A trip to Nice in France is for many on their bucket list. And if you’re planning a trip to Nice, you probably wondering what is Nice known for? We also wanted to know everything about this city, so let us tell you more.
Nice is known for its fantastic climate, fabulous beaches and beautiful coastline with mesmerizing views. Also for its fantastic architecture with Belle Epoque and Baroque influenced buildings. With the most museums after Paris and many festivals year-round, it is both a beach destination and famous for its art and culture.
There’s a lot to discover while visiting Nice. So let us find out some well-known facts, the best things to do in this city, how to get there and how to get around.
Famous Facts about Nice
History of Nice dates back for a long time. In all these years and more recently some interesting things occurred in and around Nice. We lined up the most interesting facts, which help you understand why this city is so famous.
- Tourism started around 400.000 years ago
Signs of first settlement date back around 400.000 years ago in this area! Archaeological diggings discovered that cave dwellers used to visit the hill probably one a year above the Nice port for hunting.
- Founded by the Greek and Named after a Goddes
The city Nice was founded in around 350BC by the Greeks who named this city honoring their goddess of victory, Nike.
- World Largest Carpet
The famous Negresco Hotel in Nice has one of the largest carpets in the world measuring above 4000 square foot.
- Amazing Botanical Gardens
The Phoenix Park Floral in Nice hosts over 2500 different plant species.
- Oldest Carnival Celebrations
Nice Carnival celebrations are one of the biggest in the world. Millions of visitors each year come to celebrate the Carnival in Nice. The Nice Carnival dates back from 1294AD!
- Italian History
Nice is only French since 1860. Before that, it belonged to Italy. The Italians give Nice to the French as a reward for their assistance in the Second Italian War of Independence against Austria.
- Multiple Languages
Because of this history, Italian and French language are both spoken widely in Nice.
- Best of Both Worlds
The city of Nice combines the best of both Italy and French, which you’ll find in cuisine and way of life.
The Best Known Reasons to visit Nice
With such a rich and long history, there are many reasons to think of why you should visit Nice. It is not only a perfect beach destination. Visiting Nice is the recipe for an ideal summer holiday. Combining history, art, and culture with the Mediterranean climate. Here are the best reasons to visit Nice.
#1 Sunny Weather in Nice France
Nice is known for its pleasant weather throughout the year. It is the perfect sunshine and mild climate that makes Nice a year-round destination in France. During the summer months of July and August, it is the busiest in Nice.
The perfect weather and less crowded times are during spring and autumn as it remains warm and sunny. Winters are not bad either, and this beach city remains crowded during Christmas and New Year eve as well. We can certainly count the weather as one of the favorable reasons to visit Nice.
#2 Beautiful Beaches and Azure Blue Water
Known as the perfect summer destination, it’s almost logical you’ll find beautiful beaches. But the excellent sea conditions and Azure Bluewater, you might only know from the movies, making from Nice a picture-perfect destination.
Beaches in Nice are pebbly beaches, we love the fact that you don’t get any sand between your feet. There’s a variation of public and private beaches in Nice.
The best public beaches in Nice are La Reserva, where you can dive from an old diving board. Or go to Coco beach that is popular with a lot of locals. And hop on a 15-minute bus ride from Nice to go to Villefranche-sur-Mer for a more sandy beach with great restaurants and shops close by.
#3 Experience the Carnival of Nice
The Carnival of Nice is one of the biggest party events in the world which takes place from mid-February to early March. History of France, states that the Nice Carnival dates back to 1274 but is officially recognized in the 19th century.
If you visit Nice during this period, you’ll find the whole town in a perfect mood of colorful celebration with parades every day. And there are many other exciting events held during the Nice Carnival like cold water swims, waiter races and Bataille des Fleurs (Battle of Flowers). Enjoying the Nice Carnival is one of the many reasons why you should visit Nice in February.
#4 Taste amazing food
Good News for all food lovers! Remember that we told you about the Italian history of Nice? Combining the best of both worlds, your culinary hunt in Nice starts by tasting fresh and delicious Mediterranean food.
The unique thing about Nice is you’ll find food named after the city. Like Socca, Farcis Nicoise, Pissaladière (Traditional Pizza), Pan-bagnat and Salade Niçoise are few of the mouth-watering local foods of Nice that you must try.
Some of the best restaurants in Nice are;
Breakfast, Lunch, Coffee, and Drinks
- La Route Du Miam
Traditional French Cuisine, great for dinner
- La Cucina
Traditional Italian Food
#5 Nice is easily accessible
Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport is the third busiest Airport in France serving over 1.3 million passengers annually. You can fly directly to Nice from almost any part of the world. Downtown Nice is around 8 km away from the airport and easily accessible by public transport.
Getting around the center of Nice is straightforward, as well. It is easy to go around the city using public transport. Many bus and tram connections are connecting the best parts of the city. Another fun thing to do is renting a bicycle and drive around.
When your visit to Nice is part of a road trip or when you are planning to go around a bit further than the city center, it is convenient to rent a car. We always use Rentalcars when we’re renting a car, check out our recommendations.
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#6 Excellent Choice of Accommodation
You get plenty of choice at any budget when it comes to finding accommodation in Nice. The city has many luxurious and boutique hotels or apartments spread across the region.
Choosing a place to stay that suits you is very important. We all want to feel at home, even when we’re on the other side of the world.
Later we will tell you all about the best places to stay in Nice.
#7 Stroll on the Promenade des Anglais
Strolling on the Promenade des Anglais is a unique experience to in Nice. This road was built during the 19th century. It starts at the airport in the west, extending all the way to the headland in the east. Stroll over the 7-miles road in Nice while enjoying the beautiful weather and France scenery. You will find many bars, restaurants, ice-cream stalls, and the iconic blue chairs to sit back and relax.
#8 The mesmerizing views from Chateau Hill
The chateau hill is located on the right side of Nice. You need to complete a climb and reach the top of the chateau hill to get an incredible view of the city. There is a beautiful park surrounding the hill area, which is an excellent place to sit back and relax.
From here you get iconic views of the Promenade des Anglais and the harbor of Nice.
#9 Discover some amazing Art
Nice has the most museums after Paris. There’s something to find for every art- or history lover. Historical artifacts, 15th-century paintings, 1960’s Pop-Art or Modern Art. You name it, and you can probably find it in Nice.
#10 Explore the parks of Nice
There are some fantastic parks in Nice. Parc du Chateau, Parc du Castel des Deux Rois, Parc Phoenix are few of the city’s major parks where you can relax and have a typical French picnic.
#11 Explore the old town: Vieille Ville
The old city Vieille Ville is indeed picturesque with its narrow alleyways and cobblestone streets. There are many unique cultural attractions in the old city like the Galerie des Ponchettes and the Musée-Galerie d’ Alexis at Gustav Adolf Mossa. These are museums with 17th and 18th-century works of art.
The old town of Nice is full of orange-yellow buildings with boutique shops, bars and terraces to enjoy a glass of French wine. And you’ll also find lots of souvenir shops selling a large number of local products. Don’t forget to enjoy a local Mediterranean Nicoise meal at any of the surrounding restaurants.
#12 The most relaxed city on the French Riviera
Combining the best of both worlds, Nice is known as the most relaxed city on the French Riviera. With the Italian and French influences dating back for centuries, the unique art & culture and amazing beaches it is the best place for a summer holiday in France.
#13 Experience the enriched roman history
You can experience Roman history in Nice. The chic neighborhood of Cimiez is a perfect place where you find the ruins of an ancient Roman city; Cemenelum. You can find ancient exhibits of an amphitheater, arena, thermal baths and a paleochristian basilica built by the Romans during the 1st century.
Visit Musée Matisse, the Cimiez Monastery and close to the ruins the Excelsior Régina Palace where Queen Victoria spent a lot of times during visits to the French Riviera. Isn’t it great that you can relax on the beach, eat great Meditteranean food, and explore incredible history all in one city?
#14 Eat Socca
If you are still wondering why you should visit Nice, eating Socca is definitely a strong reason. Socca is basically France’s crispy chickpea Pancake and extremely popular in Nice. It’s made from chickpea flour, olive oil, and water and typical local food seen at many places. Try this unique dish when you walk around Nice. And let us know in the comments below how you liked it.
#15 Experience Jazz music and its history
Nice, is known as Jazz lover’s paradise as it is the birthplace of this music in France. Historians say that the Jazz music arrived in Nice in the 1920s by the American expats who settled on the French Riviera.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, the famous writer (The Great Gatsby), was one of the big American influencers at that time, who hired big houses and threw jazz parties making this music accessible across the region.
There are no shortages of Jazz clubs across the city, which shows the popularity of this music. The Nice Jazz Festival that takes place every July is a world-wide renowned festival. Something you don’t want to miss!
Best Known Museums in Nice
It is one of the reasons why you want to visit Nice once in your life. There are so many museums, covering so much history. You just don’t want to miss it. But with so many to choose from, it is hard to make a choice. So we selected the best-known museums in Nice.
Marc Chagall National Museum
Address: Avenue Dr. Ménard, 06000 Nice, France
Marc Chagall, the famous world-wide painter. Known as an early modernist combined several art forms with cubism, surrealism, and Fauvism. He got his world-wide fame, however, because he was the biggest Jewish artist of the twentieth century.
The museum offers the biggest collection of his work.
Villa Masséna Musée
Address: 65 Rue de France, 06000 Nice, France
When you’re interested in the Bello Epoque period, you must visit this museum. It shows many paintings, ornaments, and artifacts of the late 19th-century. Including a copy of Napoleon’s deathmask.
The museum is located on the Promenade des Anglais. So it’s easy to find.
Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (MAMAC)
Address: 1 Place Yves Klein, 06000 Nice, France
When your interested in 1960’s Pop-Art and New Realist Work, this is the museum where you want to go. This museum offers more than 1300 works and is dedicated to European and American artwork starting from 1960. The most famous work is coming from Andy Warhol, the world-renowned artist.
Address: 164 Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez, 06000 Nice, France
Henri Matisse is one of the most famous French artists who ever lived. He’s often regarded, next to Pablo Picasso, as one of the artists who defined the development of visual arts in the early twentieth century. He lived in Nice from 1917 until his death in 1954. The villa where he lived is now a museum and shows many of his early works, sculptures and late paintings.
Museum Card of Nice
We only selected five of the renowned museums in Nice. The list is actually much longer. You can spend a few weeks visiting all the museums!
When you’re planning to visit a few museums during your stay in Nice, you want to buy the Nice museum card. This card costs € 20,- for 7 days and offers you free entrance to all the municipality museums. You can also buy a ticket for € 10,- which is valid for 24 hours.
Best Known Places to Stay in Nice
Such a popular destination also comes with a lot of choice in accommodation. Nice is known for its splendid hotels and rental apartments. Often with the best views over the beautiful coastline.
Choosing your next place to stay in Nice can be a long search. So we selected the best-known places to stay in Nice to make your choice easier. We divided the list into Hotels, Apartments, and Guesthouses. And we only selected those with good reviews.
We didn’t stay in any of these hotels, but when we are looking for new places to stay, we are always looking for customer reviews. When an accommodation gets a score of 9 or higher on Booking.com, you know it will be good.
Best Hotels in Nice
According to Booking.com customer reviews, these are the best hotels in Nice:
- Hotel Villa Rose – (quiet but central location)
Average Customer review score: 9.0
Price per night (2 persons): € 60,-
- Hotel de France – (most central location)
Average Customer review score: 9.0
Price per night (2 persons): € 100,-
- ABA Luxury B&B – Place Masséna – (most luxury stay in the center)
Average Customer review score: 9.0
Price per night (2 persons): € 322,- including breakfast
Best Apartments in Nice
When you’re looking to feel at home while traveling, it’s best to book an apartment during your stay. We always book an apartment when we’re staying in a city and not sleeping in our rooftop tent. It’s so convenient that you have everything for yourself.
According to Booking.com, these are the best available apartments in Nice:
- La Terrasse
1 bedroom apartment, a bit out of the center but easily accessible with public transport. Offers 1 bedroom and a big terrace.
Average Customer review: 10
Prices vary depending on the dates.
- Appartement Moderne
Modern and renovated apartment in the center of Nice. The apartment has 2 bedrooms and a nice balcony.
Average Customer review: 9.9
Prices vary depending on the dates.
Best Known Places on a Budget
When you don’t want to spend too much money on a accommodation, there are a few budget choices in Nice. We only selected those with good reviews, so you probably can find more when your searching for yourself. But we don’t want to recommend places to stay which are poorly reviewed.
- Backpackers Chez Patrick
Hostel in the center of Nice. Offer dormitory rooms.
Average Customer review: 8.1 (lower rating because of WiFi score 6.9)
Price per night: € 30,- per person
- Hotel des Dames
300 meters of the Old Town. Offers Double Rooms including breakfast
Average Customer review: 8.1
Price per night (2 persons): € 50,- including breakfast.
How to Travel to Nice?
The Airport of Nice; Côte d’Azur International Airport is the third-largest airport in France. Many flights from all over the world are arriving at this airport. It is easy to book a ticket from almost every location and flying too Nice.
How to get from the airport to the city
Reaching the city from the Aiport is straightforward. You can either take a taxi or go by bus.
Busline 1 & 2 go directly into the city center and leaving several times an hour. The latest information is available on the airport’s site.
When you want to go to the center of Nice by taxi, you can just walk outside the terminal. Taxi stands are both at terminal 1 & 2. According to the Airports website, the indictive price for a taxi ride to Nice Center is € 32,-
Traveling by Train
Most of the European countries are great for traveling by train. France offers several trains connecting almost every place in the country. You can easily take the train from any other big city to Nice.
Taking the TGV (High-speed train) from Paris to Nice will take around 6 hours, and a ticket (link to TGV site) costs around € 90,-.
It is definitely not the cheapest way to travel around France, but the trains are very comfortable, and you get amazing views of the countryside.
Traveling by Car
Driving to Nice by car is easy. The roads are perfect, and the city is easily reachable via the highways A8, N202, D6085. Traveling from Italy, you’ll probably drive over the SS1, which goes over in A8 when you are crossing the French/ Italian border.
When you reach Nice by car, it is wise to find a parking spot at the place where you are staying. Driving around the center can a bit difficult, mainly because there aren’t too many parking spots to find. It is straightforward to use public transport in the city center.
Are you planning to travel around France using a rental car? Make sure to book your car here.
Best Way to Get Around Nice
The easiest way to explore the city center is by walking. You can reach the highlights of the city very easy, and it’s nice to stroll around and enjoy the city vibes. When you don’t feel like walking another great thing to do is renting a bicycle. It is very safe to bike around, and it is a fun thing to do!
When you want to explore a bit more of the surroundings, you can hop on one of the many trams of buses connecting every part of the center and also villages closeby Nice. The latest information about public transport in the Center of Nice is available on the tourism website of Nice.
What is the average temperature in Nice? The average temperature in Nice is 71 Fahrenheit. With heights of reaching 80F in August and lows of 9Fahrenheit in winter times.
How many beaches are there in Nice? There are more than 30 beaches in Nice. Most of the beaches are free to visit, these are public beaches. But there are also a few private beaches where you need to pay an entrance fee.
The city of Nice is close to Italy, it is perfect to combine a visit to Nice with a day trip to Genoa or Cinque Terre in Italy, we wrote a few extensive articles about these places.
Also we wrote some article about France that you might be interested in: