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Imagine wandering through the narrow streets of the old town in Nice. The sun is shining and it warms your skin. You stop at the market to buy a snack – maybe socca, the local specialty, a pancake made from chickpeas. As you reach the beach, the sound of the sea lapping gently is soothing... relax.

Nice is famous for its glitz and glamour, for being the playground of the rich and famous. Everyone from the Queen to world leaders and billionaires come here to play, party and soak up the sun that shines more than 300 days a year.

But what if you’re not a millionaire – can you afford Nice? Is it possible to take a break without breaking the bank? Well yes, absolutely, and in fact, it’s not at all hard to live on a budget here and enjoy life to the full!

Nice on a budget

Most people wrongly assume that Nice makes for a very expensive holiday – it doesn’t. First off, at French Connections, we have loads of fabulous property lets in the area and if you’re going for a bit of winter sun – we’ve got long let and out of season discounts to tempt you. Self-catering in Nice means you can take advantage of the wonderful markets and food shops and cook up a feast or fire up the barbeque at “home” which saves you money.

The food market at Cours Saleya is an experience in itself and surprisingly reasonable, thanks to the abundance of fruit and vegetables grown in the area and neighbouring Italy, just 20 minutes’ drive from Nice. There is also the Liberation Market (Av Malausséna - Place du Général de Gaulle Liberation tram stop) Tuesday – Sunday, which is where most locals go as it’s less touristy. Buy supplies and head off for a picnic in the sun.

And, if you want some wine to go with your picnic or to drink on your balcony watching the sunset, head to Les Caves Caprioglia  (16 Rue de la Prefecture). Take an empty water bottle (size your choice) and buy directly from the 700l casks of wine that line the wall and choose from white, red or the locals favourite rosé. A litre of the red will set you back a shade over 2 euros.

Fabulous authentic and great value restaurants in Nice

There are loads of affordable, authentic and scrumptious restaurants in Nice. Food is really important to the locals, it’s part of the heritage of this place. The street food is amazing, delicious socca, Pissaladière (a tasty onion tart) pastries, and snacks are plentiful and at just a few Euros a piece, you won’t need to spend much.

Plenty of restaurants don’t charge sky high prices and one of the best for local Nicois dishes is A Buteghinna (11, rue du marché). It’s only open for lunch but the three lovely Nicois ladies who run cook up a storm in a tiny kitchen. You won’t each much in the evening after one of their huge and scrumptious dishes! And, check out their snack bar for take away heaven!

Then return to the beach, read a book and savour a delicious ice cream. Afterwards head back to your French Connections holiday home to get dressed for an apero at a local bar, have dinner and wander the wiggly streets of old Nice listening to free music, soaking up the ambiance and people watching.

What to do in Nice for free or really inexpensive

The beach at Nice is stony – which is fine for most people but if you want a comfy sunbed, you’ll have to pay for it. You could though hop on the bus and for just €1.50 head to the sandy beach at gorgeous Villefranche-sur-Mer close by. (Get transport details from the tourist office).

Walking is, of course, free, and Nice is one of the nicest places to wander with parks, grand squares, the gorgeous streets of the old town and distinctive styles of district. Head to castle hill, via the free lift – or climb the steps if you’re feeling energetic. The views from here are stunning, there are shady areas perfect for a picnic plus beautiful gardens.

Stroll along the beachfront, wander in the Cours Saleya market. Cool down in La Promenade des Paillons, an enclosed urban park of 12 hectares where you’ll find fountains, bands, street food and somewhere to sit in the shade of a tree, on a bench and simply chill.

For just 10 Euros you can pick up a ticket from the tourist office that gives you access to all museums and galleries in Nice for 24 hours including the fabulous Matisse museum – a great saving.

Nice is the perfect place to wander, wonder, relax, chill, eat, drink and enjoy the joie de vivre in the sun.

At French Connections, we love to help you make your holiday dreams come true.