Winter in Nice, France

Monday, January 8, 2018

Happy 2018! With a new year always comes new commitments, and I'd like to put this blog back at the forefront of mine. My sister and I closed out 2017 in Europe, with most of our time spent in the stunning Côte Azur, or French Riviera. Despite winter being the off-season in this region, it still offers all the beauty and charm of any other season in southern France, without the hoards of tourists.

We stayed in Nice as a base to explore both the city itself and its surrounding towns. It is a colorful city of both old and new charm, an evolving culinary scene, and beautiful seaside views. Life feels easier in the French Riviera, especially with an overall quietude present in its winter air. As much as Nice is an ideally central location for trips to nearby towns, it offers a memorable cultural experience on its own -- some of which I'm sharing in this first post of the new year.


Located a bit outside central Nice, the port area is just as beautiful, but much quieter. We found a charming Airbnb located at a fifteen-minute walk away from the old town. While there are obvious perks to finding a centrally located stay, this home offered a nice way to return to a quiet space after a day of activities. I highly recommend booking a stay at one of our host's four homes around the French Riviera -- he was extremely hospitable and helpful in guiding us through our trip.


Within Nice are various distinct areas that any visit to the coastal city should include. As we were on limited time, below are the must-see highlights I would suggest:
  • Vieux Nice (Old Nice) - Get lost in the narrow streets of Old Nice and explore the city's historical culture. Its main highlight is very clearly the cuisine, especially at the vibrant food/flowers market, Cours Saleya.
  • Place Masséna & Place Garibaldi - Both these squares are full of energy, colors, and of course, tourists. But that shouldn't deter you from visiting - I couldn't help but feel drawn to the checkerboard tiles and pastel tones of these bustling areas.
  • Promenade des Anglais - Nothing defines the French Riviera like the seaside. The Promenade des Anglais is the walking path in Nice that lines the Mediterranean coast for over four miles and offers one of the nicest strolls in town.
  • The Christmas Market (winter only) - Although we didn't visit during peak season, one of the main perks of traveling to Nice around Christmastime is its market. We took advantage of the 8-euro ferris wheel ride at sunset for some of the best views in the city.


Because we visited between Christmas and New Year's, almost all the restaurants I had planned to visit were closed for business. Despite our initial disappointment, the nice thing about France is its guarantee that you'll find great food without struggle. We ended up happening upon restaurants/cafés with little planning and still enjoyed some memorable meals.
  • Marinette - A charming café with a delicious breakfast set - we only wished we had the time to try their lunch as well. 
  • Chez Pipo - The best place in town for Nice's famous socca: a thin, crispy pancake to try as its original and with a variety of fillings.
  • Chez Maître Pierre - One of Nice's most popular bakeries, which has been open for over 30 years.
  • Movida - Not quite the most local option as we were in a rush to find dinner, but it's a fun place for drinks by the sea with a side of live music.


With such limited time in the city itself, we narrowed down our activities to a few highlights that let us explore as much as possible. Keep in mind these are largely specific to winter (one day we'll be back to enjoy the beach!):
  • Shopping along Rue Masséna
  • Climbing to the best views at Parc de la Colline du Chateau
  • Enjoying local goods at the massive Cours Saleya
  • Discovering art and history at Musée Matisse & MAMAC
  • and of course, strolling through the areas I had mentioned above

Stay tuned for another post sharing day trip ideas from Nice - coming soon.


  1. wow beautiful photos. I've never been to Nice but hopefully I will visit one day. Great tips.

    Nina's Style Blog

  2. This is a great guide to Nice and your photos are so beautiful!!! Especially that sunset in the last photos!!


  3. Looks like an amazing trip to France
    I love to go there someday

    Much Love,
    Jane | The Bandwagon Chic

  4. OMGGG THIS IS SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL!!! I've never been to Nice during winter :)

  5. I need to start looking for some holiday destinations. Nice looks incredible.

    Her Style Hive

  6. What a beautiful travel diary, one of my dream destination. Stunning sunsets, love it!

  7. Amazing photos! Glad I found your blog!!!!
    An Trieu

  8. Gorgeous photos! I never thought to visit during the winter but I love the idea of less crowds! I've always wanted to visit a Christmas market too. Thanks for sharing!

    Simply Lovebirds

  9. Wow, these photos are absolutely gorgeous! I would love to visit Nice looks like such an amazing place to explore!


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