Top French Cities - Nice at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit the Nice Convention and Visitors Office at

City region: Côtes d'Azur / Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Population & what they are called: 343,895 inhabitants (2014 census), called Niçois

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 8 h 30 min (296 miles) via the A6 and A7 autoroute du Soleil

  • by train: about 5 h 30 min by TGV from the Gare de Lyon

  • by plane: 1 direct flight from NYC every day and from Paris 30 times a day

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Francis Lay, musician

  • J. M. G. Le Clézio, writer and Nobel Prize laureate in literature

  • Simone Veil, first president of the European Parliament

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • Nice's ancient past is immersed in its present: Terra Amata is an archeological site with evidence of very early use of fire and right on the edge of town is the Grotte du Lazaret, a cave with vestiges of prehistoric human occupation.

  • France's first city to have been granted a wine-producing AOC [Protected Designation of Origin] label across its municipality.

Notable sites:

  • Vieux Nice – a lively commercial area of narrow streets little changed since the 1700s

  • Cathédrale Orthodoxe Russe St-Nicolas – one of the biggest Russian Orthodox churches outside Russia

  • Observatoire de Nice – when it became operational in 1888, it was the world's largest telescope, still in use today

Top annual events:

  • Carnaval de Nice – Carnival, light and flower parades held around Mardi Gras (

  • Nice Jazz Festival – concerts by prestigious jazz musicians (

  • Festival Crossover – electronic and alternative music festival (

Most notable museums:

  • Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (MAMAC) – avant-garde art from the 1950s to the present, including works from the Nice School, New Realism and Pop Art (

  • Musée Matisse – the only museum dedicated to – and created in cooperation with – the artist (

  • Musée Masséna – dedicated to the history of the Riviera, set in a belle-époque building

Culinary specialties:

  • pissaladière – onion tart with olives and anchovies

  • ratatouille – a concoction with tomatoes as a foundation for sautéed vegetables and herbs

  • salade niçoise – traditionally made with tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, olives and tuna and/or anchovies with an olive oil dressing

Local wines & spirits:

  • AOC Bellet wine – one of the oldest vineyards in France yields remarkable white, red and rosé wines


  • Cours Saleya – daily food and flower markets, except on Mondays when it's all about antiques

  • Caprice Vintage – Nice’s number one vintage shop, focusing on 1920-1950 (

  • Antique District – over 100 antique stores in the Port

Most popular night spots:

  • Vieux Nice – plenty of good animated bars and pubs

  • Shapko Bar – live music bar with jazz, soul, rock and more

  • Ma Nolan's – a rowdy Irish pub with live music

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Promenade des Anglais – the famous seaside boulevard along which locals hike, run and bike

  • beaches – four miles of strand, both public and private, right in the city

  • Parc du château – the historic Castle Hill park with amazing city and ocean views, especially at sunset

Local industries:

  • Sophia Antipolis – a nearby technology park houses companies in the fields of computing, electronics, pharmacology and biotechnology

  • Eco-Valley – one of France's largest areas (25,000 acres) dedicated to sustainable development

  • medical research – University Hospital of Nice is very active in cutting-edge medical research and innovation due in part to its involvement in information and communication technology for the health sector and ambitious projects such as Pasteur 2, the largest hospital construction project in France

In Pop Culture:

  • Riviera – the 2017 British TV drama/mini-series is filmed in and around Nice

  • Ronin – the infamous car chase and street scenes in this 1998 action movie with Robert De Niro and Jean Reno was filmed on location in Nice

  • Magic in the Moonlight – Woody Allen’s 2014 romantic comedy was filmed in part in Nice

Major 2020 development:

  • Nice, capital of the French Riviera will now be accessible via daily non-stop flights from New York/Newark starting May 2, 2020 with United Airlines

About Top French Cities -

Top French Cities is an association of 29 cities, from regional capitals like Bordeaux to important towns like Avignon and Versailles. They are perfect for young travelers, families and anyone else looking for fun and authentic French experiences that will fit their budget. Most of these cities are university towns with a youthful atmosphere, but all of them reflect the heritage and distinctive flavors of the regions to which they belong. Many are forward-looking too, with historic buildings repurposed to house contemporary art and activity centers like Les Docks in Marseille. Many have created or integrated new, modern museums to contrast with their classical, architectural heritage, like in Nimes, where the cutting-edge Museum of Roman Civilization (Musée de la Romanité) is located across from the historic Roman amphitheater, or in Nantes, where whimsical mechanical creatures are being created, or in the UNESCO World Heritage Site concrete city of Le Havre.


Marion Fourestier
Atout France-The France Tourism Development Agency