Nice was the perfect place to relax & recover from the time we spent in Ibiza, Spain.
We opted to stay in Nice for 2 weeks, one of the longest durations we have stayed in any one place, so far. We wanted to use it as our base, as there is a lot to discover around Nice and of course we were pretty keen to relax a little. Nice is currently our second favorite city visited, second to Barcelona, Spain. It’s that similar mix of beach, city, culture, food and lifestyle.
We were lucky to have two good friends visit us at separate times during the 2 week period. A friend, Ali who we grew up with & a close photographer friend from NYC joined us for the last few days and continued onto Turkey with us – some of her photos are shown below! It was awesome to catch up these guys and see some familiar faces.
Accommodation in Nice
Surprise, surprise, we stayed in another Airbnb apartment. Two separate, yet great locations over the 2 weeks.
When we began this trip, we were mentally prepared to spend most of our time in shared dorm rooms, however, as a couple, we’ve come to find that renting through Airbnb has been of much better value (as we’ve said in prior posts). It also allows you stay in the more local areas of cities sometimes.
Food & Drink in Nice
It’s good to know that at 12 noon every day a canon will be fired and to the those in the area, this means it is lunch time. The vast majority of local restaurants serve lunch only between 12pm-2pm, and you won’t be seated if it is after 1.30pm.
The restaurants that stay open are often geared to the tourists and therefore have jacked up prices. We found ourselves always wanting to eat lunch around 2 pm so often we would skip having lunch at a restaurant and grab a baguette/sandwich which can be found at a variety of bakeries around the town.
It isn’t cheap to eat out in Nice so we were quite selective about where we did eat. These were some of our top picks & recommendations.
Le Comptoir du Marche – ($$) A busy local French restaurant that you will need to reserve in advance. The ingredients are all extremely fresh and depending on where you sit in the restaurant you can see the chefs cooking in the kitchen – really fun to watch. The best dish we had here was the Pork Cheek with polenta, although the menu changes often.
Le Bistro Gourmand ($$$)–Our one fancy dinner in Nice. A very authentic French restaurant with a set menu. You must get the Prawn Ravioli.
Papayou ($$) – A combination of Thai, Italian and French cuisine. Very fresh ingredients, a little pricey, but worth it. The chicken lemongrass curry was just awesome.
Flavio Da Milano ($) – We sat on the outside patio, got the cheese & meat platter with chilled rosé wine (shown above). Great value as the platter was massive and filled us all up. Recommended!
Waynes ($) – An expat pub with live music nightly, a decently pub sized menu and happy hour from 5-8pm. We only ate here once and it was the best nachos we’ve had since leaving New York. Anyone who knows us knows how much we love Mexican food so this was a real win. It was perfect for sharing.
Pucci Restaurant ($) – The most delicious pizza we’ve had since leaving New York. Although it’s off the beaten path, it’s worth the trek. The prices are reasonable and the service & wine are great.
Fenocchio Glacier ($) – For any ice-cream lovers check out Fenocchio Glacier. There are over 60 flavours of ice-cream to choose from. Choose carefully because unfortunately, you can’t taste prior! Cactus was the strangest flavour we chose.
What to do in Nice, France
Bike Guided Tour – To get orientated with the city, when we first arrived we took a 3 hour guided tour. We learnt a lot about the history of Nice, most notably how Nice was Italian before becoming French. We wondered why there were so many pizza restaurants in the vicinity. There was an option to rent electric bikes as we had done in Seville but we needed the exercise so we opted for the old school bikes.
A Local’s Guide To Nice – At the end of the bike tour they gave us a 4-page book of the top places to eat, drink, visit and day trips to do from Nice. This was extremely helpful for the rest of the time we were to spend here.
You can find a PDF of this guide here!
Castle Hill – Head up to the top of this hill for a 360 view of the city. If you don’t feel like walking you can get an elevator from the bottom but the walk isn’t bad. It’s a great place to chill out, picnic, exercise and of course take stunning pictures of Nice down below.
Take a Wine Tour – There are a number of companies who do wine tours just outside of Nice but during the summer months they book out quickly. A top rated company Azur Wine Tours were unfortunately sold out for the month of June and July but fortunately, the couple running this tour offered us a brilliant alternative (see below in our visit to St Paul de Vence).
June 21 Music Festival – If you’re coming here in June you should know that they have an annual music festival in the streets on the longest day of the year, June 21. The city comes alive with drums, musicians and singers making for a very energetic atmosphere. If you can, try to plan your time around this date.
Beach – The beaches in Nice are made entirely of pebbles, though do have some man-made patches of sand. It’s most comfortable to bring a blanket + towel to make the lay down a little less rocky! We spent a lot of time on the beach in the 2 weeks. When does it ever get old?
Markets – Take a walk through the markets on Cours Saleya. Every morning until 1 pm (except Monday) there are food markets down the street boasting a variety of fruit and vegetable stalls, cheeses, meats, bakeries, fresh seafood, flower arrangements and miscellaneous food items.
Day trips from Nice
There are so many places within close proximity to Nice, that you really do need at least a couple of weeks to explore them. Although there is never enough time, we tried to see as many as well as spending adequate time in Nice itself. Below is a summary of the places that we went.
Note: All tickets can be purchased on the bus & train tickets at the stations.
1 hour Bus/3 Euro return.
Neighbouring France is the micro country of Monaco. The over-the-top yachts and cars were quite impressive and then there was the peanut butter.. for 8.90 euro! Peanuts made of gold.
Although the harbour and casino were Schlick, we found the surrounding apartment blocks and areas quite rundown (in patches).
Monaco Casino – If you want to enter the Casino you have to dress accordingly (no flip-flops) and it will cost you 10 Euro. If you don’t want to pay, you can watch the expensive cars & dolled up people roll into the casino in the evening instead.
If you’re into cars, Jacob and Ali went to the Museum of Antique Automobiles. The museum had a range of cars from modern-day Ferraris to horse and cart. 6.50 euro entry.
30 minute train/9 Euro Return.
A very cute Mediterranean town on the Cote’ d’Azur between Cannes and Nice. Walk towards ‘Old Antibes’ and you will find many restaurants, shops, marinas, beaches and cafes. We ate at Le Quatre which was a crepe inspired restaurant, although there were many other things to choose from on the menu. Really delicious and local, unlike many of the tourist restaurants in the area.
30 minutes on the bus/3 euro Return.
Èze was a quaint hilly medieval village with a maze of cobbled streets. Small boutique hotels can be found here and the vast majority of restaurants are pricey although we found a very cute café right at the very top of the hill with reasonable priced salads and sandwiches. This was one our favourite towns that we visited.
30-45 minutes train (depending on express trains or not)/14 Euro Return.
A beach town with a slight LA/Miami feel. Fancy shops, expensive restaurants, paid beaches (up to 25 euro) and a promenade to walk along. Cannes wasn’t one of our favourite places, it was the least “French” feeling out of the others we visited.
15 minutes by bus / 5 minutes by train / 3 Euro Return on the bus
A colourful little town with the closest sandy beach to Nice. We stopped here on the way home from Eze. Unfortunately didn’t spend too much time in the town here but there was a beautiful walk around the headland from beach to beach and a lot of beautiful looking restaurants along the water.
St Paul de Vence
One hour by bus/ 3 Euro return.
A fairytale village situated high in the mountains. This town was one of the most unique experiences we had outside of Nice. The town was similar to that of Eze, although a little bigger but the same concept. The view of the surrounding mountains and wineries were breathtaking.
Wine tasting in St Paul de Vence
Wine tasting up here was a surreal experience. We visited a winery run by a husband & wife who rent land (from the man in the above picture) for their vineyards. This winery by the name of Le Petit Vigneau is hidden which makes the experience even more unique. We were interested in their full day tour (run by the same couple) but as this was fully booked she offered the more local, authentic experience in their very own winery. The winery is small, making only 3000 bottles a year, everything is done by hand and their garage is where the magic happens.
We were taken on a tour of the vineyards, taught about the various grapes, the process & the hard labour that goes into it. After, we were able to taste 3 separate wines and seconds if wanted :). All for the total cost of €5 Euro per person. The wine was also available to buy after the tour.
The two weeks we had in Nice was really awesome, we could have easily stayed another week or so but we had travel plans booked for Turkey already. A lot of people have said Nice is overrated and filled with tourists but we disagreed and thoroughly enjoyed it!
Marriage days survived: 89