City Break: Nice

By Amanda Wowk

January 19, 2023

City break (noun): a short holiday spent in a city, such as when on business travel.

Before there was bleisure travel, there was the city break—the short space of leisure time that grants you access to the cultural and culinary amenities that big cities offer. In this series from TripIt, we explore some of the world’s best cities for planning a quick getaway or extending a work trip.

Here are our tips for making the most of your city break in Nice, France. 

Where to fly in

Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE) is the main airport serving the city. It’s located about seven kilometers, or four miles, west of the city center. 

Once on the ground, travelers have myriad public transit options for continuing on to their final destination, including tram, bus, and train. For example, if your hotel or vacation rental is located in the city center, you can take the Lignes d’Azur tram (towards Port Lympia) to get from the airport to the center of Nice in less than 30 minutes. 

Alternatively, cabs and ride shares are also available from NCE.

Where to stay during your city break

Need a place to stay? Nice is probably best known for its historic and glamorous beachfront hotels, including Hotel Le Negresco, Le Meridien Nice, Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée, Hotel Le Royal Nice, and many more. All are just steps to the beach, beachfront restaurants, and the Promenade des Anglais.

Looking for something away from the hustle and bustle of the waterfront? Hotel Apollinaire Nice is centrally located; an ideal walking distance from the city’s major attractions, including Old Nice and Avenue Jean Medecin. 

Vacation rentals, like those booked through Airbnb, are also available in Nice.

How to get around

Part of Nice’s charm is its easy walkability. Plan accordingly by packing comfortable shoes for walking from place to place. 

When walking isn’t feasible or desirable, Nice has a triple-line tramway that covers more than 17 miles, as well as a bus system. 

Thinking about exploring Nice on two wheels? You have several micromobility options for getting around, including bikes and e-bikes provided by Vélo Bleu, and electric mopeds provided by Cityscoot

Taxis and Uber are also available in Nice.

Pro tip: Use TripIt’s Navigator feature to search transportation options available to you. It will show you the estimated costs and travel times for each option, so you can decide which works best. For example, if you add a restaurant reservation to your itinerary (more on where to eat, below), Navigator also helps you find the best transportation options for getting to your table. You can find Navigator within your plan details screens. 

If you plan to travel outside Nice to other cities in France (such as nearby Antibes and Cannes), you have several options to do so, but perhaps the most cost-effective and eco-friendly option is via SNCF trains. Trains are available from the Nice-Ville station. 

Where to eat

Only have time for one nice meal in Nice? Splash out at Flaveur or JAN, two of Nice’s most sought after Michelin-star restaurants. Be sure to book a reservation well in advance, as both have limited seating. 

Michelin stars not on your itinerary? Head to Peixes for all things local seafood, Le Bistrot d’Antoine for classic French cuisine, or the Instagrammable Le Plongeoir—a restaurant balancing on the rocks, overlooking the Mediterranean. Yes, the food is equally as exciting. 

In the mood for sampling local wine, cheese, and accoutrements? Two wine bars stand out in the crowd: La Part des Anges, a wine shop and bar, located near Square Durandy and the nearby Durandy tram stop, as well as Maison Coral located in Old Nice. The latter offers wines by the glass and bottle, light bites, as well as a tasting class that combines the two. 

For breakfast, visit Paper Plane, a vegan breakfast (and lunch) spot that’s bound to please all appetites. Prefer just a latte and a pastry? Head to Le Country Store (multiple locations). 

What to do on your city break

Stroll along the Promenade des Anglais. Weave your way through the winding streets of Old Nice. Bring your favorite beach read, settle yourself in a beach chair, and soak in the rays the French Riviera is known for. Do that—and you’ve experienced some of the best “things to do” that Nice has to offer.  

Need more ideas? Here goes…

If you want to get some shopping done while in Nice, head to Avenue Jean Medecin, Nice’s main shopping street. Prefer local, flea, or farmers markets? Venture to Cours Saleya in Old Nice; depending on the day of the week, various vendors sell everything from flowers to cheese to postcards to souvenirs.

You can also book a day tour to the vineyards and wineries of Provence (or lesser-known Bellet) to sample local wines at the source. Don’t have enough time to get out of town for the day? Sip your way through local wines at Maison Corail in a wine-tasting class. 

Museums more your speed? Choose from Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain (MAMAC), Musée Matisse, Musée Masséna, and many more.