Nice is a destination that beckons with its clear blue waters, vibrant markets, historic architecture, and warm Mediterranean climate! It boasts a rich history dating back to its foundation by the Greeks around 350 BCE. It has been influenced by various civilizations, including the Romans and the House of Savoy, and became part of France in the 19th century. Visitors, like us, are often drawn to its stunning Mediterranean coastline, charming Old Town with narrow streets, vibrant markets, and a blend of architectural styles, making it a captivating destination that seamlessly merges history, culture, and natural beauty. With that perfect blend, we planned a 3-day visit based in Nice which offers an ideal introduction to the South of France’s diverse offerings!
Here’s a four day itinerary which covers the South of France’s best known cities with a trip to Monaco in between:
Day 1: Delving into Old Town and Promenade des Anglais
We began our adventure in Nice by immersing ourselves in the historic heart of the city – Old Town, known as "Vieux Nice." As you meander through its narrow alleys lined with pastel-colored buildings, you'll discover charming boutiques, local bakeries, and quaint cafés. You shouldn't miss Cours Saleya, where the daily flower market offers a burst of colors and fragrances that's truly captivating. We indulged in a delightful meal at a traditional French bistro in Old Town, savoring local specialties like Socca (a chickpea-flour crepe) or Salade Niçoise. Then we strolled over to Promenade des Anglais, the iconic waterfront promenade that hugs the Mediterranean coast, which is breathtaking! You can take a leisurely walk or rent a bicycle to explore the stunning views and people-watch as locals and tourists alike soak in the sun. We didn’t miss the chance to relax on the pebble beaches and dip our toes in the refreshing sea after walking along the promenaede! Then for dinner, we head back to Old Town and indulge in a delicious Mediterranean feast at one of the many cozy restaurants.
Day 2: Èze and Monaco
On Day 2, we had a busy day visiting Èze on the way to Monaco! We embarked on a journey to the medieval village of Èze, perched high on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean. Wander through cobblestone streets, visit art galleries, and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views. Indulge in a leisurely lunch at a charming local eatery in Èze, tasting the regional dishes while soaking in the village's enchanting ambiance, but the best part had to be climbing to the Jardin Exotique for panoramic coastal views!
From Èze, we took a quick 20-minute train ride that brings you to the famous principality of Monaco! This country is renowned for its opulence, and offers a captivating blend of glamor and culture. We explored the iconic Casino de Monte-Carlo, a testament to Monaco's luxury with its ornate architecture, and even saw some famous celebrities. Then we watched the Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Prince's Palace, which is a nod to its rich history. Later we had dinner at Café de Paris Monte-Carlo which was like having dinner in a museum. They offer a sumptuous culinary experience where the flavors of the Mediterranean are elevated to exquisite heights. It marries fine dining with timeless elegance, creating a gastronomic haven in the heart of Monte Carlo! Overall, with its exquisite charm and grandeur, Monaco is a must see stop on your day trip from Nice!
Day 3: Antibes - A Seaside Charm and Artistic Splendor
On our last day, we went to Antibes from Nice which is a short 20-30 minute journey on the train. Antibes is a coastal haven that seamlessly blends historical allure with modern vibrancy. This town boasts of cobblestone streets, bustling markets, and a picturesque old town that invites leisurely strolls. The Mediterranean water provides a backdrop to Antibes' relaxed beach atmosphere and is well known to attract wealthy individuals. Its combination of luxury amenities, stunning waterfront, cultural offerings, and exclusivity have made it a magnet for affluent individuals seeking an indulgent and refined experience on the French Riviera. Its artistic spirit shines through the Picasso Museum, housed in a 14th-century castle, which pays homage to the master's time spent here. With its inviting beaches, rich history, and artistic treasures, Antibes casts a spell of seaside charm that captivates every visitor!
Overall, Nice, France, is a captivating destination that combines history, art, culture, and relaxation, and is a great base for a 3-day trip. Whether you're captivated by artistic heritage, indulging in gourmet delights, exploring neighboring gems, or simply basking in coastal beauty, the South of France offers an array of experiences to cater to every traveler's interests!