Old Town/Vieux Nice
Nice is a coastal city on the French Riviera. It’s one of France’s top tourist destinations. Nice has long been popular with gay travellers. You’ll find a lively gay scene centred around several bars and clubs.
The English upper classes made Nice a tourist destination before tourism became a vast industry. Nice has been geared towards tourism since the 18th-century. Around four people visit Nice every year.
A long coastline of excellent beaches, dynamic cuisine, Baroque churches, Belle Epoque architecture and a flawless Mediterranean climate make Nice a big draw.
The Promenade des Anglais is named after the English nobility who helped put Nice on the map. It covers five miles of Nice’s coast. There are many quaint shops to explore, including 19th-century patisseries and markets selling classic and very colourful Provencal foods. The Promenade des Anglais is considered to be France’s most attractive stretch of coastline.
Keep an eye out for the art-deco Palais de la Méditerranée and the Grand Hotel – Queen Victoria’s favourite hotel in Nice, no less. As a matter of fact, when Queen Victoria was on her deathbed, she wondered if a trip to Nice might cure her ills.
Promenade des Anglais gets very busy during peak season. The bars and restaurants will be packed. Advanced booking recommended.
The old town is comprised of winding alleyways filled with shops, bars and restaurants. It has an Italianate feel, which is understandable considering Nice was part of Italy until 1860. The Place du Palais de Justice is the central square of Nice’s old town.
You’ll find the Cours Saleya in old town. It’s a bustling market that’s popular with locals. A good place to go for a taste of Provencal life.
For a glimpse into France’s distant past, head to Palais Lascaris. It’s an 18th-century palace that houses many cultural marvels from French history. For another culture fix, head to Matisse’s House. It was the home to Nice’s most famous artist in the 1920s and 1930s.
Nice has plenty of gay bars and gay clubs to explore. La Cave Wilson is a cabaret bar that attracts a big gay crowd. It opens at 6 pm. A good place for a civlised early evening cocktail. L’insta Bar, formerly Bar Bitch, has a spacious terrace. A good place for an afternoon drink and a bit of people watching.
If you’re looking to make a night of it, Le 6 is one of the longest-running gay clubs in Nice. It’s especially busy on weekends. Le Glam is probably the most popular gay bar in the French Riviera. It’s where you’re likely to end up on a gay night out in Nice.
Nice is a great place for foodies. Salad Nicoise is a notable local dish. Ratatouille is also a local favourite. Socca is an unmissable street food. It’s a thin pancake with a soft filling – an ideal light snack.
Rose is a particular specialty in Nice. You can buy an excellent bottle of dry rose in Nice for very little. Nice has been a wine-producing area since antiquity. The Phonecians were probably the first wine producers in Nice. Be sure to try a fruity Provence red with a meal.
Nice Opera House is an unmissable attraction. It’s such an elegant building. You may wish to go to the opera in the evening. If not, make sure you walk past it. Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate in Nice dates back to the 11th-century but the current building was established in the 17th-century. It’s the spiritual heart of Nice. The building is named after Saint Reparata, Nice’s patron saint.