Located on the beautiful French Riviera and boasting a beautiful Mediterranean climate, Nice is most often thought of as a beach destination. But the capital city of the Côte d’Azur offers tourists way more than just fun in the sun: its archaeological ruins and free museums are a major draw for history buffs and culture enthusiasts as well. Come explore this dynamic French city on a short holiday—its fine art, tasty cuisine, and delightful weather will give you a better understanding of why this city is called Nice la Belle, or Nice the Beautiful.
The region’s earliest known settlements can be traced back some 400,000 years, though the city itself was probably not founded by the Greeks of Massilia until about 350 BC. Get to know the city’s historical attractions by paying a visit to the Terra Amata Museum, where you’ll have an up-close look at relics dating back 230,000 years, then wander the narrow streets of Medieval Vieux Nice (Old Nice), where you’ll find such landmarks as the Palais de Justice, Opera de Nice, and Cathedrale Sainte Reparte de Nice. While you’re in the neighbourhood, don’t forget to check out the beautiful city views from the Colline du Chateau park, which houses the crumbling remains of a castle as well.
Nice makes the perfect city break for art lovers, as the museum boasts a wonderful selection of museums, most of which are free to the public. The Musée Matisse is the city’s premiere museum, showcasing the colourful paintings of Henri Matisse, who set up residency in Nice as a middle-aged man and continued living there for the rest of his life. Among the city’s other favoured art museums are the Musée Picasso, the Musée Renoir, the Musée Nationale Fernand Léger, and Musee d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (The Museum of Modern Art), which houses work from Andy Warhol, Jean Tinguely, and Niki de Saint-Phalle.
One of the most highly anticipated aspects of travel to France is the opportunity to try its renowned cuisine. While Nice does not disappoint in its selection of traditional French dishes, the city’s cuisine is also characterised by its Mediterranean influences, so expect to see plenty of seafood, fish, and fresh vegetables on the menu. Regional dishes you’ll want to try on your holiday include salade niçoise, ratatouille, soupe au pistou, pissaladiere (a tart topped with anchovies, onions, and olives), and the city’s most famous street food, socca (a hot and crispy chickpea pancake).
The international airport of Nice offers flights to and from the UK, including direct flights from Heathrow International in London. The flight duration is a short hour and a half, and can run as cheap as £68 on British Airways depending on when you book. If you fancy a trip to this historical city—and great beach break to boot—find ways to save by auctioning off your unwanted goods on eBay and selling back your outdated electronics and tech gadgets on musicMagpie.
—In collaboration with musicMagpie.com