While Nice itself is an incredible destination with an array of rich, unique experiences, you may want to take time away from the city to explore more of the surrounding region. Nice is just a short distance from some incredible places, and here are just a few of them:
The incredible medieval village of Eze sits high above the Mediterranean on the coastline. Not only does it offer spectacular views of the Mediterranean sea, the gorgeous coastline, lush nature, and the cities clustered below, but the city itself has a spectacular history, and is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in France. It has a tropical garden (not to be missed), ancient chapels and monuments, and labyrinthine cobblestoned streets lined with small shops, art galleries, and cafes. It is closed to automotive traffic, making it the perfect place to wander and relax.
Eze is just a short trip from Nice by train, car or bus. We recommend by car, if possible, following the coastline through nearby Villefranche-sur-Mer, Beaulieu and Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, with plenty of time to stop and see the charming towns, and then head straight up to the top of hill where the villages perches itself over the Mediterranean.
From Nice, a half-hour journey west by train will take you to Cannes, a playground for the rich and famous who seek luxury in this seaside resort. It’s a good place to go celebrity-spotting any time of the year, but especially during the annual Cannes Film Festival. While looking for the famous, you can stroll the Promenade de la Croisette, a tree-lined waterfront avenue; check out Le Suquet, its old town, do a little shopping along Rue d’Antibes or the landmark Russian Orthodox Church. Cannes has many fine museums and art galleries, such as the Musee de la Castre. You’ll also find grand 19th century villas to ooh and aah over.
Antibes & Biot
Just a short distance from Nice is the Mediterranean resort town of Antibes. In addition to the gorgeous beaches and sea views that have attracted the wealthy, nobility, and artists for centuries, Antibes has a particularly charming old town, world-class port, medieval ramparts to walk, fascinating museums, ancient churches, and numerous arts and culture festivals. Two absolute “musts” include the morning marketing and the Picasso Museum.
Looping inland from Antibes, you quickly reach the medieval village of Biot. Biot has been famous since antiquity for legendary ceramics and pottery, due to the local mineral-rich volcanic clay and sand. In the 19th century, Biot added glassworks to their local crafts, so that today the city has many small glass and ceramic workshops where you can watch these ancient techniques in practice. The village also has gorgeous Mediterranean architecture, charming squares, and ancient fortifications.
Monaco & Menton
A visit to the French Riviera could hardly be complete without a visit to Monaco. Monaco is a sovereign state, not governed by surrounding France, and the second-smallest sovereign state in the world. Thanks to its luxury hotels, casinos, and boutiques, combined with low taxes and an incredible climate, it has firmly established itself as a playground for the rich and famous. A visit to the world-famous Monte Carlo Casino is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and shouldn’t be missed.
Just past Monaco at the French-Italian border is the gorgeous resort community of Menton. Nicknamed “The Pearl of France”, Menton has a micro-climate that makes it slightly warmer than the Mediterranean climate surrounding it, which not only makes the local beaches more popular in summer, but makes it suitable for growing a variety of citrus fruits that the city is famous for, and giving rise to the charming annual Lemon Festival. It’s a stunningly beautiful destination on the French Riviera.
Grasse is the world capital of perfume, with a fragrance industry that goes back centuries. It has the oldest perfumerie in France, and the third oldest in Europe, and the industry is still thriving today. Grasse is where the best natural aromas are created, and the best perfumers are trained, and has an annual jasmine festival to celebrate one of their most famous scents and products. Grasse also has a number of historic sites and attractions, including an 11th century cathedral, ancient monuments and memorials, and a museum dedicated to the art and history of Provence. This beautiful medieval village, teeming with fragrant flowers and ancient architecture, is a unique experience in the south of France.
Mougins is without doubt one of the most wonderful places to visit on the Cote d’Azur. Only 15 minutes from Cannes, this superb medieval village is set amongst pines, olives and cyprus trees. Surrounded by forests (the Valmasque forest covers 427 hectares) Mougins has kept the quality of its environment intact, and offers visitors, from the height of 260 metres, a panoramic view of the “baie de Cannes“, the Lerins Islands, Grasse and the “Préalpes”.
Saint Paul de Vence
St Paul de Vence is one of the oldest medieval towns on the French Riviera. It is a retreat for many famous people, including French actor Yves Montand, French artist Marc Chagall and American author James Baldwin, who died here in 1987. The walled city is a popular tourist destination any time of the year, which can sometimes make seeing the medieval sights a little difficult. Many people come here to see the fine art galleries and museums the town is famous for. It’s a good place to buy Provencal handcrafts or go walking in the French countryside.
The Verdon Gorge is a spectacular natural sight, formed by aeons of the stunning blue Verdon River carving down through limestone soil to form a canyon that is one of the most beautiful in France. While it’s worth visiting this incredible place just to take in the views and explore nature, the gorge also offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, kayaking, and other water sports. The cliffs that surround the gorge are excellent surfaces for technical climbing, and attract an increasing number of rock climbers every year. If you want to escape the crowds of the city and step into nature, the Verdon Gorge is an incredible destination.
Once upon a time, St Tropez was a military stronghold, the first French Riviera town to be liberated after World War II and fishing village. Today, it’s a ritzy resort that attracts jet-setters from all over the world. Like its sister cities on the coast, St Tropez is extremely scenic, both on and off the beach. It became a haven for topless sunbathers with the invention of the monokini in the 1960s. Its Tahiti beach was immortalized in Bridget Bardot’s 1955 film, And God Created Woman. At the old harbor, you’ll find morning farm and fish markets; nearby is Old Town and the citadel. At the old harbor (now quite modern and full of super yachts worth taking a peak at!), you’ll find morning farm and fish markets which is connected to its perfectly intact and oh so charming is Old Town and the citadel.
These day trips from Nice will give you a chance to explore more of France, with a range of sights and experiences far beyond the city itself. Take a day or two and see everything the French Riviera has to offer.