Nice in the winter – Experience Nice a new way
Traditionally the French Riviera, and Nice in particular, was a winter resort. It served as a destination for the upper echelons to escape harsh northern winters amongst their own. Today Nice in the winter is a largely local affair – which means less hustle, bustle and fewer crowds to contend with. The average day time temperature is a moderate 10 degrees so you won’t have to wrap up in too many layers whilst you explore. Here we explore some of the things to do in winter in Nice.
Old Nice and the Winter Markets
At this time of year Old Nice is quiet and full of locals. It’s still warm enough to eat outside on many days so you can soak up the ambience of the many squares and streets and indulge in warming coffee or thick Italian hot chocolate. Old town remains much the same but quieter and we’d recommend a stroll up castle hill and exploring the old streets and boutiques – for shopping fans the winter sales are well worth exploring. On Sunday afternoons there are free concerts in Notre Dame and other churches throughout the city that are well worth visiting.
Unlike the summers the museums are blissfully empty at this time of year. If you arrive for opening you can often have whole museums to yourself. The Matisse museum is undoubtedly the finest collection of its namesake’s art and well worth exploring. Our other favourite is the Musée des Beaux-Arts for its collection of art from the last 4 centuries including works by Picasso, Rodin and Mossa amongst many more.
Whilst Nice itself doesn’t have snow very often major ski resorts are just a 90 minute drive or 2 hour bus journey away. The snow bus is just 4 euros and takes you to Isola 2000, Auron or La Colmiane. If you leave on the first bus you’ll be there for the slopes opening – giving you a full day on the slopes with plenty of time for hot chocolate and an evening meal on your return. These are the ideal spots for all ski levels – and if you don’t fancy skiing Valberg is a beautiful place to take in the mountains and the snow.
Monaco is still spectacular in the winter with the only downside being that the palace is closed to visitors. That said you can still explore the second smallest city in the world and enjoy the luxurious shopping, super yachts and casinos. The highlight in the winter though is the ice rink. The Olympic swimming pool is turned into a proper ice rink and you can whirl your way around the rink enjoying the super yachts alongside you.
In the lead up to Christmas enjoy the lighting displays in the old town, the Place Massena’s elaborate displays and then stroll along the Promenade des Anglais where all the palm trees are lit up. Just off the Place Massena you can enjoy the giant winter only ferris wheel which offers great views out over the city and is the perfect place for a warming hot chocolate or mulled wine in the early evening.
Around New Year
New year’s on the French Riviera is as glamorous as you’d imagine with fine champagne being drunk everywhere and a glorious street party in the Place Massena (the traditional spot to ring in the New Year) as well as exclusive events in all the towns best bars and clubs.
Accommodation in Nice