a visit to the Cimiez Roman ruins and the Archeological Museum is a must. Nestled in the hills above the city, this area is home to the remains of a once-thriving Roman city.
One of the highlights of Cimiez is the Roman arena, used for games of gladiators and public spectacles. The arena was considered “small” at the time, having a capacity of 5000 spectators.
The 2,000-year-old arena still stands, giving a glimpse into what life was like during the Roman era.
You will also discover the beautifully restored Roman baths, providing a fascinating look at the advanced engineering and technology of the time.
You will see the three separate baths—the warm room, the dry room, and the hot room—finished with marble floors and glass windows.
To learn even more about the history of the Roman city, be sure to visit the Archeological Museum in Cimiez.
This museum showcases a collection of artifacts and exhibits that give insight into daily life in ancient times, including mosaics, pottery, and other objects.
Address: 160 Av. des Arènes de Cimiez, 06000 Nice
7. Peruse the Renoir Museum in Cagnes-sur-Mer
The Renoir Museum in Cagnes-sur-Mer is a must-visit for art lovers traveling to the French Riviera, showcasing a comprehensive collection of works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, one of the most famous Impressionist painters of all time.
The museum, housed in Renoir’s former villa, boasts an extensive collection of his paintings, 30 sculptures, and personal belongings, giving you a unique view of the artist’s daily life.
You can admire Renoir’s masterpieces, including 15 original works and studio furniture, as well as learn more about his life and career through various interactive displays and multimedia presentations.
One of the museum highlights is the idyllic garden with olive, orange, and lemon trees, where Renoir used to spend many hours painting and relaxing.
Take a stroll through the lush gardens and enjoy the beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding countryside.
In addition to the permanent collection, the museum regularly hosts special exhibitions and cultural events, making it a dynamic and exciting destination for visitors of all ages.
Address: Musée Renoir, 19 Chem. des Collettes, 06800 Cagnes-sur-Mer
8. Wander through the Old Town (Vieille Ville)
The Old Town of Nice (Vieille Ville), also called Vieux Nice, is a charming neighborhood below Castle Hill filled with historic buildings.
The triangle-shaped Old Town boasts historic sites, authentic French restaurants, shops, and local markets.
You can best experience a tour in the Old Town early in the morning, starting with the Cours Saleya with its flower stalls, cafes, and restaurants.
From there, you can explore the narrow streets that lead off from Place Massena, each lined with colorful houses and historic buildings.
You can also visit the 17th-century Cathedrale Sainte-Reparate and the 16th-century Chapelle de la Misericorde, two of the oldest buildings in Nice.
It will take about 3 hours to wander from square to square, but take your time to explore all the alleys to find charming restaurants.
Find the rue de la Préfecture, running parallel to Cours Saleya, and continue north to Place Garibaldi and Place Rossetti, with numerous bars and open-air restaurants.
9. Indulge in Gelato at Fenocchio
There are numerous ice cream shops in Nice Old Town, but if you want to taste real ice cream, Fenocchio is definitely the maître glacier, selling the best scoops since 1966.
Today, the iconic family-run ice cream parlor offers an incredible selection of 59 ice cream flavors and 35 sorbet flavors.
From classic favorites like vanilla and chocolate to more adventurous tastes like rose and lavender, cactus, avocado, olive, beer, and tomato, Fenocchio has something for everyone.
For bigger happiness, they have frozen cakes, including the “County of Nice” specialty.
What sets Fenocchio apart is its commitment to quality. All the ice creams and sorbets are made daily on-site, using only the freshest ingredients. This ensures that every scoop is rich, creamy, and bursting with flavor.
Whether you’re a local or a tourist, visiting Fenocchio is an absolute must for any ice cream lover.
Address: 2 Pl. Rossetti, 06300 Nice
10. Stop by the Flower Market at Cours Saleya
The flower market at Cours Saleya is a celebration of the senses and definitely a must-visit place in Vieux Nice.
With rows of vibrant flowers—orchids, cacti, ferns, lilies, and roses—you’ll find yourself surrounded by the sweet fragrance of blooming flowers and their vibrant colors.
Marché aux Fleurs Cours Saleya is a flower market, but it also offers seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, olives, nuts, and Mediterranean spices. Those colors make the scene even more dazzling.
One thing to keep in mind when visiting the market is that flowers and food parts have different working hours.
Marché aux Fleurs is open every day except Mondays from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays from 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Visit the market early in the morning if you want fresh flowers and food, but for the best deals, you’d better visit it later.
Besides shopping, the flower market is an excellent place to taste the best food in Nice.
Your “must-eat” list should include socca, pissaladière, pan bagnat from Chez Theresa, tapenade and anchoïade, and local rosé wine.
11. Climb Castle Hill
Find yourself in a paradise on the French Riviera, climbing Castle Hill for literally the best view of the city and the coastline. On a clear day, you may even be able to see as far as Corsica.
The views are equally spectacular during the day and after sunset when the city is lit up with night lights. Castle Hill, rising 92 meters above the city, was a strategic lookout point with a citadel. Unfortunately, not much is left of the citadel.
The popular site can be reached by several routes, but the most popular one is the staircase from the Promenade d’Anglais.
At the top of the hill, you’ll find the ruins of an old castle and three cemeteries, Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant, with monumental gravestones.
A cute spot not to miss on the hill is Cascade Dijon, an artificial waterfall with a nice background for your photos.
Watch out for your steps because the ground is very slippery. If you are tired, you can always find a free bench in the park or have a picnic while enjoying the tranquility.
12. Try Socca at Chez Pipo
As a traveler, discovering local cuisine is always a pleasant highlight of any trip. And in Nice, a dish you simply can’t miss is socca.
This traditional snack, made from chickpea flour and olive oil, is a staple in the region and offers a delicious and satisfying taste of Nice’s rich culinary heritage. Socca is best paired with rosé wine and is good any time of the day.
Socca can be found everywhere in Nice, but for the best socca in Nice, Chez Pipo is the name to know.
The restaurant, with a century-old history and a 300-year-old oven, offers the most popular socca in the town, served right from the oven.
You will have to wait a little longer at the table at lunch, but it will be worth it. Order traditional socca with Mediterranean spreads and leave room for sweet chard pie.
Address: 13 Rue Bavastro, 06000 Nice
13. Explore the Musée Masséna
The Musée Masséna is a must-see site on the Promenade des Anglais. Housed in a beautiful Belle Époque building, a unique architectural jewel, the museum offers a glimpse into the opulence and elegance of life during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
It was built in Italian neoclassical style and served as the winter residence for Prince Essling, grandson of Napoleon.
The museum’s permanent collection showcases a wealth of artifacts and artwork, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and other decorative objects that highlight the luxury and beauty of life on the French Riviera during this period. You will see Napoleon’s death mask by Doctor Arnolt, Joséphine’s diadem, the book of the Prefect Liegeard, etc.
The first floor is captivating with its grandeur and magnificent staircase. You will see the dining room with garden views and the heavily decorated living room with paintings, wood, and marble details.
The second floor is devoted to the history before WWII, while the third floor showcases photos and posters from the Nice Carnaval. Finish exploring the museum and head to the closest café, Café Frei, the best coffee house in Nice.
Address: 65 Rue de France, 06000 Nice
14. See a Football Match at Allianz Riviera Stadium
The Allianz Riviera Stadium, also called the Grand Stadium Allianz Riviera, is home to OGC Nice, one of the top football clubs in the French Ligue 1.
The stadium is a place of life, hosting matches of OGC, tennis, motorsports, concerts, and major city events. With a seating capacity of over 35,000–45,000 spectators, the stadium offers a fantastic match-day experience for football fans.
The Allianz Riviera is known for its modern facilities, comfortable seating, and stunning views of the surrounding area.
You can take a guided tour to discover this sports moment, but attending a match at the Allianz Riviera is an unforgettable experience not to be missed.
From the electric atmosphere of the crowds to the excitement on the pitch, a football match at the Allianz Riviera is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the heart of Nice’s sporting culture.
You can check the timeline of upcoming games and events on the OGC’s official website and book tickets online.
Address: Bd des Jardiniers, 06200 Nice
15. Walk the Promenade des Anglais
The Promenade des Anglais is a famous seaside promenade stretching seven kilometers along the Mediterranean Sea with stunning views of the ocean and the city’s skyline. It is an essential landmark even if you’re visiting Nice in winter!
The palm trees lining the promenade provide a tropical feel, while the luxury hotels, casinos, and restaurants offer a taste of the high life.
Take a stroll down the promenade, and you’ll come across small bakeries and wine shops, perfect for grabbing a bite to eat or picking up a souvenir.
With over 30 beaches along the way, including private and public ones, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take a refreshing dip.
The major attraction of the promenade is the Colline du Château, the remains of the original Chateau de Nice, with striking views of the promenade.
But perhaps the greatest event held on the Promenade des Anglais is the annual Nice Carnival, held in February.
This event attracts millions of guests to enjoy the performances of over 1,000 artists in colorful parades. So, pack your bags and join the fun!
16. Relax on the Beach
The city of Nice is a perfect blend of elegance and natural beauty. With its sparkling blue waters, sunny skies, and lush landscapes, it’s no surprise that the city is known for its breathtaking beaches.
For those seeking a relaxing getaway, the Promenade d’Anglias offers 15 private and 20 public pebbled beaches in Nice. It is a must for every Nice itinerary (in summer, of course!).
Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to sunbathe or an action-packed beach experience, there is something for everyone.
The Plage Publique des Ponchettes, located in the Old Town, is a popular spot for families with its shallow waters and playful atmosphere.
La Reserve is a local-favorite beach with an old diving board often used for jumping into the water.
There are no cafes or restaurants, so picnicking can be a great option.
For a unique experience, choose Castel Plage, the best private beach with comfortable lounges, great food, and service.
17. Visit Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is a stunning Belle Epoque-style villa and a true jewel of the Côte d’Azur, surrounded by nine themed gardens.
The villa was built between 1905 and 1912 for the wealthy socialite and art collector Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild.
The villa is set amidst beautiful gardens, including the central French garden, a copy of Versailles.
Fifteen architects and designers succeeded each other in creating this masterpiece of architecture and interior design, showcasing the baroness’ extensive art collection and her love for beauty and elegance.
Today, you can explore the villa and its gardens, including its elegant reception rooms, stylish salons, and spacious terraces. The villa is also home to an impressive collection of art, furnishings, and decorative objects you can explore with an audio guide.
Every Monday and Tuesday during the summer months, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild lights up with all the night lights, creating a real magical world.
Address: 1 Av. Ephrussi de Rothschild, 06230 Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
18. Take a French Riviera Day Tour to Cannes, Antibes, and St. Paul de Vence
If you’re looking for a way to experience the best of the French Riviera in just one day, look no further than a 5-hour round-tour of Cannes, Antibes, and St. Paul de Vence! Have a chance to drive along the coastline, embracing the views.
Cannes is the epitome of glamour and sophistication, known for its iconic film festival and the Boulevard de la Croisette, a stunning promenade lined with designer shops and upscale cafes.
Next, head to Antibes, a charming town with a well-preserved old town, with its Provencal architecture and a picturesque harbor.
Last but not least, visit St. Paul de Vence, a hilltop village that offers breathtaking views of the French countryside.
The village is famous for its narrow streets and artists’ galleries, and it’s the perfect place to relax and soak up the atmosphere.
19. Discover the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate de Nice
The Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate de Nice is a stunning example of Baroque architecture, dedicated to Saint Reparata, the patron saint of Nice.
It rises above one of the busiest squares in Old Town, leaving thousands of passersby in awe of its grandeur.
The cathedral’s exterior features intricate carvings and sculptures, including a series of gargoyles and a beautiful rose window.
Inside, the cathedral, with ten chapels, is adorned with colorful stained-glass windows, intricate frescoes, and a huge organ.
The highlight of the cathedral is its grand altar, made of marble and adorned with golden statues.
The Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate de Nice is also known for its religious significance; it is an active place of worship and serves as the seat of the Archbishop of Nice. The cathedral is open to visitors year-round.
Address: 3 Pl. Rossetti, 06300 Nice
20. Enjoy a Gourmet Walking Tour of Old Nice
A 4-hour gourmet walking tour of Old Nice is a culinary adventure that takes you through the winding streets of Vieux Nice, where you’ll get acquainted with the best of Nice’s gastronomy.
You will have about 10 tasting stops at local producers and discover ancient recipes inspired by two cultures.
You’ll start by sampling some of the region’s famous olive oils and visiting a local market to see the fresh produce before moving on to taste traditional Niçoise dishes like socca, a type of chickpea flatbread, and pan bagnat, a tuna sandwich.
As you walk, your guide will share the history and culture of Nice and point out landmarks and the colorful courtyards of the old town.
Next, visit local specialty food shops, like a boulangerie for flaky croissants and a patisserie for delicate pastries.
Along the way, you’ll also taste local cheese and wine, accompanied by expert explanations of their production process and unique flavors.
21. Explore the Place Massena
At the center of Nice lies Place Masséna, an iconic public square renowned for its vibrant atmosphere and magnificent 19th-century architecture.
Here you’ll find a wealth of luxury shops, restaurants, and cafes, all neatly tucked within the surrounding elegant buildings.
Place Masséna marks the start of Avenue Jean Médecin, the city’s renowned shopping street.
The square is also home to several notable monuments, including a statue of André Masséna himself as well as a bronze statue of Apollo, the Greek god of music and poetry. Look up to find the seven statues, sitting on the pillars.
These statues of Jame Plensa symbolize the continents and are illuminated in different colors during the night.
The square also features a large fountain, which is a popular spot for visitors to take in the square’s bustling atmosphere.
The fountain is surrounded by beautiful gardens and trees, providing a peaceful oasis in the city’s heart.
22. Photograph the Famous Port
The Port of Nice, also known as Lympia Port, is a major commercial port for the region that handles a large volume of passenger traffic, serving as a hub for ferry services and cruise ships. It consists of a 10-hectare water plan and 7 hectares of land.
You can catch ferries and ships to Saint-Tropez, Corsica, Sardinia, and Cannes. The port offers a variety of services for boats and yachts, including mooring, fuel, and maintenance.
Additionally, the port is a popular tourist destination, surrounded by restaurants, shops, and cafes.
With its central location, you can easily access the Old Town of Nice, the Promenade d’Anglais, the Île de Beauté square on the northern bank of the port with the church of Notre-Dame du Port, the gay-friendly Rue Bonaparte, and the Marché aux Puces for paintings and vintage furniture.
23. See the Cimiez Monastery
The Monastère de Cimiez in the picturesque Cimiez neighborhood was founded by Franciscan monks and has a rich history of religious and cultural significance.
The monastery is a beautiful blend of architectural styles, from Renaissance to Baroque, with a mix of elegant courtyards, chapels, frescoes, and a magnificent cloister, considered one of the most beautiful in the region.
The central part is the carved wood monumental altarpiece with gold leaf by artist Louis Bréa.
The monastery also boasts a beautiful Italian-style garden and a cemetery where Henri Matisse and other famous people are buried.
By the way, the garden is among the oldest in Nice, with over 100 types of flowers and a rose garden with 30 species.
The Monastery of Cimiez is also home to a museum, which displays a collection of religious artifacts, including statues, paintings, and other objects that tell the story of the monastery and its history.
Address: Place Jean-Paul II Pape, 06000 Nice
24. Check Out the Musée National Marc Chagall
The Musée National Marc Chagall is dedicated to the works of the famous French-Russian artist Marc Chagall. The museum occupies a modern building with lots of light inside the halls.
It is located on Cimiez Hill, surrounded by a Mediterranean garden bringing into balance the blue and white shades of the building.
The collection is organized around his works on Old Testament themes, combined with over 400 paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures, as well as a wealth of archival materials, including letters, photographs, and personal items.
The first hall of the museum is occupied by his twelve large-size paintings illustrating scenes from Genesis and Exodus. The smaller hall is occupied by five compositions.
One of the highlights of the museum is the famous “Entombment” painting, a large-scale work that was created as a tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.
Every first Sunday of the month, the museum offers free admission.
Address: Av. Dr Ménard, 06000 Nice
Things to Do in Nice (On a Map!)
Where to Stay in Nice
If you’re looking for some of the top places to stay in Nice, these are some excellent options!
- Appartements Massena (excellent location!)
- Palais Gioffredo (near the sea!)
- Alyon (great for couples!)
- Candille (in the center!)
Did we miss any of the best things to do in Nice?
Let us know your favorite attractions in Nice in the comments. Thanks!
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Aram is a travel blogger and writer from Armenia who spends his time between Spain and his home country. He is passionate about music and football (the European kind) and covers a lot of Western European destinations on the blog. Aram is a laidback traveler who enjoys meeting new people and finding the best food in each city that he visits (hence his frequent trips to France, Italy, and Greece!). He has been featured in (or written for) Forbes, BBC, The Guardian, Fodor’s Travel, and more.