15 Best Things to Do in Nice France: Your Riviera Adventure Awaits

Welcome to Nice France – the Queen of the Riviera! The jewel of the Mediterranean! The Gateway to the Cote d’Azur!

This is your guide to the best things to do in Nice France!

If you are visiting Nice for the first time, or even a revisit, and want to know more about this sought-after, art-loving, beautiful city you’ve come to the right place.

On one of my many repeat European trips, I spent an entire week in Nice and explored it along with nearby places.

This article shares all the must do things in Nice, France. From its famous landmarks to museums to day trips! I know that travelling to Europe can be expensive, so I’ve highlighted some free things to do in Nice too!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to book. Please check out my privacy policy and disclosure for more information.

Quick List of Nice France Things to Do

sea view of city and mountains as one of the best things to do in nice france

If you’re in a hurry, here’s your at-a-glance look at everything you can see and do in Nice, France. It has been categorized by the type of traveller you are.

Cultural Explorers

  • Museums
  • Public Squares
  • Old Town
  • Cathedrals


  • Castle Hill
  • Monuments & Statues
  • Hotel Negresco

Sun Worshippers

  • Beaches
  • Promenades des Anglais
  • Old Port

Hidden Gem Seekers

  • Cimiez Neighbourhood
  • Mont Boron
  • Day Trips


  • Cours Saleya Market
  • Restaurants

Nature Lovers

  • Parks
  • Gardens

In a rush? Pin it for later.

15 Best Things to Do in Nice France

1. Promenades des Anglais

sunrise of pink sky over calm sea must do things in nice

You can’t travel to Nice without strolling along the Promenade des Anglais. Romantics will love it!

This pedestrian walkway from 1820 stretches for 7 km along the coastline. It’s what separates the Mediterranean Sea from the city. Rent a bike or go for a stroll.

Or, simply sit in the iconic blue chairs and watch the world go by. What I loved the most, was this one of the best spots to watch the sun rise and set. 

2. Old Town in Nice

Get lost in the city’s old town or Vieille Ville with its narrow laneways lined with very tall houses that shadow the streets.

Shops, cafés, restaurants and galleries occupy the ground floor of these 16th-century buildings. And, there are plenty! I still have my linen dress from one of the shops, a staple in the south of France. And, my husband, a handmade straw fedora hat.

Many of the things to see and do in Nice can be found right here.

Don’t underestimate how long to spend here, as you can easily be pulled by so many beautiful sites, streets, and sightings. Take your time and don’t rush.

3. Cathedrals in Nice

church with yellow and green accents in nice france

As you wander the sun-kissed streets of Nice you’ll stumble upon some of the most beautiful old churches.

Step inside these tranquil spaces full of history and take a moment to appreciate the architectural details of these gems.

  1. Nice Cathedral or St. Reparata Cathedral: a masterpiece of 18th-century Baroque architecture with stunning frescoes that adorn the ceiling
    • 📍3 Pl. Rossetti
    • 🕝Monday to Sunday from 9 AM to 6 PM, closed from 12 PM to 2 PM
  2. Chapelle de la Misericorde de Nice: a beautifully bright yellow Baroque-style church from the 18th century with a gorgeous frescoed domed ceiling
    • 📍Cour Saleya
    • 🕝Monday to Sunday from 9 AM to 6 PM, closed from 12 PM to 2 PM
  3. Russian Orthodox Cathedral, or Cathédrale Saint-Nicolas de Nice: is considered a national monument as it’s the largest Eastern Orthodox in Western Europe and is the property of Russia
    • 📍Av. Nicolas II
    • 🕝Monday to Sunday from 9 AM to 6 PM, closed from 12 PM to 2 PM
  4. Church of Notre Dame du Port: a historic church from 1840 in the Neoclassical style with stately stone columns
    • 📍Pl. de l’Île de Beauté
    • 🕝Monday to Sunday from 9 AM to 6 PM, closed from 12 PM to 2 PM

4. Public Squares in Nice

stone statue with fountain nice france

Picture yourself in a charming French Old Town square, lined with cafes and gelato shops, it’s the perfect spot for people-watching. They are the heartbeat of Nice and you’ll no doubt be enamoured by its atmosphere.

  • Place Rossetti with the stunning Sainte-Réparate Cathedral at one end
  • Place Palais de Justice is a small square with an impressive Neo-Classical building for Palais de Justice
  • Place Masséna with its iconic red pavement and the Apollo Fountain

5. Cours Saleya Market

colourful buildings with market stalls in nice france a free thing to do

What to do in Nice includes a trip to the Cours Saleya market! The popular market features everything from produce, spices, food, flowers and antiques. Without a doubt, my favourite is the flower market. Fun fact, in 1897 Nice opened the first wholesale cut flower market in the world.

girl at market as one of the best things to do in nice france
Me, visiting the markets in Nice daily

The best street food can be found at the Cours Saleya market. Come with an empty stomach and fill up on local specialties like socca (chickpea pancakes), pissaladière (caramelized onion tart) or tourte de blettes (chard, raisin and pine nut pie). 

  • 💐Flower Market: Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 6 AM to 5:30 PM, Wednesday and Saturday 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM, Sunday 6:30 AM to 1:30 PM
  • 🍅Fruit and Vegetable Market: Tuesday to Sunday from 6:00 AM to 1:30 PM
  • 🗝️Antiques/Flea Market: Monday from 7 AM to 6 PM

6. Castle Hill

waterfall against rock wall one of the top things to do in nice france

To get the best panoramic view of the city head to Castle Hill or Colline du Château. From Castle Hill Park you can see from Antibes, along the bay to Nice’s Old Port, and then as far as Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

To beat the crowds, I recommend coming here either at the start or end of the day. Without a doubt, this is one of the top things to do in Nice.

  • 📍Take the stairs or elevator to the top behind the artificial waterfall
  • 🕥Monday to Sunday from 8:30 AM to 8 PM

7. Nice Beaches

pebble stone beach with sea and pink sunrise in nice france

Even if you only have one day in Nice, you’ve got to head to the beach. The beaches in Nice are mostly pebbled rather than sand but are oh-so-beautiful.

It’s a classic beach scene with its striped umbrellas, sunbathers galore and glistening blue water of the Mediterranean Sea.

Many beaches in Nice offer to rent a beach spot for the day. For about 40€, you receive a towel, lounge chair and umbrella. Or head to the private beach clubs at Beau Rivage and Coco Beach, where you get that, plus licensed drinks. 

After a long week of sightseeing, I spent the day relaxing on the beach; it was our trip’s highlight.

gate to beach is things to do nice france
  1. Promenade des Anglais: main beach located along the Promenade des Anglais
  2. Plage de Castel: a small, secluded beach located near the castle of Nice
  3. Beau Rivage: a rocky shoreline great for snorkelling, and sunbathers stretch out on the big flat rocks close to the water’s edge
  4. Plage de l’Ariane: a large, sandy beach located on the eastern edge of Nice
  5. Plage de la Baie des Anges: a long, sandy beach located west of Nice

8. Old Port in Nice

port with boats and yachts in nice france

Known as the heart of Mediterranean life, this is one of the most popular ports in Europe.

This is the perfect place to sit back and relax, and have a drink or a meal in one of the bars or restaurants in the area while taking in the amazing Mediterranean vibes.

9. Historic Cimiez Neighbourhood

orange building with mint green shutters in nice france

Of all the top things to do in Nice, this is one of my favourites. Visiting this neighbourhood checks a lot of boxes and offers a little something for everyone. Not to mention it’s one of the most beautiful places in Nice, and a little off the beaten path.

Located on a hill above the city centre, it offers amazing views of the city down to the sea. Go for a stroll on Allées des Baumettes, which is a beautiful tree-lined avenue that offers one of the best views.

The Cimiez neighbourhood features beautiful Belle Époque architecture, just check out Hotel Regina and other elegant residential homes.

10. Parks and Gardens in Nice

If you’re looking for a peaceful escape in the city, Nice is home to some of the most beautiful parks and gardens. It’s one of my favourite things to do when travelling – a little serene break from the fast pace of sightseeing.

  1. Jardins de Cimiez: a beautiful garden located in the hilltop neighbourhood of Cimiez. What makes this a bit extra special to visit is it’s home to a Roman archaeological site and a beautiful view of the city
    • 📍184 Av des Arenes de Cimiez
    • 🕝Daily from 10 AM to 6 PM
  2. Jardin Albert 1er: a 19th-century park with an open-air theatre, bandstand and shady pathways that run from the shore to Place Massena in Old Town
    • 📍2-16 Avenue de Verdun
    • 🕝Daily from 7 AM to 11 pm
  3. The Jardin Botanique de Nice: a botanical garden of Nice and home to over 3,500 plants from the Mediterranean and all over the world
    • 📍78 Corniche Fleurie
    • 🕝Daily from 9 AM to 5 PM
  4. Parc Phoenix: a large park with greenhouses, gardens, a lake, waterfalls and a bamboo forest.
    • 📍405 Prom. des Anglais
    • 🕝 Daily from 9:30 AM to 7:30 PM
    • 💲5.20€ (3€ child or pass holders)
  5. Promenade du Paillon: a large green space located in the heart of Nice with a large reflecting pool and impressive 128 jets that spray water.
    • 📍Plassa Carlou Aubert
    • 🕝 Daily from 7 AM to 11 PM

11. Museums in Nice

curved stone staircase with garden in nice france

If you are an art lover, you’re in luck. Almost all of the city’s best museums cater to art.

Everything from classic 15th-century paintings to modern Pop Art from the 1960s. The best part is these museums are located in a grand villa offering visitors the most incredible setting.

🖼️My Recommended Picks for Nice Museums:

  1. Matisse Museum: housed in a 17th-century villa full of classic French paintings
    • 📍164, Av des Arènes de Cimiez
    • 🕝Daily from 10 AM to 6 PM (May 2nd to October 31st) and 10 AM to 5 PM (November 1st to April 30th)
    • 🖥️Matisse Museum
    • 💲10€
  2. Massena Musem: 19th-century estate featuring ornate carvings and paintings from the Belle Époque period
    • 📍65, rue de France
    • 🕝Daily from 10 AM to 6 PM (May 2nd to October 31st) and 10 AM to 5 PM (November 1st to April 30th)
    • 🖥️Musée Massena
    • 💲10€
  3. National Marc Chagall Museum: the largest collection of Marc Chagall works
    • 📍Av. Dr. Ménard
    • 🕝Daily from 10 AM to 6 PM (May 2nd to October 31st) and 10 AM to 5 PM (November 1st to April 30th)
    • 🖥️Musée National Marc Chagall
    • 💲10€
  4. Museum des Beaux-Arts: is housed in a 19th-century Italianate villa featuring an expansive collection of classic French and Italian classics through to post-Impressionist paintings
    • 📍Av. des Baumettes
    • 🕝Daily from 10 AM to 6 PM (May 2nd to October 31st) and 11 AM to 6 PM (November 1st to April 30th)
    • 🖥️Musée des Beaux-Arts
    • 💲10€
  5. MAMAC: a museum of modern and contemporary art

Nice Traveller’s Tip: purchase the blue museum pass for 10€ to receive a 24-hour all-access admission to any of the best museums in Nice. If you only choose one, the Matisse Museum was my favourite.

12. Monuments and Statues in Nice

white building with shutters with statue of woman in front in nice

The great thing about visiting monuments and statues as they don’t require a lot of time to visit but serve as interesting tidbits of history.

These places of interest you can easily add to your walking route as you are sightseeing in Nice and make for great photo ops.

  • Dead of Rauba-Capeu: a memorial in the old quarry cliffs of Castle Hill to honour the residents of Nice who were killed in WWI
    • 📍Quai Rauba Capeu
  • Statue of Liberty Replica: in front of the Opera House facing the Mediterranean is where you’ll find a 4 ft version to honour the WWI centennial
    • 📍Quai des États-Unis

13. Explore Mont Boron

sea view of nice france things to do

If you want to escape the lively city for a scenic setting go to Mont Boron, a large hill at 191 m above sea level, that separates Nice from Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Amble through the park on the paved forested paths leading you to Batterie Mont Boron fortress. At the top, you will be awarded incredible views of Nice and the Cap-Ferrat peninsula. This hidden gem is a local’s favourite and is worth going just for the views!

If you’re wondering where to go at night in Nice, it’s right here! Slowly watching the sun dip into the horizon is something to see!  

I got to know Mont Boron fairly well as the apartment we rented was close by.

How to get there: Mont Baron is a bit outside the city, take the city bus #33 from central Nice to Mont Boron for approximately 15-20 minutes.

14. Hotel Negresco

hotel dome with flag as one of the best things to do in nice france

Hotel Negresco is the iconic hotel that opened in 1913 right on the Promenade des Anglais.

Featuring a top restaurant, Le Chantecler, even if you are not a guest here, nothing should stop you from admiring this famous Nice landmark.

15. Must Do Things in Nice: Take a Day Trip

sea and colourful town on a day trip as must do things in nice

One thing that Nice is famous for is its proximity to sought-after destinations in Cote d’Azur. That includes some gorgeous hilltop villages that you don’t want to miss.

I visited all of these places and it’s possible to do a couple in a day.

  1. Villefranche-sur-Mer (7 km): Known for its picturesque bay and colourful waterfront, Villefranche-sur-Mer is a charming coastal town perfect for leisurely seaside strolls.
  2. Eze (12 km): Eze is famous for its medieval hilltop village with stunning panoramic views of the French Riviera and its enchanting Jardin Exotique.
  3. St Paul de Vence (15 km): Renowned as an artists’ haven, St. Paul de Vence is known for its captivating art galleries, cobbled streets, and the iconic Fondation Maeght.
  4. Monaco and the famous Monte Carlo (20 km): Monaco is a playground for the wealthy and famous, featuring world-class casinos, luxury boutiques, and the breathtaking Casino de Monte-Carlo. Use my guide on how to spend a day in Monaco.
  5. Peillon (20 km): Nestled in the mountains, Peillon is famous for its medieval architecture and the charming ambiance of its narrow, winding streets.
  6. Antibes (24 km): Antibes is celebrated for its historic old town, stunning Picasso Museum, and scenic Fort Carré overlooking the Mediterranean.
  7. Peille (25 km): Peille is known for its well-preserved medieval character and its beautiful church, Église Sainte Marie, dating back to the 13th century.
  8. Roquebrune Cap Martin (25 km): This town is famous for its lush gardens, like the Serre de la Madone, and the awe-inspiring views from the medieval village.
  9. Cannes (30 km): Cannes is world-renowned for its annual Film Festival and glamorous La Croisette Promenade, lined with luxury hotels and designer boutiques.
  10. Menton (30 km): Menton is known for its exceptional gardens, particularly the Jardin Serre de la Madone, and its Lemon Festival, celebrating the town’s citrus-growing heritage.

Or, My Recommended Pick for a Day Tour from Nice

#1 Top Pick
sea and cliff of town on best things to do nice france

French Riviera in One Day

✅ Èze, Monaco, and Antibes

✅ 4.5/5 ⭐️

✅ 9 hr guided tour that allows you to see 3 places in 1 day

FAQ About Nice Things to Do

How to get to Nice?

Fly into Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE), located just a few km west of the city, or train from other cities in France like Paris, Lyon, and Marseille or by car via the A8 motorway.

What is the best time to visit Nice?

The best time to visit Nice is in the spring and autumn months. The temperatures are still warm and there are far fewer crowds. Nice is also a popular destination in the winter due to the mild climate.

How to get around Nice?

You can easily get around Nice on foot with many of the main attractions located within walking distance of each other, including Old Town. City buses are the next option with extensive routes in and out of the city.

What is the weather like in Nice?

The weather in Nice experiences mild winters with temperatures of 5-15°C (41-59°F) and warm summers of 20-30°C (68-86°F).

How long should you spend in Nice?

Most people spend 3 to 5 days in Nice. Nice makes for a great base to explore nearby seaside towns and hilltop villages.

As a Holidaymaker

For any lover of French and Italian culture, Nice is the perfect blend. You’ll almost think you’re on holiday in Italy with all the fresh pasta shops and gelaterias on every corner.

First-timers to Nice, add more time than you think you’ll need. It makes for a great home base to explore towns along the coastline from Menton to Cannes and the pretty hilltop villages too. This is a holidaymaker’s dream destination.

For more trip-planning resources, access my France Travel Guide which is full of ‘need to know before you go’ information, including my complete list of articles on places I’ve been in France.