With medieval villages, sweeping coastal scenery, fertile vineyards, bustling food markets, and sun-soaked beaches, the French Riviera is the jewel in southern France’s crown. Here are a few ways to explore the Cote d’Azur, using Nice as a base.
Castle Hill (Colline du Château)
Colline du Chateau, Nice, 06000
With steps, roads, a train, and an elevator, there are myriad ways to access this lookout. Once summited, you can explore the hill’s green spaces, shady respites, and 18th-century artificial waterfall.
Offering the best views in town, it’s no surprise that a visit to Castle Hill is a popular inclusion on sightseeing tours of Nice. Opt for a walking tour and enjoy a leisurely stroll up to the hilltop lookout point; join an e-bike tour and glide up the hill before continuing along the French Riviera coast; or visit as part of a Nice day trip from Villefranche-sur-Mer or Monaco.
Things to Know Before You Go
There is no entrance fee to visit Castle Hill and the elevator is free of charge.
Wear comfortable shoes to explore Nice on foot—it’s full of hills, cobblestone streets, and steps.
At the top of the hill are a few small cafés where you can purchase a drink or snack. For lunch, it’s best to pack a picnic.
Wheelchair access to Le Château is available via the elevator. Once at the top, you can follow the accessible trails around the park and to the viewpoints.
How to Get to There
To arrive on foot, take the steps at the eastern end of the Quai des États-Unis up the hill to Le Château. If you prefer not to walk, there is also an elevator (ascenseur du Château), or you can take a ride on the Petit Train tourist train.
When to Get There
The hilltop of Le Château can get busy, especially in peak season (July and August), and the most popular time is around lunchtime when locals bring a picnic to enjoy in the park. For the most impressive views, time your visit for sunrise or sunset, when the weather is cooler and there are thinner crowds.
A Walking Tour of Castle Hill
Despite its name, the last remnant of the 12th-century Château de Nice that once stood atop Castle Hill was torn down by Louis XIV in 1706. Today its last remnant is the Bellanda Tower (Tour Bellanda), now home to a naval museum (Musée Naval). Also on the hilltop is a cemetery as well as a scenic park with a man-made waterfall, ponds, a children’s playground, and plenty of picnic areas.
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