Two years ago, a terrorist attack hits Nice, France during Bastille Day. Travelers are asking similar questions, “Is it safe to travel to Nice?” Although there is a threat of terrorism all across Europe, there are several things travelers can do to stay safe. Nice is a booming and vibrant city, so we hope you can consider it on your trip. It’s a long way to come for just 3 days, but if that’s all you can spare, then this 3-day suggested itinerary will be very useful. There are of course numerous other destinations in this city so you might want to mix and match the suggestions below to create your own itinerary.
Things to know before traveling to Nice, France:
Speak French first – People who start babbling in English without even attempting to speak French first are seen very rude in France. Learn to say some basic French greetings and ask politely whether the person speaks some English. Neglecting to greet a person in French, whether you are asking the cost of a particular stuff or just asking directions, will likely get an undesired response. When you enter or exit a store or restaurant, do not forget to say “Bonjour” and “Au revoir”. Remember these handy phrases:
Bonjour. S’il vous plaît… (Hello, please…)
Parlez-vous anglais ? (Do you speak English?)
Merci (Thank you)
Currency exchange – France uses the euro, the same currency now used by most Western European countries with the exception of the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Norway. Prior to traveling, you can buy some euros (enough for one day or whatever your preference) and then exchange your money in the banks to get the best rates. You can also use the ATMs at all main squares of every town, major airports and train stations.
Safety and security – There is currently no nationwide security advisory in effect for France. Check your country’s travel advisory website to get the most up-to-date information for your personal safety abroad. Observe the same precautions with your personal safety and health as you would in any other country. For any type of emergencies, dial 112.
Etiquette – For first time visitors, it is important to remember some do’s and dont’s to enjoy a faux pas free journey in France. Always greet with titles unless you’re on familiar terms with them. In France men are addressed as Monsieur (Mister) and women as Madame (Mrs./Ms.) or Mademoiselle (Miss). The French eat slowly. When eating at restaurants, the French servers will never ask “are you finished with that?” because for them, eating is a pleasure, not a task.
Getting around – Being the capital of French Riviera, Nice features an excellent public transport network consisting of trains, public buses and trams. The city is bicycle friendly and can also be easily explored by foot, especially if you are staying close to the old town. Another reliable option when getting around is by taxi. There are plenty of taxi companies, however, taxi rides are expensive like in other European cities.
Where to stay – There’s a great variety of accommodation in Nice, ranging from small family-run pensions to five-star luxury hotels. In almost any neighborhood, there’s something for every level of comfort and budget. If it’s your first time in the city, it is recommended to stay in Old Town (Vieux Nice) to get easy access to the city’s famous attractions and get plenty of accommodation and dining options. If you would like to be in the center of party scene, especially during summer, then the area around Promenade des Anglais is a fantastic option.
Hotels to consider in Nice:
Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee
Detailed itinerary: 3 days in Nice, France:
Depending on your time of arrival, you can either take it easy and soak up the atmosphere in Nice or you can begin your tour of its famous attractions. Upon arrival, check into your chosen accommodation and get your bike. Biking is an extremely popular activity among locals and tourists as it is a great way to see the city without spending too much money on transportation. To discover the network of bike rental shops in Nice, visit the tourism’s official website.
There is no better way to get to know the city than visiting the Old Town (Vieux Nice). This part of the city steeped in history is a classic example of a 17th century French town filled with traditional buildings and cobbled streets. The most famous attraction is the Place du Palais de Justice, the bustling Neoclassical square. Some of the attractions you may also check out are Vieux Nice Port, Palais Lascaris, Henri Matisse’s House, Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate, and Nice Opera House.
With time remaining, go for a stroll through Promenade des Anglais and hangout at one of its al fresco bars and restaurants. Do not miss to try the world-famous Hotel Negresco’s cocktail mix and tasty traditional Niçois classics.
On day 2, after having a filling breakfast, set out for the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain), which houses a vast collection of Pop Art and New Realism art pieces from the world’s most famous artists. Another museum you should not miss is the Musee National Marc Chagall (National Marc Chagall Museum), a museum dedicated to the life of painter Marc Chagall and his art.
After your museum tour, come to grips with the local culture by taking a stroll through the Cours Saleya, one of the city’s main market situated in the old town. The market has plenty of interesting stalls selling fruits, vegetables, herbs, fresh food, flowers, leather goods, handmade jewelry and hand-made souvenirs. If you’re not yet certain what to buy, you can return to the market on your last day. Then, grab some cheese and meat for lunch at one of the stalls in the market.
In the evening, get a taste of Nice’s nightlife by joining Riviera Bar Crawl, the most famous bar-hopping tour in Nice.
It’s time to say good bye to Brussels! If you still have time before departure, treat yourself to a delicious meal at one of Nice’s best breakfast spots. Then, check out the places that you might have missed. You may not consider the Le 109 (109 avenue du Marechal Foch) when you visit Nice, but trust us, there are attractions in this former slaughterhouse that you don’t want to miss. A part of it has become La Station, a studio and gallery, and a party venue which comes alive every weekend.
You may also visit other destinations in French Riviera like the legendary Cannes, the old Monaco, the coastal resort town of Villefranche-sur-Mer, or the historic town of Antibes. If you’re a history buff, a visit to the fortified Medieval village of Eze is a must! Overlooking the Mediterranean, this village is famed for the 18th-century Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption, old buildings, narrow cobbled streets, and Grasse perfumeries.
Have you been to Nice or anywhere else in France? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.
Featured image: View of Nice, France (Artens / Shutterstock)