I love France, and this was my first time heading to the south of the country. With the snow-capped backdrop of the Alps, the Cote d’Azur is a stunning location and the entire Riviera is a place to behold. Keep reading and check out my first travel vlog!

I hadn’t intended to make a video for the trip, but I had a new camera so was playing around and getting to know it. I ended up with quite a bit so figured I would mash it together into some sort of round up! So please forgive me for the rough edit! I’ll plan ahead next time. But for more top tips on what to see and do when, keep reading my weekend guide to Nice!

The gateway to the south

I feel like Nice is the beating heart of the south, not just because of the awesome sights and sounds, but because it’s the key to discovering the south of France. Nice is so brilliantly located that is easy as heck to venture further to see more of the countries Mediterranean coast.

But let’s not leave Nice before we’ve spoken about it, shall we? More on this later.

Places to stay in Nice

There are ample locations to stay in Nice, all for varying budgets and tastes. We managed to get a great deal on Le Meridien Nice, a very nice hotel right on the beach front along the Promenade des Anglais. It’s stunning views, rooftop pool, bar and restaurant make it a favourite destination. The rooms are simple, there are more affordable rooms that don’t have the sea views, but they are nice and have what you need.

The bar and restaurant are also open to the public. The pool doesn’t have much space around it to chill out, but the rooftop chairs are plastic so you can sit there in wet swimming gear. Only downside is that (I think) members of the public can use the bar etc. so you get a bunch of fully-clothed randoms watching you in your swimmers. The Terrace Restaurant it known across the city and comes up as one of the top restaurants to dine at. But it is pricey AF! €20 for pasta in tomato sauce… nah, I’m good ta! So we wen’t elsewhere to eat.

Places to eat in Nice

Now, as we had booked this trip with about seven days notice, I didn’t have much time to look for restaurants in advance as I was focusing on where to go and what to do. Now Nice can be really expensive in general, but for Brits travelling, the wonders of Brexit and the strength of the Euro against the GBP mean there’s a little extra pinch on your wallet. But there are options about. Here are some of the places we went to eat while in Nice:

Quick bites

Sushi Shop

There are a few Sushi Shop stops across Nice, and they serve amazing sushi. We grabbed a couple of bento boxes and headed to the beach. Each bento box came to about 11 pounds, so pretty standard pricing. But for the quality, it was better than most of London’s offering.

Big Fernand

Now, side note: I actually came back to Nice three weeks later as I got cheap flights and figured why not! On my last day before heading to the airport, I had a huge craving for a burger and Big Fernand came up as a top recommendation. It’s a cool place with friendly staff (dressed in plaid and flat claps) and great food. Greasy, but good. Two burgers, fries and a drink was €30. Update: since coming home and researching this, turns out there’s one in London!

Dining out

La Pizza Cresci

On the first night in Nice, we arrived late evening, we just wanted to something quick a simple. We were told about a nice pizza place behind the hotel, so we figured that would do. The food at La Pizza Cresci is nice, it’s just a little pricey. Two good-size pizzas, a bottle of wine and a shared dessert came to €65. But if you’re stuck for ideas and just need something filling, it’s worth a look.

Voyageur Nissart

OK, so saving the best for last… When I am travelling, I always love to go out-of-the-way places, local joints that serve local customers. It’s just a nice way to get a good feel for where you’re staying. Now, this hasn’t always been successful (a dreaded experience in Rome where they hated tourists and we were treated like crap!), but Voyageur Nissart is a total gem.

It’s not so much ‘local’ any more in that it’s a popular place for tourists in the now – it’s ample food awards have drawn attention. But it’s a quaint little place that serves great food, and more importantly, at a good price. You can order individually off the menu, or choose from a set menu – the ‘Voyager’ menu is three courses (with a 4th side for the main) and it’s only €17! The wine is also cheap with a 500ml carafe coming in at €8. Other places we’d seen were €10 a glass!

Things to see and do in Nice

There’s loads to get up to in Nice, and loads that I didn’t do – I was chasing the sun so spent a lot of time on the beach front and by the pool! But places of note include:

Promenade des Anglais

This is one of the most famous locations in Nice, unfortunately for good and tragic reasons. A stunning beach front with blue-sea views, It’s the place you’ll find tourists and locals alike, day-to-day and special festivals. Unfortunately it is also where the tragic 2016 terror attack took place. But the French are a hearty people and it doesn’t stop them. New security barriers have been placed along the promenade for added protection.

Castle Hill

Located at the end of the Promenade, Castle Hill is the place to go for great views of Nice. It’s not too stressful to climb and there is a lovely park at the top. Don’t forget to take a selfie with the #ILoveNice sign too!

Musée d’art moderne et d’art contemporain (MOMAC)

The modern art museum is a great way to spend an afternoon, especially if the weather isn’t in your favour. Spread over four floors, it’s only ten euros and there’s a rooftop walk.

The south of France

One of the great things about Nice is it’s location – right in the heart of the south with some of the most famous locations in the world just a short trip away.

Monaco

We didn’t even realise until we were in Nice how close Monaco was! It’s a 28 minute train and cost about five euros! So we jumped on the next one and headed to Monte-Carlo. Monte-Carlo is an awesome place to behold, though very pricey! We touched and bought nothing! Make sure you walk along the sea front, see the yachts and head up to the prince’s palace.

Cannes

The film stars hot-spot is only a short distance south west, about 35 mins and boasts a beautiful sea front full of palm trees and luxury boats. The famous film festival steps (red carpet included are also there for avid selfie takers).

What do you think? Where on this list are you eager to visit? Are there any hidden gems I missed that you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments below!

N

 

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Written by Neil Thornton
London-based coffee drinker. Editor by day, blogger by whatever time he finds spare.