The southeastern tip of France is where you’ll find the city of Nice. Situated in the French Riviera, on the Mediterranean Sea, and at the foot of the Alps, Nice is easily one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Like my two day Paris itinerary, this itinerary will focus on providing a busy but enjoyable two days in a first class French city.
The itinerary consists of:
• Saint Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral;
• Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nice;
• Old Town of Nice;
• Opéra de Nice;
• Musée d’art Moderne et d’art Contemporain;
• Palais Lascaris;
• Matisse Museum;
Start your two day Nice tour at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral. The Saint Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral is recognised as a national monument of France and is the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedral in all of Western Europe. Built in the old Russian style of the early 1800s, the cathedral is also known for having modern architectural elements that make it distinctive. This includes its five domes, which represent Jesus and the four evangelists of the Orthodoxy. It’s a must-see for any lover of Russian Revival architecture.
Afterwards, head south to the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nice near the coast. This museum was built in 1878 as a mansion for a Ukrainian princess, and it later opened as a museum in 1928. With over 400 years of fine art in its collection, including artworks by the sculptor Rodin and revolutionary painter Picasso, prepare to spend at least two hours roaming the mansion’s halls.
At this time, you can either retreat to your hotel or head east to visit the Old Town of Nice, otherwise known as Vieux Nice. Skip this place if you don’t like crowds. But if you can spare a few hours to experience authentic Mediterranean culture on the pastel-hued buildings and cobblestone streets of the Old Town, it’s a nice place to sample the local meats, cheeses, crepes, and other delicacies. The French Riviera Blog calls it an ideal place to get lost in while enjoying the baroque Mediterranean vibe.
Keep heading east until you find the Opéra de Nice. This opera house hosts performances and concerts in the afternoon as well as in the evening. It’s currently home to the Ballet Nice Méditerrannée and the Nice Philharmonic Orchestra, both of which hold regular performances. Make sure to check the exact date and time for performances before you head here. This concludes your first day at the city of Nice.
Start your second day at the Musée d’art Moderne et d’art Contemporain or Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMAC). Open since 1990, this museum is a known hub of modern avant-garde art from the late ’50s to the present. This includes a large collection of artworks by European New Realists. An hour and thirty minutes should be enough to roam its galleries.
Head south to the Palais Lascaris. This absolutely gorgeous 17th century palace stands as a living tribute to baroque, aristocratic, old-world France and its obsession with classical music. Located in the Old Town of Nice, its over 500 historical musical instruments offer a one-of-a-kind experience for lovers of both music and history. Additionally, its intricate interiors alone are worth the visit.
Now it’s time to head way up north, all the way to the Matisse Museum. Built in the 17th century, the former Villa des Arenes now hosts one of the world’s largest collections of artworks by French painter Henri Matisse, who lived and worked in the city of Nice from 1917 to 1954. Hundreds of Matisse’s paintings, gouache illustrations, sculptures, photos, and illustrated books can be found here, along with almost 200 of his personal possessions.
With so much to offer in terms of culture and gorgeous sights, it’s no wonder that it has become a frequent destination for the celebrities and the world’s elite. Take for example Britain’s newest royal couple. A news article on the now Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle by Entertainment Daily discussed how her and Prince Harry chose to spend their New Year in Nice before getting married earlier this year. They stayed in a private residence in the city, and if you want to see what attracted the royal couple to the south of France, use this itinerary to explore the Mediterranean city of Nice.