Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

Hi friends! Happy Wednesday! How are you this fine sunny morning? I myself am caffeinating & checking my phone x100 times a second to hear updates from my mom after her knee op yesterday – but that’s a story for our next Monthly Musings. Until then, I’m here to share my latest travel guide with you, Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice! Fiancé & I spent five glorious days basking in the beautiful wintery sunshine of the Côte d’Azur city back in January and I’ve been itching to tell you about it ever since! We explored, tourist-ed, ate, drank, and generally just counted our lucky stars for getting to have such a wonderful trip so early into the year – it was fantastic! Can I tell you about it?

As usual, there are tons and tons of recommendations below! Where we stayed / shopped / had coffee / ate / drank / tourist-ed! It’s loaded to the hilt with everywhere we visited & loved and I hope you find it useful! Enjoy, friends!

Oh, and PS – in case you missed it, here’s my first post from the trip: A Quick Guide to Villefranche-sur-Mer, France 🙂



Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice
Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

getting there

Nice is a supremely easy city to visit. The airport is extremely well connected – with over 12million passengers every year, it’s the 3rd busiest in the country! – and getting into the city from said airport is literally a dream come true! Here’s how we made the journey:

Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

• we flew direct from Dublin to Nice with Ryanair, with the flight lasting approximately 2-hours. We have also previously flown with Aer Lingus on the same route.

• from Nice airport, we walked to the tram stop & bought two tickets to take us into the city centre. The tram stop is located directly outside the Terminal 1 exit, and the L2 towards Port Lympia departs every 4-minutes. The tickets, which we bought from the machine on the platform, were €1.50 each. Pro tip: be sure to validate your ticket on board the tram to avoid fines!

• we got off the tram at the Jean Médecin stop, which took around 20-minutes to reach.

• from the tram stop, we walked the ultra convenient 2-minute walk to our apartment! See also: where we stayed, below.

How easy was that?

Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice
Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice
Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

where we stayed

Victor Hugo Penthouse Apartment // Fiancé’s uncle’s wonderful apartment! Two bedrooms, kitchen dining area, lounge area, and a balcony with couches & dining table – this was perfect for us! We spent many an hour lounging around on the couches indoor and out, reading our books, and basking in the ever present sun streaming through the windows. Located inside a gated complex, the apartment is ideal for anywhere you’d like to visit in Nice; a leisurely stroll to the Promenade des Anglais is a short 10-minutes away, while the Old Town is a further 5. Would recommend. Address: Blvd Victor Hugo, Carré D’Or, Nice

Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice
Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

where we shopped

Seeing as we had our own lovely apartment, we set out to shop as locally as possible and try to get a feel for our new neighbourhood. Naturally, this meant we had to sniff out the best places to cover the three basic French needs: pastries, wine, and cheese. I think we did a pretty great job! Here’s where we hit for supplies time and time again:

Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

DØM // the most fantastic boulangerie! Literally a one minute walk from the apartment, we stopped in here every single morning for pastries and most afternoons for a fresh baguette. Over the course of our many pastry visits we sampled: croissant, almond croissant, pain au chocolat, a pain-au-chocolat-almond-croissant fusion pastry, & both a chocolate and a pistachio babka bun. Everything was delicious. A must-visit. Address: 24 Rue Alphonse Karr, 06000 Nice

Nicolas Nice // a lovely little wine shop! Although we largely bought our wine from the Monoprix below, we did splurge on a nice bottle from here once. If you can’t treat yourself on holiday, then when can you? Would recommend. Address: 23 Av. Jean Médecin, 06000 Nice

Monoprix Nice Victoire // the most convenient supermarket in relation to our apartment. We stopped in almost daily for many a snack – fancy French cheeses, some lovely aged jamon and salami, crisps etc. – and also for some very reasonably priced wine & beer. Would recommend. Address: 30 Rue Biscarra, 06000 Nice

Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice
Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice
Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

where we had coffee

Allow me to begin the next section with this: we are not normally takeaway coffee people. The thought of walking around while trying to drink coffee quickly losing heat honestly stresses me out. It’s normally a hard no – but we had to do it in Nice. There was no cafetiere in our apartment and there’s absolutely no way we could go without our morning cup, and so we became takeaway coffee people. Good lord – do you know how expensive takeaway coffee is? Our minds were blown! We grudgingly handed over too much money every single morning for a tiny sad takeaway cup – but, seeing as we’d never return to those places, I’m not going to tell you where. Instead, I’m sharing the two spots we found in the city for a good value cup of joe! You are welcome!

Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

L’Apo Café // a very solid café option just a few minutes walk from the apartment! Sadly, it took us a few days to discover a) the coffee is delicious, b) the prices are not extortionate, and c) the owner is lovely – but once we did, we were in here all the time. Added bonus: the owner made a point of remembering our coffee orders, even though it was obvious we were just tourists passing through. Would recommend. See also: where we ate lunch, below. Address: 7 Rue Paul Déroulède, 06000 Nice

Le Sauveur // an accidental find nestled in the centre of the Old Town, where we squeezed in amongst the locals for a cuppa. The place had a very charming old-school vibe – as in, there were no other tourists & the staff didn’t speak English. It was perfect! Address: 1 Rue Droite, 06300 Nice

Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice
Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

where we ate

While planning our trip, we vowed to a) take full advantage of the fact that we would have our own apartment complete with kitchen, dining table, outdoor dining table, couch etc. and b) try to stay as local in our quest for food. We initially had some lofty ideas about using the kitchen to cook dinner a couple nights, but in reality the lure of many local takeaway options was too much to resist. Is there anything better than getting a takeaway and eating it in your top floor apartment, on the couch, while also wearing your comfy pants? I think not! In regards to b), above, most of the restaurants listed below are in the immediate vicinity of the apartment we stayed at, with a handful of exceptions. Enjoy!

Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

lunch

Restaurant Don Carlo // a very reliable pizza restaurant just down the street from the apartment. On our first afternoon in Nice, starving and fresh off the plane, we ran in here just before it closed for the afternoon and ordered two takeaway margheritas. They were perhaps a little on the expensive side for takeaway pizza – €12 each – but they were baked in a woodfired oven and downright laden with cheese. We took them back to the apartment and enjoyed them out on the balcony, basking in the warmth of the lovely January weather. Address: 7 Rue Paul Déroulède, 06000 Nice

Fufu Ramen // the coolest little Japanese noodle bar! We stumbled across it while out wandering the Old Town and Fiancé was so taken with the place that we simply had to go back the next day; thankfully, it didn’t disappoint! The tiny restaurant was jammed when we arrived, so we nabbed two seats at the bar and ordered gyoza to share, yakisoba for Fiancé, tori yakisoba for me, & a Kirin Ichiban beer each. We loved and devoured everything we ordered, but the pork gyoza were definitely the highlight! Added bonus: it was only €40 for everything and the portions were huge! Would recommend. Address: 15 Pl. Saint-François, 06300 Nice

L’Apo Café // turns out this place is good for more than just coffee! On our final day in Nice, we stopped into L’Apo for a late lunch before heading to the airport. I went for the croque monsieur, Fiancé went for the entrecôte steak, and we shared a carafe of house red wine between us – everything was surprisingly delicious! Added bonus: it was great value! For everything, including the carafe and coffees afterwards, it was only €39. Would recommend. See also: where we had coffee, above. Address: 7 Rue Paul Déroulède, 06000 Nice

Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

dinner

Le Vingt4 // a lovely restaurant located a short 2-minute walk from the apartment. Having been snacking on baguette on & off all day, neither of us were starving when we ate here, so we both opted for main course course only. I ordered the slow cooked lamb shoulder served with hummus & roast carrots, while Fiancé went for the pork chop served with potato dauphinoise and veg hash. Everything was so delightfully melt-in-the-mouth that not a single morsel of food was left behind! We also enjoyed a glass of wine each, Côtes du Rhône for him & Vermentino for me, and both were delightful. Total price: €61.80. Would recommend. Address: 24 Rue Alphonse Karr, 06000 Nice

La Tomate // surprise: another great restaurant just a few minutes away from the apartment! A tiny takeaway pizza place – according to Fiancé, it’s literally a hole in the wall just large enough for a pizza oven – that totally bowled us over! We shared one margherita & one diavola, and both were to! die! for! The bases were super thin and crispy, and the toppings were *chef’s kiss*. Added bonus: €20.50 for the two pizzas – not bad! A must-visit. Address: 4 Rue de Russie, 06000 Nice

Bistrot d’Antoine // a fantastic restaurant in the Old Town! We ate our last dinner in Nice here and l-o-v-e-d it! Seated upstairs in, I assume, the overflow room – oddly, more charming than the one downstairs – we spent the most magical few hours here. We shared foie gras terrine to start: delicious by itself, but levelled up by some lovely charred Chez Maître Pierre toast. For mains, I devoured braised pork cheek casserole with creamy polenta, while Fiancé similarly devoured a pork fillet with mash & veg; both were fantastic. To finish, we shared a delicious plate of sheep’s cheese, Tomme de Brebis, which was new-to-us, but a fast favourite! All of the above was accompanied by a nice bottle of red, and gosh it was all perfect! Nice staff, great food, cute décor, and a very reasonable bill: €81! A must-visit. Address: 27 Rue de la Préfecture, 06300 Nice

La Rossettisserie // full disclosure: we didn’t eat here during this trip. However, we ate here during our last trip to Nice, and would have again if it’d been open during our visit – but it wasn’t meant to be. Although I can’t be sure of what we ate all those years ago, we absolutely loved the meal, the vibe, and the price. We will be back! Would recommend. Address: 8 Rue Mascoinat, 06300 Nice

Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice
Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

where we drank

Le Bar du Negresco // the most beautiful bar! Located inside the lavish 5-star Hotel Negresco, stopping in here for a drink was such a treat! The bar is absolutely stunning – dark wood everywhere, large artworks, tapestries etc. – the staff were attentive & professional, and our drinks were expertly made! I went for a whiskey sour and Fiancé went for an old fashioned; both were ah-mazing, but the old fashioned got the edge ever-so-slightly because both the ice and orange peel(!) were brandished with the hotel’s logo. Although a little expensive – €25 per cocktail – the drinks come with a selection of nuts to snack on. Overall, we thought it was worth it; we sat at our bougie table for as long as possible, people watching, soaking up the atmosphere etc. It was perfect! A must-visit. Address: 37 Prom. des Anglais, 06000 Nice

Topaze Bar // an accidental great find along the edge of the Promenade des Anglais! There we were, strolling along, watching the sun begin to set in the distance, when Fiancé suggested we stop in here for a spritz. We somehow managed to nab one of the large tables right at the entrance with comfy couches & swing chairs – it was the absolute best sunset viewing point! Added bonus: the spritz were wonderful! €9 each, and a very generous pour! Would recommend. Address: 47 Quai des États-Unis, 06300 Nice

Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice
Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

where we tourist-ed

Our absolute favourite way to tourist in every new place we travel to is to just walk around and take it all in. If you only have one day in town, that’s what I’d recommend doing: stroll around, explore the streets of the Old Town, gawp at the beauty of Place Massena etc. – it’s all so lovely. If, like us, you find yourself with a few more days in town, I’ve compiled a short list below of the best places to tourist. Enjoy! Added bonus: unless expressly stated, each and every one of these attractions were totally free!

Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

Promenade des Angleis // the most beautiful seaside walk! Straddling essentially the length of Nice’s entire coastline, the promenade is 7km in length, and it’s so lovely! We strolled along different parts of it every single day during our visit, and honestly, it never gets boring. Pro tip: it’s an especially romantic spot around sunset! A must-visit.

Castle Hill // for amazing 360° views over the entire city! Located at the end of the Promenade des Angleis, the climb up here is 100% worth it – even if it’s a little taxing at times! Pro tip: keep going all the way up to the verrry top! Although there’s a viewing platform about 3/4 of the way up, keep pushing on until you make it up to the plateau at the tippy top; the views are so much better and the sense of accomplishment is next level! Fun fact: everyday at noon, a large boom rings out over the city from Castle Hill. Previously the boom came from a cannonball – nowadays, it’s a firework – but this has been a daily occurrence in Nice since the late 19th century! A must-visit. Address: Castle Hill, 06300 Nice

Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice
Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice
Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

Waterfall @ Castle Hill // exactly what it says on the tin! We somehow missed this on our first visit to Castle Hill years ago, but after reading about it in a few guides, I was determined to find it this time. And thank goodness we did – it’s so absolutely beautiful that it made both of our jaws drop! Artificially built at the end of the 19th century, the waterfall makes for a lovely backdrop to the already stunning view. A must-visit. Address: All. Professeur Benoît, 06300 Nice

Cathédrale Sainte-Reparate // the main cathedral of Nice. In my absolute honest opinion, we were totally underwhelmed by it, especially in comparison to Italian churches. We also found an annoying lack of information available inside – nothing about the patron saint, and nothing about the art held within. In case you’re interested: the patron saint is St Reparate, a 15 year old Palestinian girl who was decapitated for her faith in the 3rd century AD. It is said that after her death, her body was ‘blown by the breath of angels’ to Nice, where they remain today. Address: 3 Pl. Rossetti, 06300 Nice

Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice
Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

Cathédrale Saint-Nicolas de Nice // another church, but this one we found a heck of a lot more interesting! It’s a Russian Orthodox Church, and it’s such a sight to see in the centre of Nice – it almost looks as if it fell from the sky! Decorated in the traditional style – colourful onion domes & spires – this is the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedral outside of Russia. There was some kind of ceremony happening in the gardens when we visited, which I think was to celebrate Orthodox Christmas, and it was so lovely! Inside was beautiful: very ornately decorated, and unlike any church I’ve ever visited before. Would recommend. Address: Av. Nicolas II, 06000 Nice

Musée National Marc Chagall // a great little museum all about Chagall! It’s rather on the smaller side, with the focus largely on his religious works, but we both enjoyed it! Added bonus: the museum also has a beautiful garden and outdoor space. Pro tip: admission to the gallery is free on the first Sunday of the month! Otherwise, tickets will set you back €8-10. Would recommend. Address: Av. Dr Ménard, 06000 Nice

Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice
Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice
Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

Visit nearby towns // a few years back, we hit Juan-les-Pins for a day-trip, and this time ’round we visited Villefranche-sur-Mer! There are countless tiny villages & towns within a 30-minute travel radius, and the cost of transport is miniscule! A must-do. Read more: A Quick Guide to Villefranche-sur-Mer, France.

#ilovenice sign // a fun little photo op, located at the base of Castle Hill. Similar to the ‘iamsterdam’ sign in Amsterdam, this is something to climb on & pose in front of, with the Nice coastline in the background. Peek it in the photo above 🙂 Address: 9 Quai Rauba Capeu, 06300 Nice

Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

There we have it, friends – Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice, France. The length of it got away from me slightly – but I didn’t want to leave anything out! I hope you find it helpful and useful when planning your own trip to the Côte d’Azur! If you have any thoughts or recommendations I’ve missed, hit me up using the comment box below!

Kisses,

Vicki xo

Five Days on the French Riviera: Nice

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A Quick Guide to Villefranche-sur-Mer, France
Eating Our Way Around Bordeaux, France
A Wander Guide: Paris



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