Your Nice holiday
Not officially a part of France until 1860, Nice has a rich history of independence. The city is marked with the cultural imprints left by the many rulers it has had since a settlement was first founded in the Bay of Angels around 350 BCE, giving Nice a flavour all its own.
Since Greeks founded the city, Nice has remained a vital Mediterranean port, the key to its wealth and popularity. Its long association with Italy began in the 7th century when it joined the Genoese League.
It subsequently played an important part in the complicated politics of the Italianate states, often fighting on behalf of Pisa and even repelling attempts to conquer it by the French.
Savoy and Provence fought over Nice in the 16th century, the invading armies of each pillaging the town when they were quartered there and bringing the unwanted gift of pestilence.
In 1860, Sardinia sold Nice to Napoleon III in return for French military support and despite opposition from factions loyal to Italian rule. The city has remained a part of France ever since.
The extension of the French railway line from Marseille to Nice kick-started the city's tourism boom. Nice saw great commercial development in the early 20th century with the construction of hotels, theatres, and municipal centres throughout the city.
Take a flight to Nice and transport yourself to the capital of the French Riviera, where you will find style and panache in this bastion of wealth and luxury. A stroll along the sun-drenched Promenade des Anglais will give you a flavour of what Niçois life is all about – enjoyment.
Adorned with luxury hotels and fine examples of Art Deco architecture, this is where the French come to relax by the Mediterranean. Though it shares the casinos, five-star hotels and upmarket shops of neighbouring Monaco, Nice is more than just a millionaire's playground.
So spend your holidays to Nice to enjoy a slice of south of France glamour.
This expansion was suspended with German and Italian occupation in the Second World War, in which Nice was a place of strong resistance to Nazi rule.
Best time to take a holiday to Nice
Nice enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate, making it a great travel destination year round. Late spring and early fall are particularly pleasant, with average highs in the low 20s Celsius and lows in the upper teens. For lower room rates and smaller crowds, book your travel during mid-March to April or September to October; the weather will still be enjoyable, and there will be plenty to do during your stay. Nice offers many festivals and fairs throughout the year, from the Carnival in February and early March to the Nice Jazz Festival in July.
Insider tips for Nice travel
Hit the Beach
Be sure to bring sturdy shoes and cushions because the beaches consist of large flat pebbles rather than sand.
This daily market offers flowers and fruit to those visiting the old town of Vieux Nice.
This authentic bistro offers local cuisine at a reasonable price, close to the Promenade des Anglais in the Musician's Quarter.
This French pub offers a classy experience at a slightly lower price than other, more tourist-driven pubs in Nice.
On Fridays, take the train just across the Italian border to this open street market for bargain fashions.
Take the train of marvels
The Train des Merveilles winds its way up into the hills outside Nice and through villages like Drap, Sospen, and Breil sur Roya before terminating at Tende. The route is a standard commuter line, but the local tourist board eventually started offering journeys with guided tours to entice tourists to an experience that was previously a local secret. In summer the train runs over viaducts and through tunnels and fields of lavender as the on-board guide recounts the area’s history and points out places of interest along the way. Guests can spend the day in the charming village of Tende before returning to Nice. Entry to the museum there is included in the price of the train fare.
Climb a little for the best view in the city
Looking down upon Nice is the Colline du Chateau, or Castle Hill, from which you will see the city sprawled out below you. The view seems all the better after you have climbed the steps all the way up; alternatively there is a lift which will transport you. At the top you will find a park scattered with pine trees, a cemetery, and even a waterfall; it is a favourite picnic spot for locals and tourists alike. There are also some medieval ruins and a maritime museum on the hill.
Pick up an antique at the port
After a stroll along the Quai Rauba-Capeu to the port, head for the bohemian Quartier Segurane, where more than a hundred antique shops and flea markets operate. Known as the Notting Hill of Nice, the area is packed with bars, cafes, and restaurants to revive flagging bargain-hunters.
Sample the high life in Monaco
A square mile of wealth, luxury, glitz and glamour, the Principality of Monaco lies just an hour's drive outside the city. Try your luck in the sumptuous Grand Casino or simply gaze out at the spectacular yachts in the marina to get an idea of how the other half lives. For the French equivalent of the high life, the equally opulent Cannes, home of the world famous film festival, is just a little further along the coast.
Top Nice attractions
Promenade des Anglais
This pedestrian area runs along the shore, offering a good starting point for any shopping or sightseeing adventure.
This neighbourhood offers unique architecture, open markets and quaint boutiques; it is perfect for a day of sightseeing and shopping.
Colline du Chateau
This ruin offers amazing views of the city and the Baie des Anges, sitting almost 100 yards above Nice.
St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral
This beautiful church is available for tours during the week and offers worship services on Sunday mornings.
Visit this museum on a sunny day to get the most of the colourful artwork and impressive stained glass by artist Marc Chagall.
MusÃ©e D'Art Moderne et D'Art Contemporain
Guided tours are available at this museum, where the architecture is as impressive as the art exhibits.
The city's main square with its restored fountain is the perfect place to visit at night.
The works of Henri Matisse are on display in this 17th-century villa, and admission is free.
Just past the old port, this cliff is a climb but offers a beautiful view to those willing to make the trip.
Avenue Jean Medecin
This shopping district offers department stores, international chains, boutiques and cafÃ©s.
Promenade des Anglais
This pedestrian stretch by the Mediterranean is Nice's best-known landmark, remaining as popular now as it was when it opened in the 19th century. It takes its name, English Promenade, from the English workers who built it. It is a wonderful spot for a stroll, bike ride, or just to indulge in some people watching.
One of the giants of modern art, Henri Matisse began his illustrious career in Paris before moving to the south of France and the Nice suburb of Cimiez in 1917. He would spend the rest of his days on the French Riviera until his death in 1954. The local Matisse museum does a great job of capturing this long end period of the artist's life, as well as showcasing works from his earlier career. Housed in a spectacular red mansion on Cimiez hill, the museum has been educating the public about this groundbreaking painter, sculptor, and draughtsman for over half a century. There are also some of Matisse's personal effects on display to give visitors an idea of the man behind the artist.
Chapelle de l'Annonciation
It may be dedicated to St Rita, the patron saint of lost causes, but a trip to this exquisite example of baroque architecture is well worth the effort. From the outside you will notice the building on the Rue de la Poissonnerie by its single bell tower. But it is inside that the chapel’s real attractions lie. Upon entering, visitors are greeted by wonderfully ornate altars that are adorned with murals and edged in gold – a token of Nice’s Italian past. Despite its obvious charm, the church has had its fare share of ups and downs; suffering from fire damage and long periods of disuse. Now, restored to its former glory, it is hard to imagine such a treasure being forgotten about again.
Centre du Patrimoine
For an interesting and informative way to see the city, head to the Centre du Patrimoine, which offers a wide range of themed guided tours. From an education on the city's hidden treasures to walks that highlight its baroque, art deco, and even Russian architectural styles, the well-informed guides have all the bases covered. For tours in English, book 48 hours in advance.
Tip * Booking your Tours, Transfers & Airport Parking before you go will save your money & time and ensure a stress free start to your holiday
Where to stay in Nice
With its name in lights circling the minaret of this historic building, the Negresco Hotel was originally built as a privately owned mansion in 1913. Wonderfully decorated rooms, corridors adorned with works of art, and a great view of the Mediterranean characterise this jewel on the Promenade des Anglais. France has declared it a national historic monument and the American Association of Travel editors named it one of the world's ten best hotels.
The Goldstar Resort & Suites Nice Hotel offers 56 luxury suites for guests who are looking for something a little more spacious and comfortable than a hotel room. Two types of suites are available, but all come with their own living room, kitchen, king-sized bed, and flat screen television, making them ideal for longer stays. Shared among the suites are a heated swimming pool, a fitness centre, a spa, and the hotel's own restaurant, Le Toucan.
The beautiful Palais de la Méditerranée Hotel provides a touch of art deco glamour to the Promenade des Anglais. Restored in 2004, the luxury hotel rises nine storeys above the seafront. The outdoor pool area on the third floor provides breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.
The Boscolo Park Hotel is located in the centre of Nice, a short walk from casinos, shops and the Promenade des Anglais. The 104-room hotel boasts great views of the Bay of Angels, a gourmet restaurant (L'Avenue), and live music in the piano bar.
How to move around in Nice
To and from Nice
To the west of the city lie the two terminals of Nice-Cote d'Azur airport, from where you can fly to most major European destinations and further afield.
When you arrive taxis into town can be expensive but the airport provides its own express shuttle. Running every 30 minutes until the evening, the two routes will take you to the city's main train station or the main bus station. The ticket you buy from the driver will give you unlimited travel on public buses that day, perfect if you are making a connection to get to your hotel in Nice.
There is also a train station close to the airport that runs to Nice and eventually Italy in the east and Cannes and Antibes to the west. For a scenic way to hop between the coastal towns, head to Nice-Ville SNCF, the city's main train station. Cannes, Antibes and Monaco all form part of this frequent, inexpensive service.
Taxis in Nice are far from cheap so try and avoid them if you are on a budget. It is best to find a rank to catch them, as hailing them in the street is not common. These are usually near large hotels and transport terminals. Taxis are metered but check to make sure it is running when entering the cab.
The Sunbus company offers a comprehensive bus service covering the city's main tourist hotspots. Tickets are cheap, buses frequent and daily and weekly passes are available. Buses also run from the main terminal to other Riviera towns like Cannes.
If you want to explore the Riviera at your leisure or leave the coast to head inland, consider car hire in Nice.
International dialling code: 00 33 (4).
At La Table Alziari (4 rue François Zanin), guests must cast their eyes over the blackboard to choose their meal. Found on a small, steep street off the rue Pairolière, the place is run by the Alziari family, who have been making olive oil in the city for almost 150 years. Authenticity is the key when it comes to the food, with Mediterranean dishes cooked with the freshest local ingredients. The cod and stuffed sardines in particular are local favourites, and the restaurant is always stocked with a great range of local wines.
Le Bistro d'Antoine (27 rue de la Préfecture) sticks true to the bistro philosophy of placing the quality of food and wine on offer above all else. Chef Armand Crespo personally buys some of the ingredients at Nice's markets to ensure that they are as fresh as possible. The menu focuses on meat dishes, served inside or on the terrace and for very reasonable prices. It is a popular destination in Nice's old town, so book ahead to guarantee a table.
If you want great seafood in a relaxed atmosphere, head to Cafe de Turin (5 Place Garibaldi). The picturesque Place Garibaldi is home to this historic eatery, which opened in the early 20th century selling jugs of beer and wine to the local workers. It eventually diversified into food and standard bistro fare. It is famed for its raw shellfish or coquillage. With a great terrace and a no-reservations policy, it is best to arrive early.
Health & Safety
France does not have malaria.
There are no obligatory vaccinations for a trip to Nice. Recommended vaccinations include boosters in the vaccination schedule, including poliomyelitis, tetanus and diphtheria. For children it is advisable that the BCG, MMR and hepatitis B injections be administered before travelling.
Tap water is drinkable. There are many bottled water brands, including Volvic, Evian, Contrex, and Perrier. The health infrastructure is excellent.
Here are some doctors to contact (this is not a complete list and we cannot be held responsible for the level of service or the costs associated).
General practitioner: doctors emergencies Nice: 0810 85 01 01. Doctors emergency east: 0 810 85 02 02.
Gynecologist: gynecologic department: Archet Hospital, route St Antoine Ginestière, Nice: 04 92 03 60 92 / 04 92 03 60 93.
Pediatrician: pediatric emergency: Lenval Hospital (57, avenue de la Californie, Nice): 04 92 03 03 03 or Archet Hospital (151, rue St-Antoine de Ginestière, Nice): 04 92 03 60 89.
Cardiologist: cardio department: Pasteur Hospital, 30 voie Romaine, Nice: 04 92 03 77 77 / 04 92 03 78 80 / 04 92 03 78 81.
Dermatologist: dermatologic department: Archet Hospital, route St Antoine Ginestière, Nice: 04 92 03 62 23.
Dial 15 for medical emergencies
Dial 18 for the fire brigade
Dial 17 for the police.
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Nice Holiday Packages
10, rue de Rivoli
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The hotel Villa Rivoli is a former unique Belle Epoque (1890) private house, with a fantastic location in the historical town center of Nice, only 100m away from the beaches. Spacious salon with...
41, Avenue Jean Medecin
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Pet-friendly hotel is quiet and modernBEST WESTERN Alba Hotel, located in the heart of Nice, offers guests a warm welcome, contemporary decor, and daily breakfast buffet in a cheerful room with a...
31 Promenade Des Anglais
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Free Wi-Fi at Belle Epoque fashion at Nice hotel across from the beachPassersby never fail to admire the grand façade of the Hotel West End as they stroll along the legendary Promenade des Anglais....
50, Boulevard Victor Hugo
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This splendid 4-star Hotel & SPA in the center of Nice is only a five-minute walk from the citys famous beach promenade, the Promenade des Anglais, and its beach with several restaurants and...
27 promenade des Anglais
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Relaxation in brightly decorated guest roomsWith its pink facade and prestigious location near the beach in Nice, the Hotel Westminster Nice has a unique character and charm unlike any other Belle...
45, rue Marchal Joffre
Modern, business-oriented hotel knows how to have funThe Goldstar Resort & Suites Nice offers free Wi-Fi, a breakfast buffet, 24-hour front desk, bar, and rooftop activity pavilion with heated...
24 rue Saint-Francois de Paule
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Renovated hotel by Old Town and the beachThe Beau Rivage Hotel, steps from the beach, Old Town, and the Promenade des Anglais, has been fully refurbished and is in excellent condition. The...
11 Rue Dalpozzo
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The Windsor Hotel is well known with Contemporary Art lovers. Thirty rooms have been designed by Artists of Contemporary Art, like for example, Ben, Glen Baxter, Robert Barry, Claudio Parmigianni,...
19 Avenue Durante
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Belle Epoque hotel with garden terraceHotel Excelsior Nice offers 42 deluxe rooms. The 4-star hotel, conveniently located near the Nice train station, offers traditional French style and...
12 Boulevard Victor Hugo
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The perfect location in Nice for those who love the fashionable lifeThe Boscolo Exedra Nice Hotel greets their guests with bold yet refined design, along with historical architecture. Despite its...
A few steps away from Nices beautriful old town, on the famous promenade des anglais, this 1905 Luxury hotel provides the perfect base, combining both seafront and city center location. Hotel Royal...
25 Bld Dubouchage
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Stylish hotel with urbane appeal in the heart of Nice Hotel Ellington, located in an elegant district in the heart of Nice, provides convenient access to the beach. The 4-star, pet-friendly...
13 Le Grimaldi
15 rue grimaldi
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Ideally located in the heart of Nice, Le Grimaldi, a member of "Coeur de City" is close to the pedestrian streets and the Place Massena, 450m from the famous Promenade des Anglais and the...
4 Avenue Des Phoceens
Old Riviera Grandeur sitting high above Nice hotspotsHotel Albert 1Er occupies a commanding position on the Nice seafront, a short stroll from Les Promenade des Anglais and the Old Town with its...
26 rue Pastorelli
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In the center of Nice, only 500 meters from the seafront, the Vendome is an ancient and charming fully renovated hotel offering modern amenities. The hotel is very well located, close to the...