Visiting the French City of Nice

Visiting the French City of Nice #travelblog #nice #ttotWhile visiting the Formula 1 race in Monaco recently, I had the opportunity to stay in the charming French city of Nice for a few weeks.

Nice is the second-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast. The city is called Nice la Belle (Nissa La Bella in Niçard), which translates to Nice the Beautiful.

The location of the city includes Terra Amata, an archaeological site which contains the historic use of fire in the area dated back to 400,000 BC .

Later in around 350 BC, Greeks of Marseille created a permanent settlement and named it Nikaia, after Nike, the goddess of victory.

Visiting the French City of Nice #travelblog #nice #ttot

Visiting the French City of Nice #travelblog #nice #ttot

Visiting the French City of Nice #travelblog #nice #ttotThrough the years, the city of Nice has changed hands many times. Its location has been of military importance, and the port significantly adds to its naval strength.

Previously it was a province of Savoy, before becoming part of France between 1792 and 1815. It was then returned to Piedmont-Sardinia until its reannexation by France in 1860.

When walking around the centre of the city of Nice, many attractions will catch your attention as you explore the beauty of this charming place.

It’s not long before the colourful square and buildings transform into the Old Town. This part of historical Nice curves round past Castle Hill and near to the beautiful Promenade des Anglais.

Visiting the French City of Nice #travelblog #nice #ttot

The narrow streets are designed in a very traditional North Mediterranean city style.

Visiting the French City of Nice #travelblog #nice #ttot

Like Italy, the streets have been built with tall households. The vibrant buildings are often up to five stories high, and the old narrow streets are full of interesting cafes and boutique stores to explore.

It’s a common sight to see restaurants taking up the bottom floor old buildings, with their chairs and tables covering the street pavements.

Spending a Few Weeks in the French City of Nice #travelblog #nice #ttot

 

Standing on Nice Castle Hill

Castle Hill has to be the number one place for an elevated view of the city of Nice. The journey begins by climbing the hill from the end of the Promenade, or up the steps and rising streets from the Old Town.

Despite its name Castle Hill, there isn’t much of a castle standing anymore as it was destroyed in the early 1700s.

The hill was once the site of a castle that was reported stronghold and was pulled by the soldiers of the French King Louis XIV in 1706.

Standing on Top of Castle Hill Nice #travelblog #nice #ttot

Great views of the city of Nice from Castle Hill

Standing on Top of Castle Hill Nice #travelblog #nice #ttot

Even without a castle to look at, the ruins and stunning views are worthy of the short trek to the top.

The climb will take you up nearly 300 feet of stairs to arrive at the top of the hill to witness the best views of Nice and the Bay of Angels.

For those who don’t wish to climb, there is a lift that can transport you almost to the top.

Standing on Top of Castle Hill Nice #travelblog #nice #ttot

Castle Hill is free, so there is no cost involved to visit.

For food and snacks, there is a cafe at the top serving refreshments. Others may prefer to bring their food and have a picnic while sitting in the sun.

Standing on Top of Castle Hill Nice #travelblog #nice #ttot

Standing on Top of Castle Hill Nice #travelblog #nice #ttot

Location

Castle Hill, Montee du Chateau par ascenceur, 06300 Nice, France

Sentier du Littoral – Nice Coastal Walk

Looking for a scenic walk during your stay in the city of Nice, Côte d’Azur?

I recommend trying this beautiful Sentier du Littoral coastal walk. I had no idea about this walk until stumbling across it by chance while strolling along the Promenade des Anglais.

Head in the opposite direction to the airport and just keep going and as you can see what awaits is a great French coastal path walk.

Sentier du Littoral - Nice Coastal Walk #travelblog #nice #ttot

 

I walked along the Sentier du Littoral Côte d’Azur coastal path in the afternoon wearing a pair of running shoes. Apart from a couple of steep staircases, there are no major inclines and no real need to wear hiking boots.

The sunny May temperature was around 20’c which was more than warm enough. During the summer months, I would imagine it would be much hotter.

The stroll will take you to Villefranche-sur-Mer and beyond. Located between Nice and Monaco, Villefranche-sur-Mer is a quaint spot on the French Riviera. Walking through the small town and you will find an upmarket vibe with a Mediterranean feel to it.

Sentier du Littoral - Nice Coastal Walk #travelblog #nice #ttot

Sentier du Littoral - Nice Coastal Walk #travelblog #nice #ttot

It’s little tight cobbled streets and alleys look like something out of a film set.

Even after experiencing all the stunning coastal views hiking coming from Nice, the town’s waterfront and pathways still take you by awe as you arrive at this seaside location.

Also, don’t forget to explore the harbour and check out the luxury boats docked there.

If you happen to be staying near to the city of Nice, then I highly recommend hiking along the Sentier du Littoral Côte d’Azur coastal path.

Sentier du Littoral - Nice Coastal Walk #travelblog #nice #ttot

The entire walk does take a few hours but is worth it. Don’t forget to take plenty of water and sunscreen!

Sentier du Littoral - Nice Coastal Walk

Starting Location

Théodore de Banville / Lorrain, 06300, Nice, France

I Tried HouseTrip in Nice

What exactly is HouseTrip?

HouseTrip is an accommodation website booking service similar to that of Airbnb and many others out there offering a house or apartment to the traveller for the same price as a hotel room.

HouseTrip state they have over 300,000-holiday homes, apartments, villas & cottages to choose from in over 19,000 city, beach and rural locations around the world.

There can be many advantages when renting an apartment compared to a hotel room, such as the ability to prepare your meals and a larger living area.

Using #HouseTrip for the first time in the city of #Nice #travelblog #ttot

I must admit the ability to cook an attractive selling point and I didn’t fancy spending my years travelling budget on renting a room in Monaco for the F1 race.

Having said that the city of Nice didn’t turn out to be that cheap either.

After a few hours worth of searching, I was struggling to find anything less than 90 EUR a night that wasn’t booked up on the race weekend.

Then when watching the TV late one night, an advert came on advertising HouseTrip. Not being familiar with the company and always on the lookout to try new travel-related concepts, I decided to give them a try.

Using #HouseTrip for the first time in the city of #Nice #travelblog #ttot

My HouseTrip in Nice

HouseTrip isn’t like a typical hotel website, you don’t just select the best-suited deal and booked it there and then. Many of the places listed are by individuals, or smaller ‘mum and dad’ run holiday apartments.

To avoid any confusion you must contact the host to see if the place is free still for booking.

I’m sure it said somewhere it’s best to contact up to five hosts to avoid disappointment, but as only two appealed to me so I contacted them.

Checking my inbox the following day, both hosts had contacted me to confirm the availability. There wasn’t much between them in regards to the price per night and facilities, so in the end, the choice came down to the central location.

I accepted the offer, paid the bill and contacted ‘Robin’ the host to exchange contacts details and a time to meet up to hand over the keys when I arrived.

Using #HouseTrip for the first time in the city of #Nice #travelblog #ttot

The apartment room I booked in a building called Residence Grounod, located in the old streets of Nice. I ended up staying for a total of 12 nights @ a cost of £526.00 + £15.80 admin fee.

Right in the centre of Nice, the main train station (servicing major locations and Monaco) was only at the end of the road.

Nearby there were also cafes, takeaways, small supermarkets, and a laundry.

Having searched around the area extensively, both before and after arriving. The price charged was very reasonable for the central location, and much cheaper than nearby hotels on the joining streets.

The Residence Grounod building had many apartments that were well suited for the budget traveller. Although not luxurious, the price matched the facilities and the amenities provided.

Using #HouseTrip for the first time in the city of #Nice #travelblog #ttot

If you do plan on staying there, for reference, I stayed in apartment number 4 on the ground floor.

The apartment was a good size suited for one or two people, and although it wasn’t the one shown in the advertised photo, it was very similar.

Inside the main room, there was desk & chair, TV, microwave, electric stove, cutlery, plates, and pans. The sofa turns into the bed and was supplied with covers and pillow.

Outside there was a cosy outdoor area with a table and chairs for eating and relaxing.

Using #HouseTrip for the first time in the city of #Nice #travelblog #ttot

The building does offer free Wi-Fi, but in true European style, there was often lots of problems with the network.

At times, this could be frustrating, especially when trying to find certain travel information.

Having met the manager/host Robin a number of times at the building, he was very helpful and spoke good English. My first booking on HouseTrip went well, although I’m sure every host will be slightly different.

Overall the apartment was in an excellent location and perfect for looking around the city of Nice, with Castle Hill, the Old town and beach all within walking distance.

Along with the location, the kitchen was a real bonus. The only downside of HouseTrip is most of the ‘value for money’ apartment listings appeared to be confined to Europe.

I didn’t see much on offer for my Asia travels for later in the year.

Final Night @ Ibis Budget Nice Airport

There’s nothing worse than being dragged out of bed at some ridiculous time of the morning.

Having a mega early Swiss Airlines flight departing from the city of Nice Airport, I decided to make things easier on myself by staying at the Ibis Budget Nice Airport for the night.

Window view from Ibis Budget Nice Airport #airporthotels #nicehotels

The location was perfect, right next to the airport’s terminal 1, and just at the top end of the Promenade des Anglais.

The Hotel has 151 rooms and all come with air-conditioning as standard. Free WI-FI is included in the lobby area, as well as the rooms. The 24-hrs reception is also handy for those arriving or leaving on a red eye flight.

Room view from Ibis Budget Nice Airport #airporthotels #nicehotels

All the basic need for a short airport stay were provided – TV, good Wi-Fi, a comfortable bed and hot shower.

The room on the 6th floor had a good view of the airport, and the sound proofing was spot on because I didn’t wake up once in the night.

City of Nice Links

Old Town – Wander around the enchanting streets of Nice Old Town.

Castle Hill – Popular spot to view the city of Nice

Parc forestier du Mont-Boron – Relaxing park to stroll around or sit down and read a book.

Phoenix Parc Floral de Nice – Another relaxing park located close to the airport

Sentier du Littoral – The coastal walk talked about in the post

Running in Nice – Take in the sea air while running along the Promenade des Anglais

NICE – more than just nice – Nice visitors guide

Barry Sproston
Barry is a traveller and expat who spends most of his time between Asia and Australia. He has spent 12 months training at a Gung Fu school learning Wing Chun. Explored the island of Taiwan by scooter more than once. Been tricked into eating raw horse meat sushi in Japan. Even tried to overcome the fear of heights by bungee jumping in Thailand. One day he plans to open a guesthouse.
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15 thoughts on “Visiting the French City of Nice

  1. Stefinia

    Really interesting, vibrant houses and narrow lanes having cafe’s and stuff, what a pleasant place to explore. French city of Nice, has a interesting history which you have portrayed well here as well. Monaco Grand Prix, I want to see that live , used to watch F1 and like that race circuit, especially the tunnel part(:

  2. travel4lifeblog

    Hello Barry,

    Thank you for sharing a very detailed article about Nice. We loved the fact that you provided a lot of history facts in your post which makes it very pleasant and interesting to read! We have been to Nice in the past and never been on Castle Hill so thanks for sharing your precious tips with us! We will make sure to go next time! Thanks for telling us about the housetrip website, you made us discover another useful resource that might be useful to us during our one year trip in January 2017! So thank you so much for sharing and for your awesome and useful post! Ps: we love your shots too!
    Patrick and Cecile from http://www.travel4lifeblog.com

  3. Vyjay

    Nice is so nice! A city that embodies the elegance and romance of France. I have not been fortunate enough to visit Nice. Not moved beyond Paris, hope to get out there some day.

  4. Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net)

    Hey Barry – Love this post! We’re just back from our second Nice trip in almost as many years, and are already planning our return! Among other things, we never got to Sentier du Littoral! Want to spend more time exploring Villefranche and St. Jean Cap Ferrat, too. Thanks for the tip on House Trip. We stayed at an Air B&B this time, and had a great experience, but it never hurts to have more options. Nicely done – definitely adding to our love for Niceville!

  5. Anna

    Years ago I did a road trip to the French Riviera and mada a quick stop in Nice! After reading your post I´ve realized the place is worth visiting again, cause there are so many awesome places I´ve simply missed! Views from Castle Hill are stunning!

  6. Kreete

    I would love to go and see the views from castle hill, followed by a nice day on the coastal walk while staying somewhere with housetrip. I have never heard of them either, but I am glad it worked out! Lovely photos you have got there too! Thanks for sharing!

  7. LISA

    I would love to take the time to visit Nice when I get the chance to visit France. So many beautiful areas to walk and dine, looks very laid back. Your pictures definitely caught the beauty of Nice! Will pin this for future thanks for sharing.

  8. Oana

    Your pictures are great, we missed Nice while we were in France but it’s definitely a place on our list. I never heard of HouseTrip before, I am always using AirBnb but I will search about it. Everything travel related can be useful one day. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Angie (FeetDoTravel)Angie (FeetDoTravel)

    A had a friend who visited Nice and popped to Monaco and it looked stunning, your photos definitely back that up! The coastal walks are a must I would say with that scenery. What was the Grand Prix like? I went to the one in Melbourne some time ago when David Coulthard one, a fellow Brit so that was good! As for House Trip … thank you very much for that little gem! I have bookmarked the page and pinned this for future reference! #feetdotravel

  10. Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler)

    What a lovely town with an awesome harbor. Loved the view from the where the castle once was. Great photos and the walking paths gave a look more into the town and on into another. Liked how you tried a new service “HouseTrip” for accommodations in Europe. That could almost be another blog travel tips for others. You were brave and it turned out well for you at a good price. Like the idea of being able to cook in or eat out. Great historical fact and thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. David

    I’ve only visited Nice once as a kid and my only lasting impression was that it was a rock beach, not a nice sand one like in Australia. Certainly looks like somewhere I should revisit, with the nice coastal views and the ruins. Never heard of Housetrip before, but it’s nice to know of another option for accommodation.

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