Play on the Promenade du Paillon
The Promenade du Paillon sits just off the seaside and is the place to make a beeline for when you have kids in tow. The grassy pedestrian boulevard is lined with dinosaur statues and boats for kids to climb all over, grass to have a picnic on, fountains to cool down in – it’s a great place to have fun and recharge.
Spend time in Parc Phoenix
Phoenix Parc is a very central zoo-style ecological park on one of the most famous boulevards in the south of France, the Promenade des Anglais. It has over 150 different species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.
Opening hours: 9.30am to 6pm, October to March; 7pm, April to September.
Parc Phoenix, 405 Prom. des Anglais, Nice, France, +33 4 92 29 77 00
Run around in Kid’s City
Most French towns have a centre commercial (an out-of-town shopping centre) where you’ll find indoor activities for children. Around 15 minutes’ drive outside of Nice, you’ll find Kid’s City where little ones can run around on inflatable slides and tire themselves out on ball courts and rides. Perfect for rainy days or letting off a bit of steam.
Opening hours: 10am to 6.30pm daily.
Relax on Ruhl Beach
There are lots of great beaches in Nice but families love Ruhl beach with its private swimming pool and lifeguard. While it is more expensive than the public beaches, parents can relax a little more and let others do the work for a change by taking advantage of the waiter service.
Ruhl Plage, 1 Prom. des Anglais, Nice, France, +33 4 93 87 09 70
See the Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is one of the oldest in Nice, founded by Jean Baptiste Barla and Jean Baptiste Verany in 1846 (although there are plans to relocate it to the Parc Phoenix). There are thousands of exhibits here that the kids will like to wander through, including mushroom models and habitats on earth.
Opening hours: 10am to 6pm, daily.
Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle, 60 Boulevard Risso, Nice, France, +33 4 97 13 46 80
Visit the Oceanographic Museum
If you want to venture a little further afield, in nearby Monaco, the Oceanographic Museum is a must-see, even though it’s a little pricey. Jacques Costeau curated the museum from the 1950s to the 1980s (it’s also known as the Jacques Costeau museum). There’s a turtle island and a basin where children can touch the starfish and it’s all wrapped up in a beautiful building that’s located on a side of a cliff and is simply stunning.
Opening hours: 10am to 6pm, daily.
Skate or scoot the Promenade des Anglais
A visit to Nice wouldn’t be complete with spending time on its famous walkway, the Promenade des Anglais, but travelling all eight miles of it would be hellish for small feet! Stop at the Roller Station beforehand to hire scooters or skates to make it that much more fun for the little (and big) ones.
Opening hours: 10am to 5pm, daily.
Roller Station, 49 Quai des États-Unis, Nice, France, +33 4 93 62 99 05
Sunday family opera
One Sundays, you can take the kids to an opera matinée at Nice’s Opera House. It’s a great occasion to introduce the kids to something new and for you to enjoy a bit of culture, too. Children under 12 get in free and adults only pay €9.
Nice Opera, 4-6 Rue Saint-François de Paule, Nice, France, +33 4 92 17 40 00
If you’re happy to head just a little way out of town, you can take the kids for an idyllic horse ride with some amazing views. Either go to the Hippodrome in nearby Cagnes-sur-Mer (lunchtimes or evenings) which is free for under-18s or for a more genteel experience, enjoy a horse ride in the surrounding countryside of Tourrette-Levens with Mon Ami Poney.