Always chic and stylish, historic Nice is the capital of the French Riviera. Here you can spend a weekend among the old city’s ancient sights; getting lost along the old streets, sauntering around galleries, and sipping champagne at sunset. Nice is decadent, atmospheric and a whole lot of fun to explore.
An ancient city with a beautiful beach, Nice boasts good food, fine wine, historical sights, cultural museums and pretty parks. Tessellations of architectural styles from Baroque to Belle Epoque make for an interesting mix of traditional and laid-back lifestyles. The city center is easy to travel around on foot, with bus routes and trains connecting top sights and districts that are further afield.
Neighborhoods in Nice
For a French city with so much finesse and depth of culture, Nice offers surprising value for money when it comes to accommodation. There’s a big selection of places to stay in Nice with plenty of luxury lodgings for those who want to splash the cash, but budget hotel rooms are also widely available. Take time out of your daily routine and slip into the indulgence of a chic seaside city break in the forever stylish and deliciously decadent Nice.
Nice’s old town is a warren of ancient streets that connect 16th-century buildings. A dense network of history makes this area a magnet for travelers who want to stay amongst the city’s top sights. The iconic flower market, full of color and fragrance, draws visitors from all around to watch the spectacle – once a week this turns into a hip flea market.
This lively old quarter is also where you’ll find the Place Rossetti and the Cathedral St Réparate at the center of the city. Indulge yourself during the day in the old town’s shops and soak up the culture in the art galleries, before an evening drinking and dining at the best spots in the city.
Fun and busy, the old town is perfect for short breaks and offers a selection of boutique hotels housed in beautiful Baroque buildings. Luxury chic hotels work perfectly for visitors looking for a long weekend in comfort and class in the buzz of the old town. Many of the city’s top sights are within easy walking distance of the old town, meaning you can make the most of your trip.
Where to Stay in Old Town
Palais Saleya Boutique hôtel – Occupying an elegant, historic building dating back to the 18th century, this 4-star offering boasts modern rooms with sleek, stylish furnishings and an eye for design. Made up entirely of suites – some of which are spread out over two levels – you can even get a tasty breakfast delivered to your room at this boutique option. In terms of location, the hotel is less than a five-minute stroll from L’Opéra Public Beach. The famous flower market in Cours Saleya is a leisurely stroll from here, too.
Hôtel Le Genève – The location of Hôtel Le Genève is what makes it an excellent option for those who want to be in the middle of everything that Nice has to offer. The Port itself is just 500 meters from this place; the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain is within easy walking distance; the Garibaldi tram stop is a two-minute stroll away, and the beach is under 15 minutes on foot. This hotel is all about its location. Back at the hotel, guests can enjoy modern rooms, a cozy restaurant, and a laid back cocktail bar.
Albert 1er – Situated in a beautiful building dating back to the 1930s, Albert 1er features contemporary, unfussy rooms with sleek, modern furniture. Some rooms have terraces, and upgraded rooms come with sea or garden views, too. Guests can also enjoy a breakfast buffet each morning, overlooking the lush garden. But Albert 1er is all about the location; there are a whole host of things to see and do within very easy walking distance, from the Promenade des Anglais to Massena Square.
Promenade des Anglais
Chill out and take it easy; life along the Promenade des Anglais is all about the beach. Enjoy sunny days sipping drinks in beachside bars, lounging in the blue chairs and gazing out across the Baie des Anges. At sunset, tuck into fresh fish and delicious dessert while you watch people rollerblade, jog or stroll in their evening wear along the promenade. This area has been synonymous with Nice since the 19th-century and it’s still booming with locals and tourists today.
Its stunning location along the Mediterranean coast makes it a more desirable and expensive area. Accommodation is high-end luxury; hotels with sea views are often famous and have accommodated the city’s more well-known visitors. The area is home to attractions such as Phoenix Park and the Palais de la Mediterranee, but it’s also easy to take a walk to Nice’s iconic sights, or just grab a cab if the beach vibes have got you feeling lazy.
Where to Stay in Promenade des Anglais
Hotel Negresco – A member of prestigious consortium “The Leading Hotels of the World,” Hotel Negresco was constructed in 1912 and is precisely what dreams of the French Riviera are made of. This truly palatial hotel is world renowned for its opulence – just take a look at the stained glass windows of the Royal Lounge (a historical monument). The rooms are a mix of modern and classic, with a decidedly color-driven, eclectic, boutique style to them. There’s a 2-Michelin starred restaurant onsite – Le Chantecler – as well an English-style bar. And all this just a 15-minute walk from Nice’s Old Town.
Hôtel West End Promenade – The building in which Hôtel West End Promenade is set dates back to 1842, making it a grand and gorgeous affair when it comes to architecture. Thankfully, the rooms are updated and modern, with a focus on boutique style design, color pops and warmth, all tied up with a neat bow of simplicity. With two onsite restaurants, this 4-star offering is also a great option for those looking for ease and convenience; the airport shuttle bus stops right opposite the hotel.
Low-key Le Port offers fantastic views across the harbor and is within easy walking distance of the old town, Promenade des Anglais, and Rue Bonaparte, plus many of the city’s hottest dining and nightlife venues. Le Port is a great base if you’re arriving or leaving by boat, with its chic and shiny million dollar yachts gliding into the port. The area remains down-to-earth with working locals and rustic eateries.
There’s a range of charming, mid-range hotels here, bringing life to old buildings. They’re often more reasonably priced than similar accommodation further into the center. Take a walk along the coast to see more of the scenic waterfront, or take the train into the old areas of Nice.
Where to Stay in Le Port
ibis Styles Nice Vieux Port – Complete with complimentary continental breakfast, this branch of Ibis is a good option for those searching out a budget stay in a city not famed for being budget friendly. The rooms here are simply decorated, but still clean and modern, and are equipped with spacious bathrooms. In terms of location, this hotel is just a three-minute walk away from the Port itself, a mere 300 meters from Garibaldi Square, and – for art fans – the Musée d’art moderne et d’art contemporain is just a stone’s throw from here.
Jean-Médecin (New Town)
A lot of money and work has gone into making this district a modern, open area. Masséna is at the center of the New Town, where streets stretch off in various directions, each offering different attractions. Here department stores and designer French fashion labels entice passersby. Take time out from retail therapy and muse over masterpieces at the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain and the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle.
The sprawling streets edged by townhouses sit close to the spectrum of shopping and dining venues. Accommodation is mid-range and fashionably creative and quirky, with some hotels offering rooftop terraces for sunset drinks and dinner.
Where to Stay in Jean-Médecin
Boscolo Exedra Nice – This decidedly 5-star offering is set in a stunning Belle Époque era building and comes with all the luxury you could want. Staying here means having access to over 1,600 square feet of the onsite spa, a futuristic affair complete with hot tub and sauna. Add to that design-led rooms, three restaurants to choose from, as well as a beachfront location, and it seems this hotel has it all. But that’s not all; many top attractions are easily reached from Boscolo Exedra Nice, including Massena Square, Nice’s Old Town and the stunning Notre-Dame Basilica Nice.
Hôtel Ellington Nice Centre – Set in a traditional historic building, Hôtel Ellington Nice Centre features sumptuous classic interiors and boasts bright, spacious and airy rooms that are modern and eclectic in style. There’s a complimentary breakfast served each morning in the onsite dining room, plus a cool 1920s style cocktail lounge for evening drinks. This place has a great location, with Nice’s Old Town, Massena Square, the greenery of Promenade du Paillon – amongst others – all within easy walking distance of this 4-star option.
Hotel Boréal Nice – This hotel may be a laid back, relatively budget option for Nice, but it’s still smart and stylish; the lobby even has original features like stone arches exposed. Plus, the rooms are simple but sleek, with contemporary bathrooms and street or courtyard views for a romantic, city-break feel. There’s a breakfast buffet on offer, as well as a casual bar – perfect for evening drinks before going out to explore the many restaurants in the immediate vicinity. Just a 15-minute walk from Nice’s Old Town, it’s also just a two-minute walk to the Jean Médecin tram stop, making it easy to explore the city.
Hôtel Lafayette – With its spacious, warmly decorated rooms, stylish bathrooms, breakfast buffet, and fantastic location, Hôtel Lafayette may not be all about luxury, but it’s clean, contemporary and convenient. There are plenty of restaurants and bars to discover in the immediate area, making it great for those who love to explore the city. Plus there are other big sights within easy walking distance – Promenade du Paillon, Nice Town Hall, and Massena Square. It’s fair to say that this 3-star offering is an excellent base for a city break.
Stylish villas and a sense of British history fill the Cimiez district. It has links to Queen Victoria and as such, many of the streets are named after British royals. Charming lanes and Belle Epoque architecture edge the landscaped public gardens of the Matisse Museum. The mainly residential neighborhood offers families a safe, clean place to stay in Nice, with plenty of green spaces and quiet streets. Museums make this area popular with day trippers who come to soak up the culture and affable surroundings. Though Cimiez is slightly away from the main tourist sights, the stunningly beautiful Cathédrale Saint Nicolas is nearby, and other hotspots are a simple bus ride away.
Hotels here have a high, stylish standard and are perfect for a quiet couple’s holiday or family city retreat. Eating in Cimiez is about French cafes and fantastic food in the district’s parks. Nice’s top nightlife spots are easily accessible by bus or the area’s railway stations.
Where to Stay in Cimiez
Hôtel Floride – Set in a chilled out, quiet area of Nice, Hôtel Floride is based in a beautiful, traditional townhouse with rooms that are simple but classically decked out, featuring whitewashed walls and white linen for a bright, light feel. There’s a laid back lounge to relax in, plus a breakfast buffet on offer. Sights like Sainte Jeanne d’Arc Church and the Marc Chagall Museum are within easy walking distance.
Out in the 20th arrondissement of Nice, Gambetta oozes European style in its everyday city life. Spend days here enjoying the delights of the area’s cafes – boasting views overlooking historic sights – and sip coffee in sun-drenched plazas. Spend your time in Nice chilling in the chic eateries and watch the day unwind; locals come and go and people meet for large lunches and indulge in French specialties. This is a multicultural area and jammed full of all the eccentricities of the city.
Walk around Gambetta and discover the district’s secrets. There’s the market on Rue de Pyrenées, where you can sample the global food scene at the street stalls, with almost anything from Lebanese to Chinese dishes on offer. Then relax in the area’s public parks alongside cool young families enjoying sunny Sunday afternoons together.
Accommodation here is less costly than other parts of the city, as it’s further out from the center, but hotels are welcoming and there’s a selection to suit different types of travelers. For quick transport to the city’s sights, opt for a hotel close to Gambetta station and hop around on Nice’s trains and buses.
Where to Stay in Gambetta
AC Hotel Nice by Marriott – For those looking for a slice of sun, sea, and sand, this branch of Marriott is set in a very cool, modern building. It is merely a block to the beach. Similarly, the rooms are contemporary and minimalist, with large windows to let in plenty of light, sleek furniture, and wooden floors. There’s a beautiful rooftop area, open in the warmer months for meals in its terrace restaurant or refreshing swims in its pool. This 4-star hotel is less than a 15-minute walk to Nice’s Old Town, too.
Hotel La Villa Nice Promenade – Set in a traditional building, complete with large shuttered windows and balconies, the rooms at Hotel La Villa Nice Promenade are beautiful. They are boutique in style, with eclectic, colorful furniture, as well as sleek modern bathrooms. This stylish yet casual hotel is also blessed with a great location, just 50 meters away from the Promenade des Anglais. The Nice-Ville Train Station is also just a stone’s throw from this hotel, making it convenient for anybody wanting to explore the local area.