Top 7 Things to do in Nice, France – Top Places, Free Activities

Updated On: March 27, 2022

Congratulations! You’re about to arrive in one of Europe’s most vibrant cities, where you’ll spend the next few days relaxing. 

Nice is one of those things that you can never have too much of. For a variety of reasons, it is a popular vacation destination.

I can tell you that Nice is known as the heart of the French Riviera. Beautiful beaches, pleasant weather, opulent accommodations, and lively nightlife are just a few of the attractions.

I doubt I’ll be able to count the number of beautiful things to do there.

Nice. France
Yacht port, Nice, France

We’ve included all the information you’ll need to plan your trip to Nice in our comprehensive guide. You’ll find information on the most significant sites to visit, the best places to stay, eat, and drink, and even free activities if you’re travelling on a budget.

Let’s take a deep breath and get started.

Things to Do in Nice, France

1- Visit the Old Town (Vieille Ville)

In the Old Town, the vibrant tiny passageways and lively pedestrian lanes studded with well-designed historic buildings will take your breath away. The town of love and tranquillity is promoted as a tourist destination.

This district approximately never sleeps, as you can witness lovely nightlife in pubs, restaurants, and open markets.

Nice, France
The stunning beach of Nice, France

Things to do there: you can have a stroll around its vibrant streets; no, it’s a maze. You’ll get lost several times and end up beginning over at the same point each time.

Interesting!

Also, don’t miss the market, which includes a variety of exquisite items such as antiques, brightly-colored flowers, soaps, and clothing. Believe me when I say that you will want to return again and again.

Things not to do there:  Don’t purchase so many flowers that you won’t be able to store them in your hotel room, and they will spoil before you return home. I know it’s tempting, but shopping wisely is the most excellent way to avoid squandering your money on frivolous purchases.

Free Activities: Imagine that this life-long memorable experience is entirely free. It is not necessary to purchase anything to walk around the small cobblestone streets.

A quick tip: Try to reserve a hotel in the Old Town to have access to the majority of the city’s restaurants and cafés, as well as the opportunity to go immediately to the beach and be a little more adventurous with diving and snorkeling activities. 

2- Relax on the Promenade des Anglais

With palm trees, beach cabanas, stylish cafés, and luxury hotels along with it, the Promenade des Anglais became one of the most famous coastal walks on the Mediterranean.

With a length of 7km, this promenade will be the perfect afternoon stroll, with blue and white umbrellas, pebbled beaches, and blue water on one side and cafés, restaurants, and hotels on the other.

Nice Beach
Relax on the best beaches on Europe, Promenade des Anglais

Things to do there: Other activities may suit leisure travelers such as joggers, skaters, or even cyclists, in addition to simply walking and admiring a lovely and pure beach.

Take a seat on the blue bunches and watch the majesty of the sky drop into the sea if you wish to take a rest.

And don’t forget to charge your phone or camera because every turn could be an opportunity to capture stunning images.

Things not to do there: Don’t go out to eat without first looking through the menu, as some places can be pretty pricey.

Avoid traveling in August because locals flock to the beaches of Nice, particularly the Promenade des Anglais, and you may not be able to locate a spot to lounge on the beach or sit on the chairs on the walking strip.

Free Activities: It is unquestionably free to enter the Promenade des Anglais plaza. Take advantage of your free walking tour with friends or even your pets.

A quick tip: Try to find a hostel near this promenade if you want to have this magnificent scene as your view from your room. A wide range of reasonably priced lodging options is available.

3- Explore Musée Matisse

One of Nice’s most popular tourist destinations, Musée Matisse is a museum with a great collection of sculptures, artifacts, drawings, bronzes, and paintings made by French artist Henri Matisse and that makes it one of the top things to do in Nice, France.

You will find some personal items of the artist, as well. It will be a short tour for feeding your soul with this unique art, but it’s still worth your time as you will have an insight into one of the most influential painters of the 20th century.

Musée Matisse
Royal Palace at Nice, France

Things to do there: Walking through the museum to learn more about this unique art mood is the best thing to do there.

Not only will you be able to see the artwork, but you will also be able to watch documentary films and attend prestigious events held within the museum.

Also, you may make the most of your time, thereby exploring the adjacent neighborhood, which is home to some beautiful historical structures.

Things not to do there: If you aren’t a big fan of art, don’t go there and please keep in mind that taking photographs in the museum is not allowed.

And don’t forget to download the guide in English before getting there because most descriptions of the artworks are provided in French only.

Free Activities: The Matisse Museum admission cost is roughly USD 18, but you will receive 48-hour access to other local museums.

A quick tip: It’s a terrific spot to take your kids to get them closer to this type of work, plus you can grab a bite to eat in the cafe next to the museum.

4- Marvel at Castle Hill of Nice

Need to see the city from a higher point to appreciate its beauty?

Pay a visit to Nice’s Castle Hill. From a height of 92 meters, this park is the most lavish and beautiful in France, making it the ideal location for spending time with friends and family.

“Life Is Truly Better at the Top,” as the saying goes. And you’ll learn why it’s better here.

This site has a historical background of being a military fortress to oversee the bay of Nice and any possible invasions and a spectacular perspective of the Côte d’Azur.

Castle Hill of Nice
Climb up to Castle Hill of Nice, France to enjoy the view

Things to do there: With various things to do in Nice, France, what you will explore here is totally different. From the castle, you can see all of the attractions sparkle like diamonds!

From the Baie des Anges to the Promenade des Anglais and the Nice Port, you will have an unforgettable experience, especially if you go at sunset.

This place is undoubtedly a must-visit for the breathtaking views and the 12th-century Bellanda Tower, the historical artificial waterfall Cascade Dijon, the Cimetière Israélite, which is the monumental cemetery of several notable figures, and a children’s playground.

Things not to do there: Wearing high heels, formal clothing, or any other uncomfortable outfit when stepping over the hill is not a good idea. Also, don’t smoke or drink unless you’re in one of the designated areas.

Free Activities: There are no tickets required to enter the Castle of Hill; nonetheless, it is preferable to have some cash on hand to enjoy your coffee while admiring this magnificent location.

A quick tip: Nice’s Castle Hill is open to visitors until 8:00 p.m., when the entire village lights up by colorful and ornamental bulbs glistening from the Old Town and other excellent sights, creating an exhilarating atmosphere.

So, whether it’s morning or night, you’ll be able to witness stunning views.

5- Wander Around Eze

Eze is a charming tiny village going back to the 12th century B.C., with lush foliage, a magnificent blue beach, and blooming floral-decorated cobblestone lanes.

As a result, the area is home to numerous medieval buildings, ancient courtyards, and upscale cafes.

This hilltop will serve as a great jumping-off point for exploring the entire coastline, including other fascinating villages, towns, and luxurious resorts. That’s everything you’ll need to make your trip to gorgeous Nice unforgettable.

eze, things to do in Nice
From millions of things to do in Nice is to roam around narrow lanes of Eze, France

Things to do there: Aside from its timeless panoramic views, its highly unique location, halfway between Nice and Monaco, makes this town one of France’s most popular tourist destinations.

You can either follow the crowds of tourists to the village’s hilltop or simply ask anyone there for directions on foot.

During your walking tour, you will pass through some galleries where you can purchase lovely antiques or perhaps some traditional or distinctive t-shirts. If you find it too expensive, skip it and buy souvenirs from one of Nice’s famed markets.

Plus, you can grab a bite to eat in one of the trendy cafes and restaurants nearby, or maybe ice cream is fair enough to feel filled in for the sake of not missing the opportunity to treat your eyes with the view.

There are also several perfume factories where you may learn about how magnificent scents are created from scented flowers.

Things not to do there: Because this is a full-day excursion, please do not schedule any other activities on the same day. Please don’t take a taxi to Eze; it’s overpriced and may put a strain on your finances.

Many advertisements in the village will persuade you to take a 15-minute Ferrari ride. It will be entertaining, but it will also be tremendously costly. If you’re on a budget, you should avoid this option.

Free Activities: Reaching Eze is entirely free, and you will have unrestricted access to additional attractions such as the Fragonard Perfume Factory or simply strolling through the city’s wonderful curved streets.

A quick tip: Just 20 minutes away from Nice, you can take a short bus tour for USD 2. The bus has different stop stations; Monaco, Cannes, and Antibes. Pick what’s suitable for you.

6- Pay a Visit to Monastère Notre-Dame-de-Cimiez

Monastère Notre-Dame-de-Cimiez is one of the exquisite museums in Nice that you should visit throughout your stay.

Located 3.3 km up to the north from the main city square in Nice, the building dates back to the 14th century. Here you will find all of the authentic architecture that will lift your spirits high.

The monastery comprises the Roman baths and amphitheater, which are surrounded by a stunning environment, demonstrating the ancient remains of Cemenelum.

You will have exclusive access to the cemetery next to the Monastère de Cimiez, which holds the graves of decent figures such as Nobel Prize laureate for literature Rouge Marten di Garr and renowned painter Henri Matisse.

An aerial view of Nice, France
An aerial view of Nice, France

Things to do there: Built on the summit of a high plateau, Monastère Notre-Dame-de-Cimiez offers a breathtaking view of most of Nice’s attractions.

Strolling around the donated grounds, magnificent green gardens intertwined with well-designed trees and outstanding gardens will keep you entertained. Not to mention the stunning view of the coastline, which includes superb hotels and luxurious mansions.

Inside the church, there is no wonder if you keep staring at brilliant frescos. They deserve it by the way.

Additionally, be prepared to snap incredible photos everywhere you go. They are deserving to be on your Instagram account.

Inquire about any special activities or exhibits before visiting the monastery. If that’s the case, it’ll be a fantastic chance to view various handcrafting arts from throughout the world. 

Finally, as the sun goes down, cap off a great day by strolling around the neighborhood’s leafy streets, full to the brim with restaurants and bars.

Things not to do there: Be cautious of your clothing choices, as even if you take the bus, there is a steep uphill hike ahead of you.

Free Activities: The Monastère Notre-Dame-de-Cimiez is one of the best free things to do in Nice. There is no charge for admission to the church or the museum.

A quick tip: The church is open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for visitors. However, the museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

7- Admire the Façade of St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral

Being in Nice means, you’ll have access to a wide range of tourism options, including beaches, historical, cultural, and religious attractions. While strolling between streets, you may come to a halt and inquire whether you are in Nice or Russia. Why is this construction even here!

No, dear, you should go to Nice where anything is possible. There’s a Russian Orthodox church, Nicholas Russian Orthodox, in Nice built in 1912 in memory of the son of Aleksandr II tsarevich Nicolai who lived in Nice as an exile. In terms of Russian Orthodox architecture, this is one of the best examples outside of Russia.

Russian Cathedral of Nice
Russian Cathedral of Nice, France, St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral

Things to do there: If you are looking for a site that is slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the city center, head to St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral. The cathedral is within walking distance of the Old Town.

This cathedral is terrific from the inside out, with a colorful structure and stunning architecture, as well as plenty of cravings, Russian relics, icons, and painted ceilings.

Also, it serves as a place of worship. So, if you’re interested, you’re welcome to come here and practice your rituals.

You can also begin your trip from the inside where you can learn about the location’s history and the Orthodox religion’s unique customs. It’s a brilliant idea to take advantage of the facility’s English-speaking guide tour.

If you’re running late, don’t stress. There is only one room in the cathedral, so unless you plan on staying longer, you can go around the entire structure in less than 10 minutes. You’re free to go anyway.

Things not to do there: Shorts, sleeveless tops, and miniskirts are not permitted inside St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Also, taking photos inside the worship space is prohibited.

Free Activities: Access to the cathedral is totally free; however, you can book a private guided tour to help you explore the place for just around $12.

A quick tip: Because the parking is so few, it’s preferable to take a bus, train, or cab there. No matter how hard you search, you’ll never be able to leave your car without experiencing hardship.

Nice, France
People hanging out at a stylish restaurant, Nice, France

Where to stay in Nice, France?

Your search for a place to stay has led you to the conclusion that the most important factor is that it be close to popular tourist attractions, markets, and other facilities.

This allows you to hoof it over to your favorite attractions without putting an extra load on your budget.

But first, remember that your choice of where to stay in Nice, France is influenced by several factors:

  • The size of your spending plan;
  • What brought you here? (adventure, exploring, luxury, relaxing..);
  • Your partners on this trip.

We’ve compiled a list of the best hotels in the city based on services, location, value for money, and customer reviews from TripAdvisor. Stay connected to the city center while enjoying a romantic meal at a candlelit restaurant or a lively coffee shop.

Old Town, Nice, France
Stay at Old Town, Nice, France

1- Ground Nice (4)

Price: Around USD 100 per person a night.
Location: The city center

Nearby attractions: Musée Massena, the Old Town
Where to eat and drink: Bay Side, La Cucina, Z Restaurant Tapas

If you’ve come to Nice for a city tour or with your family, this hotel is perfect for you because it allows you to stay amazed while spending little money on accommodations. The beach and boutiques are only a short walk from this 3-star hotel.

Air conditioning, free Wifi, and satellite TV are standard in the hotel’s rooms. Private parking is available, in addition to seats on the roof with a panoramic view. You can ask for heated jacuzzis, saunas, and hot tubs when making your reservation.

During their stay, all guests will have access to free instant coffee. This is pretty cool, don’t you think?

Nice's beach
The coastline of Nice, France

2-Le Meridien Nice (4.5)

Price: Around USD 200 per person a night.
Location: Promenade des Anglais
Nearby attractions: Place Massena, Molinard Parfums
Where to eat and drink: Zorzetto, Olim Masséna, Z Restaurant Tapas

If you consider spending the extra money to stay in a more luxurious hotel, you should think of this one. There is something wrong with Le Meridien Nice hotel; a couple of tourist sites at your hand, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, and perfect facilities go far beyond your expectations,

 Most importantly, the view from your room will be breathtaking. Here you can release your stress quickly and treat yourself with a set of luxury settings, two pools including a rooftop to explore the city while relaxing in heated water.

 And, of course, this fabulous place will give you access to wifi, a rooftop bar, an on-site restaurant, a lounge, and more.

Sunset from Nice, France
Breathtaking sunset from Nice, France

3- Hotel Monsigny (4.5)

Price: Around USD 70  per person a night.
Location: Avenue Malaussena
Nearby attractions: Hominum, Avenue Jean Medecin
Where to eat and drink: Cumin et Cannelle, Cesar Milano, Restaurant China

If you’re coming here for your honeymoon or anniversary, this hotel is a great choice. Nearby attractions include the Russian Orthodox Cathedral and the Musée Matisse, among others.

 Also, Hotel Monsigny offers luxury suites if you plan to try a royal feeling. All rooms come with a private balcony and air conditioning. You can spend a romantic night with your spouse up to the roof as there is a hot tub. What we love most about this hotel is that pets are allowed, which isn’t offered in most accommodations around the city.

However, the hotel offers on-site restaurants; you have plenty of markets you can head to around you to buy your needs, like La Gare Du Sud and General de Gaulle Square.

Beach in Nice, France
Mediterranean beach of Nice, France

 In a nutshell: The best choice to stay in Nice, France, is to stay close to the Old Town where you will get in touch with a set of restaurants, bars, markets, and attractions. And of course, it’s a vibrant suburb with lovely decorated streets.

When finished your break in Nice, why not check out some more of the incredible locations France has to offer – Rouen, France is another exceptional city, or the most famous Brittany, maybe Toulouse is more to your taste or another of our favorite cities due to its history, is Nantes.