Your Finnair Guide: Nice tips for a dream holiday under the hot Mediterranean sun
Lead Software Developer at Finnair, Charles-André Outin, shares his favourites in Nice, France: the most delicious restaurants, nicest green areas, intriguing modern art museums and best day-trip destinations. See where you can find the best views in Nice or the most innovative ice cream flavours, and get to know this charming Mediterranean city – like locals do.
Flowers and flavours of the Old Town
After getting up in the morning, head to the Flower Market, Marché aux Fleurs, to find local products or souvenirs. Apart from flowers, you can purchase a wide range of products including spices, fruits, vegetables, olive oil and nuts — or just simply stroll around inhaling the colourful and vivid atmosphere in which locals and visitors cross paths. Don’t forget to bring some cash with you in case you wish to make some purchases.
After the narrow streets of the old town, the Market Street offers you a little bit more space to walk, at least if you aim to go before lunchtime. During midday, the restaurants on both sides of the market tend to get full pretty fast during the summertime with a steady influx of people as the day progresses. If you get hungry after your market visit and crave seafood, you’re in luck, as you’ll find the Cours Saleya area at the end of the street with all sorts of great options to choose from.
If you wish to find some authentic lunch options, head to René Socca (2 rue Miralheti in the Vieux Nice), a famous place in which you can enjoy local specialties, such as Socca, Pissaladiere and Pan bagnat. The place is well known and popular among locals too, so be prepared to queue and make sure to bring cash, as they don’t take credit cards.
On a hot day, a great place to stop by is Fenocchio where you’ll find the best ice cream in town. This family-owned ice cream parlour has been in business since 1966 and offers an incredible selection of 94 different flavours ranging from beloved classics to more innovative ones, such as tomato & basil or lavender. You can satisfy your ice cream appetite in one of its two locations, Place Rossetti in the Old Town or on 6 rue de la Poissonnerie.
Ventures around Vieux Nice
Promenade du Paillon, or coulée verte, the ”green belt”, is located at the heart of Nice, offering some shade and ways to cool down during the hottest of summer days. The stunning reflecting pool has 128 water jets, making it perhaps the coolest spot for kids. During the night, these water jets are lit up and the place looks truly magical. No matter the time of day, this place is loved by both locals and visitors alike.
Along the 1.2-kilometre-long promenade, you can admire a wide range of plants and flowers from all over the world — the Mediterranean, Asia, Africa, Oceania and Australia, South America and North America. The park also includes Place Masséna, the main square in Nice, where lots of events are held, including the Nice Carnival, and the vivid atmosphere is always present. If you enjoy people-watching, this popular meeting point is a great place for that.
At the end of the promenade, you’ll find the MAMAC Modern and Contemporary Art Museum, which offers modern art gems for art lovers. The museum’s collection mainly includes works by (mainly French) creators of European New Realism, as well as American pop art and minimalism. The building itself is a piece of art, and you can enjoy a 360-degree view of Nice from its roof.
If you still wish to see more contemporary art, you can head to Villa Arson, an art museum and art school famous for its architecture and charming garden.
A very well-known avenue, Promenade des Anglais is situated at the other end of the green belt. The avenue runs along the coast, connecting the airport, Promenade du Paillon and the Old Town. If you enjoy a morning jog, join the locals and head to this 7-kilometre walkway. You can also rent a bike there or take a dip in the sea to cool down a bit. However, keep in mind that the beaches in Nice are rock beaches and the water does get deep quite fast.
If you are in search of stunning Nice views or a picnic spot with a cooling sea breeze and some shade from the scorching Mediterranean sun, climb up to Colline du Château park nearby. The name of the place translates to “castle hill”, and true to its name there used to be a castle once upon a time.
You can visit the old castle ruins, admire a gorgeous waterfall cascading down over a short cliff, or snap your best Nice selfie overlooking the Old Town, the Port or Nice Bay. You’ll find the entrance to the park directly from the Old Town and can access Colline du Château either by taking the stairs or using the lift.
Afterwards, if you get hungry and are looking for a great pizza place nearby, go to Les amoureux (46 boulevard Stalingrad) that offers pure Napolitan-style pizza. The restaurant is located at the port and is known for serving heart-shaped pizzas at least to its female patrons.
Even though there’s lots to see and do in the charming capital of the Mediterranean, you can also easily reach other fantastic destinations that are just a stone’s throw away, including Eze, Grasse, Antibes and Cannes.
For an unforgettable day trip, head to Monte Carlo, Monaco, which is an easy 20-minute train ride away, costing less than five euros. The glorious city of Monte Carlo, known for its casino and marina, is filled with winding streets, so be prepared to walk! It is also a good idea to check whether the Formula One or other car races are taking place during your visit, as they make moving around in the city a bit more difficult – and a lot louder.
Ten kilometres away from Nice, between Nice and Monaco, lies Beaulieu-sur-Mer, which literally means “beautiful place by the sea”. While the name already speaks for itself, this seaside town surrounded by palm trees is a true pearl on the Mediterranean coast. Dig into history in Villa Kerylos, soak up the sun on the beach while admiring the architecture of heritage buildings, feast on local flavours and just enjoy the atmosphere of this coastal town.
Approximately a 30-minute walk away, you’ll find the magnificent light pink coloured Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. Wander in its nine different theme gardens, get enchanted by the beauty of the different flowers and travel back in time.
Your Finnair Guide series showcases different Finnair destinations through the eyes of Finnairians. Join us to discover unique and not-so-obvious areas, places, sights and experiences that are worth a visit – those that locals also enjoy.