The world's most famous coastline is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Nice. The enchanting city boasts many museums, churches and ancient buildings that can engage lovers of history for days. But apart from culture and art, there are many other options such as large shopping centers, luxury shops, flea markets, and of course, a spectacular and luxurious beach for resting on after all the running around. So that you don’t have to put too much effort into making up an itinerary and searching through the wide range of options that Nice has to offer, we’ve put together a list of the top 8 places you need to see when visiting!
Since many people tend to think that the first place to visit when arriving in Nice is the beach, it is important for us to emphasize that the Old City is the best starting point for a trip to the magical city. The tour between the yellow and orange-brown houses, spread over paved stone alleys and antique street lamps, creates an unforgettable experience that takes you back in time to the city’s history. The city's streets offer an enchanting view, whispering to travelers to forget about their daily routine, and calling on them to "get lost" among the crowd, with soothing stops between the scattered shops and the cafes.
Although most of the original structure of the old fortress has collapsed, there are still few remains for which it is worth climbing the 300 steps leading to the top of the hill. If stair climbing is an activity you’d prefer to skip, there are two other alternatives, one with a medium level of effort that includes a lift with an elevator almost to the top, with the remainder having to be completed by climbing a few steps. The second option is to take a tourist train up to the top of the hill taking a tour of the area's main attractions. On your way to the Citadel, stroll through the charming park surrounding it, take a picture of the artificial waterfall and enjoy a spacious park where you can relax and have a picnic. When you reach the summit, you’ll see a breathtaking view overlooking the city’s rooftops and be impressed by the sights of one of the beautiful panoramic spots you've probably ever seen.
Not far from Castle Hill is the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, which features modern works from the 1950s to contemporary works. The three-story museum is actually two buildings connected by transparent bridges, from which you can look out over the nearby Pylon River. Inside the museum, there are 9 large halls where works by prominent modern artists such as Martinez, Armand and Eve Klein are permanently exhibited. After passing through the spectacular exhibition halls, you should visit the museum’s roof, where you can view large areas of the city and enjoy a good meal in the museum's restaurant.
Apart from being one of the main and central roads in Nice, Avenue Jean Médecin is also considered the most vibrant and inviting shopping area in the city. Here you can shop till you drop, as well as enjoy occasional street performances. Among the hundreds of small and stylish shops located on the avenue, you will also find international chains and of course the French flagship store "Galeries Lafayette" and the Nice Etoile shopping mall. Even if you decide to travel alone, you definitely won’t feel lonely here as the street is lively all hours of the day.
This ancient Franciscan monastery was built in the 16th century as a chapel and residence for the monks who lived there, but today it also serves as a museum that depicts the Franciscan Order in France since the 13th century. The museum's magnificent and well-kept complex boasts a variety of flora and fauna, as well as rose-climbing shrubs that give the monastery a rich look especially when in bloom. Inside the museum, there are works of art and written documents from the Renaissance period, and in the courtyard, there is an ancient cemetery where familiar figures such as Matisse, Di Gar, and others are buried. If you arrive during the summer, you should keep up to date with the various shows held in the magical gardens during the sunny season.
If you like to explore local markets, a tour of the flower, vegetable and fruit market of Nice is the most recommended place for you. Here you can enjoy plenty of colorful, exotic and impressive products that you won’t find anywhere else in the city. The supply of products you can find in the market is huge, so take a look at the stores before making any purchases. In order to experience this charming European market atmosphere, it is best that you arrive early (just after 6 am) before breakfast. It is important that you know that other than Mondays - when the market becomes a flea market, and Sunday afternoon, the shops are open from 6 am to 5:30 pm.
In the hills above the city of Nice, between shallow pools of water and lavender flowers, olive and thyme trees, stands the Marc Chagall Museum. The museum, which is dedicated to the biblical works of the Russian-born Jewish artist, displays stunning stained-glass windows and paintings with motifs from the Bible, including the story of Jacob's dream, the binding of Isaac and other paintings highlighted by vivid colors that tell other stories. The collection of these important works was donated by Chagall and his wife to the French state in 1966 and 1972 and since then it has been their home. In addition, the museum hosts changing exhibitions every summer, each time devoted to another great artist from different periods in history.
After an arduous day of shopping trips or historical tours, there’s nothing like finishing your trip on a promenade in front of an enchanting beach filled with blue sea chairs that have become the trademark of the Nice coastline. The promenade is definitely an area where you can travel whenever you choose and you’ll for sure never be alone because the place is bustling 24 hours a day. In addition, you can take a walk along the coastline as close as possible to the water, ride a bike along the promenade or just step out to buy cold ice cream or a warm crepe as only the French know how to make.