A Weekend in Nice France: The Perfect 3 Day Nice Itinerary

Updated
16 min read
You can't go wrong with spending a weekend in Nice, France!

Nice, located on the French Riviera (or Côte d’Azur) in southeast France, is a flawless mix of sand, sun, and sea and the perfect place to head to in Europe for winter sun. While you could easily spend a week or so here, you can also experience all the town has to offer with just a weekend in Nice, France.

Tourists flock to this Mediterranean paradise for several different reasons. One is for its attractions, such as the Promenade des Anglais and Vieux Nice. A series of museums and markets, historical and cultural sites and entertainment houses can be found here as well, which will give you a full overview of Nice’s rich history.

You can also simply relax on the beach, enjoying the warm weather and gorgeous views. By following this 3 day Nice itinerary, you'll get to experience all of the above and more!

Nice is a great place to visit as a sole weekend getaway. Or, why not include a stop in the city as part of a road trip in Southern France? Renting a car is not that complicated (and relatively cheap), making a Southern France road trip easy! It’s also an excellent destination for couples, families and friends, or solo travelers.

No matter what trip you’ve planned, if you’re heading to Nice, continue reading to learn how to spend 3 days in Nice, France.

  • 3 day itinerary
  • Average of 6 stops per day

Nice Map

Using the map of Nice, you can explore all the days and stops.

Riviera Stroll: Promenade des Anglais to Place Massena

Palm trees along Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France

Your three day Nice itinerary will begin on the famous Promenade des Anglais. A walk along the promenade is a highlight for anyone intending to admire the stunning French Riviera.

After a stop at a rooftop bar for a quick refreshment, you’ll next be visiting the green oasis of Jardin Albert 1er. Your next stop is another park, Parc de la Colline du Château. This park offers amazing views of Nice along with several beautiful plants, ponds, and fountains to admire.

Next, a quick visit to Chapelle de la Miséricorde will allow you to soak in the gorgeous baroque design of this stunning catholic church. Having had a few peaceful and relaxed stops, you’ll be ready for the liveliness of Place Massena.

This square gives access to Nice’s two main shopping streets and is the place of many outdoor events. Your first evening in Nice will be spent with a world-renowned meal at Hotel Negresco and a show at the local opera house.

Back to top

Walking along the Promenade des Anglais is a must for your 3 day Nice itinerary!

Promenade des Anglais

Taking a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais is a must when in Nice. This 7 km long walkway takes you right by the sea, allowing you to admire the ocean on one side and beautiful buildings on the other.

You can walk or cycle and stop to take in the view. There is also a range of beaches on the ocean side of the street that you can stop and relax on.

Having wandered down the promenade, stop at La Terrasse, a rooftop bar at the Meridien Hotel. Here you can enjoy delicious drinks and incredible views.

Choose from a long list of cocktails, including sparkling wines and cocktails like Aperol Spritz and Chambord Fizz. They also serve food if you need a snack, and have a great selection of Mediterranean fish dishes.

Back to top

Jardin Albert 1er

The Jardin Albert 1er is a beautiful city garden located off of Promenade des Anglais. It’s the perfect place to stop at for a peaceful break from the busy promenade.

The garden is filled with various plants and flowers plus Nice’s trademark palm trees. There are also fountains and ponds and lots of places to sit down and enjoy your surroundings.

Once you’ve seen all the garden has to offer, head back to the promenade or visit the nearby high-end stores like Chanel and Louis Vuitton.

Back to top

The landscape of Castle Hill in Nice

Parc de la Colline du Château

Colline du Château, or Castle Hill, is a tranquil park located in Vieux, Nice. It's one of the most popular (and scenic) attractions in Nice and a must-visit on your 3 days in Nice itinerary. To access this vast green space, you can climb staircases or take an elevator.

Once at the park, you’ll be able to relax and take in the greenery and amazing views of Nice and Côte d’Azur. You can even see the alps on clear days. You'll also discover a stunning human-made waterfall that was constructed in the 18th-century.

Parc de la Colline du Château additionally covers the spot where ancient Greeks established the city of Nikaia, dedicated to Nike, the goddess of Victory. There have also been archaeological digs here which uncovered Roman and Celtic remains.

There are a few restaurants and cafes to hang out at too. Parc de la Colline du Château is an ideal place to have some quiet time and take in the beautiful views of Nice.

Back to top

Chapelle de la Miséricorde

Nice is known not just for its vast history and many traditions but also for its multiple churches and monasteries. Should you be in Vieux, Nice, a visit to one of these churches, the Chapelle de la Miséricorde (Chapel of Mercy), is recommended.

This catholic church was built between 1740 and 1770 by Italian architect Bernardo Vittone and is designed in a distinctively baroque style. Upon arrival at the church, you’ll be able to enjoy this rich Baroque architecture.

The outside of the church is painted in an eye-catching yellow, and the beautiful design details make it a stunning photo op. The inside of the church is equally breathtaking and ornately decorated. It is complete with marble, religious paintings, and even chandeliers.

Whether you’re religious or not, this church is a worthwhile cultural stop to enjoy and admire.

Back to top

The beautiful Place Massena in Nice

Place Massena

Located between old and new Nice, Place Massena is one of the largest squares in Nice. The square itself is surrounded by stunning traditional Niçoise buildings with red facades and white window frames as well as more neoclassical structures. It also features a trademark black and white tiled floor and palm trees.

The square is also home to many shops and restaurants. It’s additionally where Nice’s two main shopping streets, Zone Pietonne and Jean-Médecin, meet. The former is home to designer brands while the latter has a selection of chain stores and the large shopping mall, Nice Etoile.

Along with shops and restaurants, Place Massena hosts several open-air concerts and other events and celebrations throughout the year. This includes the Nice Jazz Festival and Carnaval de Nice.

Back to top

The colourful Hotel Negresco

Hotel Negresco

Hotel Negresco is a famous hotel in Nice and on the Riviera in general. Along with being the place to stay in Nice, people often make a beeline for this hotel due to its gastronomic offerings.

Whether you’re heading here for a drink or set course lunch or dinner, this hotel is a must-try spot on your three days in Nice itinerary. There are two restaurants along with a bar serving drinks and bar snacks.

Those looking for a Michelin star meal have to visit The Chantecler. This high-end restaurant offers tasting menus (priced between EUR 110 and EUR 230 per person) as well as an a la carte menu. Dishes to try include oyster tartare with caviar, lamb filet, and grilled Mediterranean tuna.

For a more relaxed atmosphere, try the hotel’s second restaurant, La Rotonde. This quirk brasserie is decorated in the style of a baroque carousel complete with carousel horses.

When here, you can choose from a selection of a la carte dishes such as lobster spaghetti, sea bass tartare, and roasted shrimp with quinoa. There are also two set menus to try.

Back to top

The very white Opera de Nice building

Opera de Nice

A visit to Opera de Nice, the main opera venue in Nice, is highly recommended for lovers of the arts.

You’ll be able to enjoy opera, classical music concerts, and ballet here. This includes shows by Ballet Nice Méditerranée and Nice Philharmonic Orchestra.

Tickets can be purchased from the Opera de Nice’s website. Be sure to book in advance to ensure you get to view the show you’d like to see.

Back to top

An Excursion to Èze

Èze, a town near Nice, from above

Your three day Nice travel itinerary will take you out of Nice briefly on day two of your trip. Your day will begin by traveling to Èze, a small town located down the coast.

Here, you’ll get amazing views of the Mediterranean. The village also has exotic gardens to wander around and a host of boutiques and perfumeries to shop around.

Once you’ve fully explored Èze, head back to Nice to discover Cours Saleya. This flower and produce market is filled with beautiful bouquets and stalls upon stalls of local fruit and veg. Whether you buy anything or not, it’s an interesting place to venture around.

You’ll then stop for some dinner at Maido, a Japanese bistro (or head here for lunch on return from Èze). The restaurant serves Japanese sharing plates as well as traditional sake and Japanese beers.

Spend the rest of the night on Nice’s popular Bar Crawl. This fun activity is a great way to meet new people and check out multiple bars.

Back to top

A view of the French village, Eze, on a hill

Èze

Èze is a quaint hill-top village located just 12.5 km from Nice. Being just a 30-minute drive by car or bus (on the 82 bus), it’s the perfect location for a full or half-day trip. Driving in France is relatively stress-free, so why not make the short trip?

Being a hilltop town on the Côte d’Azur, the vistas of the Mediterranean are incredible. Having taken in the views, there are many places to visit in Èze, including art galleries and boutiques.

The Jardin Exotique d’Èze (also known as the Jardin Botanique d'Èze) is a popular tourist attraction in the town. The garden is home to a host of exotic plants from a range of climates. This includes cacti and succulents plus many tropical trees all planted against the backdrop of the ocean.

Èze is additionally known for its perfumeries. You can visit perfume shops and treat yourself to a new scent. You can even take a tour of Parfumerie Fragonard to learn about the perfume-making process.

After exploring Èze, if you are still in the mood for further day trips, there are several other beautiful villages in the south of France that are worth visiting. Or, if you're up for a longer drive, why not check out Bordeaux?

Back to top

Cours Saleya Market along the French Riviera

Cours Saleya Market

Cours Saleya is an open-air market featuring fruit and vegetable stalls and its well-known flower market. The market is open Tuesday through Saturday from 6 am to 5.30 pm and from 6 am to around noon on Sundays.

A visit to this market is often regarded as one of the best things to do in Nice. Here you’ll find the freshest produce, most of which is sourced locally, and be able to experience the bustling market atmosphere.

The Marché aux Fleurs Cours Saleya features hundreds of varieties of flowers from bouquets to potted plants. As you explore the over 30 stalls, you’ll be able to enjoy the beautiful colors and fragrances.

There are also many cafes in the area surrounding the market where you can stop for a drink and watch the world go by. Or if you want a sweet treat, Papilla, an artisan glacier, is just a few minutes' walk away. Choose from 32 flavors of ice cream or try a fruity sorbet. The perfect way to beat the Nice heat!

Back to top

Maido

Maido is a cute Japanese bistro that's perfect for a relaxed lunch or dinner. Everything is made in house and fresh, and mainly local ingredients are used. A friendly atmosphere is always guaranteed too!

Instead of main courses, Maido serves up "tapas-style" plates of Japanese snacks. These include Japanese fried chicken, tofu salad, and a variety of flavored dumplings.

You can accompany your meal with wine or Japanese beer or sake. If you aren't sure what to get, the hosts are happy to help you choose the best drink to accompany your meal. End your feast with a slice of delicious homemade cheesecake.

Back to top

Riviera Bar Crawl

Hopping on a Riviera Bar Crawl is a great way to see all that Nice’s nightlife has to offer. Along the way, you’ll stop for drinks at a selection of Nice’s best bars. There are also bar games to play, and you’ll meet new people, including locals and other tourists.

The crawl begins at Villa St. Exupery near Massena Square and costs EUR 15 per person. Included in the ticket are bar entry, a shot at each bar, and access to exclusive drink deals. You may end up discovering some unique nightlife spots that you wouldn't have on your own.

If you’re looking to try another tour, the company also provides wine tasting and food tours. You can also partake in a free walking tour during the day or at night, and private tours are also offered.

Back to top

Nice Through Art and History

Franciscan Church and Monastery of Cimiez, Nice, France

The last day of your Nice travel guide will take you to some of the city’s best cultural and historical attractions. You’ll also be able to try some of Nice’s traditional and beloved dishes.

The majority of your day will be spent in and around the neighborhood of Cimiez. You’ll begin the day exploring this area with attractions to visit including Musée Matisse and Parc des Arènes de Cimiez, which is home to ancient Roman ruins.

You’ll then pay a visit to the Marc Chagall National Museum. Here you can admire the artist’s biblical inspired pieces. Before your next attraction, stop for a snack at Chez Pipo to try Niçoise favorites, socca and pan bagnat.

Another art museum, The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, is next on your agenda. This museum pays homage to avant-garde artists from the 60s onwards. One last museum trip will end your day of sightseeing in Nice.

Musée du Palais Lascaris is an interesting musical instrument museum housed in a 17th-century aristocratic building. A great destination for music lovers and lovers of historical architecture and design.

End your long weekend in Nice, France with dinner at Le Safari. This local favorite has one of the best salad Niçoise in the city as well as other traditional French dishes. Finally, head to Le Bateleur to drink the night away.

Back to top

Garden of Arenas Cimiez

Cimiez

Cimiez is an upscale residential area of Nice that was in the past home to French nobility. Today, the area has many luxurious apartment buildings as well as a range of museums and other attractions.

It’s definitely a worthwhile area to visit during your three days in Nice, and it is the perfect neighborhood for lovers of culture and history.

The Musée Matisse, which sits atop Cimiez hill, is a treat for art lovers. Musée Matisse houses the works of French painter Henri Matisse among other donated artworks. Outside, it is surrounded by ornate Italian gardens ideal for photographs and leisurely walks.

Another popular tourist attraction is the Parc des Arènes de Cimiez. This park features Mediterranean olive groves as well as ancient Roman ruins including an amphitheater that would have held 4,000 spectators. You’ll additionally discover the Monastery of Cimiez and an archaeology museum in this peaceful and historic park.

Back to top

Musee National Marc Chagall

Often regarded by historians as one of the last of the first generation of European Modernists, artist Marc Chagall lived a life dedicated to his craft. You’ll be able to appreciate all of his works with a visit to the Musee National Marc Chagall (Marc Chagall National Museum).

Many of his artworks were inspired by religion, and these works take center stage at the museum. Seventeen pieces in all make up a biblical message using inspiration from the books of Genesis, Exodus, and Song of Songs.

His creative take on stained glasses also lines the museum’s halls, and there are numerous other paintings and drawings to view. Marc Chagall himself even helped design the museum. His will outlined specific instructions on where to hang each painting in the museum.

Entry to the museum is free on Sundays, and audio guides are available in a range of languages, including French, English, and Spanish.

Back to top

Chez Pipo

Chez Pipo is the perfect place to stop for lunch or a quick snack. This affordable cafe has a range of great snacks.

This includes some of the best Socca in Nice. Socca, a flatbread made of chickpea flour, is a traditional dish of Nice. It’s a must-try while in the city!

Chez Pipo also serves pizza, pissaladière, and pan bagnat - another Nice specialty resembling a salad Niçoise sandwich. With most dishes under 5 Euros, it’s the ideal snack break cafe!

Back to top

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nice

Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain

The Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain (or the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) houses various eye-catching works-of-art from the 1960s to the present. It's often considered one of the most exciting museums in the city, making it a must-visit attraction during your weekend getaway to Nice.

Artworks featured include those by well regarded French, European, and American contemporary artists. Artists with works exhibited include Yves Klein (who was part of the Nice modern art movement), Andy Warhol, and Francis Bacon.

The museum offers a fresh take on art as well as a look into Nice’s historical heritage. Even the museum itself features a unique modern architectural design in the form of a tetrapod that spreads across the Paillon River. The addition of a rooftop terrace provides stunning panoramic views of the city.

Back to top

Musee du Palais Lascaris

Palais Lascaris is a historical European monument and is housed in a 17th-century aristocratic building. It’s currently used as a musical instrument museum with over 500 instruments on display. This museum has the most extensive collection in Europe after the collection on display at Musée de la Musique in Paris.

Along with the musical exhibits, you’ll be able to appreciate the baroque design of the building and the luxuriously decorated rooms. Each room retains its 17th-century style, and many have beautiful hand-painted murals on the ceilings. There is also a range of paintings, tapestries, and other artworks on display.

A trip to Palais Lascaris is a great way to get a look into the city's history from the 17th and 18th centuries. Along with being able to appreciate the hundreds of musical items in this museum, a trip here gives a look into how Nice’s nobility once lived.

Back to top

Restaurant Le Safari

For a taste of traditional French cuisine and Niçoise specialties, a meal at Le Safari is highly recommended. This quaint but well-known restaurant has been in Nice for almost 50 years. They pride themselves on serving up dishes that highlight local ingredients.

Their salad Niçoise, arguably the most famous dish out of Nice, is a must-try. You can also choose from a range of other salads as well as fresh fish dishes and wood fire pizza, among others. They additionally have set menus to select from, ranging from just Eur 29 to Eur 52.

After dinner, head to one of the many nearby bars for drinks and music. Le Bateleur is an excellent spot to start at. They have a vast selection of draught beer as well as wine and liquor. They also have an extensive list of classic cocktails from Mojitos and Caipirinhas to Long Island Iced Tea.

Back to top

In Summary

Nice is a melting pot of culture, history, fantastic cuisine, and stunning scenery. If you're planning a trip to France, then visiting Nice should be near the top of your list.

While many consider the Riviera a seaside location, there's much more to do in Nice than hang out at the beach. From museums and historic parks to markets and exquisite restaurants, Nice has something to delight all types of visitors!

Along with being a great destination in itself, the stylish cities of Monaco and St. Tropez are not too far away either; making Nice a good stop on a scenic French road trip.

This article was edited by Loredana Elena and was first published on May 19, 2019 19:49 UTC.

For more interesting articles about France, read:


Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell WRITER Currently based in Canada, I've also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and travelled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. I love finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever I go!


Stay informed

Get excited about travel by subscribing for the latest articles and announcements.