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Nice – The heartbeat of the French Riviera

Nestled between the blue Mediterranean on one side and the Maritime Alps on the other, it was inevitable that a city as enchanting as Nice would emerge. It’s a place of historical monuments and vivid traces of the past, yet it’s also a city where you simply want to spend time savoring excellent coffee and leisurely wandering the sun-drenched streets. How to explore Nice? Here’s what you must see and do in this city.

Discover Nice’s monuments

A must-do is a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, constructed in the 19th century and stretching 7 km. This flagship street of Nice is a lively social hub for both locals and tourists, and is also an artery full of architectural gems. As you walk along the Promenade des Anglais, you’ll admire buildings erected in the style characteristic of the belle époque era (e.g., Hotel Negresco) and Villa Masséna. Today, the latter houses a museum displaying items like Napoleon’s death mask and Marie Walewska, Napoleon’s lover, snuff box.

Your list of monuments to see should also include the Lascaris Palace. Built in the 17th century in the lavish Baroque style, its interior, full of ornate details and intricate reliefs, is impressively preserved.

Beautiful architecture, cobblestone streets, and pastel buildings await you in Vieux Nice – the Old Town. At Rossetti Square, you’ll see the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate – a cathedral constructed in the 11th century and now an example of Baroque architecture. Be sure to walk down Rue Droite, the street that was the city’s main artery in the Middle Ages.

When you reach the Old Town, don’t miss the famous Maison Auer confectionery, in place since 1820. Here, you can indulge in sinful sweets and admire the historic interior. Not too far is an Église Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur de Nice, a 17th-century Jesuit church, that impresses with its lavishness and rich decoration filling its interior.

Before leaving the old town, make sure to see the 16th-century Prefecture Palace (built for the powerful House of Savoy) and the Nice Opera House. Be sure to stroll through Place du Palais de Justice – a popular meeting spot featuring the historic courthouse building.

What to see in Nice?

When you get tired of sightseeing, relax amidst Nice’s greenery by visiting Promenade du Paillon. This unique, meticulously designed park over an underground river welcomes tourists with the Dragon Fountain (Fontaine du Dragon) and is home to over 1000 species of plants and shrubs. Here, you can rest while admiring small ponds that host various bird species and small animals.

Love art? You’re in luck because Nice offers it in abundance. Visit to see the hyper-realistic Trompe L’Oeils paintings and the Neuf Lignes Obliques installation adorning Esplanade Georges Pompidou. The Sun Fountain at Place Massena and the huge blue chair, Azur Blue, popular for tourist photos, are also impressive sights.

Make sure you head to Castle Hill. A castle once stood there but was demolished in the early 18th century by order of Louis XIV. Today, it’s a vast city park offering panoramic views of Nice, complemented by a charming artificial waterfall from the late 19th century.

Quai Rauba Capeu is a spot to catch your breath and recharge before further exploring the city. This path runs along the coastline, with benches where you can sit and enjoy the beautiful view of the waves breaking against the shore.

Free Walking Tour Nice – Discover the city with a local guide

Want to learn as much as possible about the landmarks of the French Riviera’s gem without missing out on its local flavor? Opt for a free walking tour. Nice deserves to be spoken of in the most beautiful way – as local Walkative guides do. Touring with them, you decide how much to pay for their work. A local guide will share the secrets of the French Riviera’s pearl, tell interesting anecdotes, and show you the most charming corners.

Why else opt for a free tour? Nice, besides its beautiful monuments and coast, seduces with its fabulous cuisine and relaxed atmosphere. During the walk, you’ll visit the famous Cours Saleya market, the best place to experience this aspect of city life. The guide will also reveal where to get the best coffee and dinner. With these tips and recommendations, exploring Nice will be a wonderful adventure and a source of beautiful memories.

Heading to Southern Europe? With Walkative, you can explore other fascinating cities in the region such as Cannes, Monaco, Rome, and Naples.

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