Nice Cote d'Azur is one of the best places to get a break from the intens stress of the sightseeing and the chaos of the big cities. When you are backpacking in Europe,make sure you'll schedule a few days to French Riviera.
The train trip along the coast is beautiful (especially if you're coming from the Italian Riviera) and you can either stop in sophisticated Nice, keep going to fashionable Cannes , or gorgeaous Antibes . Try also to pay a visit to Monaco, Montecarlo which you'll not regret. This little kingdom is where the habitants have the highest income in the world.
Nice is the place that you'll probably like most with the interesting mixture of crowds that is animating the days & nights. The best periods to travel are in march for the Festin des Cougourdone (gourd feast), july for the Jazz festival and september for the Vineyard festin .
You can start your day lying (topless is a must) in one of the many pubbles beaches (some are not free, you must rent a chaiselong ). The water is clear, blue and warm and is plentiy of activities that you can choose from, windsurfing, jet skis, the classic beach volley or simply rent a paddleboats. The beaches are busy, full of people until late night, but you should rather go to take a shower and get ready for the haute couture night's promenade.
Start walking on the famous Promenade des Anglais , flocked with palm trees, watch the beautiful sunset and walk towards the Vieille Ville (old town) which is way Nice is the lively place of the Riviera.
Bars & restaurants (mostly mediteraneean cusine) tables are arranged early along the square so you could spend a good part of the night from a place to the other. Tattoo shops, gelato's and even some galleries are also open until late.
Some other things to see : Castel Hill (elavator available) which offer a panoramic view of Nice and from where you could also see the Alps hills. The elegant Place Masséna , commercial centre, with the beautiful planet fountains and about one mile of gardens.
Get a musem pass to visit Chagall 's largest collection and Musée Matisse (located in the Cimiez ) and Musée d'art moderne et contemporain , a stunning grey marble Yves Klein's architecture creation.
It will be worth it a boat trip to Sainte Marguerite island , the set of the movie “Iron Mask” (with Leonardo di Caprio) and that's the location where the legend says the prince has been prisoned.