• Weekend Getaway: Nice, France {+ the French Riviera} 

    Written by:

    The French Riviera — the home of the Monaco Grand Prix, yachts, and a slew of celebrities taking picture-perfect Instagram photos. While visiting St. Tropez, Cannes, and Antibes seems like a holiday only taken by the rich and famous, the French Riviera is totally accessible, affordable, and easy to get to from Hudson County. This part of the world is filled with gorgeous locations, delicious cuisine, and so much more. Read on to learn more about planning a weekend getaway to Nice— au revoir. 

    nice french riviera

    Where It Is

    First things first —where in the world is the French Riviera {where Nice is located}? The Côte d’Azur is located on the southeastern Mediterranean coast of France and is made up of some of the most luxurious cities {and countries} in the world, including Nice, Cannes, St. Tropez, Antibes, and Monaco. This coastline is a celeb hotspot and is well-known for its shopping, blue waters, cuisine and wealthy inhabitants. 

    Getting There

    french riviera ariline

    The most convenient way to travel is to fly directly into Nice, which serves as an excellent hub for traveling along the coast. La Compagnie, an all-business-class boutique airline has daily nonstop flights right into the city — yes, we said all business class aircraft for around $800 a person. The flight is about seven and a half hours and if flying overnight, allows passengers to sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. The plane is spacious, with seats that stretch out into beds and include pillows, blankets, meals, headphones, and an iPad to help pass the time with movies, games, and so much more. Once in Nice, passengers of La Compagnie even bypass the craziness of customs and are brought to a private agent for expedited movement through customs.

    See More: {Long} Weekend Getaway Idea: Paris, France

    Where to Stay

    Nice is a great home base, as it is central to many popular day trip spots and provides easy access to cities like Monaco, St. Tropez, Antibes, and Cannes. 

    Hotel Le Negresco {37, Promenade des Anglais Nice} 

    hotel negresso nice

    Hotel Le Negresco, a famous luxury hotel located right on the Promenade des Anglais, is incredible if money is no object. Think gorgeous views from your hotel room, chandeliers, and more. This lodging is ideal for those looking for a trip + stay dripping {literally} in luxury. 

    Westminster Hotel + Spa {27 Promenade des Anglais} 

    westminster hotel nice

    Another, more affordable but completely glamorous option is the Westminster Hotel + Spa, also located on the Promenade. The rooms are spacious and elegant and the staff is accommodating, English speaking, and friendly. 

    Other Options

    If choosing to stay in an AirBnB, we recommend staying either on the water or in the Vieux Nice, the Old Quarter, for a great culinary and cultural experience.

    Where to Eat 

    Nice is home to some of the greatest restaurants, many with Michelin Stars, while others can be found in unassuming of spots throughout the city. Typical Niçois cuisine involves fresh vegetables, fish, and cured meats. One of the most popular dishes is the Salade Niçois {mesclun salad with tomatoes, radishes, onions, olives, hard-boiled eggs, tuna, and anchovies topped with olive oil}. Other local favorites include socca {a crispy chickpea pancake}, ratatouille {traditional vegetable stew}, olives, croissants, baguettes, and other pastries. Every meal should begin and end with a glass of rosé — just a suggestion.

    Chez Palmyre {5 Rue Droite}

    chez palmyre nice

    Chez Palmyre is an intimate prix fixed menu restaurant {20 for a three-course meal} in the center of the Old Town. The menu is always rotating, serving only what is fresh and on the mind of the chef, but typically involves some classic French plates with a modern twist. Reservations are a must as there are only 28 seats.

    JAN {12 Rue Lascaris} 

    JAN features an upscale French-African prix fixed menu that can be offered with or without a wine pairing. Choose from a five or seven-course meal and be ready to experience both cultures through the kitchen.

    Where to Visit + What to Do {in Nice + Beyond}

    Nice

    old town nice

    Nice is one of the most popular cities on the French Riviera. The unique cuisine, beautiful blue waters, and incredible views are only a few reasons why travelers choose to stay here. There are so many beautiful places held right inside the city to visit.

    Visit Vieux Nice 

    Also known as The Old City, Vieux Nice is filled with red-tiled roofs, small restaurants, bars, and open markets that will sweep you up in the beauty of it all. It is constantly buzzing with people, from visitors to locals just dropping by to enjoy a good time. Most popularly visited at night, this is the perfect spot to grab dinner and drinks and is easy to walk to from most parts of Nice.

    Visit Parc de la Colline du Château 

    This park’s name directly translates to Castle Hill, and yes, there once stood a castle at the top of the gorgeous cliff. With multiple paths {and by paths, we mean steep steps and narrow walkways}, the top of this hill features panoramic views of the city and a waterfall on the way up. Definitely worth the hike. Wear comfortable sneakers and pack plenty of water.

    Walk the Promenade des Anglais 

    This walkway stretches about four and a half miles along the coast of the Mediterranian Sea where people walk, enjoy lunch, and relax along the way. An iconic pathway with unprecedented views of the ocean and beach. 

    Visit Beach Clubs 

    Much different from the typical Jersey Shore, this rocky coast could be difficult to navigate without water shoes and access to a beach club {the rocks are painful and too hot to walk on barefoot}. Most waterfront hotels have a partnership with a beach club, allowing you access to towels, chairs, food, and drinks. Beach Club day passes range from 20 to 40. 

    Visit the Nice Cathedral 

    Built in 1650, this Roman Catholic Cathedral is in the heart of the Old Town and features Baroque style designs in a picture-perfect location.

    Visit the Musée Matisse {164 Avenue des Arènes de Cimiez} + Musée Marc Chagall {Avenue Dr Ménard}

    These are two local museums dedicated to the work of famous artists, Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall. Both worthy of a visit for art aficionados.

    Read More: Weekend Getaway: London, United Kingdom 

    Beyond Nice

    In addition to those local spots, many visitors decide to take quick day trips from Nice to some gorgeous cities that are easily accessible by boat, train, and bus. Take a look at these spots that are easy to reach from Nice. 

    Monaco 

    monaco casino

    Monaco is a quick 25-minute train ride from the Gare de Nice Ville {The Nice Train Station} and costs under 8 to get there. Here, visitors will find the famous Monte Carlo Casino, home to the James Bond movies {be sure to get a Vesper Martini at the casino’s bar} as well as the most luxurious shopping imaginable, with Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Rolex, and many more boutiques lining the cobblestone streets. The Port of Monaco is a must-see, housing incredible yachts, too. Another popular attraction is the Prince of Monaco’s Palace, which requires a long hike up the cliff but is totally worth it for the view. Grab lunch in any of the small cafes near the palace. 

    Éze Village 

    eze france

    Èze Village is an old, medieval town easily accessible by taking the no.82 or no.112 bus. This scenic, 30-minute ride through the city and around the cliffs is beautiful and runs every hour for under €4. Hike up to the top of the cliff and see the stunning Jardin Botanique d’Éze. The gardens offer breathtaking panoramic views as far as the eye can see. Moving up towards the garden is no easy feat, so wear comfortable sneakers. Visitors will stumble through the windy, uphill curves of the mountain finding unique hidden restaurants and shops, like Fragonard {158 Avenue de Verdun, Éze}, the local parfumeur. We highly recommend having lunch or a drink at Château de la Chèvre d’or {Rue du Barri, Èze} for once in a lifetime views of the Riviera

    Other local cities worth visiting include Antibes, St. Tropez, and Cannes and are all quickly and easily accessible from Nice.

    Important Things to Know

    Before you travel, here are some top tips to know before you go.

    • Before traveling to the French Riviera, it is important to know a few things: Set up International Calling. Verizon offers service for $10/day. It is helpful to have a service for navigating the streets. {International calling plans do not work in Monaco, FYI. Access the wifi from different stores and restaurants to use the phone or go rogue for the day}.
    • Buses and trains are the best way of getting around the area. They are inexpensive and easy to use.
    • If purchasing a designer handbag, shoes, or jewelry, do so in Europe. It is much less expensive and stores offer a 12-14% VAT tax refund on any purchase over $200{!}. 
    • Speaking French is not a must but is very helpful. Efforts and interest in the culture are appreciated and recognized. Begin with bonjour and go from there.

    Planning a holiday to the French Riviera has never been easier or more accessible. Celebrities are not the only one who can take such lavish trips! 

    Have you been to any of these cities in the French Riviera? Tell us about it in the comments below! 


    Written by:

    Hoboken homeowner and lover of all things local, Danielle made her home in the Mile Square City nearly four years ago. Danielle is a second grade teacher by day; after hours, she can be found in the kitchen whipping up a a new recipe or grabbing a bite to eat with her husband and friends. Danielle is the try-er and buyer of all things beauty and loves finding a good deal. Shopping on Washington, interior decorating, and riding her Peloton are just a few of Danielle's favorite things. Oh, and did we mention her undying love for the New York Yankees?


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *