Exploring Nice: A Guide to the French Riviera

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Advisor - Lauren Platt
Curated By

Lauren Platt

  • French Riviera

  • Beaches

  • Food & Wine

  • Couples Travel

  • Coastal

  • Sightseeing

  • Outdoors

orange buildings on hillside coastal town
Curator’s statement

The French Riviera, also known as the Côte d'Azur, is a glamorous, vibrant, and picturesque region located on the southeastern coast of France. Nice, France, nestled along the French Riviera, is a great and affordable location to serve as your home base when visiting the South of France. From its charming and colorful town to the azure blue waters, idyllic beaches, and the iconic Promenade des Anglais that you can stroll along, the French Riviera is truly a one-of-a-kind, must-visit destination. Below are my personal recommendations to ensure a fantastic visit!

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Where to stay in French Riviera

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Things to do in French Riviera

people lounge on beach

Walk the Promenade des Anglais: Extending for almost five miles, the Promenade des Anglais is the most famous stretch of Mediterranean sea. Can’t beat those views.

Shop the Cours Saleya Market: Located in the heart of Old Town Nice, every day (except Mondays) you can find colorful awnings extending through the center of Nice with fresh produce, flowers, baked goods, souvenirs, art work and more. On Mondays, the market transforms into the Marché à la Brocante, an antiques and flea market selling vintage jewelry, clothing and more.

Hike up to Colline du Château: Translated to Castle Hill, Colline du Château is a prominent and historical landmark in Nice, France with panoramic views of the city, the Mediterranean Sea, and coastline. Accessible by staircase, elevator or footpath, Colline du Château is a must see for everybody.

Beach Day in Nice: It wouldn't be a trip to the South of France without spending a day relaxing on the French Riviera. Rent some beach chairs at, Ruhl Plage, with its iconic blue and white striped umbrellas to truly immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Nice. For a perfect mid-day pick-me-up, don't forget to order lunch from Ruhl Plage's restaurant right to your beach chair.

Explore Port de Nice: Just a short (and stunning) walk from Old Town Nice, Port de Nice is lined with colorful buildings, palm trees, boats and super-yachts. It's an entertaining spot for a leisurely stroll or to relax on a bench while watching the yachts come in and out.

Day trip to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat: One of my favorite days of my trip was visiting Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and enjoying a beach day at Paloma Beach. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters, and peaceful atmosphere, Paloma beach is an unforgettable destination. and just a short 20-minute drive from Nice.

Visit Villefranche Sur Mer: A 5-minute train ride from Nice, Villefranche-sur-Mer is a picturesque seaside town with colorful buildings, and a sandy beach and a town with rich history. Enjoy a beach day at Plage des Marineres or explore Saint Michel Church, Saint Pierre Chapel, Rue Obscure or the Villefranche Promenade.

Day trip to Monaco: If you are into F1, fancy cars, mega-yachts, gambling and designer shopping, Monaco is just a short 20 minute direct train from Nice. Be sure to check out the Monte-Carlo casino, Palais du Prince, Monaco Cathedral, Larvotto beach and Port Hercules.

Places to eat & drink in French Riviera

sparkling lights of a harbor at night
  • Gina: Perfect lunch spot. A Mediterranean restaurant situated in the colorful Place Masséna square. A must-try dish is their Niçoise salad, which, in my experience, was one of the best I've ever had!

  • Gigi Tavola: Situated right on the Port de Nice, Gigi is an Italian restaurant that offers both take-out and dine-in services. They even provide gluten-free crusted pizza options!

  • Le Plongeoir: Translating to 'the diving board,' Le Plongeoir was originally constructed in the 20th century as a diving platform for locals and visitors in Nice. Today, it has been transformed into a sophisticated Mediterranean and international restaurant, nestled on a rocky outcrop with breathtaking sea views.

  • Ballanger Confiserie Creperie: Gourmet and delicious crepes to be enjoyed as a late night bite or a savory (or sweet) breakfast in the morning.

  • Jan: A Michelin-starred restaurant offering French and Mediterranean cuisine.

  • Le Bistrot d'Antoine: A charming and cozy bistro praised for it’s French cuisine.

  • Emilie and the Cool Kid: For a quick grab-and-go of bagel sandwiches, juices and smoothies.

  • Garden Cafe: For all my brunch lovers, Garden Cafe offers an extensive brunch menu featuring omelets, avocado toast, French toast, iced coffees, matchas, and an all-you-can-eat selection of breakfast items.

  • Ruhl Plage - Beach club, rent some chairs and order lunch to your seat. Or just stop by for lunch!

Advisor - Lauren Platt

Travel Advisor

Lauren Platt

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to France.