Things to do in Nice France for first time visitors

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Our trip to Nice France couldn’t have started any better. After spending a night in Helsinki Airport, waiting long hours and having a sort of picnic on the airport bench, we were finally allowed to board the plane. So far so good, only three more hours and we’ll arrive in summer. Our airplane, however, had different plans. Soon after taking off, I realized we are not really moving anywhere, but rather circling around.
My doubts found confirmation when the captain spoke – “Sorry folks, our plane has warning sign on and we are contacting our maintenance department to check it out.” Oh well, how great could that be?
Long story short, it took 2 hours to “check it out” and land again in Helsinki for an actual technician to fix the bug. Apparently it was some sort of false alarm. We even made it to the Finnish News! 30 minutes later we took off again and three hours later landed successfully in Nice France. Bonjour France!

Arriving in Nice France

Out of the airport building, it struck us immediately with a 25 degree heat. Instead of heading for an airport shuttle (bus number 99, costing 6€) we made our way to a local bus stop right across the street for a bus number 23 (ticket 1,50€). This was the best bus to take if heading to the train station. It takes a bit longer, but is perfectly fine and air conditioned. During the ride we got a glance at promenade des Anglais, as the bus passed it for a little while before turning into the city.

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We booked our hotel – Best Western Brice Garden – through and found it fairly easily. It was too early to check in, so we left our luggage and headed to the city center for a lunch.

If you are looking for a centrally located budget hotel, the following hotels might be worth considering – Hotel Florence 3*, Ibis Styles Centre Gare 3*, Hotel Wilson

Eventually, we found a busy street full of cafes and restaurants. As our first meal in Nice, we decided to try Italian pasta carbonara. It was really good!

We spent the afternoon discussing our plans and possible Things to do in Nice France for first time visitors. High on our list was a visit to Eze Village and Monaco before we head north, to Paris.

nice france

Things to do in Nice France for first time visitors – The beach

After lunch we headed straight to the beach – couldn’t wait any longer to see the famous French Riviera and the famous blue water! This is how the beach in Nice France looks like. Just lovely! Although it might look easy, it’s actually quite hard to walk on those little stones – they are quite sharp! So I recommend swimming (snorkeling) shoes.



Center of Nice – to my opinion it’s Place Massena – is a starting point. Whether you are looking for some shopping on the main street, narrow streets of the old town or the promenade nightlife, this is a place you can start exploring from. The square is easy to recognize by the patterned floor. The trams also stop here, so it’s easy to reach the square.


Now you can decide whether you’d like to take a walk up the busy shopping street (you can find cheap magnets in a 2€ store), some cool shops and huge groceries store called Monoprix. Alternatively, you can relax on the square and watch the kids play at the fountains. The view over the mountains is stunning!


Another option is to head to the old town for some souvenirs and restaurants. I highly recommend trying out mussels with fries if you like seafood. They are served with different sauce and are super delicious! The price is between 10€ and 20€, sometimes there are lunch deals and you might get 3 course meal for the same price. Make sure to ask for tap water, unless you want to pay 4-5€ for one bottle. Glass of wine might be cheaper too.


Day slowly turned into night as we discovered ourselves on the promenade again, taking a lazy walk, then finding a nice spot on the beach and enjoying the breeze and salty night air. It’s quite romantic just to sit there and enjoy a bottle of wine, looking over the airport with planes landing and taking off every few minutes. A perfect way to end the day!

If you’d like to extend your stay in this area, consider this 5-day South of France itinerary!

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Read next – Eze Village and Monaco trips from Nice

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Nice France things to do on your first visit



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