Ask a local what defines Nice's port district today, and they'll point to its bohemian quality: a bustling bar scene, quirky shops and a vibrant gay community. Yet reminders of Nice's past also abound, from 18th-century merchants' warehouses to the former galley slaves' prison, recently converted to an art gallery.

Workhouse Café

Where do enterprising young Niçois look for office space? At this cool new 'co-working' community next door to the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. For a first-hand taste of 'Workhouse' life, stop in for breakfast at the cafe downstairs, where giant blackboards announce monthly rental rates and daily specials.

Metro Dig on Place Garibaldi

Surrounded by grand palaces with trompe l'œil window frames and shutters, this vast 18th-century square was originally a military parade ground. Now it's the neighbourhood's heart and soul, with restaurants, cafes, a cinema and two tram stops, one above ground and the subterranean station newly opened in 2019. During excavation, workers discovered ruins which may date to ancient Greek Nikaïa.

Chez Fabienne Ambrosio

Family-run for generations, this neighbourhood kitchen and household goods shop is where you'd go to buy a pan for cooking socca, Nice's traditional chickpea pancake. Owner Fabienne points proudly to photos of her grandmother, who opened the place in 1935, and whose recipes for Niçoise olives and orange wine she still shares with customers, perpetuating the store's longstanding neighbourly spirit.

Le Quartier des Antiquaires

Over 100 antiques shops squeeze into the Port district's back streets, with the greatest concentration along rues Antoine Gautier, Catherine Ségurane and Emmanuel Philibert (for a list, see http://nice-antic.com/antiquaires). Local favourites include Rodolphe Delcroix for antique musical instruments, and Village Ségurane, where multiple dealers display their wares under a single roof.

Lou Passagin

Feel for yourself what it's like to travel aboard a pointu, the traditional pointy-nosed fishing boat of Provence and the Côte d'Azur. A living piece of maritime history, this nifty summer-only ferry whisks passengers across Nice's harbour for free, five passengers at a time.

Galerie Lympia

In 2017, the regional government of Alpes-Maritimes launched this innovative galerie inside a converted galère (galley slaves' prison). Exhibits, set up alongside former prisoners' bunks, alternate between avant-garde Niçois artists such as Patrick Moya and internationally renowned painters and sculptors.

Rue Bonaparte

Napoleon lived here for nine months in 1794: that's what the plaque at 6 rue Bonaparte proclaims; and the emperor would doubtless be kicking up his heels today on Le Port-Garibaldi's liveliest street, where every other doorway seems to hide a bar, a cafe or a restaurant.