20 Unmissable Attractions in Nice

Nice, France | © Seán A. O'Hara / Flickr
Nice, France | © Seán A. O'Hara / Flickr
Photo of Holly Howard
7 February 2018

Nice is, quite simply, a golden city. Its old town is one of the most alluring in France and there is so much to see and so much Mediterranean atmosphere to soak up, that these 20 unmissable attractions are a very good place to start.

Promenade des Anglais

Amble along this incredible promenade that hugs the Mediterranean ocean for about 7km. Head down here at the start or the end of the day, when the sun isn’t too hot and the southern French light is at its most attractive.

Promenade des Anglais, Nice | © Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / Flickr

Place Masséna

Place Masséna is the city’s most impressive square, named after a celebrated French military commander. It is very much a Mediterranean square: pedestrianised, with colourful facades at its edges and, of course, lots of palm trees.

Place Masséna in Nice | © Larry Koester / Flickr

Parc des Arenes de Cimiez

These Roman baths and ruins are a beautifully tranquil spot in Nice. They’re a little run down, but in a way that adds to their hidden charm, and they’re only a shot walk from the Musée Matisse.

Parc des Arenes de Cimiez, Nice, France

Old Town

Nice’s Old Town is one of the city’s absolute highlights. It is simply stunning, with warm hues on the building walls, shutters and ironwork. Narrow rambling streets open up onto the prettiest squares and there are numerous cute boutiques and cafés to explore.

Nice Old Town | © Claudia Schillinger / Flickr

Cathédrale Orthodoxe Russe Saint-Nicolas

Nice’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral holds the title of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedral in Western Europe and was built for the large Russian community in Nice in the mid-19th century. Visually, the building is very striking against the Mediterranean sky and is best viewed from a distance to appreciate its scale.

Cathédrale Orthodoxe Russe Saint-Nicolas Avenue Nicolas II, Nice, France

Flower market

One of France’s finest flower markets can be found in Nice. The only problem you’ll encounter here is trying to stuff the bouquets back into your hand luggage…

Flower market on Cours Saleya | © Matt Kieffer / Flickr

Musée des Beaux Arts

A magnificent 19th-century mansion plays host to Nice’s Fine Arts Museum. The building itself is enough to visit this museum, along with, of course, the Rodin sculptures and works by Raoul Dufy, Van Loo and more.

Musée des Beaux Arts, 33 Avenue des Baumettes, Nice, France, + 33 492 152 828

Place de l’Ile-de-Beaute

Nice’s harbour-side square is the perfect place for an afternoon promenade and watching the boats drift in and out. The colourful buildings in the backdrop make it an excellent place for snapping that Instagram-worthy shot.

Nice Harbour | © Aapo Haapanen / Flickr

The beaches

At some point, head to the beach. The beaches in Nice are similar to the others around this coastline: pebbly with the warmest waters you’ll hope to find in France. Just make sure you check where you set up camp – there are public beaches in Nice but private ones, too.

Nice coastline | © David Baron / Flickr

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

School, Art Gallery, University
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Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild | © Tim Gage / Flickr
A little cheat attraction – technically it isn’t in Nice but just a quick 20 minutes away by car – is the incredible Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. The gardens here are a particular delight and it’s pretty lovely to have a couple of options away from the city humdrum, too.