The French Riviera is a spectacular place to study or work as an international student. Foreign students in Nice France have a golden opportunity to explore some of the finest sites and scenes the south of France has to offer. Below are the top ten not-to-be-missed tourist attractions to enjoy as a student in Nice.
Promenade des Anglais and beach
Nice’s most famous walkway stretches for miles along the glittering Mediterranean Sea. Stroll, bike or simply relax in one of the famous chaises bleues and people-watch for hours on end. While you are not likely to find many humble student accommodations located in it’s swanky interior, the famed Negresco Hotel is a Nice icon nonetheless and stands proudly along the boardwalk. The pebble beaches lie just below the Promenade and offer locals and tourists alike ample opportunity to enjoy the over 300+ days of sunshine that Nice benefits from annually. Be sure to blow your student budget at least once and splurge on one of the private paid beaches for an afternoon.
Offering a panoramic view of the entire city as well as the sea, Nice’s Colline du Chateau comprises the ruins of an old cathedral, an artificial waterfall, botanical gardens and numerous trails to explore by foot. The grassy park at the top is the perfect spot to study or engage in a friendly game of football with classmates. Pack a picnic and enjoy the serene environment and breathtaking vistas.
The Old Town
Known locally as Vieux Nice or La Vielle Ville, The Old Town virtually oozes charm and atmosphere. By day you can wander it’s maze of narrow, cobbled streets, sip rosé wine at one of it’s many restaurants and cafés or shop for typical Provençal wares and souvenirs. By night it’s a happening hub for party-goers boasting numerous pubs, clubs and discos. One of the most frequented watering holes for international students is Wayne’s bar.
Feed your artistic side by visiting one of Nice’s many museums or galleries. For centuries the French Riviera has been an epicenter of cultural tourism and fine art. Musée Matisse is one of many local art museums and features the works of famed 20th century French artist Henri Matisse. Located in a beautiful 17th century villa in the hills of Cimiez, it is well worth the effort to visit. Best of all, admission is free!
Nice Archaeology Museum and Roman Ruins
Take a step back in time and visit the remains of an ancient Roman arena and bathhouse. The Cimiez Museum of Archaeology displays objects and documents found during it’s excavation. For students on a budget be sure to visit on one of the free admission days that occur on Sundays, twice monthly. Located next to the Matisse Museum in the hills of Cimiez.
Just a short distance from the bustling old town lies the Nice Port or Le Port Lympia. Surrounded by 18th-century Genoese style buildings, it’s restaurants and cafés provide the ideal spot to perch and watch the Corsica-bound ferries come and go. Also home to some of the most happening nightclubs, it is the perfect place to burn off some academic stress or celebrate the end of exams.
Not to be missed by any history or architectural student, The Russian Cathedral of Saint Nicolas is one of Nice’s top tourist attractions. With it’s brightly colored onion shaped domes it stands in stark contrast against the typical Italian-style architecture found in the region. Open daily except Sundays to non-worshipers, it houses some impressive icons, historical Russian documents and decorative woodwork.
Rue de France Pedestrian Zone
Locally referred to as la Zone Piétonne, Nice’s Pedestrian Zone is for die-hard shoppers and food lovers and makes for a perfect hang-out after a stressful day in class. Be sure to indulge your sweet-tooth and try some home-made gelato, an Italian-style ice-cream available at numerous cafés and gelaterias.
At the south end of Old Nice lies beautiful Cours Saleya. Six mornings a week this outdoor, pedestrian corridor hosts Nice’s largest flower and fresh produce market. Every Monday it functions as a Marché de Puce, a flea and antiques market – the perfect place to search for unique and inexpensive treasures to decorate your student flat. Every afternoon the market stalls are deftly packed up and replaced by café style tables and chairs to service the amazing array of restaurants, pubs and cafés that line it’s edges.
Lined by palm trees and stunning red Italian-style architectural façades, Place Massena is Nice’s main square, hosting numerous festivals, concerts and cultural events. The plaza houses the 6-story department store Galeries Lafayette which includes luxury retailers such as Gucci, Balenciaga and Cartier to name a few. While you are not likely to find anything affordable in any of it’s haute couture shops, the window shopping and people watching is an experience in itself. For more student-budget-friendly shopping head north from the square to Avenue Jean Médecin. Here you will find an American style shopping center Nice Etoile and stores such as Gap and H&M.