Nice Area Map
Sitting in the southeast corner of France along the Mediterranean Sea, Nice is best known as a beach destination. However, those who take the time to explore the offshore areas of this small city will discover a fascinating historical district, as well as several other charming neighborhoods.
The Sea Front is the postcard representation of Nice: gorgeous beaches and near-limitless luxury. The renowned Promenade des Anglais (Walk of the English), which runs parallel to the coast separates most of the area’s beachfront from its businesses. This famous street boasts numerous top-notch hotels and restaurants that offer spectacular views of the pebbly beaches and cerulean waves of the Mediterranean Sea. The Sea Front neighborhood is always crowded with tourists and residents, who pass the time strolling along the coast and enjoying the fresh sea breeze.
Most Niçois refer to Place Masséna as the heart of Nice. It is located east of Sea Front at the point where Promenade des Anglais (Walk of the English) becomes Quai des Etats-Unis. The square and its surrounding streets are home to the city's more upscale shops and boutiques, including the Galeries Lafayette and the Nicetoile Shopping Center (Centre Commercial Nicetoile). If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the shopping streets, escape to one of Masséna's two parks. The Jardin Albert I, which sit off of the Promenade des Anglais, features examples of contemporary sculpture; the Masséna Gardens (La Place Masséna), east of the square, offers a serene setting for lazy strolls.
As its name implies, Vieux-Nice (Old Town) is the city's historic district. Sitting away from the sea just east of Masséna along Quai des Etats-Unis, Vieux-Nice is a maze of narrow streets and baroque architecture, so it is any history buff's dream. This district houses numerous churches, as well as Castle Hill (Colline du Chateau), the site of Nice's first settlement, and the baroque-style Palais Lascaris. Recent travelers recommend paying a visit to the renowned Cours Saleya flower market, which is located just north of the Promenade des Anglais (Walk of the English). Vieux-Nice is also known for having some of the best ice cream parlors in the city, most of them clustered around Place Rossetti, just north of the Cours Saleya market.
The Port District
Located at the eastern end of the Promenade des Anglais (Walk of the English), Nice's Port District is a peaceful alternative to the busy Sea Front. The port itself offers picturesque views of the sea and incoming fishing boats. Although there are several great restaurants tucked away near the docks, the Port District is best known for its abundance of antique shops, especially down Rue Catherine Ségurane, a small street located just a few blocks southeast of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain).
Promenade du Paillon
Once a forgotten part of the city, the Promenade du Paillon district has gone through a renaissance in recent years. Nice's new theater district derives its name from a park at its center, which is located to the north of the Port District. The neighborhood's Palais des Congrès Acropolis (Nice Acropolis Convention Center) hosts a wide array of live performances, film screenings and conferences. This area's other major site is the Théâtre National de Nice, which features productions of both classic and contemporary theater.
The Cimiez neighborhood sits atop a hill to the north of the Sea Front. Once a Roman settlement, Cimiez still shelters ruins of Roman baths and an amphitheater. Now it's one of the most fashionable residential neighborhoods in Nice. Although it does not attract as many tourists as the seaside districts, art aficionados should take some time to explore this area's creative history. Artwork from former residents and famed modern artists Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall is displayed at the Musée Matisse and the Musée National Marc Chagall.
Mont-Boron and Mont-Alban
Travel experts say that these side-by-side mountains to the east of the Port District offer spectacular views of both the city and the sea. Mont-Boron and Mont-Alban are not within walking distance from the city center, but the city's buses operate to and from. If you are heading up Mont-Boron, past visitors recommend making a quick stop at the area's Musée de Paléontologie Humaine de Terra Amata (Human Palaeontology Terra Amata Museum).
Arénas and Californie
Located just north of the airport in western Nice, many visitors describe these districts as Nice’s newest and fastest growing neighborhoods. Despite numerous accommodation options, these districts are rather far away from city center. Interesting sites in the vicinity include the giant greenhouse at Parc Phoenix, which sits along the westernmost section of Promenade des Anglais (Walk of the English) and the nearby Musée des Arts Asiatiques (Asian Arts Museum).
Nice's beaches are accessible from the Promenade des Anglais. Keep in mind that there are both public beaches (open to all sunbathers) and private beaches (which charge a fee). You should also note that in addition to paying an admittance fee, the private beaches will also charge you for umbrellas and will not let you bring in your own drinks or snacks (they expect you to buy them from their restaurants and bars).