Where to Stay in Nice: Top 10 Areas

The South of France established itself as a major holiday destination long before air travel and where to stay in Nice and similar resorts on the Mediterranean required knowledge of the city. In days gone by, it was not available online and travel agents’ expertise was important in finding the best areas to stay in Nice.

Nice is the best choice on the French Riviera because it is the cheapest resort in the area while still having all the things that attract tourists in the first place. You may not be staying on the beachfront but does that matter?

Where To Stay in Nice: Tips & Info

Nice is a city of over 300,000. It is famous for its cuisine, traditional French cuisine with other Mediterranean, especially Italian, influences. With good wine on every menu, fine dining is available throughout the city.

Nice was popular with French nobility two centuries ago so there are reminders of days gone by alongside modern developments. These days, its airport brings visitors from other parts of France but also from the rest of Europe, the Middle East and North America.

There is plenty to do for all, old and young. If you are looking for budget accommodation, you will not be disappointed while those looking for luxury hotels have plenty of choice.  You can expect some amazing views from beachfront hotels out to the Mediterranean. 

Mid Range hotels may not be centrally located in the city centre but Nice’s transport infrastructure can get you anywhere in the city or down the coastline easily. You have the choice of bus, tram or rail but taxis are expensive, so beware!

Nice is the fifth largest city in France so walking is only really an option in particular neighbourhoods before you need transport. 

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Where To Stay in Nice: 10 Best Areas to Stay in Nice

Finance is something that often becomes the prime reason for selecting where to stay in Nice. Cost can take some places out of the equation. However, that does not prohibit anyone from enjoying Nice’s famous attractions. The Old Town in this French city is worth looking at but so are several other neighbourhoods.

Best areas to stay in Nice map

1. Vieux Nice (Old Town), where to stay in Nice for first timers

Vieux Nice (Old Town), best area to stay in Nice for first timers

Old Town below Castle Hill is a lovely neighbourhood. Its cobbled streets and pastel-coloured buildings create a unique atmosphere. Every day, the Cours Saleya Flower Market adds a splash of additional colour while the cafes and bars offer a chance for a drink. Just watching the world go by in Le Vieux Nice is fun.

If you head to Parc de la Colline du Château, you will get great views over the city and out to sea.  Place du Palais de Justice, Palais Lascaris and the Opera House are other landmarks to look out for.  The Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate is Roman Catholic and was finished in 1685. English de Jesus, the Jesuit School, is from a similar time.

The oldest part of Nice is actually a century older but the baroque architecture you see today is largely 17th and 18th Century. The Musee des Beaux-Arts was once a private mansion belonging to a Russian princess and opened as a museum in 1928. It exhibits four centuries of paintings by local artist Jules Cheret and other French painters.

Stay in Le Vieux Nice if:

  • You want an intimate yet busy neighbourhood.
  • History is one of your primary interests.
  • Your budget allows you to prioritise location over price.
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2. Le Port, one of the best budget-friendly areas to stay in Nice

Le Port is immediately east of Le Vieux-Nice. Its name is actually Port Lympia and it was the King of Sardinia, Charles Emmanuel III who began its construction in the middle of the 18th Century. Le Port also sits below Castle Hill and within this district, you will find a house where Napoleon once lived.

This area is a great place just to walk. You can get halfway along the breakwater towards the lighthouse on foot. As you walk, you will see plenty of activity with ferries coming and going from Corsica and Sardinia as well as the huge cruise ships which visit Nice and the exclusive St. Tropez. 

Le Port is known for its antique shops and there is a flea market every day of the week except Monday nearby. Notre Dame du Port sits in this neighbourhood, a place of prayer for sailors since the middle of the 19th Century. If you are staging elsewhere in Nice, trams will get you to Le Port and back out.

Stay in le Port if:

  • You want a coastal location.
  • The activity of a port appeals to you.
  • You enjoy history and the chance of just walking around.
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3. Jean Médecin (New Town), where to stay in Nice for shopping

As Nice expanded from its early days, it did so hugging the coast. Jean Medecin offers you the best beaches locally while also having many hotels, restaurants, and high-quality shopping options. It provides the ideal seaside holiday that is a little upmarket without getting uncomfortable in huge crowds.

The French are known for their impressive wide avenues that they built in most of their colonies, and they built them in the New Town of Nice as well. Jean Medecin is also home to impressive museums, as is Nice as a whole. 

In the afternoon, try a stroll down Promenade du Paillon before thinking about the night. The New Town has a vibrant nightlife. You can begin with fine dining then head to any of several nightspots for dancing and live music. 

Stay in Jean Médecin (New Town) if:

  • A good nightlife is important to you on holiday.
  • You enjoy shopping in high-quality boutiques.
  • You want a base on the Mediterranean Coast.
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4. Garibaldi, a great location with easy access other places in Nice

Garibaldi, an easy access location to stay in Nice

Garibaldi Square is an important part of Nice’s road network and one of the oldest in the city. Antonio Spinelli designed the square that is not fully pedestrianised. Indeed, there is a tramline running through it and Boulevard Jean Jaures, Avenue de la République, Rue Cassini and Rue Catherine Segurane running off it.

It means it is an ideal location for those wanting easy access to other parts of Nice. For example, Le Vieux Nice and Le Port are within walking distance so you don’t actually need the tram or bus. Beautiful baroque buildings line the square that gets its name because of the statue of Garibaldi.

Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian soldier and the architecture has a real Italian feel. The Square is busy but it is worth sitting back with a drink just to watch the daily activity. You will hear street music and large TV screens in lively bars show live sport regularly.

Head to the Museum of Modern Art and go to its rooftop terrace if you want 360-degree views of the whole area.

Stay in Garibaldi if:

  • You want a convenient base in Nice and are not concerned with crowds.
  • Watching the world go by appeals to you.
  • You don’t need to be on the beach.
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5. Carre d’Or, an exclusive area to stay in Nice

Carre d’Or Nice
Apart’hotel Ajoupa in Carre d’Or

If you are looking for an exclusive district in Nice, you will find it in Carre d’Or.  It is in the heart of the city between Jean Medecin Avenue to the east and Gambetta Boulevard to the west. Real estate in Carre d’Or is expensive because this is a residential neighbourhood as well as being an important commercial and tourist district.

The Victor Hugo neighbourhood is where you will find impressive old buildings and beautiful gardens but another area is pedestrianised with cafes, shops and restaurants. There are not many hotels, but each provides top quality. Marble Cross is a monument that dates back to the 16th Century. 

Several of Nice’s most famous streets and avenues are within Carre d’Or that you should certainly visit if you cannot afford it as a base.

Stay in Carre d’Or if:

  • You enjoy exclusive areas away from crowds.
  • Access to other popular areas in Nice is easy.
  • A pedestrianised area appeals to you.
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6. Promenade des Anglais, a laid-back area to stay in Nice

Promenade des Anglais Nice

Promenade des Anglais, the 4-mile promenade of the English is an iconic route, stretching from the city’s airport in the west to the Quai des États-Unis (United States Quay) on the east. Its naming came about because of its popularity with 18th Century English aristocracy who wanted a better winter climate.

The promenade itself was paid for by members of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in 1820 when there had been an influx of beggars into Nice in an especially bad winter. At the time, Nice was under the patronage of the Counts of Savoy and did not become a part of France until 1860, the year the locals gave it its current name.

It is popular with walkers, especially families on Sundays, as well as cyclists and skateboarders. On one side you have lovely architecture, grand homes that are now hotels, restaurants and shops. On the other side is the Mediterranean. 

Stay in Promenade des Anglais if:

  • You want great sea views.
  • Staying in one of the most famous promenades in France interests you.
  • Local amenities are important to you.
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7. Cimiez, where to stay in Nice for families

If you are visiting Nice on a family holiday, Cimiez, an old Ronan city, is the first place to look. It is rich in history and was a favourite of the English Queen Victoria. Nobles and aristocrats from throughout France and beyond chose Cimiez for their holidays as a great place to relax.

Today, Cimiez still offers the chance of peace and relaxation. It is a neighbourhood of elegance at every turn, with lovely parks and impressive villas. It is an extremely safe part of the city with plenty of good restaurants.

Cimiez has fine museums and there is a chance to wander through ancient ruins in the  Musée Archéologique de Nice-Cimiez. The largest collection of the work of the French painter Henri Matisse is in the Musee Matisse. Musee Marc Chagall contains the work of this other famous French painter.

Stay in Cimiez if:

  • You are on holiday with your family.
  • History, especially that of the Romans, interests you.
  • You want a quiet, relaxing base.
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8. Libération, a great base in Nice for shopping

Libération Nice
Hotel Villa Rose near Libération

This area was renamed Liberation in 1944 to honour resistance fighters after World War II. Formerly called Saint-Lambert, its heart is Place du General de Gaulle but the locals call it “La Libé.” The open-air market is popular, held near South Station, Gare du Sud whose design was inspired by the work of Gustave Eiffel.

This was an agricultural district a French nobleman, Thiole, built a lovely villa with gardens in the 19th Century which subsequently became a school. There was an immigrant labour force to help Saint Lambert’s development and if you want a city centre base, you could do worse than Liberation.

Liberation’s architecture is a mix of old and new.  The tree-lined streets have plenty of old villas and mansions. Transport links are excellent whether bus, tram or train. You don’t need to go far for shopping, whether it is the market or the quality shops.  Likewise, you have plenty of good restaurants to choose from.

Stay in Libération if:

  • You want to be in the city centre.
  • Quality shopping is important to you.
  • Good transport links are a priority.
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9. Mont Boron, with a great view over Nice Le Port

 Mont Boron Nice
source: Fred Romero

Mont Boron is a hill district east of Nice from where you have great views down over Nice Le Port. The superstar Elton John owns one of the lovely villas in Mont Boron. At the very top of the hill stands the 16th Century Fort du Mont Alban. This hill was very important strategically in years gone by.

The whole area is great for picnics so it obviously attracts families wanting to enjoy a lovely setting including a park full of woods.  The views further east of the village of Villefranche-sur-Mer and the Cap-Ferrat Peninsula. Are equally stunning. You are 650 feet above sea level, more than enough to give you panoramas. 

You can walk up the hill if you wish although it may not be practical for families with small children. You can take transport and there are several routes down including one into Villefranche. 

Stay in Mont Boron if:

  • The idea of panoramic views each day is attractive.
  • You can find a good option for families.
  • You are not interested in being in the heart of Nice or the beach.
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10. Gambetta, where to stay in Nice on a budget

Gambetta is just a small district in the west of Nice which has a Mediterranean shoreline to the train station. It is small but lively with plenty of accommodation for all budgets. Its appeal is a result of the beach, plenty of things to do, good shopping and a range of restaurants.

It is a backpacker favourite because of cheap accommodation, but not exclusively so. You will find good boutique hotels in the Gambetta neighborhood while the Hotel Negresco matches most places in the city.

The art and history museum, Musee Massena, is in Gambetta which has some fine architecture to admire. 

Stay in Gambetta if:

  • You want access to the beach.
  • Your budget is such that you need relatively cheap accommodation.
  • Access to the train station is useful.
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What Is the Best Area to Stay in Nice, France?

The Old Town (Le Vieux-Nice) is a great location to make your base to enjoy the city. The cobblestone streets, lovely architecture and great shopping are just some of the attractions. Le Port is within easy walking distance while it has its own frontage onto the beaches.

Is Nice France a Walkable City?

You will be able to walk around neighborhoods but Nice is a large city. If you want to see the whole range of Nice’s attractions, you must plan on taking at least some transport. If you just want to see the Old Town and beach, by all means just walk.

Where Can I Sleep in Nice?

There is plenty of choice in Nice. If you are on a strict budget, try this guesthouse, La Maioun or Meyerbeer Beach. If money is no object, then you can look at luxury places like Le Meridien or Hotel Negresco both on the Promenade des Anglais.  

Is Nice Expensive for Tourists?

Everything is relative. Nice is not in the category of mass tourist venues found throughout the Mediterranean but it is the cheapest place on the exclusive French Riviera. Book a mid-range hotel like the 3-star Hotel de France and go from there for a memorable break. 

Conclusion

The French Riviera is a hugely popular Meditteranean location and its accessibility for the huge population of Europe makes its main city, Nice, worth serious consideration. Flight times of no more than 2 hours bring the whole of Western Europe within reach of Nice, even if it is just for a long weekend. 

Nice offers something for everyone no matter their budget. The cuisine is just one of the things that help Nice stand out. You will find excellent shopping while children will never tire of the beach. The high season is busy but the relatively mild winters mean that Nice is worth consideration in most months of the year.

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