Nice, France: Hub of the French Riviera

Nice, France: Hub of the French Riviera

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Nice is the fifth-largest city in France, but in my mind, it’s the most important after only Paris. Nice is not only a beautiful Mediterranean city with a lot to see and do; it is the hub for the French Riviera. Nice brings the world to the South of France and gives it a reason to stay awhile.

A cityscape panorama of the city Nice in the south of France

Nice is often overshadowed by its glitzy neighbors. There are Monaco and Monte Carlo with their aristocracy, the Hollywood glamor of Cannes, or champagne jet-set favorite St. Tropez — but Nice more than lives up to its name! As a city, Nice offers a lot of what the others don’t (or can’t). It’s a city for all budgets — a place where you can feel comfortable walking around Promenade Des Anglais or in the old quarter around Place Garibaldi. From here, you can stroll over to the revitalized port area. No matter where you are in the city, restaurants and bars are easy to find but hard to leave.

City streets in Nice, France

For over a century, Nice has been a second home to Europeans seeking a glamorous holiday. And it’s easy to see why — who could resist the magical Mediterranean climate? Truth be told, the weather in Nice is pretty much perfect all year round.

If you love beautiful sandy beaches, you’ll want to look a little further beyond Nice’s rocky shores. But exploring beyond the city comes with plenty of rewards, like endless opportunities to discover the little hidden gems that surround Nice. Whether they are beachside or higher up in the hills — you honestly can’t go wrong here.

Saint Paul de Vence, south of France

My personal favorite spot to visit around Nice is Saint-Paul-de-Vence. This picturesque walled city is one of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera, and the first time I visited, I fell in love instantly. Art lovers will love this city. Its streets are lined with art galleries and museums, showcasing brilliant modern and contemporary works. Best of all, it’s only about 20 minutes or so from Nice, so it’s easy to visit for a few hours or the entire day. 

Colorful street architecture and church view in Nice, France

Personally, I love exploring Nice on foot, but I also recommend hopping in a car and checking out the aforementioned neighbors. Driving along the French Riviera and seeing the trail of the rich and famous is a lot of fun and something that should not be missed. Just make sure you return to Nice and scour the Old Quarter for the perfect little restaurant to enjoy a fantastic meal. Believe me, you’ll have plenty of choices. The Niçoise and Italian food are almost always fantastic… just stay away from restaurants with pictures of the food — that’s a general rule, not only for Nice! Whatever you do, enjoy Nissa La Bella!

Ready to knock Nice off your bucket list? Take a look at our upcoming voyages to this jewel of the French Riviera today. 

Lee Abbamonte

Lee Abbamonte is the youngest American to visit every country in the world (a total of 318) and a monthly guest blogger. Lee is a fan of Azamara's Destination Immersion® experiences, and has cruised with us through the Norwegian Fjords, Asia, the Mediterranean, and more.

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