Sitting pretty right in the heart of the famous Côte d’Azur, Nice is a beautiful Mediterranean seaside city that has attracted royalty and celebrities since the 19th century. With its enticing old town, gorgeous Belle Epoque buildings, and long, pebbly beach, it oozes fin-de-siècle glamour. Perfect for a sunny city break on the French Riviera, you won’t miss a thing thanks to our essential guide to what to do in 48 hours in Nice!
Day one: morning
Stroll up through the leafy gardens of Castle Hill (if you can’t face the climb, you can always take the lift in the Tour Bellanda). From the top, you’ll enjoy fantastic views over the gorgeous Old Town (Vieux Nice); the Port, which is full of fishing boats and swanky yachts; and the seafront Promenade des Anglais. Meander back down the hill to get lost in the atmospheric warren of the Old Town, with cobbled streets full of shops and cafés. The Cours Saleya is the main square, home to a wonderful flower market, and a great place to stop for an al fresco lunch – perhaps some traditional socca, a chickpea pancakes which is a local speciality, or some fresh oysters.
Day one: afternoon
Nice has long attracted artists, thanks to its beautiful light and vast skies. There are several excellent museums, but the most atmospheric is the Matisse Museum, hidden away in the Cimiez hills just outside the centre. It’s set in a charming 17th-century villa, and contains a superb display of his finest works. Afterwards, you can stroll through the charming gardens of the peaceful Franciscan Monastery located just opposite afterwards.
Day two: morning
The Promenade des Anglais (locally known simply as ‘La Prom’) is an icon on the French Riviera. It stretches for more than 5 miles around the aptly named Baie des Anges (‘Bay of Angels’) and is perfect for a stroll or bike ride. It’s backed by some of the city’s most opulent hotels, including the Regina, where Queen Victoria used to winter, and the Negresco, with its famous cupolas. You could visit the Palais Massena, a handsome late 19th-century mansion set in manicured gardens, for an overview of local history. Or simply soak up the sunshine and the stunning views.
Day two: afternoon
Hit the beach! Nice enjoys fabulous year-round sunshine, so why not make the most of it! The beach is very pebbly, so you’ll need to rent one of the famous chaises bleues (blue chairs) or bring a beach mat. Or you could settle into one of the elegant ‘plages’, which offer sun loungers, parasols and bar service. Perfect for the full Riviera-glam experience!