Where to Stay in Nice in 2024: Best Places in 10 Neighborhoods
French Riviera

Best FREE Places to See in Nice

Nice doesn't have to be a budget-buster! The best things in life are free and the best places to visit in Nice are totally free. It doesn't cost a centime to discover Nice's local life by visiting the places where locals congregate for fresh air, relaxation or entertainment.

1 Cours Saleya

Cours Saleya

Cours Saleya is the heart and soul of Vieux Nice. It's where locals shop for fruit, vegetables, flowers, cheese, olives and an exciting array of local products. Whether it's local olive oil, lavendar soap, fresh socca or pots of herbs, you're sure to find it on Cours Saleya Tuesday through Sunday mornings. On Monday mornings, the space becomes a market for antiques and bric-a-brac. No matter when you go you'll be charmed by the pastel-colored houses lining the market and the lively ambiance. Don't miss "Matisse House" (where the painter once lived) at the eastern end of the market

Matisse House

and the stately Chapelle de la Misericorde in the middle.

Chapelle de la Misericorde

2 Cathedral Saint Reparate

Cathedral Saint Reparate

Nice's 17th-century baroque cathedral is dedicated to Saint Reparate, the patron saint of Nice. Baroque style is characterized by over-the-top decoration and the Cathedral doesn't disappoint. The ornate side chapels were built by wealthy Nice families and are dedicated to various saints. Fortunately explanatory signs in English give background on the saints and the artists who created the chapels (closed Monday off-season).

Promenade des Anglais

Nice's 7-km long Promenade des Anglais is more than a spectacular seaside stroll. It's a people-watching spot, a place to contemplate the baie-des-anges and a sculpture show.

Bartholdi's Statue of Liberty on the Promenade des Anglais
Statue of Liberty on the Promenade des Anglais

Catch the sun on one of Nice's iconic blue chairs

Blue Chairs on the Promenade des Anglais

or relax in the shade under a pergola.

Pergola on the Promenade des Anglais, Nice

On summer evenings, free entertainment is everywhere. Check out the mimes, musicians, jugglers and more.

3 Place Garibaldi

Place Garibaldi, Nice

Dominated by a statue of Nice-born revolutionary hero, Giuseppe Garibaldi, the eponymous square is the oldest and liveliest in Nice. The cafes lining the square are favorite watering holes for locals. Many have great happy hour deals. Notice the trompe l'oeil facades on the eastern side of the square.

4 Arenes de Cimiez

Arenes de Cimiez

At the top of Cimiez hill, the Arenes de Cimiez is the spot where ancient Romans planted their flag. And their baths and their amphitheatre. Now the whole area is a lovely park, great for kids. It once hosted the Nice Jazz Festival and is now a popular place for Nice's local festivals. The Roman amphitheatre is free but there is a small charge for visiting the Roman baths which are accessible via the Archaeology Museum. Also free to visit is the Franciscan monastery.

Franciscan Monastery, Cimiez

While in the neighborhood, why not stop into the Matisse Museum?

Matisse Museum

5 Port Lympia

Port Lympia

Nice's Port is perhaps the most instagrammable spot in Nice. The colorful houses on the eastern side of the port sparkle in the afternoon sun. It's a pleasure to stroll around the port, noticing the Notre Dame de Voeu church

Notre Dame du Port, Nice

To return, take the Lou Passagin free shuttle boat across the port. These boats are the traditional Nice fishing boats, pointus, now repurposed as transport.

Lou Passagin boat

6 Colline du Chateau

Cascade on the Colline du Chateau

The Colline du Chateau (Castle Hill) was once the site of an important fortress that was destroyed in 1705. Now it's a delightful and spacious park with unforgettable views over Nice. Don't miss the 19th-century cooling cascade (above), as well as the remains of a 5th-century cathedral

Cathedrale Sainte Marie, Nice

Stroll down to the Christian and Jewish cemeteries for a look at elaborately-carved tombs.

Christian cemetery, Nice

7 Boulevard Victor Hugo

Palais Marie, bd Victor Hugo

Boulevard Victor Hugo may be the prettiest street in Nice. Lined with plane trees, this leafy boulevard features a stunning array of Art Deco and Belle Epoque buildings. It was landscaped in the 19th century specifically for wealthy foreigners and it remains a prestigious neighborhood today. Nice boasts an impressive architectural heritage that led to its designation as a Unesco world heritage site. A stroll down boulevard Victor Hugo is the best way to appreciate it.

8 CoulEe Verte (Promenade du Paillon)

Coulée Verte

This lovingly landscaped park is a refreshing oasis in the heart of Nice. The mirrored pool (above) spouts fountains to the enormous entertainment of local kids. Budding botanists will be fascinated by the plants, flowers and shrubs in the park that reflect all corners of the world. There are plenty of benches, plus water fountains and toilets.

9 Place Massena

Apollo Statue

Place Massena is the geographical center of Nice and the place where locals gather for important events such as the Nice Carnival or the Tour de France 2024. The statue of Apollo that presides over the center of the square scandalized locals when it first appeared but is now widely admired. The vast square is where the narrow streets of the old town transition to "modern" Nice with its wide boulevards and stately apartment buildings begin.

10 Jardin Albert 1er

Fontaine des Phocéens (Tritons) Nice

This seaside park dates from the 19th century and was designed to give Nice's winter visitors a leafy place to stroll away from the burning sun. The entrance is marked by the Monument de Centenaire which commemorates Nice's attachment to France in 1860.

Monument du Centenaire

There's a lot to see in the park beginning with the classical Fontaine des Tritons (above). Kids will love the 19th-century carousel.

Carousel

The Jardin also has the Theatre de Verdure, an open-air theatre that hosts a season of concerts including the Nice Jazz Festival.

 

 

 

 

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