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What to do with a day in Nice?

We are planning on being in Nice for a day. It's a stop over between Venice and Carcassonne for us... I don't have a clue what to do there? I've tried to find information, but it's mostly about the beach, and I really don't care for the beach (I live at one). I know there's a Matisse museum, but blah, I had too much art history in school.

I like ancient and medieval history, castles, ruins, (or castle ruins LOL) really old stuff and tours such as ghost walks, weird history etc.

Any ideas? We'll be spending two nights there, so we have an entire day. Anything nearby, like authentic/interesting villages? We will be relying on public transportation.


Posted by
8293 posts

Tonya: try this website:

Though you took art history, I would wager if you go to the Museum of Modern Art in Nice you will see art you have never seen before. But maybe art is not your thing. The website I have noted will give you ideas more in line with your preferences.

Posted by
39 posts

Thanks for the site, the archaeology museum sounds slightly interesting. Le Chateau sounds like it might be something worthwhile as well, although it seems there isn't much left of it, the views are nice.

It's not that art isn't my thing, it's that I was going to major in art history, and took way too many classes of it. I've had so much art history, I OD'd on it. ;)

If anyone knows anything interesting or off the beaten path, I'm all ears.

Posted by
14 posts

Go to visit Monte Carlo in Monaco; a short bus or train ride away. You can see the residence although not open for visits until June but they have a very nice changing of the guard at 1130 each day,etc. The town is interesting to visit as is the world famous casino and aquarium.......

Another 20 minute ride to Menton which is much like Italy and the last stop before reaching the border; it is a very colorful and interesting coastal city....

Too bad about your distaste for art; great Chagall musueum in Nice as I recall and a ten minute bus ride away is Antibe with the Picasso musueum--he live nearby and painted a lot of this area.

The visit to Eze is very nice; the walk up to the top, the views and if you are the educated person you seem to be, well this is where Nietzsche wrote the last section of Also Sprach Zarathustra....there is a well marked trail that he walked and pondered this now classic work.

Old town Nice itself is a nice place to just walk around.....

I will say that the beach at Nice is a far far cry from the one at Corpus Christi....I have spent a lot of time on each............

I would also add that art history in school is not the same as viewing masterpieces in person. I too took a lot of art history in school including a few courses for a master degree requirement and I have not to be not enthralled by the unique museums that dot the countryside of the south of France.......

Posted by
10344 posts

I just wanted to second what David has said, in his thoughtful post, about the difference between seeing reproductions of artwork in a book versus the incomparable thrill of standing in the presence of the original (see his last paragraph, post immediately above). Couple of examples that meant a lot to me: One can see Van Gogh paintings in a book, but the thrill of standing in front of one, say in the "Van Gogh room" at the Orsay (16 Van Gogh's in one room!) and being able to perceive the three-dimensionality of the way he applied the paint to the canvas. Or standing in the presence of The David (Michelangelo's in Florence) and starting to understand (for me) the meaning of the word genius, what a mere mortal could do with a 15-foot hunk of stone. These experiences with the original masterpieces in Europe will always be an important part of what Europe means to me. There is so much artwork that you can only see in Europe. There are some fine art museums here, but by the time North Americans amassed sufficient fortunes to start buying art for museums here (say the 1880's at the earliest), well, the Louvre and Uffizi weren't selling the masterpieces they have been collecting in the several centuries before we started collecting art. The privilege of seeing these originals is part of what Europe offers us.

Posted by
2779 posts

There isn't that much to see in Nice. The waterfront, the "old town" part... You can easily do this in half a day. Then spend the other half in Monaco and visit the Royal castle from the outside, the downtown part and all the shops where nobody cares about price tags. The beach in Nice is a pebble one, not a sandy beach.

Posted by
39 posts

Thank you all for your ideas. It looks like I might wind up torn on what to do.

As for seeing art in person,I know it's different. I've been to dozens of museums, including the National Gallery in London and MoMA in NYC, and I am planning on going to the Louvre in Paris, because how could I not? After a while though, there's only so much art you can look at. Room after room of famous pieces begin to blend together eventually, to the point that you can't remember what you saw. Or maybe it's just me. :D

Now, that Picasso museum in Antibes might be an idea. I haven't seen much work by him in person.

And Eze looks very charming.

Posted by
8700 posts

I will encourage you to visit the Picasso Museum. The building, formerly owned by the Grimaldi family of Monaco fame, is worth seeing for its own sake. Besides paintings, the museum features a large display of pottery created by a friend of Picasso's specifically so that Picasso could do drawings on them.

Both the Matisse Museum and the Chagall Museum in Nice are outstanding. I'm sorry that I didn't have time to visit the Orthodox cathedral. It's said to be the finest of its kind outside of Russia.

Just my opinion; but if I had to choose only one art museum in Paris, it would be the Musee d'Orsay. It has a fabulous collection of Impressionist paintings and the building, a former train station, is worth seeing for its own sake.

Posted by
522 posts

I really enjoyed the Chagall museum. I ran out of time and did not make it to the Matisse museum. The Orthodox Church was not quite what I thought it would be. It was interesting, but not 'wow'. I wish I had swapped it and seen the Matisse museum instead.

Similarly with Monaco. I liked walking around the hilltop part of Monaco where the palace and the church with Princess Grace and Prince Ranier are...but the casino was skipable to me.

In lieu of Monaco - I think I would have preferred Eze.

For me, laying on the beach on the French Riveria was priceless. Loved every minute of it.

Posted by
632 posts

By all means make sure you try socca in old town is a snack food that you can only get in Nice...great with a cold beer

PS Cannes has a nice sandy beach but it is nothing compared to the egalitarian atmosphere of the pebble beach in front of the Promenade des Anglais.

Posted by
272 posts

some suggestions:
1) Cours Saleya market. Take a wander through this outdoor market in old town.
2) Rent a bike and ride along the Promenade. I think I rented a bike for 1/2 day for like 10 euro.
3) EZE! unforgettable. I took the bus up and endured a long, not so easy hike down to the seaside......not as leisurely as expected but the views were amazing and made it worth it.
4) Grasse. Perfume capital. Pretty and interesting.