Where to Stay in Nice: Best Areas and Hotels

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 for first-time tourists, shopping, nightlife, family, budget.

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?

See more about France: Where to Stay in Lyon

Tips for choosing best areas to stay in Nice

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 choices. You can expect some amazing views from beachfront hotels out to the Mediterranean. 

If you’re looking for the best places to stay in Nice France near the beach, look into areas like Le Vieux-Nice (Old Town), Le Port, Promenade des Anglais, and Carre D Or.

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 neighborhoods before you need transport. 

💖 Best Area:Le Vieux-Nice (Old Town)
💎 Best luxury hotel:Palais Saleya Boutique hôtel
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Les Suites Massena
💰 Best budget hotel:Albert 1er

>> 🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN NICE <<

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

Finance is something that often becomes the prime reason for selecting the best location to stay in Nice France. 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 neighborhoods.

1. Old Town, where to stay in Nice for first timer tourists

Le Vieux-Nice (Old Town), where to stay in Nice for first timer tourists

If you are visiting Nice for the first time, the historic Old Town (Le Vieux-Nice in French) is the best to stay. It’s packed with the city’s top sights, historic tenements, churches, squares, art galleries, restaurants, bars, and shops.

The historic Old Town below Castle Hill is a lovely neighborhood. Its cobbled streets, pastel-colored buildings, little shops, and pretty squares create a unique atmosphere.

Every day, the Cours Saleya Flower Market adds a splash of additional color 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 are looking for the best area to stay in Nice for tourists, you’re visiting Nice for the first time, history is one of your primary interests, your budget allows you to prioritize location over price.

Best places to stay in Nice Old Town:

luxury hotel: Palais Saleya Boutique hôtel This 18th-century building is set in the Palais de Justice square at the entrance to the Old Town, within walking distance from Promenade des Anglais, Cours Saleya, the viewpoint of the Castle Hill of Nice, Place Massena, the Coulée Verte with its playground and fountains, and variety of bars, restaurants and evening entertainment.

mid-range hotel: Les Suites Massena This bed and breakfast is set just 90 m away from Massena Square, close to MAMAC, Allianz Riviera Stadium, Nice Opéra, Nice Town Hall, Albert 1st Gardens, Verdure Theatre, Cours Saleya Flower Market, and Nice Forum. it offers rooms with a private bathroom with free toiletries, a hairdryer, and free wifi.

budget hotel: Hôtel Le G (ex Le Genève) This 3-star budget hotel is set in the heart of Nice, near the Port, Palais des Congrès, Nice’s Old Town, the Acropolis Exhibition Centre, Garibaldi Tram Station, Nice Ville Train Station, and easily access Nice Côte-d’Azur Airport by tram.

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN NICE OLD TOWN

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2. Le Port, a trendy area to stay in Nice

The trendy area of 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. The history of the Port can be seen in the Terra Amata museum to the East of the area and by the Genoese architecture buildings on the Port front.

Le Port also sits below Castle Hill and within this district, you will find a house where Napoleon once lived from March to December 1794.

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 has many trendy cafes, seafood restaurants, bars, antique shops and there is a flea market every day of the week except Monday nearby.

Notre Dame du Port sits in this neighborhood, a place of prayer for sailors since the middle of the 19th Century. The church is located on the Île de Beauté square on the northern bank of the port. The gay-friendly street of Rue Bonaparte is also nearby. 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.

Best places to stay in Nice Port:

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN NICE PORT

3. Jean Médecin (New Town), where to stay in Nice for shopping

Jean Médecin (also known as New Town) is one of the best areas for shopping lovers. It is home to many designers of French fashion, department stores, retail shops around the Avenue Jean-Médecin, and the center of the New Town, Place Massena.

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.

For shopping, go to Galeries Lafayette and Nicetoile shopping center, a 100 store shopping center with lots of dining; for music and drinks, check out the iconic Hotel Le Meridien, Le Kosma, and Le Glam.

If you want to make sure you don’t miss a single shop, check the area around Avenue Jean Medecin and the neighboring streets of Pastorelli, Gioffredo, Hôtel des Postes, and Notre Dame.

The French are known for the 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 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 You enjoy shopping in high-quality boutiques, you’re looking for the best place to stay in Nice for nightlife, You want a base on the Mediterranean Coast.

Best places to stay in Jean Médecin (New Town):

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN JEAN MEDECIN

4. Garibaldi, a great location with easy access other places in Nice

Garibaldi, an easy access location to stay in Nice

Garibaldi Square ((Place Garibaldi) 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 pedestrianized. 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. You will find the Cafe de Turin, the Chapel of the Holy Sepulcher, the National Theatre, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, and the Muséum d’Histoire naturelle de Nice.

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 showing 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.

Best places to stay in Garibaldi:

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN GARIBALDI

5. Carre d’Or, an exclusive area to stay in Nice

 Carre d’Or, an exclusive area to stay in Nice
Apart’hotel Ajoupa in Carre d’Or

If you are looking for an exclusive district in Nice close to the beach, shopping, and the Old Town, you will find it in Carre d’Or. It is in the heart of the city and bordered with the Victor Hugo Boulevard to the north, the Promenade des Anglais south, 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 neighborhood as well as being an important commercial and tourist district.

The Victor Hugo neighborhood is where you will find impressive old buildings and beautiful gardens but another area is pedestrianized 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.

Carre d’Or has well-connected public transportation, within walking distance to the tramway on Place Massena, and the main Nice-Ville train station and Old Town.

Stay in Carre d’Or if You enjoy exclusive areas away from crowds, Access to other popular areas in Nice is easy, A pedestrianized area appeals to you.

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN CARRE DOR

6. Promenade des Anglais, where to stay in Nice for beach hotels

Promenade des Anglais, where to stay in Nice for beach hotels

If you are looking for a place to relax near the beaches with sea views accommodation, look o further than Promenade des Anglais (Prom by locals or Walkway of the English). It was built by upper-class English tourists in the 19th century.

Promenade des Anglais is a 7 kilometers long iconic seafront, 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.

The promenade is lined with beautiful landmarks like Hôtel Negresco, the art-deco Palais de la Méditerranée, and Niçoise sculptor Sabine Géraudie’s giant iron sculpture La Chaise de SAB.

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 big hotels, luxury apartment blocks, casinos, and fabulous restaurants. 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.

Best places to stay in Promenade des Anglais:

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN PROMENADE DES ANGLAIS

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 favorite 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, the residential area of Cimiez still offers the chance of peace and relaxation. It is a neighborhood 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.

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN CIMIEZ

8. Libération, center location, good shopping, transport

Libération, center location, good shopping, transport
Hotel Villa Rose near Libération

This area was renamed Liberation in 1944 to honor 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 Liberation Market, an 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 labor force to help Saint Lambert’s development and if you want a city center base, you could do worse than Liberation.

Liberation’s architecture is a mix of old and new. Belle Epoque and Art Deco are common architectural styles in Liberation. The tree-lined streets have plenty of old villas and mansions.

Transport links are excellent whether bus, tramway 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 center, Quality shopping is important to you, Good transport links are a priority.

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN LIBERATION

9. Mont Boron, where to stay in Nice for hiking

Mont Boron, where to stay in Nice for hiking
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 are 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 you like hiking; 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.

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN MONT BORON

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 favorite because of cheap accommodation, but not exclusively so. You will find good boutique hotels in the Gambetta neighborhood while the 20th-century 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. Check out the Basilique Notre-Dame de Nice, a famous nightspot L’Octopussy, and try the Italian cuisine at Le Terre Del Sud.

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.

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN GAMBETTA

Check out my virtual tour about the best places to stay in Nice in this video:

Where to stay in Nice: Best Areas to Stay in Nice, France

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. 

See more: Where to Stay in Marseille

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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