Day One

  • Vieux Nice

Spend the morning exploring atmospheric Vieux Nice. After a leisurely wander through the produce and flower markets on cours Saleya, head into the labyrinth of backstreets to discover the baroque beauty of Cathédrale Ste-Réparate and browse charming shops such as La Boutique du Flacon and Friperie Caprice.

Climb to the hilltop park where Nice's château-fortress once stood and feast your eyes on gorgeous views of the old town's rooftops and domes, accompanied by sweeping perspectives over the Mediterranean. Descend to the beachfront at Plage Publique des Ponchettes, then finish off the afternoon with a long aperitif at Les Distilleries Idéales or La Movida.

After dinner, head for one of Vieux Nice's many live-music venues. Top choices include Shapko for its wide-ranging mix of jazz, blues, reggae and more, or Wayne's for straight-ahead rock 'n' roll.

Day Two

  • New Town & Promenade des Anglais

Depending on the weather and your mood, spend the morning exploring beautiful outdoor spaces such as Promenade du Paillon and place Masséna, take refuge in the designer shops of the Carré d'Or, or learn about Nice's high society history at Musée Masséna.

  • Lunch Relax over brasserie lunch specials on Franchin's front terrace, or decamp to its classy tiled-floor interior.
  • New Town & Promenade des Anglais

Spend the afternoon walking, skating or swimming along Nice's fabled waterfront. Stroll the promenade des Anglais, stopping to survey the scene from a blue chair; catch some rays between dips on one of the public beaches; or sip drinks under your sun-lounger umbrella at a private beach like Sporting Plage.

Catch an English-language movie at Cinéma Rialto, sip drinks at Hôtel Negresco's belle-époque bar and finish with a pre-bedtime stroll beneath the palm trees on the beachfront.

Day Three

  • Cimiez, Libération & Vernier

Spend your morning in the lively, unpretentious residential district of Libération, watching the world come and go over coffee at L'Altra Casa, prowling the sprawling array of small producers' stalls at Marché de la Libération and dropping in for a rare taste of chickpea-based beer at Brasserie Artisanale de Nice.

Head up to Cimiez for a full-on immersion in the artistic worlds of Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall. At the hilltop villa that houses the Musée Matisse, discover the remarkable trajectory of Matisse's style, from his sombre-toned early still lifes to the flamboyant paper cutouts of his later years in Nice. After visiting Matisse's grave and strolling through the adjacent olive groves and Roman ruins, return downhill to the Musée National Marc Chagall, where you'll find an impressive collection of the Belarusian painter's work.

Enjoy another evening in Vieux Nice, partaking in an opera or concert at Opéra de Nice or sipping drinks on the outdoor terraces at nearby bars such as Ma Nolan's and El Merkado.

Day Four

  • Le Port Garibaldi

Start your day with coffee at Workhouse Café or weekend brunch at Déli Bo before delving into avant-garde art at the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain. Don't even attempt to cover the entire four-storey museum in a single morning; rather, zero in on the permanent collection, which offers an in-depth look at the ways local artists like Yves Klein, Niki de St-Phalle and Arman challenged the status quo from the late 1950s onward. Make sure to visit the museum's rooftop terraces for mind-boggling views of Nice's skyline.

Lunch Stop in for socca (chickpea-flour pancakes) and other traditional Niçois snacks at Chez René Socca, Chez Pipo or Socca d'Or.

  • Le Port-Garibaldi

After lunch, head for the port, setting off on an afternoon cruise to see the beautiful villa-dotted coastline near Villefranche-sur-Mer and view the Promenade des Anglais from the water. Afterwards, stop in to see the latest art exhibit at Galerie Lympia, a former galley slaves' prison turned gallery space.

  • Dinner Go for gourmet fare at Jan or tapas and wine at Café Paulette.
  • Le Port-Garibaldi

Bar-hop your way through Nice's trendiest nightlife district, stopping in at hotspots such as Comptoir Central Électrique and Beer District.