Guide to Nice’s Historic Sights

Below is a list of the most famous historical attractions in Nice, all of which have a long and interesting history:

castle hill lookout point

Castle Hill Park: This is one of Nice’s top tourist attractions. Phoenician Greeks found the city of Nike on this exact spot a few millennia ago. In medieval times, a castle, now missing, protected the area. Today, it is a large landscape park and gardens (dating back to 1829) with a grand fortification which retains much of its Medieval look.

The Old Town (Vieux Ville): With local markets and churches, it is here that you can observe and experience the traditional Nice way of life. It’s home to an impressive flower market, cafés serving socca (large chickpea crêpe, a local staple), and shops selling everything from tourist trinkets to cool vintage clothes.

Cimiez: Leafy Cimiez is an upscale residential area known its expansive park with a vast olive grove, the ruins of a Roman city, an archaeology museum and the Monastery of Cimiez. Elegant apartment buildings fill the area, including the regal late-1800s ‘Excelsior Regina Palace’. During the Belle Epoque, Cimiez became the favorite holiday resort for the Kings and Queens of Europe, including Victoria, Edward VII, George V, and Leopold II.

nice’s notre dame

Notre Dame: This church is an impressive architectural landmark in Nice built in 1868. It is the largest Church in Nice, France. It has two square towers, both twenty-five meters high, in Gothic-style design.

Le Jardin Botanique: What this garden offers is more than beauty. It gives knowledge about the world of plants and flora of the continents. Created in 1983, it houses more than 3000 plant species on its 3.5 hectares with an open-air museum.

COURS SALEYA MARKET IN NICE

Cours Saleya Market: You can purchase fresh goods such as olives, cheese, herbs, and flowers here every morning. It ia also a Broconte (‘antique market’), where antiques and other collectibles are present. During summer nights it moonlights as an artisan market. Check out our guide to Nice’s best market.

Palais de la Méditerranée: Since the restoration in the early 2000s, the structure houses a luxury hotel, a theater, and a famous casino, overlooking the sea over the famous Promenade des Anglais.

Chapelle de la Miséricorde: This church is located next to the Cours Saleya. It has a Baroque design with a prime spot in the Old Town.

Matisse Museum in Nice

Matisse Museum: A must-see is the Matisse Museum, housed in a magnificent 17th century mansion. Once home to the master himself, several of his major works are on display – both art lovers and the uninitiated alike will be captivated. Here, you can learn about the life and works of modern art master Henri Matisse.

Hotel Negresco: This is a world-renowned hotel and proud glamorous symbol of the past at Promenade des Anglais. There are art exhibitions from the Renaissance to the modern era throughout the hotel.

MASSENA SQUARE

Masséna Square: This local meetup square has a beautiful fountain, street performers, and uniquely checkered pavement. You can follow the main boulevard to shopping like the classic French department store Galeries Lafayette.

Russian Orthodox Cathedral: Tsar Alexander II inaugurated the construction of the Russian Cathedral in Nice, which was dedicated to his son, the successor of the Russian Empire, who died in Nice at the age of 21. The cathedral was conceived for the growing Russian community in Nice and its surrounding areas in the XIX century.

Villa Massena (Museum): This beautifully restored villa on the Promenade des Anglais is an oasis of tranquility. A well-kept garden surrounds it. Also, there is an elegant museum inside.

Fort du Mont-Alban: A military fort, its location is on the hill with the same name. It has a majestic panoramic scene. Westward, you can view Baie des Anges to the Esterel mountains. On the east, the scene starts from the bay of Villefranche that extends to Italian Riviera.

Jardin Albert Ier: You can unwind in this oldest public park enveloped by palms, sweet roses, carob trees, junipers, and other exotic flora from all over the world.

port lympia

Port Lympia: Experience a romantic harbor walk while admiring luxury yachts or while seeing the lovely sunset.

Monumentaux Morts: The landmark serves as a commemoration for the 4000 inhabitants of Nice who died during the First World War who died in the First World War.

Place Garibaldi: It is the oldest and largest square in the city. Buildings with baroque layouts surround the square. You can find the statue of Garibaldi (the Italian revolutionary leader) in the center.

the museum of fine arts in Nice

Museum of Fine Arts: The Museum of Fine Arts of Nice opened in 1928 in a former private residence which dates back to the late 19th century. The collections retrace the history of art from the 16th to the 20th century, with highlights referring to the works of Fragonard, Rodin, Rude, Ziem, Raffaelli, Boudin, Monet, Sisley, Van Dongen, Dufy, Cheret, Degas and plenty other artists.

Cimiez Monastery: A beautiful Franciscan monastery from the 800s filled with hundreds of items of art, immaculate gardens overlooking Nice, a museum, and Matisse’s grave. Originally founded in the 11th century by Benedictine monks, it was later turned into a Franciscan convent.

More…

Learn more about Nice’s history and check out our guide to the best art museums in Nice and along the French Riviera.

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