12 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Nice

Jul 22, 2021

The Italian Riviera has always been a favorite getaway for travelers, not just because of its beautiful Mediterranean coastline and quaint Mediterranean-style resorts, but also because of its lively and cosmopolitan atmosphere, which is equal parts Italian and French. In addition to being one of the world's best playgrounds for yachtsmen and golfers, the Riviera is also home to some of the best beaches in the world, from the beautiful sand of the CĂ´te d'Azur to the tan-sand-and-rocks terrain of Monaco's Monte Carlo.

A walk through Nice is a chance to see a remarkable city that's hard to forget. Monuments, museums, cafés, and other tourist attractions line streets that wind through the medina quarter to the beachfront. With endless places to visit, day trips to nearby destinations, and great hotels and restaurants, a visit to Nice is a relaxing excursion that's well worth the trip.

Check out the best things to do in Nice, France with our itinerary for the best places to visit in Nice.

Vieux Nice

Located on France's Riviera coastline in the far southeast corner of the country, Vieux Nice or "Old Nice" is easily accessed from France's third-largest city, Marseille, and has a distinctively French flavor. The pedestrian-only area in the city center, with its fish market, art deco architecture, and cobblestone streets, is considered to be the most beautiful part of the city and a great place to shop and dine. Other highlights of Vieux Nice include the Grands Magasins, an impressive department store and former palace, and a gorgeous seafront promenade. Make sure to visit the Musée Matisse, which holds a private collection of art from Picasso and Henri Matisse.

HĂ´tel Negresco

Photo of Hotel Negresco
Hotel Negresco: en.wikipedia.org

Built in 1912 and situated in the hills above the city, the HĂ´tel Negresco stands just above the city. It has made a huge impact on its architectural style with a regal air and serenity that makes it stand out from its neighbors. Its luxurious rooms and sweeping marble halls help, but it's also worth stopping by for the hotel's formal buffet restaurant. The hotel has been home to the city's opera houses and even a private cinema for the royals. Its guests over the years have included film stars, royalty, and heads of state.

Promenade du Paillon

Photo of Nice Carnival
Nice Carnival: en.wikipedia.org

Promenade du Paillon in Nice is one of the most spectacular and longest seaside boulevards in the world. It is the last green area of the city before the sea, with trees, flowers and an abundance of luxury homes. Highlights of a visit include the vista of the seafront esplanade from the Grande Corniche, the Promenade's unique culture and lifestyle, as well as great shopping and restaurant opportunities.

Villa KĂ©rylos

Photo of Villa Kerylos
Villa Kerylos: en.wikipedia.org

Villa KĂ©rylos is a beautiful two-story villa, located in the seaside city of Nice in the heart of the CĂ´te d'Azur. Built between the 1920s and 1930s, the house boasts many architectural features of the time, including colorful and interesting art deco furnishings. Inside, the villa is unique in being on the exact site where Princess Grace of Monaco met her tragic death in 1982.

Grand Canyon du Verdon

Photo of Provence
Provence: en.wikipedia.org

Touted as Europe's largest canyon, the Grand Canyon du Verdon is a remarkable gorge set against a background of glistening mountain scenery. Only about 15 kilometers long but with a depth of 1.5 kilometers, the canyon consists of natural rock formations and cliffs, which are embellished by waterfalls, cascades, and rapids. A popular stop on the Cote d'Azur, this site has been attracting tourists for centuries and offers the visitor a range of activities, including rock climbing, canoeing, horse riding, hiking, and a visit to a local farm where you can try your hand at growing your own veggies.

Musée Matisse

Photo of Musée Matisse (Nice)
MusĂ©e Matisse (Nice): en.wikipedia.org

The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nice (Musée Matisse) is located in the Palais de la Méditerranée, Nice's landmark, Moorish-style Art Deco building on the seafront, designed by architects C.D. André, Georges Noverre and Marcel Breuer. Constructed from 1938 to 1960, the architecturally unique structure was intended to make the local inhabitants feel part of a greater community and a symbol of the new democratic outlook. The museum contains the private collection of French painter Henri Matisse. Its exhibition of modern art encompasses the work of prominent European artists, including some of the Italian futurist painters Giacomo Balla and Umberto Boccioni.

The Italian Riviera

Photo of French Riviera
French Riviera: en.wikipedia.org

Set on the serene Baie des Anges, the coastal city of Nice is best known as the birthplace of the Sun King, Louis XIV, and the focus of the city's famous Art Nouveau architecture, it has a reputation as a cosmopolitan city with a rather worldly air. There is something for everyone here, from the extensive entertainment district around the seaside promenade to the city's rich artistic heritage and cultural attractions. Places to visit in Nice include the Promenade des Anglais, the Vieux Nice, the Villa Kérylos, the Cité de l'Océan, the Cathedral of Nice, the Hôtel Royal, the Matignon, the Musée National Marc Chagall, and the Gaudibert area. The old town also has many museums, including the Musée de la Vie romantique.

Monaco-Ville

Photo of Nice-Ville station
Nice-Ville station: en.wikipedia.org

Monaco-Ville is a luxury resort island just off the coast of southern France. The tiny principality, which is a territory of France, is a European tourism mecca, drawing a good part of its visitors from Great Britain and other European countries. There are more than 100 beaches on the island of Monaco-Ville, a short drive from the Principality, and an undemanding evening stroll is a good way to experience the island. Nightlife in Nice is geared to business travelers, with plenty of sophisticated French restaurants.

Vallauris

Photo of Vallauris
Vallauris: en.wikipedia.org

Vallauris is a small village with wonderful views over the coast of the CĂ´te d'Azur. The former home of French painter Paul Gauguin, it is located near the lovely harbor town of Saint-Paul de Vence, and is ideally located for a holiday in Nice, 45 minutes to the northwest. The scenery is amazing, with steep hills and rugged coast, with white buildings topped with red roofs. Vallauris is home to some charming boutique hotels and restaurants, and the popular Truffle Festival is held annually in September.

Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain

Photo of Musée d'art moderne et d'art contemporain
MusĂ©e d'art moderne et d'art contemporain: en.wikipedia.org

Set in a 13th-century former Dominican convent, Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain is an excellent place to experience the contrast between old and new in the south of France. The permanent exhibition, installed in the restored church and monks' cells of the convent, explores the themes of modern art from 1900 to the present day, including Paul Klee, Henri Matisse, Joan Miro, Modigliani, Chagall, De Chirico, Kandinsky, Cézanne and Picasso. As well as regular exhibits, the museum also hosts rotating exhibitions of contemporary art, photography and crafts.

Promenade des Artistes

Photo of 2016 Nice truck attack
2016 Nice truck attack: en.wikipedia.org

One of the most popular promenades in France is located in the center of Nice. Named after the well-known flowerbed planted at the intersection of the Rue Gallia and the Boulevard Victor Hugo, this coastal pedestrian-only strip was renovated for the 2007 summer Olympics. Even today, this lively stretch of shops and street entertainers is a magnet for tourists and locals alike. The tranquil Sainte Victoire Promenade is dotted with plenty of gardens, cafes, restaurants and sculptures, while the border with the Vieux Nice promenade is marked by an impressive 3,000-year-old banyan tree, which dominates the view of the bay. The area is home to the Promenade des Artistes Art Market on Sunday.

Place Masséna

Photo of Place Masséna
Place MassĂ©na: en.wikipedia.org

You are in the heart of the old city of Nice. The original fortifications of this pretty city were built on a hill above the port in the 15th and 16th centuries, during the reign of the kings of Savoy. Since then, the city has been taken over by the Italian aristocracy, by the bourgeoisie and by the city's workers. The port is the main draw for the city's tourists, but other attractions are nearby. Highlights include the Chagall Museum, and the imposing Castello Aragonese, which is the city's fortress, built in the 14th century and now a museum. The main shopping street, the Cours Saleya is at the heart of the old city with its wide streets and stylish boutique shops, plus a market and food court.