A wander around Old Nice< /i> is not to be missed. Among the narrow cobblestone streets you'll discover small craft shops in a picturesque atmosphere, not to mention the many religious monuments also worth looking at, including the Chapel of Mercy, on Cours Saleya, which dates from 1740 and was built in honour of the Brotherhood of the Black Penitents. Further towards the centre, at the curve of a small, narrow street, sits the current Courthouse, which as of the 17th century was the seat of the Governors and Princes of Savoy passing through the city. Take a tour of Old Nice to admire its churches and monuments.
One of the things in Old Nice that would really be a shame to miss is without a doubt the Cours Saleya market. Every morning (except for Monday, which is reserved for antique dealers), this ancient esplanade comes alive with the fruit and vegetables market and its famous flower market. Finally, at the corner of 'Rue de la Poissonnerie' and the Cours Saleya, look up to admire the House of Adam and Eve with bas-reliefs dating from 1584. It is, in fact, one of the last of the old painted houses, once numerous in the old city.
Nice, which is the biggest city on the French Riviera, asserts its highly cultural status through its municipal museums, which have offered free entry since 1st July 2008.
The Departmental Museum of Asian arts, designed by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, is home to Classical and contemporary works. Free entrance, tel: 00 33 (0)4 92 29 37 00.
Along the 'Promenade des Anglais', you can find the Museum of Art and History, within Massena Palace. This Belle Époque-style building contains collections that recount the history of the city from the time of Bonaparte (1793-1815) up to the 1930s.
The Matisse Museum, which is also housed in a historic building (boasting 17th century Genovese architecture, to be more precise) at the heart of the Cimiez Gardens, offers a collection of works by the painter who lived in Nice from 1917 until his death in 1954.
To enjoy a view of the Promenade des Anglais in its entirety, you can climb up to the Bellanda Tower (free access by the stairs, but with a fee to use the elevator), which dominates the coast. Today there are no more than a few stones left of this tower, built in 1830 on Castle Hill. Once you arrive at the top, you will discover a flower-filled park and its artificial waterfall, as well as an extraordinary view of the sea and the red roofs of the old town.
Less cultural but very entertaining is the unavoidable visit to a casino.
To think about
From Nice it is just a few miles to Italy. A regional train links Nice and the major towns and cities of the French Riviera to Ventimiglia. Of course, it does seem to stop every two minutes but it offers rather nice panoramas of this part of the French coast.