Most of the city's sights can be explored on foot if you choose a hotel in the central area of the city. Nice has an incredible number of family castles and mesmerising palaces.
The different parts of the city are markedly different in terms of architectural styles and attractions. The old town is an Italian-style building with narrow, winding streets, warm-coloured facades and numerous Baroque churches.
The districts that emerged after 1860 are the epitome of a strict French style with wide, straight streets and stone walls.
The geographical centre of Nice is Rosetti Square with the cathedral of St Reparata. In the Middle Ages there was a chapel which was later enlarged and supplemented by a bell tower and lateral clerestory bounds. Inside the cathedral, you can admire Renaissance paintings depicting religious themes.
- English Embankment (Promenade des Anglais)
- Negresco Hotel (Hôtel Negresco)
- Lascari Palace (Palais Lascaris)
- St. Reparata Cathedral (Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate)
- Notre-Dame-de-Nice Basilica (Basilique Notre-Dame de Nice)
- Church of Notre-Dame du Port (Eglise Notre-Dame du Port)
- St Nicholas Cathedral (Cathedrale Orthodoxe Russe St-Nicolas)
- Mont-Baron Park (Parc du Mont Boron)
- Old Town of Nice (Vieux Nice)
- Nice harbour (Le Port de Nice)
- Castle Park (Parc du Château)
- Archaeological Museum (Musée d’Archéologie)
- Massena Museum (Musée Massena)
- Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain), MAMAC
- Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts)
- Matisse Museum (Musée Matisse)
- Monastery of Cimiez (Monastère de Cimiez)
#1. English Embankment (Promenade des Anglais)
Ironically the symbol of Nice and the whole French Riviera is the English Embankment. Its name is a reminder of the times when the English were actively buying up the seafront. Today it is home to some of the city's most expensive hotels, including the world-famous Negresco.
The English Embankment is the city's main promenade along the beaches with stunning views of the Bay of Angels. The city's most beautiful squares are Garibaldi, Massena and Saint François with the town hall.
The promenade is crowded all day long, with citizens out for a jog in the morning and tourists and beach-goers arriving a little later.
A stroll along the English Embankment is a pleasure: the fresh sea air, the sprawling palm trees and the incomparable atmosphere of Nice. This marvellous urban landmark is included in the tour itinerary on double-decker buses.
#2. Negresco Hotel
A sumptuous neoclassical hotel on the Promenade des Anglais. Built in 1912 by the Romanian innkeeper Henri Negresco, it was once one of the most comfortable hotels in the world. It still boasts five stars.
The framework of the famous pink dome was forged in the workshop of Gustave Eiffel. The hotel's interior is strikingly rich: A 4-metre-high chandelier made in the Baccarat factory, a 17th-century carpet and a 14th-century ceiling in the Louis XIV salon. What's more, each of the 145 rooms is unique and furnished with antique furniture.
Even if you choose to stay elsewhere, you can still stop by to see the decoration of the foyers, corridors and restaurants of Hotel Negresco.
Hotel address: 37, Promenade des Anglais
#3. Lascari Palace (Palais Lascaris)
Built in the mid-17th century, this mansion belonged to the famous Lascari de Ventimiglia family. While the outside of the building is rather plain and difficult to see in the narrow street of the old town, you'll be spellbound by the interior of the palace: grand staircase, paintings and frescos, sculptures, tapestries, antique furniture.
The palace also boasts a fascinating collection of musical instruments (around 500 items) and a recreated 18th-century pharmacy.
Address: 15, rue Droite (Vieux Nice).
Opening hours: 10:00-18:00 (except Tuesdays).
#4. St Reparata Cathedral (Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate)
This unusual building was built at the end of the 17th century in honour of the Christian martyr Saint Reparata, patroness of the city. We recommend attending mass in the cathedral to enjoy the beautiful sounds of the three organs. The instruments sound enchanting thanks to their superb acoustics.
St. Reparata Cathedral Address: 3, Place Rossetti.
Opening hours: 9:00-12:00, 14:00-18:00 (except Mondays).
#5. Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Nice (Basilique Notre-Dame de Nice)
The strikingly beautiful cathedral, built in the mid-nineteenth century, resembles a scaled-down copy of Notre Dame de Paris. The gilded decoration and stained-glass glass windows give it a majestic grandeur. The Basilica is often the venue for classical music concerts.
Address of Notre-Dame-de-Nice Basilica: 37 B, avenue Jean Médecin.
Opening hours: 9:30-11:30 am, 16:00-18:00 pm (Monday-Friday).
#6. Church of Notre-Dame du Port (Eglise Notre-Dame du Port)
In fact, this neoclassical temple is officially called the Church of the Immaculate Conception. The church was built in the mid-19th century. But the church, located near the harbour, was immediately dubbed the 'Harbour Parish'.
The striking and memorable faсade was designed by Jules Febvre. From above, the Virgin Mary looks down on visitors and townspeople.
A series of paintings, The Way of the Cross, presumably by Emmanuel Costa, adorns the interior of the church. The scene of Joan of Arc's death, tied to a pillar, with the hem of her dress engulfed in flames, attracts particular attention.
Address of the Church of Notre-Dame-du-Port is 8, Place de l'Ile de Beauté.
Opening hours: 10:00-18:00 (every day).
#7. St Nicholas Cathedral (Cathedrale Orthodoxe Russe St-Nicolas)
The cathedral was built in 1902-1912 for the growing Russian diaspora in Nice. It is the largest and most beautiful Orthodox Church outside of Russia.
St Nicholas Cathedral Address: Avenue Nicolas II.
Opening hours: daily from 9:00 to 18:00
#8. Mont-Baron Park (Parc du Mont Boron)
The park is situated on a hill, giving visitors fantastic views of the city panorama. On a clear day, you can see Corsica and the Alps from here. You can climb to the top via a staircase, but it's better to go down one. And on the way up you can save energy with two lifts.
In the park, the majestic fortress of Mont Alban, built in the 16th century as a defence against the Turks, cannot go unnoticed. The fortress can only be viewed from the outside; it is forbidden to enter.
Mont-Baron Park: Boulevard Maurice Maeterlinck.
#9. Old Town of Nice (Vieux Nice)
Nice's historic centre retains the spirit of a tranquil 19th-century French town, not yet favoured by aristocrats. The narrow streets of the Old Town are not easy to walk, at times turning into a maze with steep slopes. But it's well worth getting to know the real Nice.
Small cafés and vintage shops are waiting for you everywhere in the old town. Relax there with a cup of coffee and admire the architecture of the Old Town, or buy some original souvenirs of Nice.
A promenade through the Old Town of Nice during the sailing vacations for couples will be a wonderful addition to the evening.
#10. Nice harbour (Le Port de Nice)
The Port of Nice is a lively and beautiful area of the city. It is a showcase for exclusive yachts, boats and luxury cars. The port also hosts the ferry to Corsica. The port is not far from the Old Town, close to the United States' waterfront.
#11. Castle Park (Parc du Château)
One of the most beautiful places in Nice and the best viewpoint. It offers a view over the city and the Mediterranean Sea. The challenge of getting to the Castle Park is up a hill and there are many paths and stairs to climb.
If you don't want to bother climbing up the hill, take the lift next to the Bellande Tower. At the top of the hill, you'll be greeted with beautiful views of the port and the Bay of Angels, the freshness of the shady park and the coolness of the sparkling waterfall.
- The address is Montée Eberlé.
- Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the summer and until 6 p.m. in the winter.
- Admission is free.
#12. Archaeological Museum (Musée d’Archéologie)
Even before it conquered the English and Russian aristocrats, Nice beckoned to the ancient Romans. Discover their heritage at the Archaeological Museum, near the ruins of the Roman baths and arena. Collections of antiquities, including coins, tools and pottery are on display.
- Address: 160, Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez
- Opening hours: Wednesday to Monday 10h00 to 17h00. Open until 6pm from 2 May to 31 October.
#13. Massena Museum (Musée Massena)
The Massena Museum tells the history of pre-war Nice, from the last decades of the 18th century to the Second World War. The exhibition includes furnishings, art deco posters, early photographs, paintings and other details of the bygone century. The museum is located in the villa of André Massena, Marshal of Napoleon's Empire. The manor house is surrounded by a wonderful garden.
- Massena Museum Address: 65, Rue de France.
- Opening hours are Wednesday to Monday from 10:00 to 18:00.
#14. Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain), MAMAC
Nice loves and appreciates art, hence the large number of free museums and galleries. At the heart of MAMAC is a superb collection of works by European and American avant-garde artists - 400 works illustrating the evolution of art from the 1960s to the present day. You'll see paintings by local artists such as Yves Klein and Nicky de Saint-Fal as well as iconic celebrities such as Warhol and Lichtenstein.
- Address: Place Yves Klein.
- Open daily from 11am to 6pm. Closed Mondays.
#15. Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts)
The museum was built in the 19th century on the commission of the Russian princess Elisabeth Kochubey, wife of the Privy Counsellor to Emperor Alexander II.
The museum's collection includes paintings of French and Italian artists of the XVII-XVIII centuries, as well as paintings and sculptures of the XIX century. Paintings by Degas, Sissel, Fragonard, Monet and Cherès are amongst those on display.
- Address: 33, avenue des Baumettes.
- Opening hours: 10:00-18:00 (May 2-31 October), 11:00-18:00 (November 1-April 30), Mondays off.
#16. Matisse Museum (Musée Matisse)
Matisse and Nice are inextricably linked: the artist contributed greatly to the rise in popularity of the city that inspired him to paint. The museum has an extensive collection covering all stages of Matisse's career up to his death. Incidentally, the artist lived and worked in a building nearby on Boulevard Cimiez.
The museum will be of interest to both those who are unfamiliar with Matisse's work and his loyal fans. Discover an important part of French cultural heritage on a professional guided tour of the permanent and temporary exhibitions. The tour is conducted in Russian and also includes the Chagall Museum and the Villa Rothschild. Book a convenient date and time here.
- Address: 146, Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez.
- Open 10am-6pm, Tuesdays off.
Sailing holidays for couples don't come without a tour of Nice's museums on excessively hot or rainy days. Here you'll enjoy the city's cultural attractions and cosy halls to take a break. Nice has a single ticket system for all its municipal museums. The single ticket is valid for 24 hours:
- MAMAC (Museum of Modern Art),
- Galerie des Ponchettes,
- Espace Ferrero,
- Galerie de la Marine,
- Théâtre de la Photographie et de l'Image (Theatre of Photography),
- Musée des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Arts),
- Musée d'Art Naïf (Museum of Naïve Art),
- Musée Massenne,
- Palais Lascaris,
- Musée d'Archéologie (site de Cimiez and site de Terra Amata), (Museum of Archaeology),
- Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle (Museum of Natural History),
- Prieuré du vieux logis.
#17. Monastery of Cimiez (Monastère de Cimiez)
Located a 5-minute walk from the Matisse Museum, this Franciscan monastery dates back to the 16th century. The abbey is surrounded by the oldest medieval park on the Côte d'Azur, very beautiful when the roses are in bloom.
The abbey church has a carved wooden altar covered in gold leaf. The stone cross from the 15th century is also noteworthy. The small cemetery outside the monastery is the burial site of Henri Matisse.
- Address: 1, Place Jean Paul II.
- Opening hours: 7:30-18:30 (daily).
- Admission is free.
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