I’ve had the chance to do a lot of exploring during my study abroad program. Here are some of my favorite places to visit in Nice and in the surrounding towns in the Provence region of France.
Top 3 sights:
- Mont Boron
- Mont Boron offers beautiful views of the sea, the city, and the mountains. It is a hill with steps leading up to the top, and there is a large grassy park at the top with views of the main port of Nice. It’s best to visit on a sunny day.
- Vieux Nice (Old Town)
- Vieux Nice is the best place to go for a long walk, for browsing in boutiques, or for having a meal or a cup of coffee at a café. I spend a lot of afternoons strolling through this neighborhood. In the mornings, there is a fruit, vegetable, and flower market called the marché aux fleurs.
- Eze is a town with some of the most stunning views in the South of France. It is a 20 minute bus ride from Nice, and the journey itself is jaw-dropping. The bus goes all along the coast on narrow windy roads parallel to the sea. My favorite part of this hilltop village is the garden at the highest point, overlooking the Mediterranean. It is a great place to relax and take pictures.
Top restaurant choice:
The Bistrot d’Antoine is a cozy French restaurant serving regional dishes including lentils and blood sausage, roast duck, beef tongue, and pasta with pesto. This restaurant definitely stands out above the rest.
Top tips and recs for the South of France:
- Allow yourself to stroll around until you get lost. You’ll find your way back.
- Visit the art galleries—Matisse, Picasso, and many other painters found their inspiration in this region.
- Take in the views—and have your camera ready. Whether you’re by the sea or the mountains, the views are guaranteed to be breathtaking.
- It’s normal for a lunch or dinner to take two hours, and you may feel like your waiter or waitress is ignoring you. Meal times are an important part of the culture here. If you plan to go to a restaurant, be prepared for a long, relaxed experience.
- Always greet people in French, even if you don’t know much of the language. A simple, “bonjour” when you enter a store, a café, or get on a bus, is always welcomed.
- Explore the nearby towns—busses and trains are the best way to travel between towns.