Our Hotels in Nice
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Today, as the capital of France's Alpes-Maritimes département, the city is also the unofficial capital – and pulsating heart – of the Côte d'Azur region, most famous for its dreamy stretch of beaches, lapped by the clear turquoise water of the Mediterranean Sea. It's also a destination for bon viveurs, avid shoppers and night owls, with a thriving nightlife scene in the underground clubs of the Old Town.
You'll find some of the best hotels in Nice along the seafront, and our accommodation choices cover well-priced family options, a luxurious 4-star hotel and stylish boutique suites. Wherever you choose to stay in this bijou city, you can guarantee you're never far from a beach, a restaurant or a market.
Best Beaches in Nice
In summer, life in Nice drifts up and down the famous Promenade des Anglais, lined with palm trees and curving around the Baie des Anges for 4 kilometres. Buzzing with cyclists, inline skaters and joggers during the day, it's a joy to stroll at dusk for the spectacular sunsets over the Mediterranean Sea.
The promenade overlooks a series of public and private pebble beaches – each with its own distinct character. Several belong to Nice beach clubs, and for a fee you can use their luxurious facilities for the day – sun loungers, parasols, showers and al fresco cocktail bars. You'll get Mediterranean Sea views along with gourmet seafood in the eateries on glitzy Plage Beau Rivage, and there are sun loungers for hire on Le Voilier as well as a play area for the kids.
Fortunately, not all Nice beaches are privately owned. The public Carras beach, tucked away at the western end of the Baie des Anges, is an easy-going, family-friendly option, with lifeguards, volleyball nets and jet-ski rental in summer. However, if you fancy escaping the sun-bronzed crowds for an afternoon, one of the best beaches in Nice is the rocky little enclave known as Coco, just east of the yacht marina at Port de Nice Lympia. Here you can spread your towel on a rock and snack on an artisan picnic of freshly baked baguette paired with local Tomme cheese, spice-stuffed olives and tomatoes from the fragrant food market at Cours Saleya.
Things to Do in Nice Away from the Beach
And so what to do in Nice after you leave the beach? Behind the Promenade des Anglais you'll happen upon a sophisticated city with a lively cultural life. Discover indie shops in the winding streets of the Vieille Ville, buy flowers and lavender-scented souvenirs from the Cours Saleya markets and dress up for concerts or ballet performances at the prestigious Opéra de Nice.
Art lovers can make the steep climb to the Musée des Beaux-Artsto see works by Impressionists Monet and Sisley, or admire the Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain(MAMAC), as startling for its striking contemporary architecture as its avant-garde artworks. Modernist artist Marc Chagall spent his last years on the Côte d'Azur, and his ethereal paintings are displayed in his eponymous museum – you can also see more of his work at the futuristic Fondation Maeght, near gorgeous hilltop St-Paul-de-Vence (40 minutes from Nice by car).
There is more wondrous art – colourful ceramics and al fresco displays of sculpture by the grand old master of French surrealism himself, Pablo Picasso – to be seen at the Picasso Museum in ritzy Antibes (20 minutes' drive), which is also home to some of the Côte d'Azur's swankiest yachts on the moorings at Port Vauban marina, the largest in the Med.
No stay in one of Nice's French Riviera hotels is complete without a visit to the charming village of Èze (half an hour), perched on a hilltop with spectacular Mediterranean panoramas and a labyrinth of cobbled alleys packed with art galleries and jewellery shops. Nice is also gateway to the exclusive party town of Cannes (35 minutes), as well as the jet-setting millionaire's paradise of Monaco (half an hour), with its world-famous casino and the multi-million-dollar yachts moored in the marinas.
Eating Out in Nice
With a happy blend of fine Provence produce and close historic ties to Italy – after all only 40 minutes' drive away – Nice has developed a gourmet style all of its own. The most famous speciality of "Cuisine Nissarde" is the socca, a thin chickpea pancake that appears on restaurant menus and at street-food stalls across the city. Two other standout local dishes are salade Niçoise, with a winning combination of tomatoes, olives, anchovies and hard-boiled eggs, and beignets, fluffy, bite-sized pastries filled with savoury or sweet treats.
The restaurant scene in Nice is relentlessly buzzy and constantly changing. For the best Nice restaurants with seaside views, take a look at the choices along the Promenade des Anglais. Whether you choose to dine in Michelin-starred establishments or cosy bistros and brasseries tucked into the backstreets of the charming Vieille Ville, their menus all showcase classic local ingredients including Provençal olive oils and aromatic herbs.
Doubtless you'll be needing something to accompany your Niçoise feast, and we recommend a glass of ice-cold Provençal rosé or a local Crémat white wine. The latter is the product of well-drained soils in the Alpes-Maritimes foothills north of Nice, where several vineyards around St-Roman-de-Bellet village are open for tours and tastings.
Best Nice Hotels
Our accommodation options in Nice range from hotels with swimming pools and spas to apartments and luxury suites for longer stays. If you're on a family holiday and looking for hotels near the beach, consider staying along the Promenade des Anglais, where you'll have sea views from our Mercure Nice Promenade des Anglais Hotel. You can also glimpse the sea from the rooftop terrace of the Mercure Nice Centre Notre Dame Hotel, which has its own car garage – a huge asset as parking in Nice is at such a premium. Alternatively, book boutique hotels such as Mercure Nice Marche aux Fleurs Hotel, close to the Cours Saleya markets in the charismatic Vieille Ville, or the hip Mercure Nice Centre Grimaldi Hotel, where rooms are decorated with vibrant, cool frescoes.
Don't want to stay in the city centre? Accor also has well-priced accommodation in the Riviera resorts of Villeneuve-Loubet and Menton.
How to Get to Nice
Nice is easily accessible, with international and regional flights arriving at Nice Côte d'Azur Airport (15 minutes by car). Taxis, trains and buses shuttle passengers from the two terminals into the city centre. Nice-Ville train railway station is served by SNCF's high-speed TGV service from Lyon and Paris, where it connects with Eurostar.
The tolled A8 autoroute (nicknamed "La Provençale") runs right across the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region, uniting Aix-en-Provence in the west with Menton on the Italian border and passing through Nice's hinterland on its way.
Once you arrive in Nice, local trains cover much of the Côte d'Azur (with a scenic line along the coast), and trams operate throughout the city.
When to Travel to Nice
Cool winters – occasionally made colder by the dry Mistral wind – and hot summers are typical of the region. Nice tourism is year round, but we recommend a visit in late spring or early summer to escape both the fierce heat of July and August and the sun-seeking crowds.