The South of France is often portrayed as the epitome of European Summer, boasting dazzling beaches and delicious cuisine. There are many beautiful towns dotted along the southern coast of France, but Nice is simply inoubliable (unforgettable) and a must-visit should you be fortunate enough to find yourself in the region.
Situated on the infamous French Riviera in the Cote d'Azur region, Nice is a picturesque coastal town that attracts over 5 million tourists each year. In the summertime, locals and tourists flock to the seaside to bask in the crystal clear water, dine on fresh seafood and stroll the beachfront.
Nice offers a variety of activities for visitors of all ages. One honourable mention is the Promenade des Anglais, a 7km long pedestrian and cycling pathway that follows the Nice coastline. It offers spectacular views, ranging from the sapphire-blue water lapping the beach to the old-style architecture perched haphazardly on the cliffs. A stroll along the Promenade des Anglais is wonderful at any time of the day, but be sure to pack sunscreen and a hat because the summer rays may leave you with a nasty red sting!
When I visited Nice in early August last year (2022), the days were warm and the beaches packed. My friend Emily and I struggled to secure a spot on the (surprisingly) pebbly beach, but the ocean itself was near empty. I swam out deep into probably the clearest water I'd ever seen and floated on my back for some time in utter bliss. A few days later, we found a cliff (albeit a tiny one) to jump into the clear water of the Mediterranean. Cliff jumping had been on my bucket list of things to do in Europe so I was pretty stoked to get to tick it off. I felt even more accomplished when a local lady commented that she'd never seen anyone do it before. (Was it a ballsy or stupid thing to do? We may never know).
Another great thing to do in Nice is climb Castle Hill, which is situated at the south-east end of the Promenade des Anglais and offers incredible aerial views of Nice and the surrounding beaches (See the cover photo for this article at top of page). There is a beautiful waterfall near the top lookout, with a lovely tree to perch in and rest your legs after the hefty uphill hike. If you're a keen walker, you can continue on over the headland to Villefranche-sur-Mer, a quaint little town nestled between two headlands. There's another stunning beach (not bustling with tourists!) and many beautiful pastel-coloured buildings and restaurants that you can lose time exploring. However, if your legs are too sore from the walks up Castle Hill and the Promenade des Anglais, you can catch a 10 minute bus to Villefranche-sur-Mer.
If those weren't enough options for things to do, you might fancy taking a 50-minute train to Menton, the city of luxury and grandeur. Otherwise, you'll be spoilt for choice along the Nice beachfront, where you can stroll the markets if you're peckish or discover some delicious cuisine typical to Nice. My friends and I spent our three days in Nice sipping aperols, eating oysters and lazing on the beach.
Nice offers something for everyone, whether you're a thrill-seeker or in need of a relaxing holiday. It is accessible by train from Paris and easily connects to other popular coastal destinations like Montpellier and Trieste (Italy) by bus or train. Nice is undeniably one of France's most magical destinations and with the broad scope of experiences that the city has to offer, it's little surprise.
Maud can arrange itineraries to suit your desired travel locations! Get in contact to find out more information about tours and itineraries here.