Vieux Nice, or Old Nice, is literally the old quarter of Nice and has very Italian feel to it. Not surprising really as until 1860 Nice, and indeed the whole County of Nice, was actually part of Italy. Triangular and located at the eastern end of the Promenade des Anglais is just beyond the Jardin Albert 1st. If you’ve only a short time in this fascinating city, then my Old Town itinerary will give you a true flavour of what Nice is all about – have fun.
Before you begin: Start your itinerary by calling at the Tourist Office on the Promenade des Anglais and obtain town plan.
Vieux Nice is flat so walking is easy although there is quite a climb up to Château Hill (lift/elevator or Tourist Train available) if you choose to include this in your walk. Check out my Nice City Centre itinerary for the best way to do that.
From the Tourist Office walk along the Promenade des Anglais onto the Quai des États Unis.
Enter Vieux Nice through the colonnade. This leads you across Rue de la Ponchette and straight into the amazing Cours Saleya where there is a market every day of the week. Walk towards the eastern end of the Cours Saleya, passing the wonderful Baroque façade of the Chapelle de la Miséricord and you will arrive at Place Charles Felix. The yellow fronted building opposite, is where Matisse lived from 1921 -1938.
On your left is the place de la Poissonerie leading to the Rue de la Poissonerie. Notice that the street signs are all dual language. The Place de la Poissonerie is the Plassa Pescaria in Nissart, the old Occitan language of the region.
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Continue along the Rue de la Poissonerie and look up to your right and you will see a bas-relief of Adam and Eve dated 1584, for some reason, threatening each other with clubs. Turn right into Rue du Préfecture and then immediately left into the Rue Droite. Ahead on your right you can check out the Baroque façade of the Église St-Jacques or Gésu.
From the Place Rossetti head east along rue Rossetti and take Rue Droite which is the third turning on the left. Soon on the left you see the Palais Lascaris, now a museum (free entry). Continue till you arrive in the Place St-François on the edge of Vieux Nice. There is a Fish Market held here every morning (except Monday) overlooked by the recently restored Tour de L’Horlage. A church dedicated to St François de Paule used to be here but was relocated during the 18th century. It can be seen in Rue St-François leading from the western end of the Cours Saleya.
Leave Place St-François by the Rue Pairolière passing several places offering the famous Socca. Leave the Old Town and discover the recently refurbished Place Garibaldi complete with a statue of the great man.
If by now you are ready for some refreshment then there is the famous Café de Turin on place Garibaldi. Or if you prefer there are the Socca specialists on Rue Pairolière. If you choose to eat in the Old Town then Place Rossetti radiates a great atmosphere with several restaurants. You could even head back to the Cours Saleya where you are spoiled for choice.
To book a suitable hotel or other accommodation in or around Nice, you can use the map below, which shows current prices for hotels and apartments. If you wish to book further afield, then just enlarge the map (+/-) to see more properties or, if you have somewhere particular in mind, enter your preferred resort/town/village in the ‘Where are you going?’ box.