This is the official capital of the French Riviera and hiring a car in Nice opens up this whole, magnificent part of France to visitors. Like so many cities in the country, it's divided into old and new towns with the former being by far the most interesting to explore. It's a densely packed area with narrow, winding streets and alleys which eventually gives way to the wide and open bay that has done so much to earn the city the epithet “Nice La Belle.” A local delicacy is the socca. This is a pancake made with chickpea flour and which comes with a variety of meat and vegetarian toppings.
The basilica of Notre-Dame is the largest church in Nice and was built between 1864-1868. Its design was inspired by the Cathedral of Angers - whose two square towers it reflects - and it also features some stunning 19th-century stained-glass and a glorious rose window with religious scenes. For a fantastic view over the rooftops of the old town and out to sea, make the climb up to the Parc de Château. Designed in a in mock Grecian style it's a cool and shady place to spend a hot summer's day. In the 19th and early 20th centuries Nice was a big favourite of the English for a luxurious retreat. This is celebrated in the long Promenade des Anglais that runs along the seafront and is lined with large and exclusive hotels. Very close to the Hotel Regina, where Matisse lived, a 17th-century Italianate villa is home to a wide selection of the artist's works. Sports fans shouldn't miss the Musée National du Sport which tells the story of the nation's greatest achievements and includes a huge number of artefacts including the football used in the 1998 World Cup final, various Olympic torches and Yannick Noah's tennis racket. All these places are easily accessible when you hire a car in Nice.
Opening hours: Mo-Su 0630-2400.
Address: Cote d'Azur Airport
Opening hours: Mo-Sa 0800-1300 1400-1900, Su 0830-1230.
Address: Avenue Thiers
Opening hours: Mo-Sa 0830-1300 1400-1800, Su 0900-1230.
Address: 9 Avenue Gustave V de Suede
Opening hours: Mo-Fr 0800-1200 1400-1800, Sa 0800-1200 1500-1800, Su closed
Address: 119 Avenue Simone Veil