Discover Nice City Centre in a Day

Photo by Paul Shawcross

Highlights and top sights of Downtown Nice on foot or cycle

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This tour of the exciting modern Nice City Centre includes everything just outside the Old City. (Vieux Nice can also be included if you have time). It begins on the world renowned Promenade des Anglais, flanked by the beautiful blue of the Baie des Anges and leads to the impressive place Massena. Here you can indulge yourself in the designer boutiques if you so wish. The Itinerary finishes on the expansive place Garibaldi only a short distance from the impressively named Bassin Lympia.

Before you begin: Visit the Tourist Office on the Promenade des Anglais and obtain a map of the town.

Almost everything included in the itinerary is on the flat so walking is easy. However, it is quite a climb up to Château Hill (lift/elevator or Tourist Train) if you choose to include this. You could also hire a Vélo Bleu.

Nice City Centre Itinerary

Turn left out of the Tourist Office and head along the Promenade des Anglais for about 200 metres until you reach the Jardin Albert 1st. Walk through this pleasant Italian style garden to the city’s hub, the largely pedestrianised Place Massena. This arcaded square with its recently installed (2011), and controversial, Apollo fountain is complemented by some unusual street furniture, the Seven Thinkers.

===> Explore more local itineraries via the RELATED links below.

Place Garibaldi

The Ligne d’Azur Tramway passes through the square. Hop on to get to the Tête au Carrée (tram stop Acropolis) or walk 800m along Promenade du Paillon. After admiring, or not admiring, depending upon your point of view about contemporary architecture, the Square Head, cross Boulevard Risso into Rue Barla and turn right into Avenue de la République. After about 100m you will find yourself in Place Garibaldi. This pleasant square was named after the father of Italian Unification Guiseppe Garibaldi who was born here and wanted Nice to remain part of Italy.

Château Hill

Where you head for next very much depends upon whether you wish to go into Vieux Nice. If you choose to do so, exit via the SE corner of Place Garibaldi and explore the old town. (You can make use of my Old Nice Walking Tour in reverse order to do this.) There are two ways to reach Château Hill from here. You can climb up via the Montée du Château at the eastern end of Rue Rossetti or, much easier, especially on a hot day, leave the Old Town via the Cours Saleya. Go through the arches of the Quai des États Unis and turn left. At end of the Rue des Ponchettes you will find, probably to your great relief, a lift or elevator.

Another route is to go back into Place Garibaldi and exit via the SW corner along Rue Cassini. This will bring you to Bassin Lympia which is the Port of Nice. Walk round the foot of the Hill past the War Memorial to the elevator on Rue des Ponchettes. Once up on top of Château Hill don’t miss the views of Bassin Lympia and Vieux Nice.

The not very PC Colonel Coventry

If you happen to be in Nice City Centre, or near Château Hill at noon don’t be alarmed if you hear a loud explosion. This is to commemorate the firing of a cannon everyday on the orders of a certain, not very politically correct, Colonel Coventry. See Coventry’s Cannon.


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