3 Days in Nice: Everything You Should Know
Nice, France, is a legendary travel destination for a reason. One of the biggest cities on the French Riviera, Nice is famous for its atmospheric Old Town and historic center, its gorgeous pebble beaches along the Promenade des Anglais, its excellent museums, and its lively Provençal culture. Plus, beyond the city itself, you'll find this region of France full of other places to visit that are just as fascinating, including Antibes, Cannes, and even the independent city-state of Monaco.
If you're pressed for time, 3 days in Nice may not seem like enough to enjoy everything the French Riviera has to offer. Luckily, many of the top attractions in Nice are within walking distance of one another, so you can make your way through the narrow streets beneath the palm trees on foot and still get to see plenty of the city. If you're wondering how to best spend your time when you visit Nice, check out our Nice itinerary for some inspiration on your French Riviera trip.
And don't forget to leave your bags at a convenient luggage storage location in Nice. Traveling light will make it much easier to get the most out of the city on a short trip and see everything Nice has to offer.
If you're waking up to your first day in Nice, lucky you! This beautiful city is just waiting to be explored, and you'll have plenty to do and see here. You're going to need your energy, so it's a good idea to fuel up with a croissant and coffee at one of the many cafés you'll find in the Old Town before setting out to explore.
A great place to begin when you visit Nice for the first time is at Place Massena, the large square in the center of town. From here, you can get your bearings by walking down some of Nice's most famous streets, including Rue Paradis and Rue St. François de Paule, which are lined with lovely pastel-colored buildings. Make sure to take a stroll down Cours Saleya as well, where you can browse the stalls at the daily flower market and grab a bite to eat later on.
While you're in Old Town, you'll have plenty of options for lunch. Although these tend to be on the pricier side, and many are pitched squarely at the tourist portion of the market, you can also find a few hidden gems even in the tourist heart of the city. If you prefer to eat on the go, try René Socca for the best street food in Nice. Or, if you have time for a more leisurely meal, Oliviera offers incredible Mediterranean cuisine that may well be a highlight of your trip.
Once you've gotten your fill of strolling around Nice's Old Town, it's time to explore some of the city's top museums. The first one on our list is the Marc Chagall National Museum, which is dedicated to the work of the 20th-century painter who lived in Nice for many years. The museum's collection includes some of Chagall's most famous paintings, as well as works by other artists he was influenced by. This is perhaps the most important fine art museum in Nice, and definitely a great place to check out for anyone with an interest in art.
Next up is the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, which is located in the former Ducal Palace and features a wide variety of art from the late 19th century to the present day. Fans of modern art shouldn't miss the stunning collection of modern and contemporary art housed here, and you'll probably come away with some new favorites when you visit.
If you're interested in learning more about Nice's history, make sure to visit the Palais Lascaris, a 17th-century palace that houses an impressive collection of antique furniture, tapestries, and musical instruments.
After a full day of exploring Nice, it's time to relax and enjoy some of the city's excellent cuisine. You'll find no shortage of great restaurants in Nice, but for a truly memorable dining experience, head to Le Chantecler at the prestigious Hotel Negresco near Vieux Nice on the Promenade des Anglais. This Michelin-starred restaurant serves up inventive French dishes with a Mediterranean twist, and its elegant setting is the perfect place to enjoy a special meal on your trip.
On your second day in Nice, it's time to explore beyond the city limits and see what else the French Riviera has to offer. Start by taking a short train ride or drive over to Antibes, where you can stroll around the charming Old Town and visit the Picasso Museum. The museum is located in the 16th -century Château Grimaldi and features a large collection of works by the famed artist, who lived in Antibes for a time.
After you've had your fill of art, it's time to hit the beach. Antibes is home to several beaches, but a favorite is Plage de la Salis, where you can sunbathe on the soft sand or take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea.
Once you're feeling refreshed, head back into town and sample some of Antibes' excellent seafood at one of the many restaurants lining the harbor. If you're looking for a casual spot for lunch, try La Merenda, which specializes in traditional Niçoise dishes like pissaladière (a type of pizza) and daube (beef stew).
After lunch, it's time to explore Antibes' famous market. The Marché Provençal is open every day except Monday and is the perfect place to find fresh produce, cheese, meat, and more. Even if you're not planning on cooking while you're in town, it's worth browsing the stalls and picking up a few souvenirs to take home with you.
When you're done at the market, make your way to the Château de la Napoule. This 14th-century castle has been turned into a museum devoted to the work of American artists Henry Clews Jr. and his wife, Marie. The couple lived in the castle for many years and filled it with their art, which includes sculptures, paintings, and tapestries.
For dinner on your second night in Nice, we recommend heading to one of the city's many excellent seafood restaurants. One of our favorites is La Petite Maison, where you can enjoy fresh Mediterranean seafood like squid ink risotto and grilled octopus. The restaurant has a casual atmosphere but still feels special, making it the perfect spot for a romantic dinner.
On your final day in Nice, take some time to relax on one of the city's beaches. If you're looking for a quiet spot to sunbathe and swim, head to Plage de la Réserve, a small beach located just west of the Old Town.
For something a little livelier, head to Plage Beau Rivage on the Promenade des Anglais. This beach is situated in the heart of Nice and is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
Many of the beach clubs of Nice serve excellent food, and there's no better setting for your midday meal than along the beaches in front of the Promenade des Anglais. Dining with a view of the astonishing turquoise water of the Mediterranean Sea is a classic Nice activity, and the swaying palm trees are the perfect backdrop to a leisurely meal. Try the fish soup at La Merenda or the crab salad at Le Sirenuse to enjoy the exceptional seafood you'll find in this coastal city. Or, for one of the most beautiful patios you're ever likely to see, check out Le Plongeoir with its open-air dining terrace built on a pillar of rock rising from the sea.
After all that lazing on the beach, it's time to burn off some calories. Take a walk up to Castle Hill, or take the elevator if you don't feel like a strenuous walk. Castle Hill was once the site of a fortress that was destroyed in the 19th century, but today it's home to a beautiful park with panoramic views of Nice and the coastline.
If you're feeling energetic, continue walking east along the coast until you reach the port of Nice. From here, you can take a boat ride to one of the nearby islands, such as Île Sainte-Marguerite or Île de Saint-Honorat. Or, if you'd prefer to stay on land, stroll around the port and watch the boats come and go.
For your final evening in Nice, we recommend heading to the Old Town for dinner. This is the perfect spot to try some of the city's famous dishes, such as ratatouille (a vegetable stew) and socca (a type of chickpea pancake). Or, for something a little more indulgent, order a platter of oysters or lobster at one of the seafood restaurants.
After dinner, take a stroll through the Old Town and enjoy the atmospheric streets and squares. Iconic Nice landmarks like the Opera House and the Asian Arts Museum look at their very best all lit up at night, and the beautiful architecture of the city invites you to take a photo on almost every corner.
If you're in the mood for a drink, stop at one of the many bars or cafes for an aperitif or a glass of wine. Or, if you'd prefer something a little livelier, head to one of the Old Town's nightclubs for a night of dancing. Either way, spending your last night in Old Town offers the perfect end to your Nice itinerary and is the best way to say goodbye to the city center - at least until your next visit.
It's not hard to see why Nice is such a popular place to visit. With impressive museums like the Marc Chagall National Museum and the Musée d'art Moderne et d'art Contemporain, combined with the ancient Roman ruins of Cimiez, the city is a culture lovers' dream. Fans of nature and the outdoors will enjoy a scenic walk around Castle Hill or could take a day trip out of the city to enjoy the endless trails of the mountains of Provence. Speaking of day trips, the coastal towns of Antibes, Juan les Pins, and Cannes make spectacular places to visit to get a deeper understanding of the French Riviera lifestyle. And a short ride from the Nice train station brings you to Monaco with its famous harbor, Prince's Palace, and opulent casino.
But you don't have to leave Nice to have a great time. The historic center of the city, Vieux Nice, has more than enough to keep you busy on a short 3-day trip.
If your time in the French Riviera is limited, the best thing you can do is make sure you're not carrying more than you need to. Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage near the city center and get ready to enjoy one of the most beautiful coastal cities of Western Europe. With so much to see and do, even the best-planned Nice itinerary will leave you wanting more. So you'll just have to book another trip to this spectacular city by the sea.