Nice is known for being a romantic destination and a relaxing getaway by the Mediterranean. But it also is a lot of fun with kids, as we found out.
We started with a train ride through Nice on the Petit Train de Nice (Little Train), which is just a series of cars connected to a lead car shaped like a train that takes you around the city. It took us through the streets of the old town and to the Chateau on the hill (or Castle Hill), which has gardens and amazing views of the city and sea. The kids enjoyed the ride, and it gave Rich and me a chance to understand the layout of the old town of Nice.
Train rides last about 45 minutes with a ten minute stop at the Chateau on the hill. A headphone commentary is available in French, English, Italian, Spanish, German, Russian and Japanese. Get on the train where the Proménade des Anglais meets the Avenue de Verdun. (More info: http://www.trainstouristiquesdenice.com/)
Castle Hill is a great place to spend an afternoon. You can walk up the 300 ft hill or ride an elevator to the top. The views are amazing and there are waterfalls, gardens, a couple of cafés, and a playground to enjoy.
Next, we grabbed a treat and walked along the Proménade des Anglais or the “English Promenade”. It was built in the 1800s by an English priest who, concerned about the large number of unemployed people who had migrated to the city during some especially bad winters, convinced the town to pay them to build a beautiful promenade along the water. It’s very scenic, with beautiful views of the pebble beaches and the sea. It’s lined with restaurants, shops, and bike rentals.
In Cimiez, there is a wonderful park with Roman Ruins and an amphitheater. The kids loved running all around the amphitheater trying to figure out what it looked like long ago, and re-enacting gladiator battles in the middle. The park also houses the Musée Matisse and the Nice Archaeological Museum. There is a café that serves up delightful treats and a small carousel. The Chagall Museum is also close by.
Most restaurants in Nice are open for lunch from 12 to 2pm and then close until dinner at 7pm. On Sunday, bakeries and Markets close for the day at 1pm.