Nice definitely deserves more than 24 hours, but sometimes you’re simply on-the-go.
A few years ago, I went to Nice on a whim. I was in Antibes traveling with a friend who was experiencing a high degree of emotional turmoil, so I decided that to create a little mental space for myself, I wanted to visit Nice on my own. The French Riviera is quite small, every city was a few minutes of train ride away. So I booked a ticket and there I went.
The largest city in Côte d’Azur, in fact, requires more than a day (preferably a weekend) to fully explore. But a girl will take what she can have, so I did the best I could to eat and see well. By the end of the night, I found myself in a dive bar, chatting with two new friends I met in a previous restaurant. That’s the joy of last minute travel, the unexpected seems to always unearth an even more delightful surprise.
Stroll on Promenade des Anglais.
Rue des Anglais 75005 Paris
The most iconic activity to do in Nice is arguably strolling down Promenade des Anglais, which stretches 7 kilometers long. La Prom, which is what the locals call it, was built by the British aristocrats who loved to vacation in Nice during the `19th century. Often bothered by beggars, they tasked them with the construction of the promenade. Today, it is an attraction as well as a beautiful place to soak in some French Riviera sun.
Eat at René Socca.
2 Rue Miralheti, 06300 Nice
This famous joint is best known for socca and local niçoise dishes, including: fried zucchini flower, fried fish, farcis which are vegetables stuffed with Italian sausage. Stand in line to order your food, then find a seat on the patio or the interior of the restaurant. Socca itself, is a mix of rustic flatbread and pancake made from chickpea flour.
Shop for Nicoise souvenirs in Old Nice.
Narrow streets, tiny alleys, Vieux Nice, or Old Nice, is full of colorful and vibrant architecture. Here is also probably the best place to go shopping for authentic and locally made Niçoise products, like: soaps, textiles, cheeses, even meats. The market here is open everyday. The famous French artist Henri Matisse has famously expressed his love for this city by saying,
“Nice … why Nice? In my art I tried to create a crystalline environment for the mind: this necessary clarity, I found in Nice.”
A stroll through Old Town, Nice truly is hard not to love.
Have an amazing meal at La Petite Maison.
11 Rue Saint-François de Paule, 06000 Nice
Want to have the best lobster linguine of your life? You need to stop by La Petite Maison where the iconic Niçoise salad is also not to be missed. This hot address has been around since the 19th century when it was a grocery store. Now a highly recommended restaurant run by Nicole Rubi, the service here is kind and hospitable. With a combination of French and Mediterranean influences, La Petite Maison is the one meal leaving you wanting for more in Nice.
Visit Place Masséna and soak in the history.
13 Pl. Massena, 06000 Nice
Place Masséna provides one of the most gorgeous photo op, owing it all to the breathtaking red orchre Italian architecture. Named after the French military commander André Masséna, the colorful square’s main fountain illustrates Greek mythology featuring Apollo – the God of the Sun – which is apt for this sunny city. Today, you can find shops, restaurants here along with local events and festivals.