The best views in and around Nice: some are free, some need a car, some come with a drink, some are best suited for a picnic, and some are even Michelin-starred.
In Nice the best view is from the top of The Chateau/Castle Hill. You can get most of the way there with the free elevator at the seaside, just look for the neon ‘Ascenseur de la Chateau‘ sign. Once there you have a sweeping view of Nice on one side, all the way to Antibes, and on the other you have the Nice Port, all the way to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. You can see the Nice Observatory, the Fort of Mont Alban, and see that yellow house on top of the hill? That’s Elton John’s place. The Chateau closes at 7pm, but there is one weekend a year when you can go up and see the view at night.
Best Hotel Rooftop Bars for a Sunset Cocktail
- Hotel Aston Seven Blue Bar for an engrossing view of the Promenade du Paillon gardens and fountains, the chaotic red rooftops and church spires of Old Nice, and the azur Mediterranean in the distance.
- The rooftop bar of the Boscolo Plaza Hotel gives you a sea view with gardens
- The top of Le Meridian Hotel has a stunning view of the entire coast with a rooftop pool to match.
Best Restaurants for Stunning Views
With views that are food for the soul and gourmet cuisine to match, head up the coast to Eze for the Michelin starred restaurant at the Chevre d’Or, or the cliff-perched restaurant at the Chateau Eza, which was Michelin starred until just this year. Forget that old adage about view restaurants, where the quality of food is supposted to always be in inverse proportion to the quality of the view… Here you have it all.
The best affordable restaurant with stunning view is La Chaumiere Restaurant, which has a reasonably priced menu plus a amazing bird’s eye view over the Palace of Monaco.
Best Parks for a Picnic with a View
- The Nice Chateau (take the free elevator up)
- Mont Boron (Bus 14)
- Fort de la Revere, near Eze
- Plateau de la Justice Parc Nationale (Bus 82, see below)
Best Drives for Roadside View-Points
With the 45-minute drive between Nice and Monaco or Menton (1 hour), you can’t go wrong, whether you take the low road along the coast, the middle road (Moyenne Corniche), or the high road (Grande Corniche), they’re all magnificent.
Driving west along the coast is also full of wonderful scenery, especially between Cannes and Saint Raphael with the majestic red clay cliffs, but this will take hours as traffic is very slow, especially between Nice and Cannes.
Click here for a page on Driving in Nice
Best Bus Rides for Breathtaking Views
Bus 100 from the Nice Port to Monaco gives you 45-minutes of non-stop unparalleled coastal scenery including colorful Villefranche-sur-mer, the presque-isle Sainte-Jean Cap Ferrat, and majestic Beaulieu-sur-mer.
Want to go higher? Bus 82 from Vauban to Plateau de la Justice goes from the middle Corniche to the upper Corniche for 35 minutes of one amazing view after the next. Get off at Eze-Village, or stay to the end to arrive at the Plateau de la Justice Park with lots of space to picnic and a panoramic view fit for the angels.
Another good one is bus 400 from Nice to Vence which takes 45 minutes and stops at the perched walled village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence.
Best Boat Ride for Views of the Coast
The Trans-Cote-Azur runs boats from Nice to Monaco, Nice to the Iles des Lerins (the islands off Cannes) or even Nice to Saint-Tropez. From the sea you get breathtaking views of the coast and villages, plus views of luxurious villas visible only by boat. Going west, you also get to see the red cliffs of the Esterel, and if you are lucky you might even be treated to a dolphin sighting, as they enjoy jumping through the boat’s wake.
Best Hotels in Old Nice with Views of the Sea
Hotel La Perouse You think that’s Hotel La Perouse built into the cliff overlooking the Bay? That’s just the lobby, the hotel itself is hidden high up on the Chateau, with absolute peace and tranquility to match its 4-star luxurious suites and sweeping sea views.
Hotel Suisse Next to glamorous La Perouse is the more moderate Hotel Suisse, a truly terrific 3-star boutique hotel which actually is built into the cliff overlooking the Bay of Angels, and boasts the best breakfast room view, which then becomes the best sunset view for cocktails.
The Hotel Beau Rivage is where Matisse stayed in 1917 when he first came to Nice to cure his bronchitis. It rained the whole month, so he sadly painted the interior of his room over and over. On the final day the sun came out and when he saw the light he was hooked: he stayed the rest of his life. The hotel is now a modern 4-star hotel with great views and an outstanding location: beach on one side and Old Nice on the other. Seaview rooms starting at 250€.
The Mercure hotel chain is one of the cheapest in France, one step up from the Ibis, but amazingly they have a hotel in Old Nice right on the Promenade, the Mercure Marche aux Fleurs. If the other seaside hotels are booked up, you can often score a seaview room here for 150-200€, or an Opera or Old Nice view room for 130-150€.
Lou Souleou Bed and Breakfast This guesthouse has maybe the best deal on a seaview room in Nice for budget travellers: it’s kind of like an upscale seaside youth hostel tucked in-between the beach and the famous Cours Saleya open-air market, and just steps from bars and nightlife. Impeccably clean, they feature big comfortable 80’s style seaview rooms, but with a shared bathroom in the hallway (however each bathroom is only shared with one other room.) Downstairs, dorm-style shared rooms (one for girls, one for boys) go for between 25-50€ per person depending on the season, which is the best deal for solo-travelers on a budget. Proprietors Maxime and Lea make you feel right at home with breakfast in the comfy living room and terrace. If you can get past the little detail of sharing a bathroom, oh and the cars whizzing by under your view, this is possibly the best deal ever.
Best View Hotels along the Promenade des Anglais
The Hyatt Regency Palais de la Mediterranee has the most elegant and stunning pool terrace on the Riviera, set back just enough to make the cars on the Prom disappear, leaving only the blue sea framed with giant marble columns.
Le Negresco‘s iconic pink dome is the most emblematic symbol of Nice, but inside, past the top-hat-and-tights-wearing doormen, the Negresco is an amusing 5-star mix of elegance and quirky kitsch, all lovingly chosen by its eccentric owner.
The Hotel Westminster, Nice’s other pink seaside hotel, is the oldest hotel on the Promenade; it opened in 1880 and is still owned by the great grandchildren of the original builder. It took its name with permission from the British Royal Family, who wintered on the Cote d’Azur at the time. This 4-star hotel is notable for its stunning view but also for its magnificent Hall of Florentine Fresques, painted in 1904 and just recently restored. For those whom the Negresco is just a liiittle too quirky, its stately neighbor Westminster is a good alternative, and less expensive to boot.
Other hotels with perhaps less character, but equally fantastic sea views are Le Meridian Hotel with a panoramic coastal view and rooftop pool to match, The Boscolo Plaza Hotel, but ask for a high room otherwise your view will be obsured by gardens, and ditto for the Hotel Aston which has a more interesting view that encompasses the Promenade du Paillon and Old Nice, with an added plus of a rooftop pool deck.
Photo Credit: Eze Village by Jimi Magic licensed under Creative Commons.
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