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Welcome to Nice


With a backdrop of the Maritime Alps, Nice is fronted by the magnificent Baie des Anges, along which the famous Promenade des Anglais stretches for three miles. There is a cosmopolitan selection of shops, bars and restaurants, with the pedestrian zone of the rue Massena always lively and interesting. The old town, with its narrow winding streets bustles with activity and the wonderful colours of the flower and fruit market are synonymous with the Côte d'Azur. Monday is the day for the bric a brac / antiques market where you can find just about anything on sale. At dusk, prepare for Nice's nightlife: bars, discos, concerts and excellent cuisine.

With an international airport and the fast train from Paris, Nice is the first experience of the renowned Côte d'Azur for many tourists. The city was established by the Greeks and named for Nike, goddess of victory, but the Romans started the tourism industry here when they popularised their mineral baths on Cimiez. British and Russian aristocrats favoured Nice in the 19th century, but today it is more of a commercial centre and is not as fashionable as its smaller neighbouring resorts, such as Cannes or St Tropez. Nice still has excellent connections, but these are in the mode of transport options rather than the pedigree of its visitors.

Nice's shingle beaches occasionally disappoint visitors anticipating a classic, white sand beach holiday, but this does not mean the beaches stay empty; during summer the bright blue sea, sunshine and beautiful surroundings draw thousands of holidaymakers to this French Riviera city. The Promenade des Anglais lines the shingle beaches for about five miles (8 km) and has been a favourite for leisurely strollers since Victorian times.

Information & Facts


Nice has a typically Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. During the hottest summer months, particularly in August, temperatures often reach excesses of 86°F (30°C), while maximum temperatures in winter are usually between 50-59°F (10-15°C). October is usually the wettest month.

Getting Around

Nice city centre is small enough to get around on foot. Buses form the main form of public transport and cover most of the city until midnight. The Sunbus is a popular tourist service, running daily to popular tourist destinations within Nice. Tickets can be purchased from a local café or tabac. Nice by Bus passes are also available for one, five or seven days including a trip to the airport. Taxis are not a popular means of transport, as they are known to overcharge tourists and are difficult to flag down. The central train station takes commuters to other towns along the Riviera such as Antibes, Cannes, Monaco and more.


French is the official language.


The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in France. Currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and some large hotels, though you will get a better exchange rate at the ATMs. Major credit cards are widely accepted, as are travellers cheques, particularly in major tourist destinations. Foreign currency is not accepted.


Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 between last Sunday in March and last Sunday in October).

Nice's most famous market area, the Cours Saleya bustles with activity every day and is a riot of colour and fresh smells. A wonderful attraction for visitors, the market is packed with flowers, fresh produce, souvenir shops and sidewalk cafés. On Mondays the area hosts a large flea market and an antiques market, and evern if you're not looking to buy anything you can still enjoy the food and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.

Celebrated modernist artist Marc Chagall (1887-1985), though born in the Soviet Union, spent much of his career in France. The Marc Chagall Museum in Nice has the largest permanent collection of his works, including his Biblical Message Cycle, comprising 17 large-scale paintings depicting scenes from the Bible. The museum also has a large collection of lithographs, sculptures, and ceramics house in the block-like building and attractive gardens.

Housed in the former residence of the Ukrainian Princess Kotchubey is a fine collection of 19th and 20th century art, including works by Boudin, Ziem, Raffaelli, Renoir and Monet. The Musée des Beaux-Arts Jules Chéret gallery includes great sculptures including works by J. B. Carpeaux, Rude and Rodin. There is also an important collection devoted to the masters of the Second Empire and Belle Epoque, a great attraction for visitors to Nice.

Renowned artist Henri Matisse spent the last few years of his life in Nice and he is honoured by this museum. The Musée Matisse has several permanent collections, mostly painted in Nice and many donated by the artist and his heir. The better known paintings include Nude in an Armchair with a Green Plant(1937), Nymph in the Forest(1935/1942) and Portrait of Madame Matisse(1905). There is also an ensemble of drawings including The Créole Dancer(1951) and Blue Nude IV(1952). Seeing his nude sketches today, you'll wonder why early critics denounced them as 'the female animal in all her shame and horror.'

Outside Nice, near the airport, this vast tourist attraction includes a botanical garden and a bird and insect zoo where visitors can tour a huge greenhouse full of wonderful butterflies. There is also a tacky theme park with automated dinosaurs and mock Mayan temples but the highlight of the park is the Musée Départemental des Artes Asiatiques ,which houses a collection of ethnographic artefacts, including silk goods and pottery, as well as traditional and contemporary art.

Nice and the French Riviera were fashionable holiday resorts for Russian nobility in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, leading to a close relationship between the regions that culminated in the rose-pink Russian Orthodox Cathedral, one of the most beautiful buildings in Nice. Topped with the onion-shaped domes distinctive to Russian cathedrals, the church was built by Tsar Nicholas II in 1912 and is the largest of its kind outside of Russia. There is presently an ownership dispute between the Russian government and the current tenants, part of an overseas jurisdiction. No matter who owns it, the odd image of the Russian spires set against the background of palm trees on the Cote d'Azur is one of the most interesting sights in Nice.

With wonderful views over the rooftops and gleaming mosaic tiles of Old Nice, along the sweep of the promenade des Anglais and out to the Mediterranean, the Château park is a lovely attraction in itself and a good place for visitors to orientate themselves with the city. The Château de Nice has long gone but with cool walks in the shade of the trees, a large grassy park, Roman ruins and a waterfall, it is a great place to spend an afternoon. To reach the park, visitors can either climb the steps at the front, from the Quai des Etats Unis, or for those who aren't up to it an elevator is available.

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