Last Minute Nice
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Nice has been attracting tourists to its sparkling waterfront for centuries. And no wonder; the vibrant streets of Nice are loaded with architectural delights. Chief among Nice's attractions are three superstar art museums which are a testament to the profound effect the city held over French artists. That magic still blossoms today. Nice rewards the wanderer and pampers the languorous – perfect qualities for a last-minute escape.
Nice is blessed with three big hitters when it comes to art museums - Musée National Marc Chagall, Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain and Musée Matisse. Matisse is probably the most famed of the city's artistic champions, having stayed here for 37 years. Take your time to explore these three museums and their important collections.
Perhaps France's most iconic stretch of coastline, this bustling promenade is named after the English expatriates who built it in 1822. Aside from the glistening beaches, the streets are famed for their landmarks. Take in the sights and sounds as you walk — or Segway — along the promenade. Some highlights include the famed Palais de la Méditerranée, an art deco marvel and the rosy Hôtel Negresco, home to socialites and celebrities.
This picturesque hill and former-citadel overlook Port Lympia, with some of the best views of Nice's red skyline. It’s one of the most romantic spots to admire the sunset, particularly as the sun glistens against the 18th-century artificial waterfall. This was where Nice was founded by the Greeks, and its shaded parklands have beguiled visitors ever since.
Home to charming winding alleyways, this Old Town area is the nostalgic heart of Nice and among the most photogenic areas in the city. The architecture is a riot of colour and styles, with must-sees like the baroque Cathédrale Ste-Réparate and Palais Lascaris. Be sure to visit the Cours Saleya markets while here to browse through the flower, food and flea market stalls.
This intriguing Russian cathedral is a wash of colour and ornate domes. It was built in the early 20th century for the wintering Russian aristocrats and, later, served the Tsarists fleeing the revolution. It’s one of the most captivating Russian cathedrals outside of Russia itself.
This striking waterfront hotel is in one of the most convenient locations in Nice. For one, you can stroll directly onto the beach or towards the colourful Saleya market in a matter of minutes. The hotel itself was built in 1860, but the hotel was completely refurbished in 2004 with a chic and contemporary style. The rooms are tasteful and large, especially the terraced rooms, with picture-postcard views out onto the beach.
Nestled between the belle époque Musée Masséna and the Promenade des Anglais, this is another of Nice’s most prized locations. The hotel's interior features a blend of nostalgic opulence and bright, modern furnishings, while the rooms feature excellent views of either the city or sea. On the hotel’s restaurant terrace, you can indulge in some fine wine while overlooking the lapping azure waves.
Tucked in the heart of Nice with spectacular rooftop views of the city's skyline, this is an excellent base to explore Nice. It's just a delightful 5-minute walk to the famed Old Town and beach via the Promenade du Paillon. The hotel itself is stylish in design with elegant white furnishings and splashes of bold colour. The main draw here is the rooftop pool complex.
This elegant hotel in a beloved belle époque building is just a 9-minute walk from the bustling Place Masséna. Finished in chic whites and greys, the rooms are lovingly decorated with baroque touches. You’ll also find carefully crafted literary decorations, ala Victor Hugo, and excellent views of the city. The hotel’s cosy bar is the perfect evening getaway, with a stellar menu of sumptuous champagnes.
Built at the turn of the century, this hotel maintains an endearing blend of belle époque décor and modern diary stylings courtesy of Sandrine Alouf. It’s located in the trendy Musician’s Quarter, an area renowned for its pretty streets and first-rate bars. The hotel itself features a spectacular indoor courtyard and gardens to relax in, with comfortable rooms kitted out with excellent amenities.
Nice is a fantastic year-long destination with plenty of activities whatever the month. Nevertheless, the best beach-ready weather falls between May and September. July brings the crowds on beaches and streets, so it’s best to stick to late or early summer deals. Be wary of May as the prices hike due to the Monaco Grand Prix.
Most travellers arrive in Nice either by train or air, with the Nice Côte d'Azur Airport just 7km west of the city centre. Once you’ve touched down, it’s a short tram ride into the centre of town. Nice itself is very well connected with buses, trains, trams and taxis offering convenient routes around the city and suburbs.
Nice is a fine last-minute destination for families, with excellent children's activities, attractions and excursions. The bulk of the action takes place on the Promenade du Paillon, a grassy park with children’s playgrounds and fun water jets. Although Nice’s beaches are generally pebbly with deep water, nearby beaches like Theoule sur Mer and Golfe Juan are ideal for families.
As an alluring hub of culture, cuisine and irresistible sights, Nice is an idyllic last-minute escape. It has all the hallmarks of a laid-back holiday, from the remarkably refined restaurants to the sumptuous sea scenes. But it also has plenty of excellent attractions to satisfy the soul too, not least in its strong artistic heritage. Within moments of arriving in this wonderland of colour and sound, you'll likely be wandering the charming Old Town and enjoying a cooling ice cream. No wonder Queen Victoria proclaimed when taken ill - “if only I were in Nice”. Like the Queen, you can choose from the best-handpicked hotels for your last-minute getaway to Nice here with Voyage Privé.