Visiting Nice, France
Visiting Nice, France:
- Where to stay:
- AC Hotel Nice: the hotel was renovated and clean. I had issues with my AC in the first room, but once they were able to change me to another one, I was quite content. The staff was not the friendliest but the breakfast buffet was very nice, although it got very crowded. Similar situation for the rooftop pool : there were fewer than 20 chairs for 130 rooms…
- Le Meridien: I didn’t stay here but I hear it was old but rooftop has a good view. It is located in the busy area of town.
- Le Negresco : A five-star staple hotel in the heart of Nice. Le Negresco has been writing the legend of Nice and the French Riviera on a daily basis since it opened its’ doors in January 8, 1913. The hotel, designed by Henri Negrescu, immediately drew the attention of the international Jet Set. Artists, politicians and royalty were numerous to have signed the guest book. Read more about the hotel here. Room prices range from 400 euros to 3000 a night.
- What to pack:
- Water shoes: The beach in Nice is made out of big pebbles and it’s not very comfortable to walk on. Most locals have their water shoes for that reason.
- A pool float: You’ll see a lot of locals hanging out in the water, on their floats.
- Waterproof case for your phone + cards if you are traveling alone and plan to hang out on the public beaches.
- Where to eat:
- Highly recommended restaurants but couldn’t go because there was no open reservation:
- La Vela for a nice romantic dinner on the beach with live music.
- Café Turin : serving seafood in Nice since 1908 and they know how to do it. The raw platters were AMAZING.
- Fargo on the Roof: located on the rooftop of AC Hotel, this family-style restaurant offers breathtaking views of the waterfront and city. Great spot for drinks and upscale bar food. Reservations recommended during High Season.
- Liber’tea or Café Player for good Happy Hour with people watching.
- Boulangerie Jeannot for delicious breads and pastries
- Jardins du Capitole for a quick fix. The food was very fresh and tasty. I ordered the Niçoise salad and it was amazing. The staff was also very friendly.
- Ice cream/Gelato : Fenocchio or Azzurro Artisan Glacier.
- Warning: La Pizza Cresci was supposed to be a top spot in Nice since it opened in 1956, but I must say I was quite disappointed. I waited in line for so long to sit down in a very crowded outdoor patio with hyper waiters and rushed food.
- Things to do:
- Hilltop Park for the most stunning views. Walk up the steep stairs up the side. There’s a waterfall up there too.
- Walk around the port/marina. There are a bunch of restaurants and bars around there too.
- Farmers market in Old Nice: I never made it there but I hear it’s amazing.
- Walk around Old Nice and shop, eat, drink.
- Check out Place Masséna, the architecture and colors are quite nice. The people watching is great too.
- Walk on the Promenade des Anglais and do some great people watching. You can also run it!
- Go to the beach, but be warned: this is not a sandy beach… it’s covered in large pebbles. You will want to bring chairs with you or rent them at private beaches. I strongly recommend going to La Vela. The staff was extremely friendly, the service was amazing, the chairs were nice, it felt very safe and the water was right at your feet. The chair costs 20 euros for the whole day. You can come and go as you please until they close. Bring (or rent) a towel to put over the chair. *I recommend reserving your chairs in advance if you are there during high season.
- Go explore nearby cities such as Cannes*, Èze*, Antibes* and Monaco. The train will easily get you there.
- Warning: So many people told me to watch my handbag and make sure it was always closed and in front of me. I didn’t have any incident happen to me but I hear stories. I was also told that a lot of people get stuff stolen on the public beaches.
*post coming soon!
Impressions of Nice, France:
I came to Nice with no expectations since I had no time to think or research about it. I truly enjoy eating my way through Nice. The food in France is something else: the croissants are divine, the baguettes are just perfect, the cheese and charcuteries are to die for… and don’t get me started on the foie gras. I also enjoyed eating a lot of seafood.
It was extremely hot and humid while I was there so I didn’t do as much sightseeing as I would normally do, but I still explored the city. I can’t say it was the most enjoyable as it was very busy with tourists, and very hot, and during Covid times. The evenings were fresher so I would usually try to explore on my way to dinner. Sadly a lot of shops were closed but it’s the price to pay not to sizzle at midday. I still found a few gems such as a leather purse, a dress and more.
I really appreciated how friendly the merchants in the city, the waiters and the beach staff were. It made me feel at home, and safe. Special mention to La Vela’s staff who worked so hard every day and smiled and spun every ‘crisis’ into a laughable moment. I really learned from watching them race around the private beach.
My conclusion is this: Nice is a great city to wonder around to eat and drink. The beach is necessary for those very hot summer months, but it’s not the main reason why you come here.
Old Nice, Port/Marina:
Rooftops & other: