The summer of 2019 was one of the best summers I’ve had in a while. It included lots of women’s soccer, lots of wine, and too many train rides to count. You might be thinking, that does sound pretty awesome. And let me tell you just how awesome visiting Nice, France was.
I spent the summer of 2019 on France’s southern coast in Nice, France where I volunteered at the FIFA Women’s World Cup (read all about that here). This kept me glued to this horrid of a place, with a lot of free time. Here’s a list of my favorite things to do in Nice, France.
Take the Iconic Photo of Nice
When you think of Nice, you probably think of the iconic view of the coastline like in my photo above. It’s in all the travel magazines and everyone’s Instagram accounts. Your trip just wouldn’t be complete without this from Castle Hill. You walk (or take a free elevator) up a hill with views along the way. The walk isn’t bad at all, just a lot of stairs, but worth the diversity in views.
Once you get to the top, you’ll have a million views of Nice to soak in, including a waterfall, some trails, and a park that’s popular for locals to sit and drink wine while the kiddos play at the playground. Movida was one of my favorites with a beach front view.
Another famous place for photos is the #ILOVENICE sign. It’s located at the bottom of castle hill, so you can easily hit both of these at the same time. It’s not the most impressive thing to do, but since you’re at the castle, you might as well check this out.
Wine & Gape
Nice is full of incredible views throughout the city. There’s not one you have to see, because they’re all unique and absolutely gorgeous. My favorite activity to accompany my gaping with was a tall glass of wine. You get to absorb the local scenery, people watch, and drink some French wine. It’s a win-win-win.
Stroll the Coastal Path
With the Cote d’Azur being right on Nice, it would be a crime to not explore the coast of South France. There are loads of trails to walk along, but the most convenient and prettiest one reachable from Nice was the Coastal Path to Villefranche. It winds along the spine of the coast giving you millions of places to explore, swim, and relax at. There are benches all along the trail so bring your book or a picnic lunch to enjoy the constant view of turquoise waters hitting the coast.
See the Old Views in Vieux Nice
Now this is the place where all the action happens. There are tons of bars, unique cafes, and the cutest boutique shops. The buildings are some of the oldest in Nice so it has a cultural and historic feel to it. Come here with your belly empty and your wallet full because there’s so much good food and shops to see here. The mornings at the flower market followed by people watching at a coffee shop with a cafe au lait was my absolute favorite way to start the day.
Take a Bike Ride Along the Beach
This was one of my favorite past time during my stay in Nice. The shore has a paved trail that follows along it for seven kilometers with a plethora of seaside views, sweaty joggers, and families playing at the beach. It’s busy all day and night with bike rentals along the way. You can rent the Velo Blue for a cheap hourly rate and see all the blue of the Mediterranean.
St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral
Recently renovated in 2015, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral is a small piece of Russia in France. It’s beautifully constructed and was one of my favorite buildings that I saw in Nice. It’s not too far of a walk from the beach, and definitely worth a viewing to see the large Russian community in Nice.
Catch a Football Game
The Allianz Riviera Stadium is located in western Nice and hosts the local professional club, OGC Nice. It’s great to support the community and see how the locals like to cheer on their team. The stadium also hosted the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019, so keep an eye out for any other events going on. If you’re a sports fan, this is a great spot to visit. There’s also a Sports Museum at the stadium so see some of the big names in sports history.
Eat, Eat, Eat!
The food in Nice is absolutely delicious. Everything you could ever want is available, and at top quality. The best sweet and savory dishes are available on every corner, and I was never disappointing. I must have gained 10 pounds a day eating the food here. Good thing I did a lot of bike riding! Some of my favorite dishes were socca – a chickpea pancake – Pissaladiere, thick onion pizza, and the Nicoise salad for a good take on the local dishes.
Nice also screams as a front runner for some of the best desserts. There’s so many flavors of ice cream, macarons, cookies, crepes, pastries, croissants, and bubble waffles.
Nice was such a fun city for me, it offered everything a city could offer from good food, great views, and gracious people. Feel free to drop us a message if you have any questions about planning your trip to the South of France!