48 hours in Nice – A 2 day Itinerary

Home to the Cannes Film Festival, beaches that look like the Maldives and fresh, French-prepared seafood, France’s seaside city, Nice, is so much more than its name suggests. Instead, think exquisite, wondrous and stunning.

NICE, FRANCE - Tourists enjoy the good weather at the beach in Nice, France. The beach and the waterfront avenue, Promenade des Anglais, are full almost all the year.

Nice is a city located on the French Riviera in South-Eastern France. Throughout this 2 day itinerary for Nice, you can expect to spend your days wandering the streets like Audrey Hepburn, sipping chilled champagne on seaview terraces and embracing the finer things in life.

After all, that’s what the French do best. Nice also serves as a gateway to the picturesque towns and villages of the French Riviera, such as Cannes, Monaco, and Saint-Tropez

Known for its coastal city summer retreat vibes, Vieux Nice is a neighborhood filled with restaurants, bars, and shops. It’s an excellent choice for those seeking a lively environment.

Promenade des Anglais is an iconic waterfront promenade that stretches along the coast and offers mesmerizing views of the Mediterranean Sea. It is a desirable location for beach lovers and those looking for luxury hotels with easy access to the beach.

Situated in the city center, Carré d’Or is a chic and upscale neighborhood known for its high-end boutiques, elegant architecture, and fashionable restaurants. This is a great choice for those who appreciate a sophisticated atmosphere and proximity to shopping and dining options.

Located near the harbor, Port Lympia offers a more tranquil and picturesque setting. It’s a good area for those who want a quieter ambiance while still being within walking distance of the city center.

Cityscape with the hotel Negresco. Negresco is the famous luxury hotel on Promenade des Anglais in Nice, baie des Anges, symbol of the Cote d'Azur or French Riviera

Situated on a hill above the city, Cimiez is a peaceful and residential neighborhood. It’s known for its beautiful gardens, museums (such as the Matisse Museum and the Chagall Museum), and Roman ruins.

The best time to visit Nice is during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) and fall (September to October). During these months, the weather is generally pleasant with mild temperatures and fewer tourists compared to the peak summer season.

Springtime in Nice brings blooming flowers, including the famous lavender fields in the surrounding region. The temperatures are comfortable, ranging from around 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F), and the city is less crowded, allowing you to explore its attractions more peacefully.

In the fall, Nice enjoys warm temperatures ranging from 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F), making it perfect for beach visits and outdoor activities. The sea is still warm, and you can experience pleasant evenings along the promenade.

If you’re wondering how many days in Nice is ideal or how many days in Nice is enough? Well it all depends on what your plans are? You could easily spend 2 weeks in Nice or 2 months and still not see or do everything.

Below is a great guide on what to do in Nice for 2 days because sometimes 2 days in Nice is all you have, especially if you’re spending a weekend in Nice France or you’re travelling to Nice on short stop over trip and want to be able to tour some of the main areas within Nice.

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Overview Of 2 Days In Nice Itinerary 

Day 1 in Nice

  • Cours Saleya Flower Market
  • Painter Henri Matisse
  • National Marc Chagall
  • Sunset From a Viewpoint

Day 2 in Nice

  • Promenade Des Anglais
  • Old Town
  • Place Massena
  • The Gorges du Verdon
Panoramic view of coastline and beach with blue sky luxury resort and bay with yachts Nice port Villefranche-sur-Mer Nice Cote d'Azur French Riviera.

Day 1 in Nice

Cours Saleya Flower Market

The saying goes, “Wake up and smell the roses” and that’s exactly what you’ll be doing for your first morning in Nice.

Lets kick off the start of two days in Nice with a visit to the Cours Saleya Flower Market, which is one of the most iconic and vibrant attractions in Nice. Located in the heart of the city’s Old Town (Vieux Nice), it is a colorful flower market that offers a delightful sensory experience. Once you leave, you’re bound to smell like a perfumery.

The market is open every day except Monday when it transforms into an enticing flower market. As you stroll through the market, you’ll be greeted by a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors and fragrant scents.

The stalls are filled with a wide variety of flowers, plants, and bouquets, ranging from locally grown blooms to exotic species. Roses, lilies, sunflowers, orchids, and many other types of flowers can be found here, catering to all tastes and preferences.

In addition to flowers, the Cours Saleya Flower Market also features an array of other products. You’ll find stalls selling fresh fruits and vegetables, locally produced honey, aromatic herbs, spices, olive oils, cheeses, and traditional Provençal specialties. It’s a fantastic place to explore and sample the flavors of the region.

The market’s vibrant atmosphere is enhanced by the bustling activity and the friendly interactions between vendors and visitors.

As you wander around, you’ll likely encounter enthusiastic sellers offering samples, sharing stories, and providing recommendations. The market is not only a place to shop but also a cultural gathering spot where locals and tourists mingle.

Beyond the market itself, the surrounding area of Cours Saleya is worth exploring. It is lined with charming cafes, restaurants, and shops, making it an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll or a refreshing break.

The adjacent Place Saint-François hosts a fish market, adding to the diverse culinary offerings in the vicinity.

 Cours Saleya morning flower Market in the old town

Painter Henri Matisse

In Nice, there are several places where you can learn more about the renowned painter Henri Matisse and explore his artistic legacy or gain some inspiration for your next artwork.

Located in the leafy neighborhood of Cimiez, the Musée Matisse is dedicated to the life and work of Henri Matisse. Housed in a 17th-century Genoese villa, the museum showcases an extensive collection of Matisse’s paintings, sculptures, drawings, and personal belongings.

It provides insights into the artist’s evolution and showcases his innovative use of color and form. The museum also holds temporary exhibitions related to Matisse and other artists.

The Villa des Arènes, situated in the Cimiez neighborhood, was Matisse’s home from 1918 until his death in 1954.

While the villa is not open to the public, you can visit the nearby Parc des Arènes de Cimiez and walk through the tranquil gardens where Matisse found inspiration. The park also houses the Roman ruins of Cemenelum, adding historical significance to the area.

Although not in Nice itself, the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence is a short distance away and provides a unique opportunity to experience Matisse’s artistic vision.

Matisse designed and decorated this chapel in the hilltop town of Vence as a personal artistic endeavor. The chapel features his stained glass windows, murals, and other artworks, creating a harmonious interplay of light, color, and spirituality.

 While not solely dedicated to Matisse, the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (MAMAC) in Nice houses an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art, including some of Matisse’s works.

You can find a variety of paintings, sculptures, and installations by Matisse and other influential artists, providing a broader context for Matisse’s artistic contributions.

If today doesn’t inspire you to become the next Matisse, perhaps this next artist will…

Musée Matisse is a municipal museum devoted to the work of French painter Henri Matisse

National Marc Chagall

Sticking with the arts, you’ll dive into another historical museum for the afternoon. The National Marc Chagall Museum, located in Nice, is a significant cultural institution dedicated to the life and works of the renowned Russian-French artist Marc Chagall.

The museum is situated in the peaceful neighborhood of Cimiez, near other notable attractions such as the Matisse Museum and the Roman ruins of Cemenelum.

The museum itself is housed in a purpose-built building designed by architect André Hermant. Its construction was personally supervised by Chagall, who wanted to create a space that would showcase his art in a harmonious and contemplative setting.

The architecture and layout of the museum reflect Chagall’s vision and artistic sensibilities.

Inside the museum, you’ll get to explore an impressive collection of Chagall’s works, spanning various periods of his career. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, ceramics, drawings, and lithographs, offering a comprehensive representation of his artistic output.

Chagall’s signature themes, such as biblical scenes, folklore, dream-like imagery, and vibrant colors, are prominently featured throughout the collection.

The museum’s permanent collection is thoughtfully curated and displayed in a chronological manner, allowing visitors to witness the evolution of Chagall’s artistic style and thematic exploration.

The artworks are accompanied by informative descriptions that provide insight into Chagall’s inspirations, techniques, and personal history.

In addition to the permanent collection, the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions that focus on Chagall’s work or explore related topics and artists.

These exhibitions provide a dynamic and ever-changing experience for visitors, offering new perspectives on Chagall’s art and its broader artistic context.

This is a perfect way to spend a relaxing afternoon in Nice, in the most French way possible.

 Tourists look at the paintings by Marc Chagall in Marc Chagall Museum Nice France.

Sunset from a Viewpoint

Just like that, day 1 has come to an end. But there’s one more thing you’ll need to tick off your Nice bucket list, and that’s to visit one of the many splendid viewpoints dotting the Mediterranean coastline of Nice.

Would you look at that, you’re just in time for the sunset too!

Colline du Château is located on a historic hilltop just East of the Old Town and offers breathtaking views of Nice and its coastline.

Although there is no longer an actual castle on the hill, the remnants of its fortress walls remain. You can reach the top by climbing stairs or taking the elevator and can enjoy views of the city, the Promenade des Anglais, and the sparkling sea.

Situated on a forested hill in Eastern Nice, Mont Boron is a natural park that provides stunning views of the city, the Port of Nice, and the surrounding coastline. The winding roads and hiking trails within the park offer various vantage points from which to admire the picturesque landscapes.

Castle Hill (Parc de la Colline du Château) offers panoramic views of Nice and its surroundings. It features lush greenery, waterfalls, and shaded paths, providing a peaceful setting to enjoy the scenery. From the top, visitors can take in sweeping views of the city, the azure waters, and the distant mountains.

Picturesque scenic view of Nice, France on sunset. Mediterranean Sea waves surging on the beach, people are relaxing on the beach, cars driving the road. Nice, France

Day 2 in Nice

Promenade Des Anglais

After awakening to the sound of gulls and the waves gently lapping the shoreline, it’s time to hit the ground running… Literally. Go for a morning jog (or walk if that’s more your thing) along the Promenade Des Anglais.

The promenade’s history dates back to the early 19th century when British visitors began flocking to Nice for its mild climate and picturesque setting.

It was the English community that initiated the construction of the promenade to provide a leisurely waterfront pathway. Over the years, it has become a symbol of the city and a gathering place for locals and tourists alike.

One of the main attractions of the Promenade des Anglais is its beautiful beaches. The pebbly shores provide a perfect spot for sunbathing, swimming, or simply enjoying the Mediterranean ambiance.

The beaches are well-equipped with sun loungers, umbrellas, and beachside amenities, making it a popular destination for relaxation and leisure activities.

The promenade is also dotted with numerous cafés, restaurants, and bars where you can take a break, grab a coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice, or indulge in a delicious croissant.

Many of these establishments offer outdoor seating, allowing you to soak up the vibrant atmosphere while enjoying the sea breeze. Name a better way to start your day…

Along the promenade, you’ll encounter various landmarks and points of interest. The iconic Hôtel Negresco, a grand Belle Époque hotel, stands as a symbol of luxury and elegance.

The picturesque Albert I Garden, with its fountains and statues, provides a tranquil green oasis amidst the bustling promenade. The Jardin des Palmiers (Palm Tree Garden) offers shade and a serene atmosphere.

The Promenade des Anglais is also a venue for cultural events and festivities throughout the year. It hosts various sports activities, such as rollerblading races and cycling events. Fireworks displays, concerts, and street performances often take place here, adding to the ambiance.

City of Nice Promenade des Anglais and waterfront aerial view, French riviera, Alpes Maritimes department of France

Old Town

After a calming start, you’ll be prepared to head to the Old Town. One of the defining features of the Old Town is its architectural character.

The buildings are predominantly painted in warm pastel hues, giving the area a distinctive Mediterranean look. As you wander through the maze-like streets, you’ll encounter quaint squares, picturesque alleys, and charming hidden courtyards.

The architecture reflects a mix of influences, including Italian and Provençal styles, with narrow facades and tall buildings that add to the unique atmosphere.

It’s a wonderful way to observe the local life of Nice as you’re bound to see washing hanging from windows, locals sipping their morning coffee or smoking on their colorful terraces amongst overflowing house plants.

Exploring the narrow streets of Old Town, you’ll come across numerous boutiques, art galleries, and traditional shops selling local products such as olive oil, lavender, and soap.

The area is known for its craftsmanship, and you can find artisans working on their creations, from ceramics and jewelry to traditional Provencal textiles.

Old Town is also home to several noteworthy landmarks. The Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate, a Baroque-style cathedral dedicated to Nice’s patron saint, is a prominent sight with its ornate façade and beautiful interior.

Place Rossetti, a picturesque square, is dominated by the stunning Cathédrale and surrounded by charming cafes and ice cream parlors. The square is famous for its gelato, and enjoying a scoop while admiring the surroundings is a quintessential experience.

As you explore Old Town, you’ll discover an abundance of restaurants and cafes that offer a range of culinary delights.

From traditional Nicoise cuisine to international flavors, there are plenty of options to satisfy every palate. Enjoy lunch on a terrace, accompanied by a glass of local rosé.

NICE, FRANCE - Narrow street in old tourist part of Nice - fifth most populous city and one of the most visited cities in France, receiving 4 million tourists every year.

Place Massena

After lunch, make your way to Place Massena, which is a central gathering spot for many locals and tourists. The square underwent a major transformation in the late 20th century and was redesigned by Spanish architect Juan Andres.

The renovation resulted in a pedestrian-friendly space that combines classic and contemporary elements, creating a unique and visually stunning environment.

One of the most striking features of Place Massena is its colorful architecture. The buildings surrounding the square showcase a blend of architectural styles, including neo-Classical and Belle Époque influences.

The facades are painted in shades of red, ochre, and yellow, providing a backdrop that contrasts with the clear blue skies of the French Riviera.

At the center of the square stands the iconic Fontaine du Soleil (Fountain of the Sun). The fountain features a statue of Apollo, the sun god, surrounded by allegorical figures representing the four seasons.

The fountain’s water displays and lighting effects add to the allure of the square, particularly at night when it becomes a focal point.

Adjacent to Place Massena is Avenue Jean Médecin, one of Nice’s main shopping streets. This bustling avenue is home to an array of boutiques, department stores, and shops, offering a wide range of retail options for visitors to explore.

Place Massena is also known for its captivating artwork and sculptures. Prominent among them is the Conversation à Nice (Conversation in Nice), a series of seven statues representing human figures engaged in conversation.

The statues are colorful and eye-catching, adding a contemporary touch to the square’s aesthetic.

The strategic location of Place Massena makes it an ideal starting point for exploring other parts of the city. It is within walking distance of the Old Town, the Promenade des Anglais, and other significant landmarks and attractions. Which means that you can easily access and explore the surrounding areas.

Place Massena also plays a significant role in various events and celebrations throughout the year. It serves as a venue for concerts, festivals, and cultural performances. The square comes alive during major festivities, including the Nice Carnival.

Aerial view of Place Massena square with red buildings  and fountain in Nice, France

The Gorges du Verdon

This activity is further out from Nice’s city center (around 2.5 hours), but if you have the time, it’s a stunning place to visit.

The Gorges du Verdon is a breathtaking natural wonder located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of South-Eastern France. Often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of Europe,” it is one of the most spectacular river canyons in the world.

With its towering limestone cliffs, turquoise waters, and stunning landscapes, the Gorges du Verdon attracts nature enthusiasts, outdoor adventurers, and those seeking awe-inspiring scenery.

Carved by the Verdon River over millions of years, the gorge stretches for about 25 kilometers and reaches depths of up to 700 meters in some places. The contrast between the vibrant blue-green waters of the river and the imposing limestone walls creates a visually striking and captivating sight.

The Gorges du Verdon offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. Hiking is a popular way to explore the area, with several well-marked trails that lead you through the stunning scenery. The Sentier Martel is one of the most famous hiking routes, taking you along the edge of the gorge.

Water activities are also a highlight of the Gorges du Verdon experience. Kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding allow you to navigate the pristine waters and venture deeper into the canyon.

Renting a boat or taking a guided boat tour provides another perspective, as you can witness the towering cliffs and hidden caves from the water.

In addition to its natural beauty, the Gorges du Verdon is home to several picturesque villages that dot the surrounding countryside.

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, perched on a hillside, is one of the most charming villages in the region. It is known for its distinctive star-shaped hanging above the town, as well as its traditional pottery craftsmanship.

The Verdon Regional Natural Park encompasses the Gorges du Verdon and its surrounding areas. The park is dedicated to preserving the exceptional natural heritage of the region and offers various visitor centers and educational exhibits to learn more about the geology, flora, and fauna of the area.

Whether you’re seeking adventure, tranquility, or simply the opportunity to immerse yourself in breathtaking natural beauty, the Gorges du Verdon is an unforgettable destination. The Gorges du Verdon makes for a great full day activity if you have the time for it.

Gorges Du Verdon lake of Sainte Croix, Provence, France, blue green lake with boats in France

Nice is a piece of France that blends luxury with everyday essentials. The city focuses on providing quality in everything.

From the food to the landscapes to the activities, Nice commits to providing its visitors with beautiful experiences. Most of all, it focuses on turning the simple pleasures of life into extraordinary, unforgettable memories.

In 2 days in Nice France, you’ve relaxed on beaches, walked along promenades, seen historic castles, had the chance to perfect a bit of French, eaten like a King living in Versailles and enjoyed the sweetness of taking things slow. Through Nice, you’ve discovered what slow, meaningful, travel is all about.

Recommended tours in Nice

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  • Samantha King

    Sam, a seasoned traveler across four continents and 49 countries, is a leading authority in travel planning. Her website, Travelling King, offers tailored itineraries and expert guides for seamless trips. Sam's expertise in luxury travel, fast travel, and destination guides keeps her at the forefront of the travel community.

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