Are you wondering which villages near Nice are the best ones to explore? I’ve found them!
Are you wanting to have a birds-eye view of the incredible French Riviera coastline? Then add these 5 hilltop villages near Nice to your travel list!
The beautiful city of Nice can be found in the vacation hotspot of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (or in English Provence Alps French Riviera) region of France. To make it simple, many just refer to Provence, the Alps, and the French Riviera area of France.
This entire region is home to countless medieval villages. Better yet – many of the best places to visit from Nice are only a short car ride away. I spent a week in Nice, and loved visiting the towns near Nice France. There are so many beautiful villages near Nice France – so which ones do you choose?
Why not visit some of the hilltop villages or villages perchés. These hilltop villages near Nice, in some cases, can be as high as 1,500 meters above sea level. You know what that means don’t you…those gorgeous Mediterranean views! Somehow these beautiful villages just became even more magical! Let’s take a look at 5 of the best villages near Nice!
Table of Contents
About These Villages Near Nice France
Most hilltop villages in the Cote d’Azur emerged during the 12th and 13th centuries. What they all have in common is that they were built in strategic locations, to protect themselves from invasion, often on rocky cliffs making it hard to access and easy to defend.
Each of these old villages in France has a center point, a church and a bell tower, with curvy cobbled alleyways winding down from there. You may also find large archways and tunnels, that presumably would have provided some shelter to the outdoor elements.
Many still have a castle, or ruins of a castle, nearby. Needless to say, villages in the south of France are all breathtaking places to visit. Most of these quiet, sleepy villages become a little livelier on market days which makes it a fun time to visit.
Be prepared to park your car just outside the town limits and walk to the centre of town. Signs for parking are easy to find, and some villages require a nominal fee for parking (per hour).
Best places to visit from Nice as day trips
#1 St Paul de Vence
St Paul de Vence is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. With cobbled streets, centuries-old buildings, tiny squares and lovely fountains at every turn, this pretty perched village is a definite must-see.
The beautiful hilltop village of Saint Paul de Vence inspired some of the world’s best artists, like Picasso, Chagall and Matisse. A large collection of paintings, sculptures and drawings can be found in the art galleries dotted through this lovely village, especially along rue Grande. If you only visit one, go to Fondation Maeght, where they combine the love of architecture, art and nature together.
The best thing to do in St Paul de Vence is to simply wander and explore. Walk along the fortified medieval wall, climb the narrow ramparts, and stroll through the vaulted passageways and you’ll feel the history here. Gazing upon the weathered ancient doors and potted plants is a photographer’s dream.
For a tiny village, there is no shortage of restaurants in St Paul de Vence. The most legendary is La Colombe d’Or. This restaurant has been serving guests since the 1930s. It was a favourite of many artists and writers, some of which left behind their work creating an art gallery feel to this restaurant.
- Nice to St Paul de Vence: 15 km west
- Market day in St Paul de Vence: Wednesday and Friday mornings (8am -1pm)
- Nearby village worth visiting: village of Vence
- Recommended experience: Head to Saint Jeannet for a winery tour and tasting and visit Saint Paul de Vence on this half-day tour from Nice, check prices and book dates here
Eze is one of the prettiest villages, but also the hilliest. Be prepared to climb – a lot. But, it’s worth it as the views are simply incredible which makes Eze a must-visit day trip from Nice.
Eze is perched in an “eagle’s nest” fashion. This beautiful village can be viewed from afar due to its ochre colour church. A botanical hillside garden filled with interesting statues, cacti and tropical plants is a must-visit while in Eze. Take the path called “Nietzsche way” paying tribute to the philosopher writing some of his most famous works while walking up and down these winding pathways.
Within Eze village, you will find the same crooked, winding cobblestone pathways. Shaded squares, ancient fountains and pretty doorways filled with colourful window boxes are abundant. Tour, for free, the Fragonard perfume factory.
Due to the high number of tourists, Eze has many shops, restaurants and hotels. Stay and dine at 400-year-old Chateau Eza, offering the best views of the French Riviera. Don’t let the number of visitors deter you from visiting this lovely village, trust me, once here, you’ll never want to leave.
- Nice to Eze: 12 km east
- Market day in Eze: Sundays mornings (8am to 1pm)
- Nearby places worth visiting: nearby Monaco and Beaulieu Sur Mer
- Recommended experience: Join a tour from Nice and visit the village of Eze and perfume Fragonard, along with Monaco, and the circuit of Formula 1, check prices and book dates.
Peillon is a beautiful hilltop village that is perched on a sheer cliff. This tiny tightly-packed village won’t take you long to explore, but it is definitely worth visiting.
Peillon may be tiny, but it is spectacular. You are immediately struck by the tall stone-built houses that appear to be carved out of a rock.
Once inside this fortified medieval village, you can admire these ancient houses up-close and the lovely weathered doorways. Stroll the narrow cobblestone streets, vaulted bridge and stone staircases.
Visit the baroque church and chapel and view the 15th-century frescos. Peillon provides panoramic views of the surrounding forested mountains, valleys, distant towns and the Mediterranean Sea.
Peillon is a hidden gem with very few tourists that visit here. It is quiet, peaceful and undeniably charming.
- Nice to Peillon: 20 km northeast
- Nearby villages worth visiting: nearby La Turbie and Menton
Peille is an ancient village clinging to the side of a mountain facing Monaco and Menton. Lose yourself in its narrow streets, small but beautiful squares, pretty fountains and stone archways.
The hilltop village of Peille feels like you’ve stepped back in time. Many of the buildings date back to the 12th century.
There are four religious monuments to visit. The village Church of Sainte Marie from the 13th century, the Chapel of the Misericords (now an oil mill), Chapel Saint-Sebastien (now the town hall) and the Chapel Saint-Joseph.
Unique to this village is the surrounding walking tours, ranging from 30 minutes to 3 hours. It’s a great way to explore the countryside and yes, take in more of those stunning views.
Peille may be a bit remote, and off the beaten path for most tourists which is a reason to add it to your day trip from Nice. Don’t expect to find many shops or restaurants- only a charm can be found here.
- Nice to Peille: 25 km northeast
- Nearby places worth visiting: nearby La Turbie and Menton
#5 Roquebrune Cap Martin
The hilltop village of Roquebrune Cap Martin is known as the gem of the French Riviera gem. As it lies very close to the Mediterranean Sea and has views of nearby Monaco.
Roquebrune Cap Martin has two distinct parts. A seaside resort closest to the coastline is where you’ll find luxury villas where former guests of Coco Channel, Winston Churchill and royalty would stay.
The ancient village of Roquebrune Cap Martin has perched up high above. What remains now is an 11th-century castle and chapel. But, the real reason to go here is for the close-up views of the Mediterranean, making this a bit unique to the other hilltop villages.
- Nice to Roquebrune Cap Martin: 25 km east of Nice
- Nearby places worth visiting: nearby Menton, Monaco and Beausoleil
Top Rated French Riviera Tours
French Rivieria Tour
✅ Knowledgable guides
✅ Visit Saint-Paul de Vence
✅ Visit Antibes and Cannes
French Rivieria Tour
✅ Knowledgable guides
✅ Visit Eze includes a tour of Parfumerie Fragonard
✅ Visit Monaco and Monte Carlo
FAQ About Villages Near Nice
What is the closest village to Nice?
The closest village to Nice is Eze at 12 km. Eze is considered one of the most beautiful villages on the French Riviera.
What are some coastal towns near Nice worth visiting?
Some of the best coastal towns near Nice worth visiting include Menton, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Saint Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Antibes.
France Travel Resources
If your France itinerary has you visiting Paris, you can find all my articles for there too! I have a deep love for this romantic city and have visited there almost 10 times. Many of my articles show you a different side of Paris from hidden gardens to secret covered passages to Paris streets. Of course, there are neighbourhood guides for areas like Saint Germain and Le Marais too!
If you LOVE EUROPEAN TRAVEL or planning a TRIP TO EUROPE, subscribe to my website! I will share my love of Europe with you, along with travel planning tips and inspiration. And, you’ll get a FREE gift for signing up – 30 Bucketlist Places in Europe! Join, and let’s be travel friends!
As a Holidaymaker
The French Riviera, or la Côte d Azur, stretches from Marseille to Menton. It’s a stunning coastline that attracts many. But there are still some quiet and peaceful spots to be found. Go a bit inland and visit some of the perched villages near Nice!