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2 Days in Nice, France – Itinerary and Tips


Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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What to Do in Nice for 2 Days?

In Southern France, all the roads lead to Nice, blessed by Mother Nature and graciously adorned with beautiful baroque architecture. “Nissa La Bella,” the City of Angels and capital of the French Riviera, is also the perfect starting point for a French Riviera road trip, and we are sure it will only take 2 days in Nice, France, for you to fall in love with it!

Wondering how to spend a weekend in Nice, what to do in Nice for two days? Sure, the Promenade des Anglais is a must, but to reduce the city to its mythical waterfront would be too easy. When you take the time to visit Nice, the city reveals interesting museums, a beautiful Old Town, and a very particular art of living.

Nice is one of the 2024 Summer Olympics cities, so it’s the perfect excuse to discover or re-discover the city. So follow us to the land of colors and the sun; we have the perfect Nice 2-day itinerary for a memorable weekend in Nice.

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How to Spend Two Days in Nice – A Detailed Nice Itinerary 2 Days

Old Town Nice

What to see in Nice in 2 days? Here’s our suggested Nice itinerary 2 days for a fabulous weekend in Nice.

TIP: these French road trips cover Nice and many other beautiful places in southern France!

2-Day Nice Itinerary: Day One

1. Start from La Colline du Château

Castle Hill - Nice

Let’s start this 2 days in Nice itinerary bright and early from the Colline du Château. Located at one of the ends of the Promenade des Anglais, the Colline du Château – or Castle Hill in Englishoverlooks Old Nice and the Port.

This rocky hill once housed a fortified citadel built in the 11th century, hence the name. Today, it is a lovely wooded park, ideal for a stopover, a refreshment near the big waterfall, or even a picnic followed by a nap in the shade in summer.

This place offers incredible views of Nice, the Baie des Anges, and, in the distance, the French Alps! We always recommend starting early in the morning, when the light lights up the Promenade des Anglais and the Old Town. Nice under the morning light is wonderful, and you will be treated to a real festival of colors with the turquoise sea and the red roofs of Old Nice!

If you don’t want to take the stairs to the top of the hill, there’s a (free) elevator at the end of the Promenade des Anglais.

2. Explore the Port of Nice

Harbor Nice

From the Colline du Château, you can descend to the Old Port, which houses luxury yachts and small fishing boats. A stroll in this area is delightful, with the colorful boats lined up along the quay, the red and yellow buildings, and the Colline du Château in the background.

3. Get Lost in Old Nice

Nice - Old Town

Exploring the Old Town is another of the best things to do in Nice. Old Nice has an incomparable charm reminiscent of small Italian cities. Its narrow streets are lined with tall buildings colored red, orange, or yellow, with the laundry hanging from the windows. The green or blue shutters are often closed (it’s hot outside!), but be sure that small treasures are hidden behind the walls.

Push the doors of the small churches and admire hundreds of angels, paintings of saints, and the oh-so-Baroque marble altars.

When you have had your dose of gildings and stuccos, pay a visit to the Palais Lascaris at 15 Rue Droite. This 17th-century private mansion is a gem of Baroque art with frescoed ceilings, woodwork, and original furniture. Today, it hosts contemporary exhibitions and a beautiful collection of old musical instruments staged across the halls.

TIP: Get the most out of Nice’s Old Town with this top-rated Nice Walking Tour

4. Baroque Perfection at Place Rosetti

Place Rosetti and Cathedral - Nice

In the center of the Old Town, there’s Place Rosetti, with the pretty Sainte Réparate Cathedral. This religious building is also in Baroque style and well worth a short visit.

Even if it is very touristy, Place Rosetti is also the perfect place to take a break and enjoy a good ice cream. For this, we recommend two addresses: Fenocchio (2 Place Rosetti) offers an unbeatable choice of delicious ice creams, but it’s rather pricey. Gelateria Rossetti, just opposite, also has a good selection and is cheaper.

And if you are in the mood for some shopping, next to Fenocchio, there’s Maison Bremond (15 Rue du Pont Vieux), an excellent address to buy local products such as oil, olives, tapenades, anchoïades, and vinegar.

5. All the Streets Lead to Cours Saleya

Flower Market - Nice

This Nice France 2-day itinerary continues south. Don’t worry about getting lost in Old Nice because all the streets lead to Cours Saleya, the main pedestrian street.

Located on the edge of Old Nice and a stone’s throw from the Promenade des Anglais, Cours Saleya is the center of Nice’s (tourist) activity, with its market and restaurants. It really looks like a large village square with its brightly colored houses, church, courthouse, and bustling atmosphere!

Cours Saleya is also known for its colorful flower market, which takes place every morning except Monday: the stalls are gorgeous! You will also find stalls of fruits and vegetables, without forgetting the stalls of biscuits, candied fruits, or marzipans . . . a temptation difficult to resist, you are warned!

6. Place Masséna

Place Masséna - Nice

Before visiting the Promenade des Anglais, let’s take a detour to admire the elegant Place Masséna, the main square in the city and a spot for many public events. Located at the end of the Paillon Promenade, its checkered floor and the red–ochre buildings give the place a beautiful look.

Place Masséna is also the starting point of Avenue Jean Médecin, Nice’s main shopping street with luxury boutiques and department stores.

If you are looking for another ice cream (after all, you are on holiday!), head to Papilla (3 Rue de l’Opéra), between Place Masséna and the Promenade des Anglais. Their ice creams are delicious, and you can eat them by the sea!

7. Stroll Along the Promenade des Anglais

Hotel Negresco - Nice

When you visit Nice, you cannot miss the legendary Promenade des Anglais, which stretches seven kilometers along the Baie des Anges. It is a charming place for a stroll in the afternoon, especially between the (also legendary) Hôtel Négresco and the Colline du Château.

Admire the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea and enjoy the sea breeze, which makes the hottest days of summer more bearable. Here, you have some of the fanciest beaches on the French Riviera, but the place is not ideal for swimming because the beaches are made of large pebbles.

You will also see some stunning hotels and buildings with the typical architecture of Nice along the Promenade. The legendary palatial Hôtel Négresco is worth the detour alone:  just like the Sacher Hotel in Vienna, the Ritz in Paris, or the Astoria Hotel in Brussels, Hôtel Négresco is one of the legendary luxury hotels in Europe and the symbol of the French Riviera.

2 Days in Nice Itinerary: Day Two

8. Explore the Cimiez Neighborhood

Cimiez Monastery - Nice

The second day of this 2-day itinerary Nice, France, also starts from the heights, from Cimiez Hill. This neighborhood is full of treasures, like the archaeological site surrounded by olive trees over 2,000 years old!

The ruins of the ancient Roman city, with its thermal baths and amphitheater, belong today to the archaeological museum, but you can get a glimpse from outside. Also, there’s the Cimiez Monastery and its pretty gardens, which is a popular spot amongst the neighbors for a Sunday stroll.

Matisse Museum or Chagall Museum?

In Cimiez, you will find the Matisse Museum (164 Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez), located in an elegant 17th-century building surrounded by olive trees. Henry Matisse (1869-1954) was a revolutionary and influential artist of the early 20th century, best known for his Fauvist style’s expressive color and form. In 1917, he relocated from Paris to Nice, where he spent the rest of his life in this neighborhood.

An alternative for this morning is to visit the Musée National Marc Chagall (Avenue Docteur Ménard), not far from Musée Matisse. Marc Chagall (1887–1985) was a world-famous Russian-French painter and graphic artist. From 1966, he lived with his second wife in Saint-Paul de Vence, near Nice, where he died.

The particularity of this museum is that it was conceived and opened by Chagall himself, and it hosts a beautiful collection of works related to religious themes. Here, you can have a quick lunch (snacks and light bites) in the museum’s beautiful garden.

9. Afternoon in Villefranche-sur-Mer


From Cimiez Hill, walk down to the train station for a short ride (8 minutes!) to Villefranche-sur-Mer, one of France’s most beautiful harbor towns.

Villefranche-sur-Mer is one of the best day trips from Nice, but you can also visit for a few hours, perhaps in combination with the gorgeous town of Eze.

In Villefranche, treat yourself to a delightful afternoon exploring the Old Town’s winding streets with beautiful Baroque architecture. Some interesting sites include the Chapel of Saint Pierre – decorated by Jean Cocteau in 1957 –, the Rue Obscure – an underground street built in the 13th century for soldiers to pass through more easily –, or the Citadel founded by the Duke of Savoy in 1554 to protect the harbor.

From the harbor, you can see the Cap Ferrat peninsula, with some of the most beautiful palaces on the French Riviera, like the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.

TIP: you can also experience Villefranche-sur-Mer and Cap Ferrat from the sea on this top-rated e-bike guided tour starting from Nice!

Spend 3 Days in Nice (If you can…)

Menton - French Riviera

If you can add an extra day to your Nice, France, itinerary and spend three days in Nice, there are many wonderful Nice day trips to picturesque villages, impressive châteaux, or even Monaco. 

The picture above features Menton, a coastal city near the border with Italy, easy to reach from Nice by train.

Finally, explore the famous Corniches of the Riviera, Cannes, Antibes, Eze, and Monaco. It sounds like the lifestyles of the rich and famous! I love this trip for the images it invokes in my memory – the Cathedral where Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier, the red carpet area of the famous Cannes Film Festival, and Billionaires Quay in the old walled Provencal city of Antibes. And you can see it all in a single day!

2 Days in Nice: Where to Eat

If you don’t know what to eat in the capital of French Riviera, here’s the ultimate guide to the best Food in Nice.

LA ROTONDE: Apart from its 2-Michelin star restaurant, Le Négresco has a brasserie, La Rotonde, where you can taste refined dishes with a reasonable bill at the end of the soirée. The dishes are delicious, and the decor – an old reconstructed carousel – is wonderful.

LE CYLIANO: this brasserie with an outdoor terrace has an interesting menu with Provencal accents. It is at 13 Cours Saleya.

LE SAFARI: this restaurant at 1 Cours Saleya is an institution of Old Nice, and it offers a menu full of delicious local specialties.

L’OURSIN BLEU: If you like fish and seafood, this place in Villefranche-sur-Mer is an excellent place for dinner near the water. The fish is fresh – you have the fish tank in the middle of the room – and it is prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients.

And there you have it, our suggested itinerary for Nice in two days. Bon voyage!

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