Nice, France

Travel Guide

Everything You Need to Know

 Visiting the French Riviera? This Nice Travel Guide has everything you need to know before venturing through this gorgeous destination. Nice, France is an absolute treat, with year-round sunshine, coastal beaches, and historic culture. Just a short flight from Paris, France, Nice attracts many travelers — though that once that wasn’t the case. Back in the 1920’s, Nice’s infrastructure was falling apart. It wasn’t until the 50s and 60s that tourism began to increase across this magical destination, after more investment was made in building up the city.

Today, Nice is one of the largest cities in France, with an estimated population of over 940,000. Additionally, it isthe capital of the Alpes-Maritimes department on the French Riviera. Known for it’s Mediterranean climate, blue coastal waters, and vibrant cultural streets, Nice offers much to see and do. Below, we break down some of our top recommendations including where to stay, what to do, best restaurants, bars and more. Please enjoy and share our Nice Travel Blog with family & friends!

Quick Tips


It is polite to greet everyone you encounter with a friendly bonjour upon arrival, and an au revoir when leaving.

When To Visit

The best time to visit Nice is in September to October, or from mid-March to April.


Similar to many European hot spots, Nice is generally safe but also deals with its fair share of pickpockets.

Getting There

Travelers can enter France for up to 90 days without a visa. If you plan to stay longer, you must obtain the proper visa from one of the French consulates in America prior to departure. For more information concerning entry and exit requirements for France, visit the U.S. State Department’s website. The taxi drivers in Nice are a bit notorious for taking advantage of tourists. If you must take a taxi, negotiate the fare before getting inside and make sure the driver has his or her fare rates displayed (a requirement). If you decide to take a taxi from the airport to the center of Nice, expect to pay a flat rate of 32 euros (around $39). Driving is not recommended as traffic can be frustrating and parking is limited.

What To Expect

Getting Around

Like many French cities, Nice is equipped with a reliable and convenient public transportation system. Buses serve all major tourist attractions as well as the Nice-Ville train station and the Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport (NCE). Ride-hailing services, such as Uber, are also a popular option because they are much cheaper and more convenient than traditional taxis. The Nice airport is just 6km from the centre of the city, making it a stress-free, straightforward process to get to your accommodations.

Best Time to Visit

Although Nice offers one of the warmest winter climates of any Mediterranean destination, this iconic city is still predominantly a summertime destination and it’s between June and August when the crowds are at their heaviest. As such, the spring and fall shoulder seasons are arguably the best time to visit. You can expect lower room rates, but still enough the bright weather. But despite the sun’s warm rays, we recommend packing some extra layers of clothing, even in the summer, since winds sweeping north off the Mediterranean Sea can be slightly chilly.


Similar to many European hot spots, Nice is generally safe but also deals with its fair share of pickpockets. Experts suggest that you not to carry anything valuable or difficult to replace in your pockets. Keep an extra watchful eye on your valuables in commonly targeted areas like buses and restaurants. In recent years, terrorist attacks have become increasingly more common in Western Europe, so be sure to follow local media to stay informed.

Dining Etiquette

If you’re dining out in Nice, you should note the French eat with both hands on the table and always with utensils. The only time you should use your hands is when you are eating bread (which is generally used to push food onto your fork). Never bite directly from a whole piece of bread, rip off bite-sized pieces instead. You can also use your bread to wipe your plate clean. Gratuity is generally included in the bill, but it is customary to round the total up or add an extra 5 percent for extraordinary service. A 10 percent tip is acceptable for maid service at a hotel, as well as for taxi drivers. The official currency in France is the euro, and one euro is equal to approximately $1.23 but the euro to U.S. dollar rate often fluctuates, so check the latest exchange rate before you go. If you find yourself short on euros, almost all restaurants and hotels also accept major credit cards.

What about money

The official currency of France is the euro, and one euro is equal to approximately $1.23 USD. But we recommend checking the latest exchange rate before you go, as the Euro tends to fluctuate. A always, we recommend keeping cash on hand in the local currency, but most restaurants and hotels also accept major credit cards.  In regards to tipping, gratuity is generally included in the bill, but it is customary to round the total up or add an extra 5 percent for extraordinary service. Additionally, a 10 percent tip is acceptable for maid service at a hotel, as well as for taxi drivers.





Cimiez is a neighborhood packed with history. It is an old Roman outpost and was actually Queen Victoria’s farite vacation destination. For centuries, many historic aristocrats and noblemen travelled to this area to enjoy peace, quiet, and paradise on the south coast of France. This is our top recommendation for where to stay in Nice for families.

Le Port

Located east of Old Town, Le Port straddles both sides of the city’s iconic and charming marina. While it’s known as a fun destination for the ‘cool’ boat crowd, it is actually has something to offer everyone – from an afternoon stroll to a night on the town.


Jean-Médecin is Nice’s New Town neighborhood. Home to grand avenues and tree-lined streets, this downtown neighborhood is renowned for its high-end boutique and street shops, as well as it’s world-class museums, top-notch restaurants, and cute cafes.

Old Town

Old Town, or “Vieux Nice”, is the heart of Nice. A dense labyrinth of cobblestone streets, this is where you’ll find colorful buildings, charming shops, quaint cafes and historic landmarks. This is our top recommendation for where to stay in Nice for first-timers.


Gambetta is a small neighborhood on the west side of Nice. Stretching from the train station down to the shores of the Mediterranean, this lively and vibrant borough is where you’ll find a variety of great restaurants, pristine beaches, and plenty of things to do in Nice.



Le Negresco


The most famous hotel in Nice steals the limelight on the city’s beachfront promenade, its salmon-pink cupola also staring out from every postcard stand. Regal touches inside include busts of Marie Antoinette and a Baccarat crystal chandelier, which was originally intended for the tsar of Russia. Since opening in 1913, the unashamedly opulent decor has spanned everything from Louis XIV style to art deco. Though there is not a pool, the hotel offers a private section of beach just out front, as well as the Michelin-starred Le Chantecler restaurant.

Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée


Taking the silver medal in the Promenade des Anglais icon stakes (after Le Negresco), the Palais de la Méditerranée faces the Baie des Anges with full art deco boldness. Behind the vast colonnade that occupies the upper half of the hotel is an outdoor pool that connects through a channel to the indoor pool — a feature that children will appreciate. Welcoming to families, the hotel also offers interconnecting rooms, plus toys and coloring sets in the restaurant. The 1929 façade is all that remains of the original casino hotel, otherwise dismantled in the 1980s. Its modern incarnation is somewhat blandly international in style, though the palm trees outside can’t help but lend some film-star appeal.

La Villa Nice Victor Hugo


Situated between the Promenade des Anglais and the Gare de Nice-Ville train station, La Villa Nice Victor Hugo hotel offers travelers a central location perfect for exploring Nice. Along with its enviable address, the hotel is also beloved by guests for its design aesthetic, namely the juxtaposition between the property’s belle epoque façade and the modern, renovated accommodations.

Villa Victoria Hotel


Standing on the Boulevard Victor Hugo, in a city that was a holiday favorite of Queen Victoria, and whose name came from the Greek word for “victory”, the Villa Victoria Hotel launched with enough auspicious signs to ensure a winning reputation. More concrete reasons for its appeal include sophisticated rooms behind the pistachio-tinted Italianate shutters, and a spacious terrace garden that is dotted with orange trees. Even better, the fruit of these trees helps to supply juice and marmalade at the breakfast buffet.

Hotel Rossetti


Set in a historic building in the network of intertwined streets that makes up Ville Vieille, Hôtel Rossetti is a place of contrasts. The stylish, minimalist interiors clash with the centuries-old exterior and surrounding Baroque architecture in the best way possible. The narrow streets and 17th-century houses of Nice’s old town might discourage many aspiring hoteliers, but the owners here have managed their space well. Highlights include a small shaded courtyard for breakfasts and a comfortable contemporary look inside, more modern east Asian than Mediterranean. This small hotel is on a pedestrian street, with a car park about 400m away on foot. Just steps away from Hôtel Rossetti is the namesake square at the heart of the old town

Excelsior Nice Hotel


Restless types will feel right at home at the Excelsior: a travel theme pervades this place, just steps from the main railway station. Floridly grand on the outside and mostly contemporary in design within, the hotel has taken the old steamer trunk with its borders of brass studs as a theme, copied in cupboards, tables and shelves. Although some of the wall designs extol the railway, others depict the Baie des Anges — a reminder that you’ve settled in Nice, and at a good price for the central location

Things To Do


Explore Old Town

Also known as Vieux Nice, this authentic and historic center of the city is located between the Quai des Etats Unis and Place Massena. We definitely recommend a visit to Place Massena, which is a picturesque square in the Old Town with its arcaded buildings.

Hike Castle Hill

Castle Hill sits on top of a hill overlooking the city of Nice, which divides the city into two parts — the eastern part with the port, and the western part with the Old Town. This beautiful park, which used to be a military citadel, is popular amongst tourists and locals alike, offering breathtaking views of the city, a lovely garden, the ruins of the cathedral and an artificial waterfall

Promenade des Anglais

The most famous attraction in Nice is the palm-tree-lined Promenade des Anglais. The beach is 5 miles long and packed with private beaches and stylish seaside restaurants. The pristine promenade that bends around the Bay of Angels is alive with joggers, cyclists, in-line skaters, walkers and a whole menagerie of small dogs being taken out for their daily exercise. The locals love their pooches, many of which are adorned in the latest bling!

Visit The Hotel Negresco

Built-in 1913, the 5-star Belle Époque Hotel Negresco is one of the most recognizable buildings in Nice and one of the most famous hotels in the world. The hotel is famed for it’s dome, which was designed by Gustave Eiffel, as well as it’s Baccarat chandelier. The Negresco sometimes feels more like a gallery or museum than a hotel, with some sensational art and sculptures.

Relax at Castle Plage Beach Club

Located right on the beach, Castle Plage is one of the most popular beach clubs in Nice. Boasting delicious food, drinks and lounge chairs, its the perfect way to spend a day relaxing by the water. You can easily spend hours here each day, as the atmosphere is both relaxing and lively — depending on what you make of it! Day beds cost around $25 a day.

Cours Saleya

Located in the historic district, Cours Saleya is the largest pedestrian area in Vieux Nice and one of the few places that still retains it’s local and traditional charm. Well known for its colorful flower markets (our favorite part) and stalls selling antiques and food, this place is great for an afternoon stroll.

Take a Day Trip

If you fancy a change of scenary, you are in luck! In just under 30 minutes you can reach the lovely resort town of Antibe, Eze, or even Monaco. With all of these locations just under a 30 minute drive, it is easy to explore new parts of the South of France or even a new country. You can get there by train or by Uber! We recommend not driving, as parking can be a pain in these areas.



Looking for some of the best seafood in Nice? You’ve found it with Peixes, which means fish in Portuguese. The menu is mostly raw: ceviche, tartar, etc., along with some hot dishes like octopus, gnocchi, seasonal vegetables, stuffed cod, smoked fish & more.

This is a meat-lovers heaven – vegetarians should venture elsewhere. Large quantities of braised lamb, roasted pork, rotisserie chicken, veal, and roast beef are served with your choice of potatoes or ratatouille. Be warned, they may run out of chicken – but not to fear, the lamb is tender and juicy. 

This Michelin star restaurant hits it out of the park. Chef Jan brings his South African touch to French cuisine to create a tasting adventure of flavors. The whole experience was top notch, including the ambiance, service, and of course, the food and drinks.

An upscale, candle-lit outfit with vaulted ceilings, offering classic cuisine & an organic wine list. In the kitchen, the chef creates contemporary dishes which make the most of local flavors. His dishes are as lavish and tasty as they come. Estate wines; friendly atmosphere.

This laid-back, local pizza joint is a great spot for late night munchies (or drunchies) or a delicious dinner. Centered on the corner of Old Town streets, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy thin crust pizza while people watching.

For a relaxed bistro feeling, this is the spot to be. With a mix between Mediterranean & Italian, you’ll find favorites like paella & pizza. Bonus points for this restaurant include great location and a bustling terrace.

Drink Spots

Established in 1991, this is a classic spot that blends French clientele with a London pub feel. With live musc almost every night, it is a great place to start off your night! You can expect great pints  and good times with English-speaking tourists and expats, as well as local students and young professionals.

Trendy cocktail bar at the port of Nice. The bar is open year-round and offers a retro atmosphere, friendly bar staff, and great patio seating overlooking the harbor. Here, the cocktail is elevated by meticulous bartenders.

This laid-back nightclub offers two floors and two terraces, DJs and live bands, colorful cocktails, and a variety of tasty tapas. Head up to the 2nd-floor terrace, overlooking the Promenade des Anglais, and enjoy one of the delicious cocktails. It’s a great spot to enjoy the sunset and start your evening of partying with drinks and DJs

The Bulldog Pub, also known by its original name, the “Pub Pompeii”, organizes live rock concerts every night, in their bar with rock-themed décor.  It’s a must-see bar in the old town, where all generations meet for drinks and dancing in close quarters.

Modern and trendy lounge vibes, right in the heart of Nice. Both a stylish indoor lounge and a beautiful outdoor terrace, where you can indulge in breathtaking views over the city rooftops and the magnificent Notre Dame Basilica.

If you are looking for a more laid back lounge type bar, this is the place for you. Pacific is an elegant new restaurant and lounge with couches, hookah’s and high end Mediterranean eats.


With year-round sunshine, beach front views and a city full of life, Nice, France is a must on your next European vacation. One of the best parts of this city? It’s close vicinity to several other France destinations. In fact, you could easily post up in Nice for months and explore endless cities nearby. If you are planning an entire French Riviera trip, be sure to check out our Cannes Travel Guide, Eze Day Trip Guide & Monaco Travel Guide for additional recommendations on these neighboring spots.  If there is one take away that we hope you get from our Nice Travel Guide, it’s that this city should be high up on your travel bucket list! Thanks for reading and please share! 

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