Nice, France on a Budget

by Nicole Quasté

Dec 19, 2016

Nice, France © Steve Allen | Dreamstime

Tips / Destination

Visiting the gateway to the French Riviera can be a pricier trip, but it doesn’t have to be. Nice is a Mediterranean paradise with beautiful beaches, lush parks, premier shopping and fantastic food. Here are some tips for enjoying the city on a budget.


Saving money on food is easy in a country that offers some of the best wine, cheese and bread in the world. Stop by Monoprix, a retail chain grocery store with delicious options for a quick bite. If you do stop at one of Nice’s charming cafés, opt for a standing table to avoid getting charged for table service. Le Creperie Le Triumaran serves large savory galettes stuffed with meats, cheeses and vegetables, or grab a fluffy focaccia pizza, called fougasse, which can be found at local bakeries and grocery stores. Pizza Pili also serves large delicious pizza for only a few euros. Visit the Cours Saleya Market for a wide selection of local cheeses, fresh produce and other delicacies you can enjoy for a few euro. Socca is the local specialty; a thin, flat pancake made of chickpea flour and sprinkled with salt. The delicacy is served piping hot at most cafés for only €3 and pairs perfectly with a €2 glass of house wine.


Nice’s natural beauty provides numerous free or affordable experiences. Spend a day on the beach at one of Nice’s free public beaches, which can be a little more crowded than private options but are beautiful nonetheless. Plage Publique de Beau Rivage Beach is situated next to a private beach and tends to be less crowded. Stroll the Promenade des Anglais, a wide boulevard along the beach overlooking the sea, bustling with street artists, music performers and beautiful parks. For reasonable shopping, visit the Nice Etoile, a shopping mall on Avenue Jean Medecin. Stroll through the Cimiez Gardens or ancient ruins throughout the city.


For an inexpensive cultural experience, take in Nice’s rich Roman history at the Musee d’Archeologie Nice, a free museum featuring sculptures, artifacts and ancient ruins of Roman baths and an amphitheater dating back to the 3rd century. View world-class masterpieces at the Matisse Museum for only €5. For some affordable glamour, spend an evening at L’Opera de Nice, an opera house located in Vieux Nice, the city’s charming Old Town. Catch a performance for prices starting as low as €8.


Getting around the city couldn’t be easier with an extensive public transportation network that generally costs around €1. While budget hotel options are available along with upscale hostels such as Les Campelias, there are great apartment rental options in Nice that allow you to experience what it’s like to live in the Mediterranean town.


Some of the best things in life are free, especially in France’s fifth largest city, where natural beauty, rich culture and, most importantly, fine wine are all within reach.


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