Spain Guide

France Guide


Nice France Attractions Tours day trips

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The fifth largest city in France, Nice is the Riviera's unofficial capital and a good base for exploring the Cote d'Azur because the accommodation is cheaper and the atmosphere more relaxed than at some of the other hotspots along the coast.

Nice has train and bus connections to Cannes, Monaco et al, and a handful of good museums that match, if not outclass, those elsewhere in the south of France. It has profited from the recent price battle between budget airline companies and now several of the biggest discount airlines fly into Nice airport, making the Riviera accessible to anyone and Nice a popular stop off point for backpackers on long hauls and weekenders alike. Official tourist site for Nice.

Consider these pages for busses, trains and airport information.

Nevertheless, the Cote d'Azur remains the playground of the rich and famous and Nice is no exception with rich retired people from all over the world setting up home here. The town has a rather dodgy political past, with several important magistrates arrested for or suspected of corruption, it also has a reputation for being a haven for pickpockets and miniature poodles, and the beach is not the most pleasant on the south coast. Still, the Niçois are friendly and relaxed people, ready to welcome you to their town and, with its winding medieval streets and Italian façades, this is really not such a bad place to call your (holiday) home.

Founded by Greek seafarers in 350 BC, Nice was originally called Nikaia and became home to the Romans in 154 BC. In the 10th century AD the counts of Provence ruled here and were ousted by the House of Savoy in 1388, which kept Nice under its wing until Napoléon III negotiated a deal and it became part of France in 1860. Victorians flocked here from England and, once the European nobility had caught on, Nice became a popular spot for winter holidays thanks to its warm climate. The promenade des Anglais was set up by these English tourists in 1822 and today you can still walk along 5km of it across the seafront.

Its continuation is the quai des États Unis, north of which the old town stretches as far as the delightful Musée d'Art Moderne. The old town has some interesting churches, and the place Garibaldi (named after Giuseppe Garibaldi born here in 1807), place Rossetti and cours Saleya are good spots for markets, cafés, and general wandering.

Russian and English edifices abound in Nice with the Negresco Hôtel and Russian Orthodox Cathedral being two of the most elaborate Russian constructions. The former has one of a pair of chandeliers commissioned by Tsar Nicholas II (the other is in the Kremlin), and portraits of the French royals from various chateaux.