My first visit to nice was in the early 80s. I travelled from Paris to Nice on the TGV and was prepared to experience the "South of France", the "French Riviera" before travelling on to Italy. In those days it was a matter was walked from the training station with my Let's Go book in hand and looking for a cheap hotel. I found one, and luckily it was a few blocks from the train station and one should never under estimate just how many trains pass through Nice. Quite a few.
It was a walk along Avenue Jean Médecin, a few blocks down towards the water. Arriving at the Galleries Lafayette store Rue Massena meets Avenue Jean Médecin. Straight leads to the water, and turning right onto Rue Masséna, a pedestrian streets, leads towards and outdoor cafes and bars.
Rue Masséna is full of locals and tourists and on a hot summer night there is a great buzz in the air.
Don't disregard the restaurants either as a few of them do very good meals.
Heading down to the water and you cross the large and very busy Promenade des Anglais to reach the waterfront walkway. Watch for the lights. I have walked across this road, sometimes with too much confidence. I know from driving along it, after being clogged in traffic on the narrow streets of Nice, driving fast on the Promenande des Anglais is a way of finally getting going!
In later years Karen and I would fly into Nice. For a number of years Air Canada operated flights Vancouver-Paris-Nice, but those stopped and now it has meant catching a flight with an European airline.
We find Nice to be a handy place to land and pick up our car and head out to places in France or Italy. Despite being the 5th largest city in France we have found the airport to be an easy airport to navigate, Also, it is one of those airports that is right in the town so there is no long 40 minute commute or so to get to the city. Now Nice is a place we visit when we are in the area, or it is an arrive and departure destination. We tend to stay up in St. Paul de Vence and then come down into Nice for some nightlife or shopping.
Nice - See the Water
I say Nice is a place to see the water, and walk along the beach, but we would not recommend Nice as a great beach. I remember how surprised I was to find the beach one of small rocks as opposed to great sand. The small pebbles are foot killers and if you rent chair at one of the private beaches -- a nice way to enjoy the day - they have carpets that help with the walk down to the water..
Visit the Old Town
We have enjoyed going into old nice in the morning for the great flower market. The buildings have the flair of Paris with the Belle Epoque style or the Baroque influenced houses.
Old Nice has great charm, just enjoy your walk and being in the city.
Place Rossetti is located in the old town. Here the buildings have create colours - reds and yellow ochres surrounding the square. The Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate is found here. Restaurants, cafes and ice cream to be found. At night the Rossetti comes alive with tourists milling around.