What to see in Nice
The queen of the French Riviera, Nice is one of the most popular and prominent cities of France. And for a reason! Located on the Mediterranean coast, near the Italian border, Nice has everything that one would need for a perfect holiday.
Moreover, Nice is also a good location from where you can make day trips to the rest of the magnificent Riviera or to lavender fields in Provence. So, it is not accidently, that Nice is becoming one of the most popular cities among foreign tourists.
Photographer in Nice
Parking in Nice
I came to Nice by car from Valensolle, where I usually spend all July, and I left my car in the underground parking lot on the Massena Square. Read about my experience with car rental on this page. And everything about lavender and Valensolle is here.
I have to say, that coming to Nice by car for a few days can be quite expensive, though very convenient. The city center is full of parking lots, but the fees are from €0.90 for 15 minutes. For example, the underground parking on Massena Square is €3.30 for 1 hour, €8.50 for 3 hours, €14.50 for 6 hours, €16.90 for 9 hours.
Parking lots are easy to find by the signs with the letter P. They might, sometimes, indicate also if the parking is fully occupied (closed) or there is free space (open). You can see the list of parking lots of Nice with their fees and number of available places in real time on this site.
Landmarks in Nice
I started my acquaintance with Nice from the Place Massena, framed with magnificent fountains and beautiful buildings. It was called after the French Marshal Andre Massena, though until 1860 it had the name of the King of Sardinia, Charles Albert.
My attention was drawn by the fountain of the Sun with a marble sculpture of Apollo in the middle, surrounded by the statues of Earth, Venus, Mars, Mercury and Saturn.
From Place Massena, in opposite directions, you can either walk along the Promenade du Payon towards the Albert I Garden or along the Fontaine Miroir d'eau towards the Saint Reparata Cathedral and to the Old Town.
In five-minute walking from the Place Massena in the direction of the Old Town, you will come across the Flower Market of Nice. The market is open from early morning and closes starting from afternoon. Here, you can find a big variety of fresh flowers and charming bouquets at absolutely ridiculous prices from 5 to 20 EUR. Apart of flowers, there is a variety of local produce: soap, sachets, wicker bags, hats, souvenirs and lavender products.
And a bit further from the market, there is a row of numerous cafes and restaurants. They are in every corner of the rest of Nice, anyways. But here you can try everything from croissants to oysters.
Finally, here is the Old Town, the authentic Nice, in a way, the place where the famous local resident, Nikosa, lived and worked. The huge contrast, that it is, after being at the Promenade des Anglais, is beyond any words. To the east, you will see the Castle Hill, overlooking the winding cobbled streets of the city. It is really worth going up there by all means.
And in the Old Town, you can also find teh Chapelle de la Misericord, one of the most beautiful churches of the Baroque and Palais Lascaris style.
Wandering around the narrow winding streets of the Old Town, you will different comfortable cute places, like cafes. They are not as busy as those after the Flower Market.
The Old Town is all around Place Rossetti and the Baroque cathedral, Ste-Réparate that is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Mondays.
Next to the Cathedral of St. Reparata, there is the most popular ice-cream café in Nice — Fenocchio on 2 Pl. Rossetti. In summer, there is a huge queue, but out of curiosity, you can stand it for the sake of trying the unusual flavors of ice-cream, like cactus or avocado.
In general, one day is enough to explore the city of Nice with its major attractions. But in summer months, walking in the afternoon can be very hard - from 10 a.m. you will be already frying in the sun, and at lunch time , when it is +35 -37, all you would wish is not to get out of the sea, that in this part of France has an unrivaled azure color. So, in summer it is better to plan a city tour for early morning or during the sunset hours.
More attractions of Nice
Promenade des Anglais of Nice
The famous Promenade des Anglais is stretching along the coast from the airport in the west to the old town and the Etats-Unis in the east and along all the Bay of Angels (Baie des Anges). On the avenue of the English Embankment there are many hotels, restaurants and cafés. The famous French engineer, Eiffel, used to dine in these cafés.
Splendid creation of Belle Epoque architecture, the Promenade was named after the Englishmen, who founded the Cote d'Azur, obviously driven by a creative spark, while they were spending winters here in the 18th century.
Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Nice
Russian aristocracy started visiting Nice in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, forming a community no less significant and important, than the British one. The cathedral was sanctified in December of 1912 in the memory of the son of the Russian tsar, who died in Nice in 1865 at his early 25 years age. This is one of the most extraordinary buildings in the city.
You should definitely visit the Cimiez Hill overlooking the city and the Mediterranean Sea. When in summer it gets hot, the air in Nice becomes very heavy, and here, there is always a light breeze. You will also find here the Museum of Matisse and the remains of Roman civilization, the ruins of Cemenelum.