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Rent an Apartment in Nice and Live Like a Local

Slow, Traditional Living on the French Riviera

Nice market olives
A variety of delicious olives at a Nice flower and produce market.

Live Like a Local

Nice has an endless supply of hotels, but to truly be Niçois, consider apartment vacation rentals to slowly take in the city and culture like a local. You will live in a residential neighborhood, have a kitchen to prepare meals, and pay less for a bigger room. If you go during the off-season — which we recommend — you likely will pay even less, and the excellent weather extends well into October and begins in April. You won't get the hand-holding a hotel staff provides in a more spacious rental, but you can turn the Nice Tourist Office into your personal concierge, and have access to your own kitchen. The tourism website offers several vacation rentals in the city, and you can easily find them on many of the home rental websites for France or Worldwide. We recommend finding an apartment in the Old Town, as you will have access to almost everything the beautiful seaside city--with its Italian feel (once called Nizza--has to offer nearby.

Apartments in Nice.
There are many apartments to rent in Nice, especially during the off-season when prices are lower. From an apartment rental, you can shop for food locally and cook the same great meals with excellent ingredients that would cost you twice as much or more on the street.

Eat Like a Local

To eat like a local, take side streets to find neighborhood cafés and bistros. To find the freshest and highest quality ingredients for preparing your meals, visit the Nice Flower and Produce Market at the Cours Saleya. Many locals shop daily at bakeries for tasty and filling €5-€8 sandwiches, including the famous Pan Bagnat (essentially a Salade Nicoise on a roll). After lunch, spend a couple of leisurely, unrushed hours at a centrally-located café, sip great coffee in the Italian-influenced city, and watch the world go by. For a big meal out, look on the chalkboards outside restaurants for that day's formule or prix fixe menu. Have a big meal of some regional specialties at lunchtime, and you will pay less for the same food served at dinner.

Nice Old Town Shop
You can buy everything from local olive oil to excellent cheap wines in the in the Old Town of Nice. Brie de Melun stuffed with black truffle can even be found, as can excellent prosciutto or pasta in the Italian part of town. Photo © Transitions Abroad.

Taxis are notoriously overpriced. An affordable alternative is Nice's local bus system. A ticket for a single ride costs a measly €3, and there are several multi-ride options. Ask for the Sunbus map and the route guide at the tourist office, or visit the central Sunbus station at Place Massena. Buy your own ticket for nearby destinations like Cannes and Monte Carlo.

Shop Like a Local

To find good stuff to take home, visit a local grocer for inexpensive cooking items that are impossible to find back home. (Remember that bringing back unsealed fresh food items such as produce or meats is illegal.) For reasonable values in clothing and food, visit the Galleries Lafayette department store. Hit the Monday flea market at the Cours Saleya to find antiques or old posters. The summertime arts and crafts market there is open Tuesdays through Saturdays. Used and rare books, art, and old postcards are sold at monthly markets in front of the Palais de Justice.

Side street in Nice
You can escape the crowds on side streets and find some excellent small cafes and restaurants. Photo © Transitions Abroad.

Enjoy Life Like a Local

Old Nice is a popular night spot and a great place to buy delicious provisions to make your own meals. The port area has a few hip bars that few tourists visit. Some great spots can be found near the tourist haven pedestrian zone. There are plenty of bars in Nice, though we generally recommend staying away from tourist or ex-pat-oriented bars to get a real feel for the place. Opt for carafes of wine to save money.

Finally, try to time your visit with one of the incredible festivals in Nice and nearby towns. And remember some of the truly great museums to be explored in one of the most spectacular regions in France, known for the unique light and colors that have attracted so many modern artists.

Side street in Nice
View a typical sunset from the famous 4-mile-long Promenade des Anglais after dinner. Photo © Transitions Abroad.
More Articles by Kelby Hartson Carr
Slow Food Regions in France
Budget Travel in France
Working as a Teaching Assistant in France
Freelance Work on the Riviera
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Renting in France
Independent and Solo Travel
Living in France: Articles and Essential Resources

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