The Secret Guide to Nice

Trip Swap: I've written about how I love both the spontaneity and the preparation that go into a great trip. Some things should be based on scrutinous planning, while other things should be left to chance. A few months back, Michael and I came up with the wacky idea of planning a surprise trip for one another. That's right. This weekend, we are sending each other to completely different locations at the same time and traveling solo. I'm currently sitting at Heathrow Airport preparing to board my flight. I had no idea where Michael was sending me until I arrived at the airport. 

We each did our fair share of research and compiled some recommendations to help one another out a bit. Take a look at Michael's recommendations for my selected destination: Nice. It's up to me how many of his recommendations I follow and how many I disregard. I've created a similar guide for Michael which you can read about here. I can't wait to get back and compare our "blind" recommendations to our actual experiences. You can follow our journey on Instagram with the hashtag #FWtripswap. 

Why Nice?

David would never choose the beach as a vacation destination, especially in Europe. There are too many cities to explore, so why just relax in the sun? That is why I initially chose Nice. Then I began to explore more about the town and its surrounding areas. The city has it all: an old town, art museums, a beautiful market, Michelin stars, a beach, boardwalk and sweeping views. It is also a short train ride away from Monaco, Antibes, Cannes or Provence. It is a longer train ride to Hyeres, which will be ending the 30th international fashion and photography festival being juried by Karl Lagerfeld. Let's sit back and see what he does. Maybe he will just sit on the beach all day?

Best Bets:


  • Michelin star lunch – Eating well shouldn’t break the bank, Keisuke Matsushima the new Michelin star restaurant in Nice serves an affordable lunch option starting at 28€ for three courses.
  • Le Marché du Cours Saleya – a beautiful outdoor market in the old town, there’s a stall selling la socca – a thin, unleavened crèpe made of chickpea flour, fried in a huge pan. Also find a Tourte des Blettes, a savory spinach stuffed sweet treat.
  • La Merenda – a small 20 seat restaurant close to the market and one of Alain Ducasse’s favorite spots.
  • Attimi - slow cooked Italian food in a touristy area, but worth it. Nice was a part of Italy until 1860.
  • Chez Papa Fred - small but delicious, great for dinner.
  •  Best Coffee - Brulerie des Cafés Indien, roasts their own beans with a small bar in the back.


  • Promenade du Paillon: public park stretching from the beach into the city. Fountains, playgrounds, and art. 
  • Place Masséna: checkerboard main square with cool public art, even better at night.
  • Castle Hill: for sweeping views of the city
  • Vieux Nice: the original old town
  • Promenade de Anglais: 7km stretch of boardwalk along the beach. Rent a bike and soak in the sites.


Day Trips:

Making the most of your long weekend:

Day 1

  • Awake early and enjoy a morning coffee anywhere along the Vieux Nice around the Saleya market. Eat the market treats!
  • Climb up to Castle Hill to take in the entire city and coastal towns.
  • Wander the Vieux Nice (old town) streets and shops on your way to Cafés Indien for a coffee.
  • Enjoy a late lunch at La Merenda
  • Stroll the Promenade du Paillon up towards MAMCA.
  • Bus to the Musée Matisse in Cimiez neighborhood. Take time to wander the surrounding park, monastery and roman ruins.
  • Return home for a rest, stroll Rue Paradis, Place Masséna, and the beach at sunset. Enjoy dinner at Attimi.

Day 2

  • Day trip to Antibes for the Picasso Museum and beautiful cliff beaches. Monaco for the luxury and check off another country. Hyères for the fashion and photography exhibits.
  • Dinner at Chez Papa Fred and walk the Promenade de Anglais home.

Day 3

  • Sleep in! Then enjoy the •   Musée des Beaux-Arts.
  • Book a Michelin star lunch at Keisuke Matsushima.
  • Walk to the Musée Massena and stroll the beaches during the day. 

A Few More Resources: