Old Town Nice

Around and About Nice, the French Way

Nice Promenade

Proménade des Anglais Photo via Shutterstock

By Elizabeth Johnson

Nice is both easy and difficult to discover: easy, because a tram runs right through the center of the city; difficult because there is so much more to the city than its center. As a relatively large city in the center of historical, artistic and quaint Riviera towns, Nice has become an urban testament to the influence of its surroundings, and has bourgeoned into a mecca for art, food, and, of course, the signature respite of the South of France. After dozens of visits to the city for just one cultural outing at a time, I have curated a to-do list that maximizes the cultural offerings of France’s fifth largest city.

Rent a VéloBleu and Bike Along the Proménade Des Anglais

French cities have become celebrated for their bike rental systems, which allow visitors to rent and return a bike at any of the various stations around the city. The Nice system, Vélobleu, offers a convenient stop on the Proménade des Anglais, the famed boulevard that separates the sea from the city. Rent a bike near the eastern point of Nice beach, and ride the bike along the wide walking path for as much of the 4.35-mile stretch as you’d like (or stop for an apéritif at one of the hundreds of beachfront cafés).

*It is easier to rent bikes if you purchase them online beforehand, at http://www.velobleu.org/presentation/?rub_code=8.


Visit the Musée National Marc Chagall

Located in the residential hill blocks north of the city’s center, the Chagall museum was the first French museum to be commissioned while the honorary artist was still alive. Consequently, Chagall himself designed and curated the architecture, gardens and works. This provides a unique museum experience, as the space and art convey a perfect depiction of Chagall himself. The museum offers a free audio guide with admission, and if time allows, be sure to watch the 50-minute documentary on Chagall’s work, which plays in the museum’s theatre throughout the day.

Avenue Docteur Ménard, 06000 Nice
33 04 93 53 87 20


Old Town Nice

Old Town Photo via Shutterstock

Stroll through Old Town

Perhaps Nice’s best-kept secret, “Vieux-Nice” (Old Nice, also known as Old Town) lies quaintly on the eastern border of the city. The cobblestone streets are replete with small restaurants serving local, seasonal fare, courtyard cafés, farmers markets, vintage shops and local artisan boutiques. One alley restaurant, Olive et Artichaut, has its kitchen at the front of the restaurant, so guests can watch a single chef prepare each dish from scratch. The restaurant, which maintains a commitment to respecting and honoring nature, serves fresh fare from local markets and producers.

To find Old Town, enter Nice from the Promenade des Anglais and make a right on Rue Saint François-de Paul. You’ll then find a market of local food vendors with street cafes on either side; make a left down any one of the alleyways and begin your exploration.

Olive et Artichaut
6 Rue Sainte Reparate, 06300 Nice


Opera In Nice, France

Opera in Nice, France via Shutterstock

See A Show at L’Opéra de Nice

After you’ve found a quaint restaurant in Old Town for dinner, stroll back towards the center of Nice to attend a show at the Opéra, the city’s premier opera venue. The theatre features performances primarily in opera, ballet, and classical concerts, and is home to the Nice ballet and Philharmonic Orchestra. The complete 2014-15 season can be found on the theatre’s website.

9 Rue Raoul Bosio, 06300 Nice
04 92 17 40 00





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