There are so many beautiful places to see near Nice! I will be telling you about the most beautiful Villages near Nice, France. I personally prefer smaller towns and villages to busy cities like Nice. Nice is also beautiful but its lovely to escape too! It was still very busy in Nice when we went in November so I can’t imagine what its like in summer! It was actually lovely to come here for some November sun, although it was still a bit chilly.
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Read more: 5 Prettiest Villages in Provence
The most beautiful Villages near Nice, France: Èze Village
This is a beautiful village 12km from Nice. It is right in the middle, between Nice and Monaco. It really has one of the best locations due to its hilltop position. Èze Village is also very high up above the surrounding mountains, so you really do get the best views all the way across the French Riviera.
Distance from Nice – 25 minutes drive from Èze to Nice
Staying in Nice? Check prices and availability here
What to do here?
Èze Village is really very small but not to be missed while you are here! It was the place that reminded me of Provence the most. There is a village in Provence called Gordes and that is the best comparison. Both beautiful hilltop villages! Of course the most beautiful village in Provence, in my opinion is Roussillon, but you can decide for yourself and let me know what you think!
Wander around the little streets!
The best thing to do in Èze really is to wander around and explore. The small streets lead all the way through this little maze of a town. The entrance is a lovely archway, where at the right time, the light comes pouring in and it’s lovely to see. Then as you walk through the archway to the right there is a beautiful house which was covered in amazing autumnal leaves when we visited. After this I would recommend taking the lower route around the whole village. After this you can walk right up to the top to see the church. From the church, there are a few more steps up to where the exotic garden starts.
Visit the Exotic Garden
There is an amazing exotic garden all along the side of Èze facing the sea and Nice. I also see why all the cacti grow there, as it has a climate of its own. On the non sunny side I was a bit chilly but as soon as you step foot in the exotic garden you will not be cold! I was here in November and this is why it was chilly. Most people come here in summer so you will be very warm in the gardens! Equally though, it was nice to see the gardens without lots of other people. They are quite small so I can imagine it gets very busy in summer. There are lots of cacti to see and of course beautiful views.
Cost 4 Euro for an adult (As of Nov, 2019)
Where to park?
There is a TINY parking right at the base of Èze Village. There are about 15 spaces. This was fine when we were there in November, but I’m not sure how that works in summer! There is a separate parking for tour buses, so avoid Èze Village if there are a lot parked here or you won’t get very far. We did see signs to another parking nearby, so you will have to walk a bit from the parking. If you are lucky and the parking nearby is open, you get 30 minutes for free. After this, I would recommend having coins ready as it wouldn’t take my card at all! It wasn’t too expensive though.
The most beautiful Villages near Nice, France: Saint Paul de Vence
This village was actually on my list when we went to Provence in summer. However, it was a bit too far for a day trip from where we were staying. Also we had too much to do in Provence. I knew I had to come here. Two French people I told I was going to Provence said I must come to this village to visit. It was already on my list as I said so I was very happy to come here this time. Saint Paul de Vence is another wonderful hilltop village. Definitely one of the most beautiful Villages near Nice, France!
Distance from Nice – 30 minutes drive from Nice to Saint Paul de Vence
What to do here?
As this is one of the most beautiful Villages near Nice, France, you really can just wander around! However, a few things not to miss below.
Visit the art galleries
I didn’t even realise before I came but this village is art gallery central! As you enter the main walls, there is one street straight ahead that is home to about 50 art galleries. They are interesting to see, and if you are an art collector then even better! Start here and walk through this little town to the other end, to a great viewpoint.
Walk along the city walls
Once you reach the end of the art gallery street, there is a great viewpoint. This is right at the end of the village which is set up high above everything around it. From the viewpoint, there is a path the whole way along the walls. Hold your children though as there are no barriers here! There is the city wall on one side, but no barriers on the other side. It is lovely to see the buildings from higher up and also see the view over the wall. From down below you won’t be able to see out as the walls are pretty high.
Where to park?
There is a big underground parking just outside the village. I found it on the map easily as we were driving there so you can’t miss it. You don’t have to decide how long you will stay luckily, you just take a ticket and pay at the end. We paid around 2 Euro 50 for an hour here.
Where to eat/drink
My favourite cafe here was actually the one above the car park! As you come out of the car park there is a small shopping area with some souvenirs. Right in the corner there is a coffee shop that does all kinds of teas and sweet waffles. It is right on the corner in the sun and has the best view of Saint Paul de Vence! We didn’t actually find anywhere to eat in this village other than here! There was one restaurant, and other than that everything was shut. So bear this in mind if you are arriving hungry like us you may be disappointed!
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The most beautiful Villages near Nice, France: Roquebrun-Cap-Martin
This village is right between Monaco and Menton. The first time we came here we were actually driving to Menton when I saw an old looking town above. I love any hilltop village so we had to investigate! It is a lovely village that spreads up the mountain from the sea below. There is an old castle right on top so you can’t miss it. Don’t miss one of the most beautiful Villages near Nice, France!
Distance from Nice – 35 minutes from Nice to Roquebrun-Cap-Martin
What to do here?
Visit the castle
The castle closed early the two times we went here, so I would recommend you go early! It is lovely to walk around. Where I also really wanted to go was a little lookout point. You get here from the castle. There are some steps up and it’s basically a small balcony viewpoint. I think it costs around 5 Euros to enter.
Sit in the square
There is a lovely square right when you enter the old town here. There are a few cafes and the the sun is shining, so it’s the perfect spot to stop for a drink or some lunch. Other than that, wander around and enjoy this old little village. The whole place really feels like you are in a castle. In fact, the castle used to be much bigger so I think some of the buildings used to be part of the castle. There are also some lovely colourful streets so make sure you have a good walk around.
Where to park?
There is a parking right under the town as you drive up the road. You can’t miss it. On Sunday’s it’s free to park here but this also means it’s much busier than other days. There are also some public toilets near this car park. Important if you are like me and have to pee all the time!
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The most beautiful towns near Nice
This was definitely my favourite place we visited here! Apart from maybe Saint Paul de Vence as that was also very beautiful. Menton was my favourite mainly due to how colourful it is! Also it is right by the beach, which would be perfect in summer. It was also lovely to walk along the beach in November, but with a lot more clothing on! Menton is right on the border with Italy. A top tip – don’t drive too far past Menton towards the border or you may get stuck in traffic. Apparently the alcohol is much cheaper on the other side of the border and a lot of people go to the one shop there to stock up. We made this mistake of driving too far to have a look and we were in a huge queue to get back into Menton.
Want to stay in Menton? Check prices and availability of accommodation
Distance from Nice – 37 minutes drive from Nice to Menton
What to do here?
The best thing to do in Menton is simply to wander around and enjoy this colourful town. You can either enter where the main square is and wander through. Or, as you come up from the parking, walk along the promenade for a bit until you enter an opening into the town. Here there is a set of stairs that are really beautiful that lead the whole way up to the church. These stairs are lovely for photos, I had to take a few along the way! You can really get lost in Menton, one of the most beautiful Villages near Nice, France!
Head to the beach
As I said above, Menton is right on the beach. The water is an amazing colour as with a lot of the French Riviera. It is very clear and looked very inviting even in November! There is lots of lovely white sand, so perfect in summer.
Walk along the pier
This is one of the best ways to see the whole of the beauty on Menton. From close up you can’t see just how colourful all the buildings are here. The pier is set out at sea just off the marina. From here you get the best views for sure. And in summer, it would also be a great place to jump in the water from. For me in November, it was somewhere to sit and keep warm! If you have a drone, of course that’s really the best way to see Menton and its orange buildings. It is also a great way to see the beautiful church. As the streets are quite narrow it’s not that easy to see just how amazing the buildings really are from so close.
Where to eat/drink?
Sini – Pizza Place
Sini is the best place for pizza here! It is very popular with locals, that’s how you know it’s good. They have lots of different flavours of pizza. I would recommend getting a tasting platter if there are 4 of you! We shared two platters between 5 and it was perfect. They really are delicious and they do great coffee and tiramisu too! Menton is right on the border with Italy so that must be why!
Where to park?
There is one overground parking, but you have to know how long you will be staying. I would recommend parking in the underground parking here, under the boulevard. As you drive into Menton and turn the corner to face the colourful buildings, the turning for the parking is immediately to your left. Here you can stay for as long as you like and pay at the end.
Even if you just come here for the day you can’t miss this beautiful place! It really is a playground for the rich, but still has some gems for us normal people to see. Although, one day we sat and ate lunch on a bench here and just watched all the amazing cars go past. And also watched to see who got fined.. there are more police here than people I’m sure! There is basically nowhere to park in Monaco so lots of people get fined for illegal parking! Most people drive either a scooter or a small car that is as long as the width of a normal car. Unless you are very rich then I don’t recommend driving a car here! We had a car but we had an underground parking always where we left the car.
Distance from Nice – It takes 30 minutes to drive to Monaco from Nice
What to do here?
Visit Monte Carlo Casino
This is a very famous casino and a beautiful building. A must see even if you don’t go inside. Nearby the casino there are also lots of other beautiful buildings. Monaco is very built up, so it’s nice to walk around here and see all the buildings. There is a whole walk way here where you can see the sea from, although you are high up above it.
Head to the old town – on ‘The Rock’
You can only drive onto here if you are from the area. However, everyone is welcome to come and walk around. As you come up from the parking, you will straight away see the sea! Then you walk past the oceanographic museum which stands right on the edge of the rock. From here there is a lovely walk with views along the coast.
You walk through a small garden until you reach Saint Nicholas Cathedral. This is an amazing building, so big you will need a wide angle lens to capture it all!
Next to Saint Nicholas Cathedral is the Palace of Justice which is also a very beautiful building! From here, under through the streets and enjoy the incredible architecture. It is also a lot lighter here than most built up towns due to the light pastel colours of all the buildings.
Visit the Oceanographic Museum
We didn’t actually have time to go in here but I’ve heard it’s amazing!
Where to park?
There is a large parking right under ‘The Rock’. It is pricey as with everything in Monaco. I think we paid around 12 Euro for 2 hours parking here. Head to Monaco for the day and spend the rest of your time exploring the most beautiful villages near Nice, France that I mentioned above!
I hope you enjoyed this post on the most beautiful villages near Nice, France. There is so much to see near Nice. It’s also lovely to escape the city and explore the nearby villages. All of these are accessible easily from Nice, if you are staying here. We stayed in Monaco itself and it was very easy to drive to all of these villages and towns.
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