The French Riviera conjures up images of sun, sea, sand and plenty of glitz and glamour. However, indulging in the gorgeous surroundings, beautiful weather and tasty Mediterranean food doesn't mean you'll need to break the bank if you're thinking about travelling to Nice this summer.
With its central location on the Côte d'Azur, Nice is less than a two-hour flight from London and is the gateway to the rest of the French Riviera, as well as some of France's most celebrated Provençal towns and villages. It's also an artistic haven with plenty of artwork to enjoy from greats like Chagall and Matisse.
Whether you're looking for a beachy escape or an art-infused getaway, Nice is the perfect holiday destination for couples, friends and families, with something to offer everyone.
See below for our top tips on how to do Nice on a budget this summer... Bon voyage!
Fly direct to Nice from London Gatwick with British Airways from £38pp, based on a return fare. Book now at ba.com/gatwick
1. Avoid private beaches
With over 30 beaches sprawling around the coastline, Nice has plenty to offer the sun-starved British beach-goer. While going private can buy you some comfort with sun loungers and parasols (costs start at around €10 a day; waiter drinks services and on-site dining will set you back even more), you can have a great time splashing around on one of the city's public beaches for free (the Plage Publique de Beau Rivage beach is a local favourite).
2. Get the house wine
One of the pleasures of a trip to France is undoubtedly enjoying a delicious glass of wine at a cafe or restaurant. Skip the markups and order "un pichet/une carafe de vin rouge/blanc," instead of the more expensive bottled wines. Santé!
3. Jump on the bus
One of the more scenic - and inexpensive - ways to tour the French Riviera is to enjoy the fabulous views of the coastline from a bus, which costs an average of €1.50 per ticket. Bus 100 is one of the more popular routes, running from Nice to scenic Monaco, via beautiful Èze. The 400 bus will take you to Saint-Paul de Vence, famed for its modern art museum, the Fondation Maeght.
4. Take in the views
Nice's attractions aren't just about the beaches. Head to one of the surrounding villages for spectacular views of the coast, like Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, a picturesque medieval village with a 10th century fort, or the medieval mountain village of Lucéram, built into a rocky outcrop. Both villages are easily (and cheaply) accessible by bus or car.
5. Embrace the French art of flânerie
There's nothing quite so enjoyable as taking a stroll in the gorgeous sunshine, with nowhere to rush to and nothing to stress about. The well-known Promenade des Anglais overlooks the sea, or you can explore the Old Town with its pretty pastel-hued buildings and 18th century Cathédrale de Sainte Réparate.
6. Feast at the market stalls
Get up with the sun and enjoy the local produce at the Cours Saleya, where you'll find natives snapping up glorious flowers, fruits, vegetables, spices and cheeses at the food stalls. It's also the place to try out Niçois specialty, socca, a savoury chickpea pancake, which will set you back less than €3 (for a single). On Mondays, the market sells vintage furniture, antiques and curios for those on the hunt for a shopping bargain.
7. Get arty
If you're hoping to explore the cultural side of Nice, then plenty of temptation awaits, from masterpieces by Matisse at the Musée Matisse to paintings, sculptures and ceramics from the likes of Monet, Sisley, Dufy, Bronzino and Picasso at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nice. And history buffs can get a taste of pre-modern Nice by checking out the Musée d'Archéologie, which has well-preserved ruins of an amphitheatre and Roman bath from the 400,000-year-old Roman site of Cemenelum.
Until January 2015, most museums were free; now you pay €10 for 48-hour access to an individual museum or €20 for a seven-day pass to all municipal museums and galleries (this doesn't apply to the Musée Marc Chagall, which is €8 per visit).
8. Try some local specialties
One of the perks of holidaying in Nice? The mouth-watering food, of course! Avoid tourist traps with overpriced menus and try an unpretentious destination specialising in local fare like Voyageur Nissart, which offers set menus from €15.90 for lunch and features Provençal dishes like gnocchi, petits farcis (vegetables stuffed with sausage) and - our personal favourite - salade Niçoise.