Authentic Nice + French Riviera Travel Guide

Nice, a picturesque city nestled along the Meditteranean Sea, is located on the Southern coast of France. A bustling tourist hub, locals sit quietly sipping Champagne, nibbling Brie and French Bread as they watch visitors wrestle for prime real estate to lounge on overcrowded, pebble-filled beaches…

Ahhhh, the wonders of the imagination! Welcome to the image of Nice I dreamed of before my visit to the French Riviera.

So, you may be asking–how did reality in Nice + French Riviera compare to my imagination?



First, let me clarify. I visited Nice + French Riviera in the fall, specifically to celebrate my 40th birthday. I picked this timing (ummm, birthday, remember?!), but also because it is outside of the peak tourist season. The location choice was easy. I love traveling to Europe in general, and it’s been a while since I’ve been to France. So, win-win-win for me!


We’ve all seen photos of the French Riviera…overcrowded beaches, promenades, restaurants, and cafes that would scare off even the most seasoned traveler.

Nice along Promenade des Anglais

There were tourists, sure, but far, far fewer than what I imagined. The beach had plenty of space to lounge on the pebble-covered shores. Cafes and restaurants had room for even a large party with no waiting.


Sybil in Nice

For this Texas native, the weather was nothing short of amazing! In late September, the weather compared to late spring-like Texas temps in the daytime coupled with crisp, fall-like Texas temps in the evening.

For my non-Texan readers, French Riviera fall temps ranged from high-70s F (25 C) at midday to mid-60s F (18 C) at night. (After doing a little research, summer weather doesn’t vary much from this.)

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS Travel Guide for Nice, France

From the beautiful architecture in Old Town to the bustling market of Cours Saleya, Nice has a variety of local attractions to spark your curiosity and keep you entertained.

➡ Check out this handy-dandy, one-page travel guide to Nice + French Riviera. Printable, of course, or better yet, snap a screenshot on your smartphone for a quick, environmentally-friendly reference. 😉

So, what were my absolute favorites? I’m so glad you asked!

Sybil’s Top 3 Day Trips from Nice

View from Eze
  • Eze Village: According to a local guide, there are 65 medieval villages (including Eze) in France. Whether hiking up the stone stairways or marveling over the cactus gardens, Eze simply feels magical. Time stands still as history envelops you, transporting you into a fairytale filled with castles + princesses + of course, a fire-breathing dragon. What you’ll love: the breathtaking views
  • Monaco: While Monaco may be small in stature (only the Vatican is smaller), it packs a luxurious punch. From its yacht-filled harbor to the annual Grand Prix, Monaco radiates extravagance. Even the changing of the guards (daily at 11:55 AM) is a truly grand and elaborate spectacle that can’t be missed. What you’ll love: the luxurious look and feel
  • Cannes: Housing a beautiful marina and small avenues you can lose yourself in, Cannes is a distinctly memorable destination. Musée de la Castre provides the perfect vantage point for all your marina + city photos. The 109+ steps are worth it, trust me! What you’ll love: the ocean views + fresh air

Sybil’s Top 3 Must Try Meals In Nice + French Riviera (and a great appetizer!)

While I will be the first to admit trying local food is not my particular cup of tea, French cuisine may be the first I would wholeheartedly recommend. I enjoyed several tasty, must try meals in Nice + French Riviera.

Carpaccio – photo
courtesy of @stephaniea_g
  • Carpaccio at New York New York in Cannes – the perfect appetizer!
  • Crispy Baked Brie + Escargot at Les Hussa in Nice – an unconventional pairing for sure, but a great nonetheless
  • Bruschetta + Prawns Risotto at Calade Rooftop Restaurant in Nice – it’s not your typical bruschetta!
  • Carbonara + Profiteroles at le Vesuvio in Cannes – uber rich, and creamy delights!

LOCAL TIP:  A friendly, local guide stated her top recommendation for authentic French cuisine (where the locals actually eat!) in Nice is Safari, located in Cours Saleya. While I didn’t make it there, I highly suggest you try it since it comes with a locals’ seal of approval. 🙂

Cafè Viennese

After a day of exploring, (or to just people-watch, which I love!), grab a table at Balthazar situated along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice for a Cafè Viennese (hot chocolate + coffee = YUM!!) and warm, buttery croissant. It’s the perfect end to a perfect day!

P.S. The oysters are simply divine! If you’re a seafood lover, check out Taverne Masséna guaranteed to satisfy all your fresh seafood desires. But, don’t expect cocktail sauce and crackers; they don’t serve ’em!

P.P.S. Although the locals are super accommodating, download Google Translate (Apple iTunes or Google Play), or any one of your favorite translation apps, to make easy work of all your translation needs.

Tell me, have you been to Nice + French Riviera? What was your favorite experience, or what are you excited about? Drop your comment below!

10 thoughts on “Nice: Top 3 Unique Day Trips in the French Riviera

  1. I have been dying to visit France, especially this region! It looks so gorgeous. Sounds like you had a very relaxing and fun birthday celebration!

  2. France is on our bucket list! I have been researching which areas we would love to visit. Monaco looks like a must for us. Looks like you had a great 40th!

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