One Day in Nice France with these 11 Amazing Things to Do
Bienvenue à Nice, the jewel of the French Riviera! A picturesque city that boasts both a rich history and a modern vibe. Spend one day in Nice and you’re in for a treat!
This charming coastal city is renowned for its stunning seafront, art museums, and colourful Old Town. It’s no wonder why it’s one of the top destinations in France. Wondering what to see in Nice France in one day? You’ll have just enough time to experience the best this city has to offer, from the iconic Promenade des Anglais to the vibrant Cours Saleya market.
So grab your camera and your walking shoes, and let’s dive into this 1-day itinerary of Nice!
Table of Contents
One Day in Nice
Are you ready for a day filled with adventure and beauty in the French Riviera? If you’re visiting Nice for just one day, there are several must-see attractions that you won’t want to miss! Let’s explore the best things to see and do, in the order that will make the most of your time in this stunning city.
Cours Saleya Market, Colline du Chateau, Beach, Promenade des Anglais, Old Town, Ice Cream, Architecture, Eat Nicoise Cuisine, Museum, watch a sunset, nightlife
#1 Cours Saleya Market
Start your day early by heading to the Cours Saleya Market, where you can browse the colourful stalls selling fresh produce, flowers, and local products. This bustling market is the perfect way to start your fun-filled day and immerse yourself in the local culture.
Grab yourself a fresh croissant, pain au chocolat, and another delicious pastry of your choice. Once you’ve fueled up, it’s time to explore more of Nice.
Hours of operation:
- Flower Market – Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 6 am-5:30 pm, Wednesday and Saturday 6:30 am-6:30 pm, Sunday 6:30 am-1:30 pm
- Fruit and Vegetable Market every day except Monday from 6 am-1:30 pm
- Antiques/Flea Market – 7 am-6 pm Mondays only
#2 Old Town or Vieille Ville
No visit to Nice in one day is complete until you visit Old Town or vieille ville. Here, you’ll be transported back in time with its charming cobblestone streets and pastel-coloured buildings. There are many shops, cafes, and historic landmarks at every turn. Take your time here, get lost a little and you’re bound to discover so many beautiful sites in Old Town.
#3 Cathedrale Sainte-Reparate
As you wander through the winding streets of Old Nice, you’ll come across a magnificent cathedral that exudes a sense of serenity and grandeur. This is the Cathedrale Saint Reparate, one of the city’s oldest and most beloved landmarks.
Built in the 17th century, the cathedral is dedicated to Saint Reparata, the patron saint of Nice. Its impressive façade features a striking blend of Baroque and Romanesque architectural styles, with intricate carvings and sculptures that reflect the city’s rich history and culture.
Inside, you’ll find a stunning collection of artwork, including a series of frescoes that depict scenes from the life of Saint Reparata. The cathedral also houses a remarkable collection of religious relics and artifacts, including the bishop’s throne and a silver bust of the saint herself.
For history buffs and art enthusiasts alike, the Cathedrale Saint Reparate is a must-visit destination that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.
- Address: 3 Pl. Rossetti
- Opening hours: open daily from 9 am to 6 pm, closed from 12 pm to 2 pm
- Cost: Free
- Ice cream alert! For a sweet treat, head to Fenocchio, an ice cream parlour that’s been serving up delicious gelato since 1966. With over 90 flavours to choose from, it’s hard to go wrong! (2 Pl. Rossetti)
#4 Place Masséna
Place Massena is the vibrant heart of Nice, a bustling public square that’s filled with energy and excitement. At the center of the square, you’ll find a stunning fountain called Fontaine du Soleil or Sun Fountain, surrounded by statues. But that’s just the beginning.
Named after Andre Massena, a French military commander who played a key role in the Napoleonic Wars, the square is lined with a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants. The energy of the place is infectious, and you can’t help but feel a sense of excitement and adventure.
When it comes to food in Nice France, you’re in for a treat!
What to eat in Nice:
Nice is famous for a few local specialties and lunch is the perfect time to try one of these:
- Socca – looks like a huge thin pancake made from ground chickpea flour with crispy edges and soft and creamy inside
- Salad Niçoise – an authentic Nicoise Salad that combines raw tomatoes, olives, anchovies, tuna and hardboiled eggs with an olive-oil-based vinaigrette
- Pan Bagnat – a thick crusty loaf of bread with tuna, egg, olives, onion, anchovies, and tomato mixture (think Nicoise salad as a sandwich)
- Beignets – are only savoury, not sweet in Nice and there are three kinds to choose from – zucchini (courgettes), zucchini blossoms (fleurs de courgette), and eggplant (aubergine)
Where to eat in Nice:
Since you are in Old Town, here are a few recommendations that are nearby:
- La Voglia: offers a wide range of Italian dishes, including delicious pizzas, pasta dishes, and seafood specialties. Being so close to Italy, you’re bound to see the Italian influences in Nice.
- Le Comptoir du Marché: This charming restaurant that has earned a Michelin star offers a traditional French bistro atmosphere and a menu that features fresh, seasonal ingredients.
- Bistro du Fromager: This cozy bistro in a stone cave specializes in cheese and charcuterie, making it the perfect spot for a light lunch. This one is for wine lovers and foodies.
- Or, you can always return to Cours Saleya Market where you can grab a quick, cheap meal. If you do, be sure to try the Socca, as it’s considered the best at the market.
#6 Musée Matisse
Visiting the Musée Matisse is a must-do experience for art lovers and cultural enthusiasts for your 1 day in Nice France. The museum offers a unique opportunity to explore the life and work of Henri Matisse, one of the most important artists of the 20th century.
One of the most interesting things about the Musée Matisse is the diversity of works on display. You can see everything from Matisse’s early drawings and paintings to his famous paper cutouts, which he created towards the end of his life.
Another fascinating aspect of the museum is the building itself, which was once a 17th-century Genoese villa. The villa’s elegant architecture and stunning gardens provide the perfect backdrop for Matisse’s vibrant and colourful artwork. It’s an unforgettable experience that offers a glimpse into the life and work of one of the greatest artists of all time.
- Address: 164, Av des Arènes de Cimiez
- How to get there: Take the 05 Rimiez Saint-George bus at Wilson in Old Town ride 11 stops to Victoria – 20 minutes
- Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm from November to April and 10 am to 6 pm from May to October
- Cost: 10€
- Travel Tips: 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 want to skip any of the activities on this Nice itinerary and visit more top museums in Nice go to Massena, National Marc Chagall, Beaux-Arts, or MAMAC
#7 Jardins de Cimiez
The Jardins de Cimiez is a true oasis of tranquillity! These beautiful gardens are located in the Cimiez neighbourhood, mere steps from the Musée Matisse, and offer breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and the Mediterranean Sea.
Stroll through the gardens’ winding paths and enjoy the fragrant flowers, lush greenery, and peaceful fountains. History buffs will appreciate that this was once the site of a Roman amphitheatre. And lovers of architecture will be able to admire the impressive Belle Epoque mansions nearby.
Both the Jardins de Cimiez and Musée Matisse are hidden gems of Nice. Don’t miss out a visit to both of these beautiful sites in Nice.
- Address: 184 Av des Arenes de Cimiez
- Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 8:30 am to 8 pm
- Cost: Free
#8 Promenade des Anglais
Head to the legendary Promenade des Anglais – the iconic seafront promenade that stretches along the sparkling Mediterranean in Nice.
Originally built in the 19th century by English aristocrats, the promenade is now a symbol of the city’s luxury and elegance. It’s lined with palm trees, flower beds, and grand hotels like the famous Hotel Negresco, and offers stunning views of the sea and the surrounding hills.
But there’s more to the Promenade des Anglais than just its beauty. It’s also a place of significance in French history, having played a role in both World War I and II. Today, it’s a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike, a place to stroll, relax, and take in the beauty of the French Riviera.
#9 Head to the Beach
No trip to Nice is complete without a visit to the city’s stunning beaches. With crystal clear waters, warm Mediterranean breezes, and a vibrant atmosphere, the beaches of Nice are something to be experienced!
Along Promenade des Anglais visit the iconic Plage Beau Rivage, a private beach at the foot of Old Town with 5-star amenities. Sip on a cocktail at the luxe lounge bar or just stretch out on a striped lounger for a well-earned snooze. This pebble stone beach can’t be missed, and when you’re only in Nice for one day, treat yourself to this second-to-none beach experience!
#10 Castle Hill or Colline du Château
Visiting Castle Hill, or Colline du Château, is one of the best things to do in Nice. This historic site offers stunning panoramic views of the city, the Mediterranean Sea, and the surrounding hills, making it the perfect spot for sunset watching.
One of the most interesting things about Castle Hill is its rich history. The site was originally a fortified castle built by the Greeks and has since been occupied by various rulers throughout history. Today, you can explore the ruins of the castle and the adjacent park, which is home to waterfalls and pretty gardens.
Watching the sunset from Castle Hill is a magical experience, with the sky turning shades of orange, pink, and purple as the sun sinks below the horizon. It’s an unforgettable way to end a day in this beautiful corner of the world.
A late-night romantic dinner in Nice is the perfect way to end a magical day in this enchanting city. Imagine savouring the flavours of the Mediterranean as the stars twinkle overhead and the lights of the city glitter below.
Whether you choose an intimate bistro or a Michelin-starred restaurant, the romantic ambiance of Nice will create a truly unforgettable dining experience. Choose your restaurant of choice from the next section of restaurants in Nice.
Where to Eat in Nice
No matter what type of cuisine or atmosphere you’re looking for, Nice has something to offer. With so many fantastic options to choose from, you’re sure to have a memorable dining experience in this beautiful city. Here are some recommended restaurants to try.
- La Petite Maison – known for its traditional Niçoise cuisine, La Petite Maison puts a focus on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients
- Le Bistrot d’Antoine – this Michelin-starred cozy bistro is a local favourite, serving up classic French dishes with a contemporary twist
- Jan – with its innovative and creative approach to cuisine, Jan offers a truly unique and unforgettable dining experience at this Michelin-starred restaurant
- Flaveur – this Michelin-starred restaurant features a menu of inventive and artfully presented dishes that showcase the flavours and traditions of the Mediterranean
- Bistro du Fromager: This cozy bistro set in a stone cave specializes in cheese, charcuterie and good wine. Come dinner, it serves other French classics like escargot and steak and frites. Maybe you took a pass on this restaurant for lunch and saved it for a special dinner.
How to Get to Nice France
Nice can be easily reached by air, train, or car.
The city is home to the Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, which is served by many major airlines and offers connections to cities throughout Europe and beyond.
France has excellent train connections, with regular services to Paris, Marseille, and other major destinations throughout France.
If you prefer to drive, Nice is easily accessible by car via the A8 highway.
FAQ: Nice in One Day
Can you see Nice in 1 day?
While it’s challenging to see all of Nice in 1 day, it’s still possible to get a taste of the city’s unique culture and charm. One area of Nice to do that is in Vieille Ville, or Old Town- close to the beaches, promenade and Castle Hill.
Is one day enough in Nice France?
While one day in Nice is certainly better than none, it’s difficult to fully experience everything this enchanting city has to offer. However, with careful planning and prioritization, it’s possible to see some of the city’s most iconic sights and enjoy a memorable day in Nice.
What can you do in 24 hours in Nice?
In 24 hours in Nice, it’s enough time to stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, visit the iconic Colline du Château, explore the charming Old Town, tour a museum and dine at one of the city’s world-class restaurants.
How much time do you need in Nice?
To truly experience all that Nice has to offer, spend 3 to 4 days in the city. This will give you enough time to explore the stunning beaches, wander the charming streets of Old Nice, and visit some of the city’s world-class museums and cultural attractions.
France Travel Inspiration
Are you looking for more? Here are some other articles for your trip planning and inspiration. If your itinerary has you going from Paris to Nice, be sure to check out the Paris articles too.
South of France
- Things to do in Nice
- 5 hilltop villages close to Nice that are worth visiting (within 30 km)
- Guide to Luberon villages in Provence
- 7 of the most beautiful villages in Provence
- The best markets in Provence – a daily guide
- Visiting the most beautiful village in France – Gassin (Nice to Gassin – 110 km)
- One day in Avignon – the best sightseeing guide (Avignon to Nice – 260 km)
- A day in Monaco is super easy from Nice (Nice to Monaco within 30 km)
- The 21 best streets in Paris by arrondissement
- If you love pretty parks and hidden gardens you’ll want to know where to find them in Paris
- Where to find the secret covered passages throughout Paris
- One of Paris’ favourite neighbourhoods and what to do in Le Marais in the 3rd and 4th arrondissement
- The chicest neighbourhood in Paris – 6th Arrondissement with 19 things to do in Saint Germain Paris
- How to make the most of your visit to Jardin du Luxembourg in the 6th arrondissement
- Escape to one of two islands in Paris – Ile Saint-Louis in the 4th arrondissement
- Visiting the Champagne region in France – the capital city of Reims
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
What a day it has been! From strolling through the vibrant markets to soaking up the sun on the beach, from discovering hidden gems to indulging in delicious food and drinks, there’s never a dull moment for your one day in Nice France itinerary.
This charming city truly has it all – rich history, stunning architecture, beautiful art, and vibrant local culture. As the sun sets over the horizon and the sky turns shades of orange and pink, I can’t help but feel grateful for this unforgettable experience. One day in Nice may not be enough to explore everything this city has to offer, but it’s certainly enough to leave you enchanted and longing to return for more.