Vieux Nice

Lonely Planet review

Nice’s old town, a mellow rabbit warren, has scarcely changed since the 1700s. Retracing its history – and therefore that of the city – is a highlight, although you don’t need to be a history buff to enjoy a stroll in this atmospheric quarter. Vieux Nice is as alive and prominent today as it ever was.

Cue the cours Saleya: this joyous, thriving market square hosts a well-known flower market and a thriving fruit and vegetable market , a staple of local life. A flea market takes over on Mondays, and the spillover from bars and restaurants seems to be a permanent fixture.

Much of Vieux Nice has a similar atmosphere to cours Saleya, with delis, food shops, boutiques and bars crammed into tiny lanes. Rue de la Boucherie and rue Pairolière are are excellent for food shopping. There's a daily fish market at place St François.

Much harder to spot because of the narrow lane it sits on is the baroque Palais Lascaris , a 17th-century mansion housing a frescoed orgy of Flemish tapestries, faience and gloomy religious paintings. On the ground floor is an 18th-century pharmacy.

Baroque aficionados shouldn’t miss Nice’s other architectural gems such as Cathédrale Ste-Réparate , honouring the city’s patron saint, and the exuberant Chapelle de la Miséricorde .