TravelWhat to do in Nice and the Côte d'Azur

What to do in Nice and the Côte d’Azur


It is one of the most visited points in France. So many people can not be wrong. The Côte d’Azur combines the Mediterranean character with the taste for French tranquility, a perfect synthesis that undoubtedly makes the traveler savor the details of an unequivocally tourist destination.

Nice shines bright on the shores of the Mare Nostrum and through its streets you can breathe the air of the old, that flavor that walks through Lisbon or Cadiz leave on the other shore, an air halfway between the stately, the perennial and the vital. Linked to Italy until the 19th century, the “Italian” spirit can be perceived in its inhabitants, Frenchmen who are more extroverted than necessary.

Accommodation in Nice is not particularly cheap, but if you search carefully, it is possible to find good alternatives. The center is busy during the day by French standards, but quiet at night. Undoubtedly, there are a series of experiences that deserve to live in Nice. We present them below.

Drive along the ‘Corniches’

Without a doubt, it is one of the obligatory stops on the French Riviera. The Three Cornices (‘trois corniches’, in French) cover more than 30 kilometers.

These are three highways that run parallel to each other from Nice to Menton -via Monaco- on the border with Italy. Along the Corniches you can visit the beautiful towns of Villefranche-sur-Mer, Cap Ferrat, Beaulieu, Eze, Cap d’Ail, Monaco, La Turbie, Roquebrune Cap Martin.

The Grande Corniche  is the highest running of the three. It was built with Napoleon and follows the Via Julia Augusta . The Moyenne Corniche  (in the vicinity of which Grace Kelly lost her life) dates from the 1920s. The lower cornice or Basse Corniche is the oldest, connecting the towns and cities by the sea.

It must be taken into account that during the summer the agglomeration of cars is such that it may be inadvisable to use the car on the French Riviera.

Rene Socca is quite an institution in Nice. Make a stop along the way on his terrace and try the Socca, it’s definitely worth it

Although at first it may seem a bit tasteless, trying the Socca is an experience that without a doubt must be carried out in these latitudes.

Its main ingredients are chickpea flour and olive oil. It is prepared in the form of a crepe spread on a metal bottom of almost one meter in diameter to be placed and cooked in an oven. It is usually eaten very hot with the fingers.

Enjoy the smells of the market in Nice

The best known is the one on Cours Saleya, but it is also the most touristy, although it is worth walking through it and seeing how the merchants decorate their stalls.

There one can find everything from flowers to fresh products typical of the area (such as cheeses or olives), traditional soaps, spices, vegetables or aromatic lavender. Its colors and scents are undoubtedly intoxicating.

It can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. approximately throughout the year, until 1:30 p.m. on Sundays. There are also other market options in the city.

See Monaco from above

There is a place from which you can see Monaco without having to enter it. This little-known corner is located in La Turbie. It is away from the crowd and is not well known. It is worth taking a detour to see the Principality from above unless it is cloudy… The latter just happened to us and that is why we have resorted to a borrowed image. In this post you will find the precise directions to get there.

The other monaco

You can avoid entering the Principality or take a walk through it if you are one of those who want to add countries to the list of visited. Monaco doesn’t have much to see and it’s quick to visit. The most interesting thing is to go up to the old town in the vicinity of the Grimaldi palace, from there you can see the port and the casino. The narrow streets with colorful facades have their charm.

A walk (on foot or on skates) along the ‘Promenade des Anglais’

The Promenade des Anglais is one of the essential places to visit in Nice. Although it has been able to lose its past tranquility due to a significant volume of traffic (it is the main artery of the city and connects the center with the airport), its promenade is delicious.

Meeting place for all skate lovers, it is also a privileged place for those who practice jogging, who benefit from a light sea breeze. A bike lane has been created on the south sidewalk, which is the fastest way in the city by bike from east to west.

Landing in nice

If you are lucky enough to fly to Nice, do not hesitate, choose a window. Nice airport has spectacular views. It is the third most important airport in France, after Charles de Gaulle and Orly. The sensation of landing almost in the Mediterranean is incredible.

Go up to the castle park and enjoy the view

If the landing or takeoff in Nice are, as has been seen, incomparable views, the one that can be enjoyed from the Noza Castle park is not far behind. The park itself is a corner of peace in the bustling Nice that in itself is worth a visit. It houses a spectacular Jewish cemetery, with its marble tombs. And up there, there is a prize: a privileged view of the “Vielle Nice” and the Promenade des Anglais, bathed by the ever-present Mediterranean. To the other side you can see the secluded port of Nice.

Taste excellent ice cream and choose from dozens of flavors

Fenoccio’s ice creams, in the heart of the city of Nice, are another staple in this area. Their menu includes 59 types of ice cream and 35 sorbets, adding up to 94 fragrances ranging from the most classic to the most original. There it is possible to taste a thyme, rosemary, rose, tomato with basil or lavender ice cream. An experience well worth it.

Cross into Italy and approach Ventimiglia

Italy is just a step away from Nice and very close to the border is Ventimiglia (about 30 minutes by motorway, one hour by the ‘Corniche’ -see experience 1-). A charming town perched on the mountain, with that flavor of organized decadence and some narrow streets and corners in which it is very opportune to get lost. As if that were not enough, Ventimiglia holds a busy market every Friday where it is possible to find clothes, bags and other leather goods. The view from the bridge with the river at its mouth in the foreground and the town behind is enchanting.

Feeling like a star for a day in Cannes

Hand in hand with the aristocracy in the 19th century, the Costa Azul gradually gained prestige. Among all its cities, Cannes will stand out thanks to the international renown that the Film Festival gave it in the 20th century. Today, Cannes has become a media city. Now it is no longer the aristocrats but the actors and the famous who invade it, year after year, during the Festival. Walking through its streets allows you to feel to some extent “a star”. If you are looking for accommodation in Cannes, you can find it here.

Approaching Antibes

Despite mass tourism, Antibes retains much of its charm. Something that contributes to the fact that the center continues to be a small town. Its walls next to the port, its narrow streets, full of small shops and Provencal products, maintain a charm that makes Antibes another of the obligatory stops in the area. From Antibes on a clear day it is possible to see the Alps in the background, a perspective of sea and land that you will love.

Climb the steep slopes of Eze

El pueblecito de Eze es un rincon de la Costa Azul de obligada visita. Se accede a el por la Corniche Inferieure, la mas cercana a la costa de las tres «corniches» (ver experiencia 1). Aunque tambien esta tomada por el turismo especialmente en temporada alta, es uno de esos sitios a los que sin duda hay que acercarse para perderse por sus callejuelas y disfrutar de sus panoramicas. En lo alto del pueblo hay un jardin «exotico» (de pago -6 euros-). Colgado a 429 metros entre el cielo y la tierra, es un lugar privilegiado para impregnarse de la atmosfera de la Costa Azul.

Sentarse a ver la vida pasar en Cours Saleya

Cualquiera de las terrazas de esta alargada plaza es buena para ver la vida pasar. Pero hay un cafe-bar que tiene especial encanto, la Civette du Cours. Resulta muy agradable tomar asiento en su terraza para observar el trasiego de la plaza. La comida es de buena calidad, con platos rapidos, como su hamburguesa.

Hacer paddleboard en el Mediterraneo

El paddleboard ha es cada vez mas popular en la Costa Azul. Se trata de mantenerte de pie sobre una tabla de surf mientras intentas impulsarte tranquilamente usando un remo largo. Aunque no te cansaras, sin duda es mas relajante que subirte a una moto de agua y menos agotadora que hacer surf o esqui acuatico. En Niza, ofrece esta experiencia Glisse Evasion.

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