Old Town Nice, as a port city, has been attracting visitors for millennia. Today's visitors can see the same views as Greek settlers, Roman soldiers, and medieval royalty. That's not to say that Vieux Nice (as it's known in French) is run down or out-of-date. This neighborhood stands at the bustling heart of a thriving city.
As you stroll down the narrow streets of Vieux Nice, you'll find all of the quintessential of a charming city-old buildings, Baroque churches, narrow streets, and local businesses. Many people have passed time on their vacations walking around, poking into the shops, stopping to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee, or lingering over a light lunch in the Vieux Port. You'll also find some of the best restaurants in the city in this neighborhood, many serving fresh seafood and other traditional Niçoise flavors. Along with the restaurants, you'll find some interesting shops.
While many explore Vieux Nice on foot, you also can sit back and enjoy the scenery. Several options are available for guided tours that point out all of the Old Town Nice attractions. Open-air buses depart from the visitor information office on a regular schedule throughout the year. After popping on some headphones, you'll hear a full narration in English (or French if you prefer). Walking tours and even Segway tours are also available to show you the history and character of Old Town Nice.
You also can step aboard the mini-train for a relaxing and memorable tour. Passengers step aboard the comfortable train at the seaside station just across from the Hotel Méridien. The 30-minute excursion includes many of the favorite sights in town, including the Colline du Chateau. This beautiful park, filled with walking trails and waterfalls, is located where the city's medieval fortress once stood.
The train tour also includes the chance to see the Cours Saleya Market, one of the most visited places in the Vieux Port. On Monday, the outdoor market is a one-of-a-kind flea market with antiques and other things you can't find just anywhere. The other six mornings of the week, you'll find the Cours Saleya Market bursting with blooms, as it becomes a flower and farmers market. With sunny days and year-round warm weather, Nice and surrounding communities in Provence are especially suited for growing flowers and fresh produce. On summer evenings, the market comes to life with live music and outdoor performances.
Even if your plans of when to go don't include summer, you can still experience the entertaining side of the Vieux Port after the sun has set. Many of the nightclubs are concentrated in this energetic neighborhood, as are plenty of places to grab a cocktail and hang out with the locals. With many hotels in walking distance, you won't be far away from a good night's sleep wherever you choose to have fun.
After the sun comes up again, Old Town Nice is a much quieter place, If you're looking to connect with the city's rich culture, you could make a stop at one of the historic sites in this part of Nice. Palais Lascaris, built in the 1600s, has been transformed into a stunning art museum. At La Place Garibaldi, at the edge of Vieux Nice, you can stroll through a place filled with stately buildings dating from the time of Napoleon.