About the sights in Nice
There are a wealth of places to visit in Nice, from top class art museums to the remains of ancient chapels and of course the famous vineyards. Many of the highlights are in Nice itself, but to see the best a car, bike or moped is recommended.
Thanks to the varied history of Nice, you will find reminders of the English aristocracy throughout the city, from expensive villas and amazing architecture to the art and glamour they brought with them. But it is not just man-made artefacts that are worth seeking out. Nice is also blessed with fabulous scenery, from the coastline of the French Riviera and the clear waters of the Mediterranean to the rolling hills inland. A number of Natural Parks have been created, which provide not only protection to the land but informative guides and trails to follow, a popular place for walking and biking.
Nice is home to a vibrant arts scene as evidenced by the number of excellent art galleries and museums found throughout. Historical art collections as well as contemporary can be seen across the region, and not forgetting of course those artists who were resident in the area such as Picasso, Signac, Matisse and Renoir.
Castles & ruins
The chateaux and ancient forts of Nice may be few in number but they are spectacular and worth the visit. In fact more than one example can be found in the centre of town, with the old Fort of Mont Alban not far out of town.
A short climb tot he top of 'Castle Hill' from the old town of Nice will also reveal some stunning architecture from Medieval times as well as some beautiful views over the bay.
Caves & rocks
A trip to the area would not be complete without experiencing some of the crystal clear pools and subterranean landscapes of the natural gorges and caves around the Nice area. A day trip to the Gorges du Loup will not disappoint, and for those budding geologists the caves of Saint Cezaire near Grasse will reveal a magical underground world.
Churches & cathedrals
With it's rich history, the south of France is blessed with some of the oldest religious buildings in France and certainly some of the most ornate and architecturally interesting. The Christians certainly knew how to create grand structures to proclaim their might and to cower any rivals. Some of the most impressive church buildings include the Notre-Dame de Nice and the modern Sainte-Jeanne d'Arc church. Other notable buildings include the ornate Russian Orthodox cathedral and the Lerins Abbey on the island of Saint Honorat,
Houses & gardens
The observatory, Botanical gardens, Roman ruins of Cimiez and the Ephrussi de Rothschild villa are just some of the magnificent buildings, homes, gardens and ancient sights that should be experienced if you are in Nice. On the edge of the sea you will find the Kerylos Villa, a replica of an ancient Greek villa that contains many fine examples of Greek artwork.
Museums & galleries
The French Riviera is indelibly linked to art and artists with a host of world famous artists having spent time in the region. From Cezanne to Picasso, Matisse to Renoir, art has played a huge part in the shaping of the area today. So it is of no surprise to find that there are exceptional art galleries, showcasing landscapes & sculptures, modern and contemporary art. Many of the better known artist have galleries dedicated to them, but there is certainly plenty of choice of smaller galleries to explore, right up to the heavy weights of the Modern & Contemporary art Museum in the heart of Nice and the Asian Arts Museum out to the west.
Nature reserves & parks
Perhaps the most famous natural park in the south of France is that at Verdon, which boasts an enormous canyon that opens out on to a blue-green lake. It's a mecca for outdoor & sports enthusiasts. The Carmargue is another well known natural park, famous for it's wetlands, bulls & white horses. However, within Nice itself you will find plenty of parkland and green space, including the Jardin Albert 1er which runs through the main centre of town and has become a popular hang out and promenade for families and friends. There are no shortage of exotic gardens to enjoy if you are interested in the flora of the Mediterranean and take time out of the hectic city for a bit of relaxation and a change of scenery.
Also see: Nature Parks in Nice
Plazas, placas, piazzas
The city of Nice if full of squares and plazas where you can sit back, relax and enjoy a coffee as the world goes on around you. Many host markets that can be entertaining as well as a great source for a bargain or trying some local speciality. In the early evening these squares are the perfect spot for a little 'apero' - a small drink and snack before dinner.
Shops & boutiques
As well as the famed Provencal style markets, Nice has it's fair share up-market and boutique shopping areas. Not quite as glitzy as its neighbours Cannes, Antibes and Monaco, you can still be assured of a good day shopping with some of the best designer labels on offer.
Vineyards & estates
The area has produced wine for millennia (experts say for 2,300 years), thanks to the arrival of the Phoenicians and their vines. The appellation covers the region from the west of Marseilles to St Raphael in the east, through the area known as the Var. Whilst Cotes de Provence wines are mostly famous for their rose wines, rich, full-bodied reds are also produced, along with light and fresh white wines.
A cool glass of rose wine is pretty much a 'must do' at any beach club, restaurant or bar in the hot summer months.