This guide was updated November 9, 2019.
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In recent years Nice has rapidly become the second most gay-friendly city in France, only behind Paris. While larger cities like Montpellier, Lyon and Marseille have a prominent LGBT community; Nice now offers more gay-specific venues and perhaps a friendlier and more welcoming atmosphere. With numerous LGBT-oriented events like the annual gay pride, the new Queernaval, LGBT film festivals and more, Nice is one of the newest gay hotspots on the Mediterranean.
Nice is an amazing destinations and there are plenty of interesting options for visitors. Nice has really come to the forefront and become not just a great destination for the average visitor, but one for LGBT travelers. The warm and friendly nature of the residents along with the social scene, accommodation, nightlife, restaurants and LGBT event options really positions Nice as an excellent place to visit. Nice is unquestionably a place with fantastic architecture and natural beauty and its position on the Mediterranean makes for pleasant weather almost year around. Taking a walk through the shaded and winding streets of Old Nice is one of the first things to do while visiting the city. You’ll find brightly colored façades that reflect the colors and style of the Sardinian architecture. Rue de Bonaparte is also now considered the gay neighborhood in Nice but you’ll find gay-owned businesses throughout the city.
Nice has good public transportation including a tram, buses and regional trains. Another great option is to use the local bike sharing service called Velo Bleu, which is available to tourists. Most sites of interest in Nice are located near the center and the old town so staying in this area makes the most sense.
The regional train is available to travel to other cities near Nice, within the Côte d’Azur. Taxis can be a bit expensive so you’ll probably pay 10-20€ per ride depending to which part of the city you’re traveling.
The Nice airport is close to the city but the public bus can take about an hour to reach the city center. The most economical route is to take the public bus numbers 98 or 99 from the airport to the central train station (Gare de Nice-Ville) for a pride of 6€. A taxi will be quicker and should cost about 20-30€ from the airport to the center. A private transfer can be organized in advance for about 35€ per group.
Gay Friendly Hotels in Nice
Le Negresco – located on the seafront, this is a classical style hotel and is very popular among gay travelers. They’re a member of the IGLTA and they boast an outstanding restaurant with gourmet food, a bar with a 1683 tapestry, walnut woodwork and their own carousel from the 18th century. Address: 37 Promenade des Anglais
Hotel Ellington – a charming hotel with a unique and friendly atmosphere that’s perfectly located in the heart of the city. It has a lavish bar with furnishings by designers, rich wood floors and an outdoor patio. Combine all of that with 3 types of room selections, plus shopping and a beach a mere 5 walking minutes away. Address: 25 Blvd Dubouchage
AC by Marriott – located alongside the Promenade des Anglais, it’s gay friendly and within walking distance of the city center. With a 91% recommendation rating, you can see why ‘nice’ may be an understatement. Marriott is also an IGLTA member and is one of the most gay-friendly large hotel chains worldwide. Address: 59 Promenade des Anglais
Hotel Lido – many have given this hotel with bar, restaurant, private pool and beach access 5 out of 5 stars. If you prefer an English speaking staff and want a stunning sea view, Hotel Lido has both. The Lido offers all the comfort of a hotel with all the freedom of a rented apartment including a kitchen in each room. Address: 4 rue du Commandant Berretta
Hotel villa La Malouine – an old Russian villa located close to the old town and just a few minutes walking to the port and the beaches. In a pleasant floral setting, take some rest in the shade of the grapefruit tree and make the most of the outdoor space. The hotel is small with just 10 rooms and the property features a sun terrace and jacuzzi. Address: 62 Blvd Carnot
Bed & Breakfast
Blue Angels – a gay-owned bed and breakfast with 3 rooms for rent. The couple has been running the guest house now in their own home for 5 years. And while small, it’s very popular with gay clientele. We met one of the owners at an event in town and he seemed very nice and friendly. Address: 8 rue Assalit
There are many sites for apartment rentals in Nice, with AirBnB probably being one of the most popular. Prices are generally comparable to budget hotels, especially if you’re willing to get a room in a shared apartment.
There are even a few LGBT-oriented booking sites like misterb&b with listings from gay hosts for gay guests where you can either rent a whole apartment or a private room in a shared apartment. Understanding Nice’s gay scene is much more easily done with the help of a local and apartment sharing is one of the best ways to meet someone living in the city who knows how things work, where and when are the best nights to go out, and what places to eat at and which to avoid.
Sightseeing & Activities in Nice
Nice is an excellent place to visit and there are many attractions around the city to keep you busy. Whether it’s local markets, art or taking in the beautiful views, you won’t be disappointed with everything this city has to offer.
Promenade de Anglais – this is a must-visit part of Nice and at least worth a 20 minute stroll. Not only can you see for miles, but you can walk for miles along the beach. With bars and eateries along the way, you’ll have plenty of sustenance to complete any size journey.
Castle Hill – a view like no other… yet, oddly, no castle…at least not anymore. A couple of cafes and a grassy kid’s park adorn the top. Whether you get there by lift, climbing the stairs or by car, just get there because it’s one of the most visited sites in Nice where you’ll find the best views in town.
Place Garibaldi – quaint, charming and located just next to the gay district on Rue de Bonaparte. This large town square features a decorative pool, archways, statues, restaurants, bars and markets that make up this impressive attraction.
Chocolate degustation Paci – a small, gay owned chocolate shop in the center of Nice. You’ll find an interesting combination of art and chocolate creations including unique sweets like chocolate filled ravioli – say what?!
Market in Cours Saleya – one of the liveliest neighborhoods of Nice and the main meeting point animated by its cafes, restaurants and shops. This market deals mostly with antiques, food, and flowers. In the mornings you will find the flower and produce market with plenty of fresh offerings from local farmers. Taste the good life and stroll around the grounds daily expect Mondays, from morning until early afternoon. Also visit the market as part of a guided food tour.
Tours in Nice
There are a number of tours to choose from when visiting Nice so it’s best to decide what you’d like to see and what level of service you want. Keep in mind that none of these tours are LGBT specific but our experience in Nice has always been welcoming so you shouldn’t have any issues.
Nice Greeters – not sure where to start? Nice Greeters can assist you in getting to know the history, lifestyle, sites, attractions and culture of Nice. This is a free service based on voluntary participation with themes including city walks, biking, daily life, places to eat, wine, shopping and neighborhood discovery.
A Taste of Nice Food Tours – submit your taste buds to the most intense experience of a lifetime. What’s on the menu? Pissaladière, les Petits Farcies, Socca, candied fruit, Swiss chard and more. It’s rated #1 of all the gastronomy activities in Nice.
Nice Cycle Tours – a great 3 hour introduction to the city and alternative to a walking tour. You’ll get a different experience of the city from the one that the pedestrians or tour buses get. The ride is mostly flat and smooth with just one hill to climb up to the Castle Hill, where you’ll experience breathtaking panoramic views of Nice. Or if you’re more adventurous, check out this 5 hour bike tour which takes you along the coastal routes of the French Riviera. Into wine? Here’s another option to take a bike tour of the vineyards near Nice.
The main shopping area in central Nice is Avenue Jean Médecin. You’ll find a range of popular apparel stores located here plus plenty of boutique stores and shops selling a range of products. Luxury brands can be found in the gold square near the streets Alphonse Karr and Avenue de Verdun. Or just stroll the streets of the old town and you’ll discover more than 600 small boutique shops with various local specialties, art galleries and gift shops. Be sure not to miss the Cours Saleya market with its ample offering of produce, flowers and handicrafts. The market is open every morning, except Monday and public holidays.
Restaurants and Cafes
Depending on the time of day, there are a variety of restaurants in Nice worth a visit.
Attimi – simply put: a 4.5 out of 5 star pizzeria and Italian restaurant. Traditional preparation with organically grown ingredients make for a great Italian dining experience. Address: 56 bd Jean Jaurès
Acchiardo Restaurant – an institution in town and a reference for the ‘niçois’ cuisine. Owned by the same family for 4 generations. If you’re lucky you’ll have a tall and handsome waiter who’s friendly, speaks good English and just happens to be gay. Address: 38 rue Droite
Café Marché – this café is located in backstreets of old Nice and their food comes from the fresh produce from the morning’s market. It’s well known for the vintage atmosphere, American pastries and burgers. Another good option for a Sunday brunch which is available until 5pm. Address: 2 Rue Barillerie
Nice Gay Bars and Lounges
Nice has a really good and growing gay nightlife scene. In fact, Nice is probably only second to Paris as a gay friendly destination with so many nightlife options. Most places are only busy on weekends since locals tend to just go out for an aperitif or cocktails at a restaurant or café on weeknights.
Red Kafé – this is a bar in Nice with great online reviews. You can find special events, drag performances and various themes each weekend. Open until 2am on weekends. Address: 9 Rue Halevy
Nice Gay Clubs and Parties
Le Glam – probably the most popular gay club in town with cute go-go dancers. This place is hopping on the weekends with a nice crowd. They tend to play Top 40 and Pop musical styles. A medium sized place with a large bar and decent size dance floor. It’s recently become an institution for many in Nice. You’ll find all sorts of guys and they host different themes throughout the month. Open weekends from 11pm to 5am. Address: 6 rue Eugène Emmanuel
Le Six – this bar’s two floors of belle époque interior are firm favorites with the in crowd. It’s popular with some of the coolest people in Nice. It’s open very late so you can have a great time if you make it in. Address: 6 rue Raoul Bosio
Le High Club – located on the Promenade des Anglais. This is a straight club that occasionally hosts the biggest gay parties in Nice. Parties are usually every weekend in summer and every second weekend in winter, usually on Sunday nights. Address: 47 Promenade des Anglais
Gay Cruising & Men Only
Le Malabar – a popular cruising bar but they have a nice outdoor terrace open during the warmer months. It’s located in the gay neighborhood near many other gay bars, shops and restaurants. You’ll generally find a middle aged crowd here starting at 30+. Address: 10 rue Bonaparte
Les Bains Douche – Award-winning establishment (Têtu Magazine) and the most popular sauna in the French Riviera. The decoration might be rather plain but the staff is friendly and it’s clean. Address: 7 rue Gubernatis
So you’ve had a great night out at the clubs and now you’re full of regret the following morning. Pop a couple of ibuprofen and head into town for a hot and greasy breakfast to ease the pain. For a quick bite, head to the Cours Saleya market and go straight to the stall selling Socca – it’s carby, greasy and salty. What more do you need for just 3€? But if you want more than just street food then check out Café Marché – we suggest the savory brunch for around 15€, which includes a hot drink, a fresh squeezed juice, a club sandwich, a salad or a soup and a plate of eggs. For a deluxe brunch head over to Le Coin Quotidien just next to the Cours Saleya market. For 20€ you can enjoy a huge brunch spread that will attack that hangover head on.
Gay Hangouts in Nice
In recent years, a gay neighborhood has been established just northeast of the old town. You can find the highest concentration of gay bars, cafes, shops and gay-owned businesses on Rue Bonaparte. You can also find a square in the neighborhood called ‘Place du Pim,’ which is one of the most popular hangout areas for gays in the city.
There are also several beaches popular with gay locals and travelers. This list includes both public and private beaches in Nice and several options in villages just outside of the city. Some are gay-specific and nudist beaches while others are mixed crowd.
Hi Beach – this is a private beach located in Nice. It’s not specifically gay but it’s popular among LGBT visitors and locals so you’re likely to find a mixed crowd. The benefit of a private beach is the comfort and services. In addition to a bar and restaurant, you can reserve one of the comfortable loungers – much better than lying on the rocky beach.
Coco Beach – this is a beautiful but rocky public beach that’s a popular gay hangout. It’s located east of the Nice port and requires a bit of a walk or a short bus ride on No. 30. Like all Nice beaches, you need to bring something soft to lay on. In fact, this area has mostly big rocks and not even pebble space like the others in town. Again no services around so bring your own food and drink.
St. Laurent d’Eze – this is one of the most popular gay beaches in the Cote d’Azur. Take bus No. 100 from Nice towards Monaco and get off at the St. Laurent-Eze bus stop. This is a 100% gay beach and mostly nude. Be sure to bring your own drinks and snacks since there are no services in this area.
Popular LGBT Events in Nice
Pink Parade – this is the annual gay pride parade in Nice, which takes over the Promenade des Anglais along the Nice seafront. This gay pride celebration occurs in mid-July after most other pride events in France have finished.
In & Out – the Nice film festival for gay and lesbian community members. This festival started in 2009 and offers 10 days of film showings between both Nice and Cannes. You’ll find a range of programming featuring the notions of sexuality, homosexuality and gender.
Zefestival – another film festival, though not only LGBT specific. It’s an opportunity for unknown or young film makers to show their work. Takes place from late September to early October.
Lou Queernaval – the first Queernaval took place in February 2015. Nice’s Carnival is the 3rd largest in the world and it takes place over 17 days, with Lou Queernaval happening the final weekend. It has the feeling of a Carnival parade but with a sprinkling of glitter, drag queens and shirtless men rocking six packs.
Nice So Fetiche – This annual fetish event has taken place in Nice since 2016. Leather, which in French just happens to sound a bit like the word “queer” in English (le cuir), plays a big role. Roberto Campillo and his husband are the organizers of the event which creates a space for various fetishes like rubber, leather, sneakers, puppy play and so on. This isn’t exactly a sex party so much as a weekend of social events for people to express themselves however they please while mingling with others with similar interests.
Day Trips from Nice
Monaco – The Principality of Monaco is technically its own country and is situated 20 kilometers from Nice, just near the Italian border. With only 36,000 residents and located on just 2 square kilometers, it’s the second smallest and most densely populated country in the world. You can visit places like the Princes’ Palace and watch the changing of the guard, or check out the famous Oceanographic Museum and the old town. Don’t miss the Monte Carlo, made famous in many movies – remember James Bond? Nice to Monaco takes a 35 minute bus ride a 25 minute train ride. Additional options: Enjoy a half day guided tour or a full day guided tour of Monaco.
Cannes – yes, of the famous Cannes Film Festival! It’s famous for luxury hotels and restaurants and it’s the closest spot to Nice that offers nice sandy beaches. Sure, the casinos and high end restaurants give Cannes a feel of exclusivity, but there are options for all types of budgets. Visit Le Suquet, with its cobbled streets and breathtaking views, or just enjoy a meal at a street side café and enjoy the view of the marina. Traveling by the Cannes Express (bus #210) offers the best advantage with a low price and a nonstop trip.
Eze-le-Village – a mediaeval village located high above the Mediterranean. Full of narrow streets lined with art studios. See spectacular views of the French Riviera or take a guided Eze perfumery tour. Traveling by train takes 15 minutes from Nice. Additional option: take a half day guided tour to Monaco and Eze.
What interests you most about Nice? Would you consider visiting? Let us know in the comments below!
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