Just 1.5 hours from London by plane, Nice on the glamorous French Riviera is perfect for a long weekend away whether you want to indulge in fine cuisine, go shopping, get an injection of culture, or simply laze on the beach.
If you have 48 hours in Nice, you can cram as much or as little as possible in – the choice is yours.
So, firstly, what can you do in Nice?
Take the mini-train
For a whistle-stop tour (just 45 minutes) to see some of the key hotspots of the city including the Flower Market, the Old Town, the seafront esplanade, the Bay of Angels, the Promenade des Anglais and Albert I Gardens, hop on one of the City of Nice tourist trains.
The so-called mini-train takes you through some amazing back streets where you are really at the heart of the city, then on up to the Castle Hill and Park.
There is a cafe at the top as well as a few stalls selling local goods, so you can stop and enjoy the panoramic views of Nice over a coffee and croissant then catch the next train back – or walk down!
If you are travelling solo, avoid walking along the back streets of the Fabron area – this is the Nice “Red Light” district, day and night. And while Nice is a beautiful and cosmopolitan city, avoid going out on your own after dark. As with all major cities in the world, lone women are particularly vulnerable.
Prepare yourself for some serious shopping by first fuelling up on a drink and snack whilst people watching in the bright and beautiful Place Massena.
Then stroll up Avenue Jean Medecin to the upmarket French department store chain Galeries Lafayette which sells everything from biscuits to bags and homewares to haute couture.
A bit further along the street, you’ll find the Nice Etoile shopping centre, with lots of familiar high street names as well as a nail bar and a delicious smoothie bar.
If you have some cash to splash or simply enjoy window shopping at luxury stores, then cross the road and walk west towards the Carré d’Or area (Golden Square) for designer stores and independent boutiques.
At the beginning of the last century, Nice, with its amazing light and stunning views, started to attract some of the world’s most famous painters, such as Monet, Renoir, and Matisse. Their legacy lives on, with the many art galleries and 15 museums in the city. A visit to the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMAC) in the Carabacel area is well worth a visit.
Nice has beautiful (albeit pebbly) beaches – 15 of which are private. The private beaches – which typically provide lockers for your personal belongings and often waiter service to your sunbed – also offer excellent facilities for beachside dining.
The Blue Beach (along the Promenade des Anglais), for example, offers cocktails and seafood dishes as well as a waiter to sunbed service (typical price per person for entry around 30 Euros including sunbed and umbrella).
Or, if you are on a budget, visit one of the public beaches such as Lenval Beach (Plage de Lenval) further along the Promenade des Anglais, that has (pay for) toilets, lockers, and showers. Here you also have the opportunity to practice windsurfing.
Take a trip to Monaco
The ultra-glam Monaco is only a short train (25 minutes) or bus journey (circa 30 minutes) from the centre of Nice, but is its own principality. Designer shops are everywhere if you fancy a spot of window shopping, or try your luck at the world-famous Monte Carlo Casino.
If you happen to be in Monte Carlo when the Grand Prix is on, take the free earplugs offered to you outside the train station – you’ll need them!
Where to eat in Nice
Nice may be in France, but it has a rich and diverse history (in its recent history, Nice was part of Italy). This means you can enjoy a fusion of the best in Italian and French cuisine.
Depending on your budget, you can eat in one of the hundreds of cafes and small restaurants in the area or enjoy fine dining at some of the top hotels, such as the Hotel Negresco or the rooftop terrace at Le Méridien Nice.
If you are on a budget, stay away from eateries along the Promenade des Anglais, which are more expensive than similar places in the roads behind the Promenade.
Where to stay in Nice
If you are wondering where to stay in Nice, no matter your budget, you’ll be spoilt for choice. There are plenty of good hotels like the gorgeous Villa Bougainville by HappyCulture, B&B’s and privately rented Air BnB properties available across the city.