Nice, the beautiful city on the French Riviera, is known throughout the world, and for good reason. However, many visitors to Nice are surprised by how small the city is. That's no bad thing; it makes the place very walkable and easy to get around. And despite the small size, this ancient Roman city of narrow cobblestone streets and famous attractions has a variety of neighborhoods to offer visitors.
Where you choose to stay will depend to some extent on what you want to do while you're in town. Everyone wants to be close to the famous Promenade des Anglais and the city center, but you may prefer the peace and quiet of a more residential neighborhood. Likewise, while the city center is full of boutique hotels that ooze French charm in the country's fifth-largest city, many guests prefer the spacious rooms and impressive amenities of a more modern hotel.
When deciding where to stay in Nice, it's important to pick somewhere centrally located to the activities you want to do. If you want to take advantage of Nice's world-class museums, you'll be ideally situated in Vieux Nice. But if you're more interested in some of the unmissable things to do in Nice at night, you might be better off somewhere closer to the city's nightlife.
However you intend to spend your time, you'll enjoy yourself much more if you don't carry more than you need to. Dropping off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Nice makes it easier to get around and explore. It's also the perfect way to deal with an early checkout or late check-in so you can maximize your stay in Nice.
Before choosing between Nice hotels, it's important to know the best neighborhoods in the city. So here's a handy guide to get you started.
Where to stay in Vieux Nice
Nice's old town is as charming as they come. This French city was once part of Italy, and nowhere is that more visible than in the narrow streets and colorful buildings of Vieux Nice. This neighborhood is also where you'll find the majority of the city's main attractions, including the Cours Saleya flower market, Massena Square, and Castle Hill.
Of course, the central location doesn't come cheap. And often, you'll find hotel rooms in the old town are small and lack the amenities you'd get from a more modern hotel. However, it is a good place to find a historic hotel, and the great location is hard to beat.
The Hotel Nice Beau Rivage is worth checking out in this area. This boutique hotel is located in a building that dates back to 1860, and it offers incredible views over the seafront on its private terrace. Hotel Villa les Cygnes is also one of the best hotels in the city center, within walking distance of the beaches and the markets combined with all the charm of the old town. La Perouse is also worth considering. This charming hotel sits right on the seafront and offers an outdoor swimming pool perfect for beating the heat along with comfortable rooms and free Wi-Fi.
Where to stay in Le Carre d'Or
Nice, and the French Riviera in general, are bywords for luxury and glamour. If you want a taste of the high life while visiting Nice, you can't go wrong with a hotel in le Carre d'Or. The Golden Square is the most expensive neighborhood in this already not particularly affordable city, and is the place to stay in Nice if you want to be surrounded by millionaires. Even if you don't, it's a great place to stay thanks to its central location. Bordered on the east by Avenue Jean Medicin, on the west by Boulevard Gambetta, and on the south by the Promenade des Anglais, this area is close to everything the old town has to offer. This area is brimming over with trendy restaurants, great bars, fashionable boutiques, and chic cafés, making it centrally located for a trip designed to take in Nice's high-end lifestyle.
For example, you could live like a king or queen at Hotel Le Royal. Situated in a former palace, this historic hotel is only a short walk from the Promenade des Anglais and the Villa Massena, along with the flower market. The sea views from the bar and the recently renovated rooms, some also with a sea view, make this hotel surprisingly great value for such a central area. They also offer great breakfasts, though they come with an additional cost.
Another alternative in the area is the Hotel Villa Victoria. This four-star establishment has free Wi-Fi, great reviews, air conditioning, modern décor, and a delicious breakfast. It's also only an eight-minute walk from Nice Ville train station, making this exciting neighborhood easy to reach.
Where to stay in the Old Port
Nice owes its existence to its port. For centuries, the port was how many visitors reached the city, and commercial goods came and went, feeding the growing town and creating jobs for the locals. Nowadays, however, the Old Port is pretty far removed from its working origins. You're more likely to see luxury mega yachts of millionaires floating in the harbor than you are trade ships, and more likely to run into business tycoons and celebrities than salty sea dogs.
The Vieux Port is located a little way out of Nice Old Town, but it's not hard to reach everywhere in the city from this location. A few minutes' walk will bring you to the city center from the port. And because the port is such an attraction for yachts, you'll find many great restaurants in the area. In fact, the port makes a good alternative to the Old Town if you're wondering where to stay in Nice. It's still centrally located, but you're more likely to find larger rooms, elevators, and ocean views in this area than in others. Plus, history lovers will probably get a kick out of staying in such a historical area as le Port.
The Hotel Suisse Nice is a good option for those wondering where to stay in Nice. This four-star establishment offers free wifi, a breakfast buffet, and air conditioning. However, if you prefer to stay active during your stay in Nice, check out the Hotel Aston la Scala, which is a fitness center and an outdoor pool, and also allows pets. If you prefer to do your swimming in the wild, le Saint Paul, located in a former seminary, offers beach access and free parking just off the Promenade des Anglais. It's also very close to Castle Hill, and only a short walk from le port to Nice Old Town. Plus, le port is home to some of the city's best restaurants, making this a great place to eat. If you're looking for the best brunch in Nice, chances are good you'll find it here.
Where to stay in New Town
Don't make the mistake of thinking that Nice New Town lacks the charm of the Old Town. This vibrant area, based around Place Massena, combines the charm of both new and old effortlessly. Formally known as Jean Médecin New Town, this area is the home of MAMAC, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, and the Musee Massena. It's also maybe the best location in Nice to go shopping, with some of the city's best department stores and the sprawling Nice Etoile shopping center located nearby. Plus, you'll find lots of luxury boutiques in the area. For shopaholics wondering where to stay in Nice, New Town is the answer. You'll also find plenty of restaurants and cool cafés in the area to spend some time.
The Hotel NH Nice is located in the heart of this upmarket area, and is known for its rooftop pool that offers incredible views of the city. They also offer a concierge service to make your stay easy, and they can recommend the best places to shop or eat in the local area. Alternatively, the Hotel Albert 1er offers parking and is kid-friendly, making it one of the best hotels in Nice to bring young children. After all, the hotel is named after the lush garden of Albert 1 that is located right outside. Thanks to the presence of tram line L2, this hotel is also very easy to reach from Nice Côte d'Azur airport.
Where to stay in Cimiez
Compared to le port or the Old Town, the hillside neighborhood of Cimiez is often overlooked. But this former Roman outpost and largely residential area offers a quiet place to stay away from the hustle and bustle that still has plenty to do. Famously, Queen Victoria stayed in this area to enjoy Nice's winter warmth. The main attraction is the ruined Roman amphitheater and the archaeological museum that tells the story of Roman Nice. In the summer, jazz and classical concerts are held in the ruins, making this a great place to stay in Nice for history lovers and culture fans. The Cimiez area is also home to one of the city's top attractions, the Marc Chagall National Museum, so you won't run out of things to do here.
You'll also find this area offers great value, located as it is in a relatively quiet area away from the city center. But thanks to Nice's excellent public transport links, you're only a short bus or tram ride from Massena Square and Old Town.
Hotels like the Petit Palais and the Relais Acropolis offer modern rooms at a fraction of the cost you'll pay in the city center. The Petit Palais also offers a swimming pool, making it a great choice for your stay in Nice. Both hotels are a relatively short walk from Nice Ville train station, making them easy to reach and great places to stay at. If you're wondering how to get around Nice, this guide should help.
Nice, France has so much to offer travelers that you're going to need to be selective. Choosing what neighborhood to stay in is a big part of that. If you want to be in the heart of the action and enjoy the city's great nightlife, then it's worth paying the additional cost to stay in Le Carre D'or or the Old Town. If you're more interested in spending your time shopping, New Town may be a better option for where to stay in Nice. And if you want to soak up history and culture on your trip, or just want to get a little peace and quiet, Cimiez may suit you down to the ground.
Whichever neighborhood of the city you pick, you're guaranteed sunshine, great food, and an unrivaled atmosphere. Once you've found a place to stay, you can drop off your bags at a Nice luggage storage and devote your time to enjoying this fantastic city.