Ask Nice residents to name their favourite neighbourhoods, and Libération inevitably makes the list. Nice's tram line, which runs down central av Malausséna, has prompted an influx of new residents and community-based development projects. Today it's an up-and-coming, family-friendly place with a vibrant ethnic and religious mix, brimming with street life and renovated 19th-century buildings – yet largely off the tourist radar.

Kiosque Chez Tintin

Early risers start their day at this friendly kiosk near the edge of Libération's open-air market, stopping in for a café (espresso) or a noisette (espresso with a dab of steamed milk). Tintin is also everybody's favourite spot for pan bagnat, the quintessential Niçois sandwich of tuna, olives, hard-boiled eggs and assorted veggies piled onto an olive-oil-slathered roll.

Marché de la Libération

After Vieux Nice's Selaya market, this outdoor venue centred around Libération's place Charles de Gaulle is the largest produce market in Nice. Market gardeners display piles of fruit, veggies, flowers, honey, cheeses and other local products, Stalls run parallel to the tram tracks for two or three blocks and spill over into side streets such as rue Clément Roassal.

Cité Marchande Docks de la Riviera

Neighbourhood residents hobnob with the butcher, the fishmonger and the cheese merchant while planning their evening menu at this popular covered market. The entryway is easy to miss amid the colourful profusion of sidewalk fruit vendors out front.

Brasserie Artisanale de Nice

For an emblematic Libération experience, stop in at this beloved backstreet nanobrewery, locally famous for its chickpea-based Zytha beer. Owner Oliver Cautain's passion is palpable as he describes his hands-on, small-batch approach: buying raw materials locally and doing everything from milling malt to stickering bottles by hand. For a taste of Cautain's latest brews, plan ahead, as hours are limited.

Gare du Sud

Inaugurated in 1892, Libération's grand old train station dispatched narrow-gauge trains through the palm trees into the Alps for nearly a century. Nearly razed in favour of 1990s apartment blocks, it's now a national historic monument housing Libération's sparkling new community centre, complete with library, cinema and a slew of cafes and restaurants scheduled to move in by 2020.

La Table d'Etsuko

Ever dream of dining in a local resident's home? Every Tuesday to Thursday, Japanese chef Etsuko transforms ingredients carefully chosen at the Libération market into delicious home-cooked lunches for up to eight guests in her nearby apartment (advance reservations required). The emphasis is on organic veggies and fish: marinated sardines, grilled mackerel, gingery stir-fries, salads, tofu-based desserts and Japanese tea.