The beautiful coastal city of Nice, France, isn't known for rainy days. Located on the French Riviera with the Mediterranean Sea in front of it, the city enjoys a warm and relatively dry climate, with only 29 inches (740 mm) of rain per year.
As a result, many people come to the Côte d'Azur to enjoy the sunshine on the beaches, neglecting more indoor activities in favor of spending time in the sun. However, rainy days happen, even on the French Riviera, and bad weather can ruin your plans here just like it can anywhere else.
Luckily, a little preparation goes a long way. With so many museums, restaurants, shopping malls, and other rainy day activities in the city, wet weather on one of Nice's rare rainy days doesn't need to spoil your fun. Drop off your unneeded bags at a luggage storage service in Nice and head for some of these interesting activities in case of bad weather. Nice truly is a year-round destination, and these activities will show you why.
Marc Chagall National Museum
Unquestionably one of the top Nice museums, the Marc Chagall National Museum contains a large collection of the artist's work. Most of the paintings on display are from Chagall's later years, when he lived in Saint-Paul-de-Vence and Nice, after moving away from Russia.
The museum is located in an 18th-century building in the old town, just a few steps from the Promenade des Anglais. It's easy to spend an afternoon here, enjoying the artwork and learning about one of the most important painters of the 20th century. As well as the work of Chagall himself, you'll get a deeper understanding of the artist's influences and the influence he himself had on the artists that followed him. It's the perfect place to spend a few hours staying out of the rain during a visit to Nice, and you'll most likely come away with a new appreciation for this artist once you learn more about his life and work.
The MAMAC (Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain) is another excellent choice for a rainy day activity in Nice. This modern art museum has a large collection of paintings, sculptures, and installations from artists such as Andy Warhol, Yves Klein, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
With over 5,000 works on display, the MAMAC is one of the largest contemporary art museums in France. The museum is located in the hills above Nice, in the district of Fabron. To get here, you can take the bus or the funicular railway from the city center.
Although it's a bit of a trek to get to the MAMAC, it's definitely worth it if you're interested in contemporary art. The museum has a wide variety of artwork on display, and it's sure to give you a new perspective on the world of contemporary art.
Shopping on the Promenade des Anglais
Even with all the activities Nice has to offer, few things beat an evening stroll on a sunny day along the famous boulevard known as the Promenade des Anglais. This seafront street has functioned as a kind of communal outdoor living room for the city for well over a century and is where the people of Nice still come to see and be seen.
But if the rain makes a stroll along the Promenade less appetizing, you could take advantage of the excellent shopping there is to be found in this neighborhood to make the most of the bad weather. Along with several department stores, the Promenade is home to a number of high-end fashion boutiques. You can find everything from designer clothes to jewelry to home decor here, making it the perfect place to do some shopping on a rainy day in Nice.
There are also a number of cafes and restaurants along the Promenade, so you can take shelter from the rain and enjoy a coffee or a meal while you're doing some shopping.
Create Your Own Perfume
Rainy days will happen, even in the sunniest of cities. But not every city offers you the opportunity to learn a new skill the way you can in Nice. Located in Old Nice, the Molinard perfumery offers a range of courses where you can learn about the history of perfume-making and create your own unique scent.
This is a great activity to do with friends or family, and it's a fun way to spend a few hours on a rainy day. The perfumery is located in the heart of Old Nice, just a short walk from the Promenade des Anglais.
If you're looking for something a bit more cultural to do on a rainy day in Nice, then you should consider visiting the Palais Lascaris. This 17th-century palace is one of the city's most important historic landmarks, and it's home to a large collection of antiques and works of art.
The Palais Lascaris is located in the old town, just a short walk from the Promenade des Anglais. It's easy to spend an afternoon here, exploring the beautiful palace and learning about its fascinating history.
Eat like a local
Of course, no list of rainy day activities in Nice would be complete without mentioning the city's food. Nice is renowned for its cuisine, and there are plenty of excellent restaurants to choose from if you're looking for a place to eat on a rainy day.
If you want to try some of the local specialties, then you should head to one of the many restaurants in Old Nice. Here you'll find a wide range of traditional dishes, such as ratatouille and socca (a type of chickpea pancake).
Or, if you're in the mood for something more international, you can head to one of the many excellent restaurants along the Promenade des Anglais. From French to Italian to Thai, you'll find something to suit your taste here.
If you're looking for a fun and educational activity to do on a rainy day, then you should consider visiting the Oceanographic Museum. This museum is located in the port of Nice, and it's dedicated to the study of the sea.
The Oceanographic Museum is home to a wide variety of marine life, including sharks, rays, and turtles. You can also learn about the history of maritime exploration, and see some of the equipment used by early explorers.
This is a great activity for families, as there are plenty of interactive exhibits to keep children entertained. And, if the weather clears up, you can even take a boat trip from the port to see some of the marine life up close.
Parc Phoenix is a large botanical garden located just outside of Nice. This is a great place to take a walk on a rainy day, as you can appreciate the beauty of the plants and flowers even more when they're wet.
The park is home to a wide variety of plant life, from cacti to palm trees. And, if you're lucky, you might even see some of the park's resident flamingos. Plus, the park is also a zoo where you can see animals like monkeys, wallabies, otters, parrots, and crocodiles. There's also a large adventure playground that takes kids through the trees and lets them burn off some energy even in the rain.
Parc Phoenix is located just a short bus ride from the city center, making it easy to get to on a rainy day.
Try Your Luck In Monte Carlo
Although not actually in Nice, the independent city-state of Monaco is only a short train ride away from the French city. The stunning casino of Monte Carlo is one of the most prestigious and well-known gaming locations in the entire world, and it's worth visiting just to see the multimillion-dollar supercars lined up in front that testify to the wealth of the patrons inside.
The casino is open to the general public, though forbidden to anyone from Monaco itself. You can visit the extravagant lobby and hallways even if you're not planning on gambling, though keep in mind that the dress code is very strict. If you are planning on playing some games, then take note of the high minimums; this is definitely not a casino for low-rollers. Forget slot machines and think more baccarat, poker, and roulette. If you've ever wanted to gamble like James Bond, there's no better place to do it than this.
Even if you don't want to gamble, a visit to Monte Carlo is still a great way to spend a rainy day in Nice. You can explore the beautiful city, visit the famous casino, and people-watch to your heart's content. As one of the smallest countries in the world and an independent principality completely surrounded by France, Monaco is a unique place to visit. It also has some great museums of its own, along with some incredible restaurants that cater to the financial elite from around the world. This classic Côte d'Azur destination is well worth a visit, rain or sun.
Another of Nice's museums devoted to a single artist, the Matisse Museum is unsurprisingly dedicated to French painter Henri Matisse. This museum is located in the district of Cimiez, which is also home to a number of other museums and historical sites.
The Matisse Museum contains the largest collection of the artist's work in France, with over 500 pieces on display. You can see a wide variety of Matisse's work, from his early sketches to his famous paintings and sculptures.
This is a great place to visit on a rainy day, as you can spend hours admiring the artworks on display. And, if you're a fan of Matisse's work, then this is definitely a museum that you won't want to miss.
Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts is one of the most popular museums in Nice, and it's easy to see why. This museum contains a wide variety of art from different periods and cultures, making it a great place to spend a rainy day.
The Museum of Fine Arts has an extensive collection of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art. You can see paintings by famous artists like Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh. Plus, there are also furniture, ceramics, and much more.
In addition to the artworks on display, the Museum of Fine Arts is also home to a number of temporary exhibitions. These exhibitions showcase different periods or styles of art, and they're always worth checking out.
Nice Archaeological Crypt
What better way could be to get away from the rain than to head underground? The Nice Archaeological Crypt is a great place to visit on a rainy day, as you'll be able to stay out of the weather while learning more about the history of the city.
The crypt was recently discovered and contains the remains of the ancient city wall of Nice. Located right next to the Museum of Modern Art, the ruins here go back as far as the 14th century and offer a rare glimpse into the medieval life of a major French city. A visit here will take no more than an hour, but it's an interesting way to peer beneath the modern city and see ancient history brought to life.
Thanks to its incredible beaches, it's no surprise that Nice is often thought of as a summer destination. But with such a rich history and culture, Nice has a lot more to offer than just sun and surf. If you find yourself rained out on the French Riviera, there's no need to worry. Try a few of these wet weather activities, and you'll see a whole other side to this normally sunny city.