The city of Nice, located between Monaco and Cannes, is a city of art and culture. It is the second largest city in France with the most museums after Paris! Nice offers daily many concerts, festivals, exhibitions and other major events such as the Carnaval de Nice.
Below are some of the best things to do on your next trip to the south of France.
1~ Musée Matisse
Henri Matisse is one of the most iconic French painters and this museum in Nice offers the chance to get to know both the artist and his work. The sumptuous 17th-century villa in which the collection is housed was Matisse’s home from 1917 to his death in 1954 and affords an intimate look at the painter’s life. Villa des Arènes includes a number of Matisse’s personal objects, such as his furniture. The museum houses many of his early paintings as well as his later sketches, plus numerous engravings and sculptures offering a chronological perspective on how the artist’s work developed over the years.
2~ Travel by private helicopter
Whether you’ve got lots of property viewings to fit in, a tight holiday schedule or you just want to travel stylishly around the French Riviera, booking a private helicopter will offer you privacy, security and a speedy ride between destinations.
Travelling by helicopter is the perfect way to view the coastline and explore different parts of the Riviera in a fraction of the time.
3~ Gourmet Specialities
Salade Niçoise is an obvious one to start with: It’s hard-boiled egg, green beans, anchovies, tomatoes and calletier olives, and goes superbly with Bandol’s rosé wines or whites from Bellet.
A more casual street-food is Socca, a kind of cross between flatbread and pancake, made with chickpea flower and sold by vendors in the old quarter.
Ratatouille also comes from this part of the world, and this famous vegetable stew is made with courgettes, aubergine, peppers and tomato.
There’s also fougasse bread, onion tart and Daube Niçoise, a braised beef stew, with bacon, tomatoes and red wine
Experience JAN Restaurant, a 24-seater fine-dining restaurant in the up-and-coming bohemian district of Nice Port, JAN is a celebration of South-African hospitality and serves honest food inspired by local produce from the markets of the South of France.
Their menus are combined with the exotic ingredients and methods of South Africa with the haute cuisine and Jan’s adopted French culinary arts. Especially focusing on the produce of the Mediterranean.
4~ Promenade des Anglais
You’ve not really been to Nice unless you’ve taken a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, the pedestrian walkway that stretches for seven kilometres (4.3mi) along the coast, separating the sea from the city. Built in 1820 at the instigation of a group of British residents, la Prom, as it’s known, has become a favourite place to stroll, cycle or simply watch the world go by. It’s also one of the best places to gather on big public occasions – New Year’s celebrations here are something else.
5~ Notre Dame de Nice – Church, Cathedral
Notre Dame de Nice is the largest, and most spectacular, church in the city. Despite that, it’s not the official cathedral – that title had already been claimed by an older building in the city centre. But if you want to immerse yourself in the splendour of French religious architecture, this is the one to visit. Partly this is explained by Nice’s interesting history; until 1860, the city was actually part of the Kingdom of Sardinia, but was annexed during the Italian Wars of Independence. Nice’s new rulers decided they needed to make the city feel more French, and so commissioned a brand new church in the Gothic style – Notre Dame is the result.
6~ Marché Aux Fleurs – Cours Saleya
The incredible flower market in the Old Town which dates back to 1897. These days, there’s also fruit, vegetables and street food, but it’s the impressive floral display that you’ll see all over your Instagram feed.
Even if you don’t actually buy any flowers, you can happily mooch around this lovely market admiring all kinds of flora. There are also plenty of things to buy which can travel home without wilting – dried herbs and spices, unusual teas and dinky jars of tapenade – as well as breads and pastries to munch on as you wander.
7~ Voyageur Nissart
It is welcoming, family-run restaurant serving up provençal classics in a less touristy part of town.
Why go? Stuffed courgette flowers, sautéed lamb and, of course, Niçoise salad, are just some of the dishes on offer here. And with loads of set menu options from €15.90, it won’t break the bank either. The restaurant is near Nice station so it’s a good spot to try if you’re coming or going via the station, or heading out on a day trip.
8~ Cave de la Tour
Founded in 1947, this is one of the city’s oldest wine bars. With local wines and varieties from across France, this is the place to be if you want to sample the region’s finest booze.
9~ La Réserve – Beach
A local favorite, tiny La Réserve is a lesser-known public beach tucked away to the east of Nice town in the port area.
Close enough to stroll to from Nice centre, La Réserve may get crowded thanks to its diminutive dimensions but its seclusion from the main stretch lends it a relaxed, intimate atmosphere. The famed diving boards that crazed local teens have long leapt from have recently been renovated as part of a restaurant serving up great food with views to match.
10 ~ Vieille Ville (Old Town)
The picturesque Old Town of Nice, with its maze of narrow alleyways and cobblestone streets, has a lively ambience reminiscent of Italy. Popularly known as “Babazouk,” the Vieille Ville begins at the western end of the Colline du Château (Castle Hill) and is bounded by spacious boulevards, including the Jardin Albert I, Place Masséna, and Promenade du Paillon. The southern end of the Old Town borders the Ponchettes market stalls at the Cours Saleya, where fishmongers and grocers sell fresh products.