Welcome to the French Riviera
Vibrant nightlife | Undiscovered paths | Lazy harbours
The French Riviera is synonymous with yachting, events and sunny seasons; it fuses captivating coastal towns with designer shopping and exotic cuisines, whilst providing the option to escape to the medieval villages and dramatic hilltops.
Nestled on the French Riviera in between Monacco and Cannes, Nice and the surrounding area offers the perfect location in which to explore the French Riviera. Nice is known for its fantastic climate, fabulous beaches and beautiful coastline with mesmerizing views. With the most museums after Paris and year round festivals, it offers both a beach destination and an art and cultural hub.
Originally part of Italy the Nice’s mixed heritage can be seen al around from its architecture, cuisine and lifestyle. There is so much on Nice’s doorstep, it’s no wonder it has been a tourist hub for over 400,000 years. It’s central location on the Côte d’Azur make Nice the perfect destination to explore all the wonders of this fabulous coastline.
We highly recommend the following most popular attractions and numerous activities in and around the Nice area. You can also check out the Villefranche events here.
A glamourous harbour with small fishing boats, yachts and large ships sharing the port.
A beautiful area perfect for holiday pictures. Traditional buildings surrounding the Fountain du Soleil.
A public street garden area with modern water features and parks.
A 17th century Baroque palace. Traditional frescoed ceilings inside with tapestries and antique musical instruments filling the rooms.
To many to mention!
Fondation Maeght St Paul de Vence. There is a collection of Giocommetti, work by Braque, Chagall and Miro in interesting outside and inside settings.
Picasso Museum, Antibes
Overlooking the sea and well worth a visit.
Chagall Museum. Our favourite art museum in Nice, beautifully laid out
So many houses of architectural importance most with beautiful landscaped gardens. Here are a few.
Ephrussi Villa and Gardens (Rothschild villa)
Villa Kerylos, Beaulieu
Eileen Grays Modernist House, Roquebrun St Martin
The picturesque Old Town of Nice, with its maze of narrow alleyways and cobblestone streets, has a lively ambience reminiscent of Italy.
With an abundance of market stalls selling everything from fresh flowers, to fish to fruit to art, you are bound to find the perfect souvenir here.
The most symbolic street in Nice, the Promenade des Anglais is a gorgeous pedestrian area that follows the curve of the Baie des Anges beaches. This legendary seaside road is lined with planted palm trees and filled with elegant gardens.
On a hill overlooking the Nice coastline, the site of Castle Hill was the first area of Nice to be inhabited by the Greeks two millennia ago.
This shady oasis features leafy palms, a waterfall, and winding paths that invite leisurely strolls. Several spots offer incredible panoramic views of the Baie des Anges, the Vieille Ville, and Nice harbour.
Nestled in the stylish quarter of Cimiez directly above the ancient ruins of Cemenelum. Below the monastery are vestiges of the Roman baths and amphitheatre.
Wander the monastery’s luxuriant grounds, landscaped with Mediterranean trees and a rose garden. Vantage points from the garden offer sweeping views of the town all the way to the sea.
Built in 1912 by Tsar Nicholas, the Cathédrale Orthodoxe Russe Saint-Nicolas is considered one of the most beautiful Orthodox churches outside Russia. Designed in the Muscovite style, the cathedral’s richly decorated interior has the appearance of a jewel box with its ornamental icons, murals, and gilded iconostasis.
The cathedral is still used as a place of worship. Visitors are admitted but must respect certain rules.
The Opéra de Nice is the principal opera venue in Nice, France, which houses the Ballet Nice Méditerrannée and the Nice Philharmonic Orchestra.
For a sundowner head, to Hotel Meridien for panoramic views of the bay.
For a more lively night, Wayne’s bar is full of a younger crowd each night.
A few train stops down the coast lead you to Cannes, which is brimming with a vast array of bars and clubs, or push the boat out and head to Monaco to try your hand in the casino.
There are many coastal walks in and around Nice our personal favourite is Cap St Jean Ferrat. To get there take the 81 bus towards Menton/Porte St Jean from Nice and get off at Plage Passable to walk around the Cap St Jean Ferrat. Alternatively get off at Kerylos and walk back past Beaulieu to Villefranche.
Boat Trips / Ferries / Boat Hire
A ferry service is available from Nice Port to a number of destinations including:
St Tropez; La Corniche d’Or (between Cannes/St Raphael); San Remo (Italy); Various ports in Corsica. We can particularly recommend the 1 hour boat trip around Villefranche bay which leaves from the Cote d’Azur office at Nice Port and also the Lerin Island /Corniche trip which leaves at 9am and returns at 7pm. The islands are unspoilt, wildlife spots with nice swim and picnic spots, but take your beach shoes as there are pebbles.
If you want to hire your own boat there are a lot of options; We hired a boat and skipper through Dark Pelican Boat Rental in Villefranche. Reservations [email protected] or Tel +33 (0) 4 93 01 76 54. They are found down on the Port in Villefranche. You can hire a Fun Yak sitting 5 people for the day. If you have Powerboat II license you can hire larger boats without a skipper.
A beach parasol and beach cushions/mat are provided for your use in the lounge cupboard. Beach shoes are a helpful addition if you are swimming in the sea, as the pebbles can be hard on your feet. Castel Plage (our nearest private beach) and Beau Rivage (opp Cours Saleya) are the two private beaches we would particularly recommend, offering sunbeds/Wi-Fi/changing rooms/showers/hessian carpets to beach and bar/food service to your sunbed etc . They do deals for half day usage.
If you want to explore other beaches there are some lovely ones to visit:
Get the train to Roquebrun St Martin (dir Ventimiglia), follow sign to La Buse Beach from station/steps down). Villefranche main beach (best to go by train as beach is just under train stop). Plage d’afrique Beaulieu.
Cycle the Promenade
Velos blues are popular in Nice, there are nearly 2000 of them to hire, and 175 bike stations. You needn’t be a cycling pro, as the promenade provides a flat and enjoyable cycle! Here’s a tip- the first 30 minutes are free, so unlock it and return it back to a stand half an hour later and get another one out!
Visitor Information Centre
A small tourist information office is situated near the fountain at Place Massena, and another on the Promenade des Anglais next to the Casino.
What better way to experience French Cuisine than on the French Riviera! You don’t need us to tell you about how fantastic the food of France is, but the food within this area of France has something for everyone. Being on the Mediterranean seafood and fresh ingredient’s is on the menu! There is also an abundance of freshly baked patisseries and gelato ice cream. Why not try some local specialties such as Socca, Salade Niçoise, La Daube Niçoise or a Pissaladière.
When you step out the apartment there are several épiceries, boulangeries to get essentials; or head up the high street by tram or foot to Monoprix, the supermarket. In Place St Francois the daily fish market sells fresh catches and finishes as the fishmonger’s energy levels deplete, or Cours Saleya is the place for fresh fruit, veg and traditional nibbles, every day until about 1.30pm except Monday when it is a flea market. There is an abundance of ice-cream bars most are open until at least midnight, with many opting to have their pudding here rather than in a restaurant.
French European Restaurant.
5 Rue Droite, Old Town (round corner from flat, same road as Acchiardo).
Tel: 04 93 85 72 32
Try the three course fixed price menu for only 15.00€ 3 course it’s fantastic value!
19 Rue Alsace Lorraine (near Gare SNCF stop, Rue Jean Medecin).
Tel: 04 93 82 19 60
Really enjoyable! Choice of four roast meats roasted over spit.
8 Rue Mascoinat (a couple of mins from flat through the cathedral square/place Rossetti)
Tel: 04 93 76 18 80
Family cuisine with Nice flavours. Opposite the Place St Francois fish market – seats outside and upstairs inside. Lots of locals eat here.
Rue Pairoliere. 15 Place-Saint Francois.
Tel: 04 93 62 38 39
Wine bar with outdoor seating but also serves food. Highly recommended by others.
8 Rue St Vincent.
Tel: 04 89 22 68 98
Traditional French menu.
27 Rue de la Prefecture.
Tel: 04 93 85 29 57
A cheese lovers dream, there is every cheese dish you can imagine!
29 Rue Benoit Bunico.
Tel: 04 93 13 07 83
Great place to eat wide variety of salads, meat and pasta dishes.
8 Bis Rue du Collet.
Tel: 04 93 13 06 45
Traditional tavern, lovely inside and outside terrace. Local dishes and pizzas cooked over the wood fire.
25 Rue Massena.
Tel: 04 93 87 77 57
Excellent! This busy restaurant has been run by the same Italian family for a nearly 100 years, reliably good. Only open weekdays, closed weekends.
38 Rue Droite.
Tel: 04 93 85 51 16
A foodie favourite! Freshly caught fish is the speciality of the day. There is a lovely terrace and outside seating area.
28 Quai Lunel.
Tel: 04 93 55 21 70
Open for more than a 100 years this is the place to go to discover top quality seafood. It is in a brasserie atmosphere.
5 Place Garibaldi.
Tel: 04 93 62 29 52
Amazing restaurant that features in the Michelin Guide, this restaurant brings together all the best flavours of the Mediterranean.
6 Rue Chauvain.
Tel: 04 93 01 84 83
Quiet house in the country inn decor of Gairaut, close to the centre of Nice. Good local cuisine and a great place to escape the city centre. Take the No 25 bus there, it’s a
20-30 min bus ride (stop “l’aire st Michael”).
176 Avenue de Rimiez.
Tel: 33 (0) 4 93 84 49 66
Delicatessen and bistro known for its antipasti, pasta, cured meats, cheeses and tiramisu.
4 Rue Rusca, Nice Port.
Tel: 04 93 14 08 29
Tel: 33 (0) 4 93 07 59 73
This is the place to go for a traditional French breakfast. There is a delicious variety of fresh breads/jams, freshly squeezed orange juice.
3 Rue Louis Gassin.
Tel: 04 93 62 94 32
Possibly the most beautiful bar in Nice. There is a wide selection of beers in a distillery setting. If you want a bite to eat they offer a plate of cheese or meat on a slate slab with lots of lovely bread it’s enough for 2 people!
24 Rue de la Prefecture
Tel: 33 4 93 62 10 66
Upmarket place for drinks. Free snacks and live music seven nights a week. Recommended for Breakfast
11 Rue de la Prefecture
Tel: 33 4 93 80 33 82
Corsican/French food. Highly recommend the three course fixed price menu.
7 Rue de l’Abbaye.
Tel: 04 93 01 27 05
Citrus is a charming little restaurant which boasts an industrial and cosy style, serving the very best seasonal food.
7 Rue Sainte-Reparate.
Tel: 04 93 16 27 93