Nice, or Nissa in Niçard, is believed to be among Europe's oldest areas of human settlement. The Terra Amata archaeological site indicates very early use of fire here. Greek settlers from Marseille founded a permanent settlement called Nikaia, after the goddess Nike, around 350 BC. With strategic location and a good port it became one of the busiest trading ports on the Ligurian coast, under Italian control during most of the middle ages. French and Ottoman forces laid seige to the city in 1543, ending with the pillage of the city, and the abduction of thousands by Hayreddin Barbarossa. The city finally became part of France in 1860.
English aristocrats and wealthy families began spending winters here during the second half of the 18th century, and the city’s main seaside walk, Le Promenade des Anglais was named for these early tourists. Famous painters such as Chagall, Matisse, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Arman were attracted by a distinctive luminosity in the sky of this city. The Musée Chagall, and Musée Matisse, among other museums, are now located here.
Today Nice is the second most popular French city for tourists after Paris. Come see if it’s true what they say about sailors in this Provencal port city. Probably because of the proximity of the Mediterranean and the warmer climate, Nice has a laid-back feel that many find lacking in buttoned-down Paris. Gay and gay-friendly establishments, bars, restaurants, guest houses, sex clubs and saunas, are mostly clustered in the old town and port area streets of Raoul Bosio, Marechal Foch, Bonaparte and Benoit Bunico. There are also several gay or gay-friendly beaches in Nice, and up the coast towards Monaco.
Nice’s Pink Parade arrives with a vengeance each July to the seaside Promenade des Anglais, bringing with it floats, lots of shirtless guys, and some very fierce drag queens. They say the part of the “Prom” by the Parking Ferber parking garage gets fairly cruisy after midnight.
The Nice Jazz Festival in July, and the Carnival of Nice each February-March, are two more big attractions.
Nice-Côte d’Azur Airport is about 4 miles south of the city. Buses and taxis are on hand to take you downtown. Buy bus tickets at the Office of Buses - not on board.
The main rail station is Gare Nice-Ville. The SNCF high speed TGV trip connects Paris to Nice in under 6 hours; from Marseille in 2.5 hours. Nice also has international TGV rail connections to and from Italy, and Switzerland.
Nice-Villefranche has become the second-largest cruise port in France, with over 350 stopovers and 467,900 passengers who visit the city.
Do as the locals do and stroll along the seaside Promenade des Anglais. Buses whisk you to the nearby towns along the French Riviera and a modern tramway has operated between Las Planas and Pont Michel stations, since 2007. Three more lines are in the planning stage. For all regional buses, trams, trains and ferries, see Public Transit or the Nice Cote d'Azur public transportation pages. The latter also has a list of bicycle rental companies.
Currency and Money
As France is part of the Euro Zone, the euro is the accepted currency. Plenty of ATMs are to be found in the downtown area.
Media & Resources
The Nice Cote d'Azur website of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, has gay pages, and a fully-updated pdf guide to gay and gay-friendly hotels, restaurants, shops and bars - along with other general tourist information.
LOM is the gay magazine for all the other cities in the south of France. Read it online or download a pdf copy. Actu-Gay has a good online guide to Nice. Le Centre LGBT Côte d'Azur (123 rue De Roquebillière), provides services, sponsors events and exhibitions, and has a library too.
Têtu is the French national gay magazine, packed with interesting features, profiles and photos. It’s also one of the slickest gay magazines ever produced.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Nice listings pages.
Bar Bitch (2, rue Rossetti), cafe/restaurant terrace bar, open nightly, beer/wine/cocktails, DJs, theme parties, bears' nights, drag shows.
Bar Butch (1 rue Rossetti), 100% men bear night at Bar Bitch, on the terrace.
Café Borghese (9 Rue Fodéré, quartier du port), bistro/bar, terrace, seasonal lunch/dinner, cocktails.
Eagle Nice (18 bis, rue Emmanuel Philbert, Docks), men-only cruise and sex club open nightly until 3am; bears and friends/skis/leather, dark room, black-out parties.
HIgh Club (45 promenade des Anglais), 3-hall mixed/gay-friendly dance and concert club, Matinée gay parties, pool parties, Hip Hop/Latino nights; gay Rainbow Power Sundays and Pink Party specials.
La Civette du Cours (1, cours Saleya, Old Town), popular terrace cafe, cocktails, pizzas, bruschettas, vistas.
Le Code (4 rue Jp Papon), men's cruise and hard-sex club, open nightly 10pm-5am; playspace, uro, fist, sneakers, blackout, naked and underwear nights.
La Terrasse (1 promenade de Anglais), Mediterranean food, cocktail bar, elegant sofas, rooftop terrace, panoramic views.
Le Fard (25, promenade des Anglais), nightly gay warm-up terrace bar, games, shows, special theme parties. "Closed temporarily."?
Le Glam (6, rue Eugène Emmanuel), Friday through Sunday gay dance club, BearDrop bears' nights, shows, contests, go-go boys, theme parties, top-rank international DJs.
Le Gossip (7, rue Bonaparte), gay mix, lounge and music/ party bar, theme nights.
Le Kult (14 rue Benoit Bunico, Old Nice), gay-friendly cocktail & music bar, Sunday morning gay after-parties 5-10am.
Le Six Bar (6, rue Raoul Bosio, Old Town), mostly guys gay mix, telephones, videos, shows, naked-in-shower erotic go-go boys, special party events with vocalist entertainment.
L'Effervescence (10 rue de la Loge), champagne bar, apéritifs, foie gras, sushi, cheese plates, salmon.
Malabar Station (10, rue Bonaparte), cruise and theme party gay bar, bears, terrace, dark room, sling.
Morgan Club (3, rue Claudia) cruise/ sex club for men, always naked or jockstrap, total-dark room, cabins, g-holes, maze, porn videos, sling, sex shop.
Smarties (10, rue Defly), mixed crowd lounge near arche du Mamac, popular happy hours.
Le Cercle Sauna (16 avenue Clement Ader), libertine men and women. gay/straight mixed sauna/Hammam, Jacuzzi, bar/lounge.
Sauna du Château (17 rue des Ponchettes), large full-service sauna, massage, men/men and men/women mix.
Sauna Les Bains Douches (7 rue Gubernatis), all-men sauna/steam, Jacuzzi, cruising, bar, cabins, maze.
Sauna Sun-House Le Block (10-12 rue Jules Gilly, Old Nice), big 3-level men's sauna/sex club, porn, cabins, g-holes, maze.
Hotels & Guesthouses
Blue Angels B&B (8, Rue Assalit; 33 6 1548-9453), economy men-only gay B&B, 2 comfortable rooms, TV/DVD, WiFi
Connexion Hotel (65 rue de la Buffa; 33 4 9388-9946), small gay art hotel, singles and doubles with bathrooms, near beach and clubs, breakfast until 4pm, TV, DVD, free WiFi.
Gay-friendly NiceRent.fr offers quality self-catering short-term rental accommodation in the center of Nice at reasonable prices; a broad range of quality furnished apartments in all areas of Nice, from city center to the seaside, on the Promenade des Anglais --from 59€ /night.
For more hotel/guesthouse listings and some restaurant suggestions, see our map and listings pages.