Nice attractions range from world famous to more obscure, and are found all over the city. In fact, some Nice tourist attractions are actually outside the city, even in neighboring countries. Day trips and tours in Monaco (only about ten miles away) and Italy (about twenty miles away) are quite popular. Day excursions to charming hill towns and villages such as Saint Paul de Vence are also popular and very rewarding.
Included on most people's lists of the best attractions in Nice France in the world famous category, you will undoubtedly find the Promenade des Anglais (meaning Walkway of the English), which was so named in the mid-nineteenth century as it was the preferred place for the tourists (who were primarily English aristocracy and wealthy) to see and be seen promenading in their finery. It runs the full length of the city's seafront for more than three miles, and is lined with elegant hotels, graceful Belle Epoque mansions, and lively dining spots. Of course, many come to enjoy the sparkling Cote d'Azur Riviera beaches.
The next best attractions in Nice France on anyone's list will be Vieux Nice (Old Nice). This is the oldest quarter of the city and full of its history. Tours of Nice attractions here usually begin in the Cours Saleya. Come early in the morning when the open-air market stalls are at their busiest and full of color. Get in some shopping, enjoy lunch at one of the many sidewalk cafes, and explore on foot. There are beautiful churches and cathedrals to admire—the Chapelle de la Misericorde is a baroque masterpiece; the Eglise Saint-Jacques is known for its beautiful interior woodwork and frescoes; the Cathedrale Sainte Peparate has a magnificent interior and a painting of Nice done in the seventeenth century. Finally, there is baroque Palais Lascaris, built in 1665. It is a city landmark and renowned for its elaborate and sumptuous interior ornamentation.
Nice tourist attractions also include numerous museums. One of these, the Palais Massena, is located right on the Promenade des Anglais. The palace was built in the mid-nineteenth century and is really more of a mansion than a palace, and today is the city Museum of Art and History. The Nice tourist attractions began attracting visitors in the seventeenth century, and artists have been among those visitors from the beginning. Most notably, it was the Impressionists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who flocked here to soak up the atmosphere of the sea and the incomparable luminescent light of Provence. There are several museums dedicated to these prominent artists, many of whom spent years in residence. The Matisse Museum is located in the neighborhood of Cimiez that the great artist called home. Also in this neighborhood is a wonderful Franciscan Monastery and some ancient Roman ruins.
One of the best attractions in Nice France to find dramatic views is the Colline du Chateau (Castle Hill). Only a few sections of the former castle remain, as it was destroyed in 1706. There are also the ruins of two churches from the eleventh and fifteenth centuries that now comprise an archaeological dig. The rest of this promontory that towers above the seaside at a height of 302 feet is a city park, and the panoramic views over the city and of the Mediterranean are beautiful.
Another of the notable Nice attractions is the Russian Cathedral. With its ornate onion domes, this Russian Orthodox Cathedral looks like it might have been plucked whole from St. Petersburg. It was commissioned and inaugurated in 1912 by Tsar Nicholas II, who was the last member of the Romanov royal family to rule Russia. The Russian aristocracy began coming here for the winter in the mid-nineteenth century, and many emigrated here to flee communism after the Bolshevik Revolution.