Make the Most of Your One Day in Nice France

Bienvenue à Nice, the jewel of the French Riviera! 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.

If you are wondering what to do in Nice for a day you’ve come to the right place. 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.

Even though I spent a week in Nice, which gave me ample time to see it all, I’ve created this with you in mind. I asked myself “What would the perfect Nice one day itinerary include“?

What to see in Nice France in one day has a lot to do with your interests. So let this 1-day itinerary of Nice give you some flexibility to pick and choose based on your preferences.

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.

One Day in Nice France

chart about what to see in Nice in one day

Travel is personal. That’s why I decided to share this quick reference of everything you could do in Nice in a day as it relates to the type of traveller you are.

That means, if you are not a museum-goer, skip Musee Matisse, or if you don’t love the beach but love architecture, spend more time in Old Town.

My recommendations have a little something for everyone. Use it as inspiration for things to do in Nice France while customizing it for you!

1 Day in Nice France

1. Cours Saleya Market

carrots at market on your one day in nice france

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.

  • 💐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

yellow buildings with shutters and pink clock tower in old town on 1 day in nice france

No visit to Nice for a 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 wonderful 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

church with yellow and green tile dome ceiling on your nice in one day

As you wander through the winding streets of Old Nice, you’ll come across this lovely-looking cathedral. 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.

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 and architecture enthusiasts alike, the Cathedrale Saint Reparate is a must-visit destination that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.

  • 📍3 Pl. Rossetti
  • 🕙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 at 2 Pl. Rossetti, an ice cream parlour that’s been serving up delicious gelato since 1966. With over 90 flavours to choose from, you can’t go wrong!

4. Place Masséna

stone statue with fountain nice france

Place Massena is the vibrant heart of Nice, a bustling public square that’s filled with infectious energy, perfect for people-watching.

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.

5. Lunch

Nice is famous for a few local specialties and lunch is the perfect time to try one of these:

  • Socca: Thin, crispy chickpea pancake with a creamy interior
  • Salad Niçoise: Authentic salad with raw tomatoes, olives, anchovies, tuna, and hardboiled eggs in an olive-oil-based vinaigrette
  • Pan Bagnat: Tuna, egg, olives, onion, anchovies, and tomato mixture in a crusty loaf (think Nicoise salad as a sandwich)
  • Beignets: Only in Nice do they offer savoury options – zucchini, zucchini blossoms, and eggplant

Since you are in Old Town, here are a few restaurants I recommend that are nearby:

  • La Voglia: offers a wide range of Italian dishes, including delicious pizzas, pasta dishes, and seafood specialties
  • Le Comptoir du Marché: a Michelin star offering a traditional French bistro atmosphere and a menu that features fresh, seasonal ingredients
  • Bistro du Fromager: a cozy bistro in a stone cave that specializes in cheese and charcuterie, making it the perfect spot for a light lunch

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.

  • 📍164, Av des Arènes de Cimiez
  • 🕙 From 10 am to 5 pm November to April and from 10 am to 6 pm May to October
  • 🚊Take the 05 Rimiez Saint-George bus at Wilson in Old Town and ride 11 stops to Victoria (about 20 minutes)
  • 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

view of sea boats and city roof tops in a day in nice france

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.

  • 📍184 Av des Arenes de Cimiez
  • 🕙 Monday to Saturday 8:30 am to 8 pm
  • Cost: Free

8. Promenade des Anglais

beach, sea with view of buildings in 1 day in nice france

Head to the legendary Promenade des Anglais – the iconic seafront promenade that stretches along the sparkling Mediterranean in Nice. Come here for a relaxing place to stroll and take in the beauty of the French Riviera.

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.

9. The Beach

blue and white stripped umbrellas on beach with sea on a day in nice france

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

waterfall against rock wall one of the top in nice france one day itinerary

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.

11. Dinner

A late-night romantic dinner in Nice is the perfect way to end a magical day in this enchanting city.

No matter what type of cuisine or atmosphere you’re looking for, Nice has something to offer. I recommend these restaurants.

  • 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

Experience: Nice in One Day Tours

Sometimes when you are short on time, a guided tour is your best option. What you gain is a fun experience by spending time with a local who gives you an overview of Nice while sharing its history and top landmarks. Here are some options for your Nice France things to do.

#1 Top Pick
guide on tour pointing to the sea on one day in nice france

Old Town and Castle Hill

✅ Guided walking & culture tour with a local

✅ Rated 4.8/5 ⭐️

✅ 135 minutes

#2 Pick
girl on segway tour on what to do in a day in nice france

Top Attractions

✅ Segway guided tour with local

✅ Rated 4.8/5 ⭐️

✅ 1 hour

#3 Pick
group on segway on a tour on nice in one day tour

Must-See Sights

✅ E-Scooter guided tour with a local

✅ Rated 4.8/5 ⭐️

✅ 1.5 hours

As a Holidaymaker

There you have it – what to do in Nice France! Although one day may not be enough to explore everything this city has to offer, it’s certainly enough to leave you enchanted and longing to return for more.

If you are planning a trip to my favourite region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur here are some other articles you might be interested in:

But if you are planning a trip to include under-the-radar places in France or Paris in your travel plans, be sure to check out my 30+ articles for that city alone. Everything from one day in Paris to a week in Paris.

Similar Posts