Sunshine and good times reign in Nice, France
Visas for Non-EU/Non-UK citizens: Schengen Visas
Visas for EU/UK citizens: None Required
Emergency Number: 112
Best time to visit: From March to August
A far cry from Paris, the French Riviera city of Nice is a traveller’s paradise. Though it is sometimes overshadowed by glamourous neighbours like St. Tropez and Cannes, Nice offers the same sunshine and romance at a more student friendly budget.
Getting thereYour best bet is travelling by train as this would treat you to some spectacular views as you travel from Northern France to Nice. Take the Eurostar from London’s St. Pancras International Terminal to the Gare du Nord station in Paris. Book as much in advance to get rates as low as £57.
Once in Paris, you must get to Gare de Lyon station to begin your journey south. You may either take a taxi from Gare du Nord to Gare De Lyon or use the RER (RER Réseau Express Régional). Taking a taxi will afford you a good look at Paris, however it will set you back by a good €20 or more. Alternatively, once you get off the Eurostar, seek out the signs marked Metro and RER. There is no direct Metro line from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon, so you must use the RER. Buy tickets from a one of the machines (instructions in English are available) then find the signs leading to RER line D. All the D line trains will halt at Gare de Lyon which is two stops away. The RER tickets will cost around €2. However you choose to travel allow at least an hour to change stations.
At Gare de Lyon, look up for the Accès aux train Grandes Lignes signs and follow the arrows. A set of escalators will take you to the Gare de Lyon railway station. Secure your TGV ticket to Nice Ville station and get it punched. The staff can help you out if you need assistance. The journey from Paris to Nice is scenic so try and get a window seat on the TGV.
AccommodationLooking for inexpensive hostels? Located at Rue Spitalieri, Les Camelias offers beds in a dorm starting from £17. The hostel offers wi-fi, computers and also laundry services.
There’s also the Villa Saint Exupery Beach hostel at Rue Sacha Guitry where you can get a free guided walking tour of Nice and try out activities like sailing and scuba diving. The hostel offers both dorms (£13) and private rooms (£16). You can also stay at the Antares Nice hostel at Avenue Antares where rates begin at £11 per night.
For those who prefer hotels, the Star Hotel at Rue Biscarra offers rooms from £36 and an unlimited breakfast while the Hotel Villa Saint Hubert offers a great location and rooms from £40 at rue Michel-Ange.
The Villa L'Aimée offers rooms from £80 and includes a continental breakfast.
RestaurantsSample the local fare at Chez Theresa on rue Droite or Chez Pipo on rue Bavastro.
La Pizza at rue Massena is the place to be for classic wood fired pizzas while Le Speakeasy on Rue Lamartine is the vegetarian heaven where you can interesting dishes made with fresh vegetables and local produce.
The Cours Saleya market and the Vieille Ville or Old Town is where you can try local favourite dishes like Socca, salade niçoise and cheese tarts.
Vin sur Vin at rue Biscarra and In Vino at the rue de l'Hotel-de-Ville in Old Nice are wine bars where you try great French wines and cheese platters or even heartier fare like stews.
Le Bistrot du Port at Quai Lunel combines great fish with a pleasant view of the port (particularly the cool yachts!). Lastly, La Table Alziari at rue Francois-Zanin offers classic family-food style dishes that are always enjoyable.
Where to PartyOld Town is where the party is at. Wayne’s on Rue de la Préfecture is an English pub serving up fish and chips, burgers and love music. Come here if you’re missing home.
Les Distilleries Idéales on the same road is perfect for light snacks a beer while Le Staccato on Rue du Pont Vieux is a fun jazz club offering live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
Les Smarties is an electro lounge rue Défly with a retro ‘70s ambience with a great line up of local DJs.
If you’re feeling fancy, head to the city’s popular Champagne bar L’Effervescence on Rue de la Loge.
SightseeingThough Nice has plenty of sights and sounds to offer, we’ve narrowed our list down to the top 5 attractions that you must visit while in the city.
Promenade des Anglais: The beautiful promenade offers a glance at the city’s stunning Belle Epoque architecture on one side and the stunning baie des Anges (the Bay of Angels) on the other. You might be tempted to skip the watch and head down to the beach instead!
Cour Saleya Market: Markets are a great way to learn about a city and this once offers a wonderful slice of Nice life with an abundance of cafes and restaurants. Here you can score gifts and souveniers and if you’re lucky even a few cool antiques. The beautiful, colourful flower market can’t be missed.
Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St Nicolas: Nice is already a city filled with beautiful buildings but this one is in a league of its own! Characterized by domes, rich colors and ornate design, this cathedral is a lasting reminder of the Russian presence in Nice.
Cimiez neighbourhood: This historical neighbourhood was once inhabited by the Roman elite and is still home to some pretty posh families. When here, visit the Matisse Museum, the Franciscan Monastery as well as the Roman amphitheatre and ruins.
The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art: The building itself is marvel and it’s the more exciting for hosting works from artists like Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Larry Poons, Frank Stella and Sol LeWitt, as well as the ever popular names like Warhol, Lichtenstein, Arman, Christo etc.
TIP: Try visiting in time for the thrilling Nice Carnival or the enjoyable Nice Jazz Festival.