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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Brian SolisAlziari

The 13 best shops in Nice

The best shopping in Nice is retail therapy at its best, from hip boutiques to local markets and major department stores

Written by
Duncan Madden
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Wonderful, glorious Nice. So nice, in fact (see what we did there?), that you’re probably going to want to get a little something to remember your trip by. Or maybe a few little somethings. Or perhaps a whole suitcase or two. 

Whatever kind of retail therapy you’re after, there’s more than enough to get going with in Nice. Here you’ll find artisan cheese stores, classic souvenir shops and weekend markets, as well as the aptly-monikered Golden Square and pick up some new threads before heading out for that gourmet evening dinner. Here are the best shops in Nice. 

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This guide is by travel writer Duncan Madden. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines

Where to go shopping in Nice

1. Marché aux Fleurs Cours Saleya

What is it? Under a sea of blue and white striped awnings, this flower market is one of the prettiest, most atmospheric and fragrant in France.

Why go? Markets are often the heart of local communities, and in beautiful Old Town, the Marché aux Fleurs is just that. Tour the 30+ stalls, breathe deep the aromas of geraniums, fuchsias and dahlias, quiz experts for horticultural tips and if you’re not in Nice long enough to buy your own flowers, have some sent to friends or family. Closed Mondays and Sunday afternoons.

2. La Cave de Stéphane

What is it? A wine-lovers gem tucked away in Old Nice run by the eponymous Stéphane, this is as much for the casual drinker as the dedicated oenophile.

Why go? Stéphane’s lesser-known but extensive cellar ranges from independent gems to organic and biodynamic bottles and covers price points suitable for every pocket. Best of all, you can wander into La Cave de Stéphane knowing no more about vino than your favourite five-dollar Shiraz and emerge with local drop sure to widen your wine tasting horizon. Salut!

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3. Nery’s Fromagerie

What is it? On the aptly named Rue de France in Nice’s poshest district around the Carré d’Or (Golden Square), Nery’s is, simply, a cheese-lover’s paradise.

Why go? For the Fromage! Nery's Fromagerie is a visual and nasal sensory assault where you can pick up a simple slice of stinky camembert or go the whole hog with a cheese platter guaranteed to give you crazy dreams for an entire lifetime. Once you’re all cheesed out, check out the delicious caviars, vinegar, truffles and, in particular, the Pata Negra Bellota.

4. Boutique Sylvie T

What is it? The gallery and boutique where lifelong Nice resident and artist Sylvie T sells her beautiful watercolours, pastels and Indian ink artworks.

Why go? Nice has long been the muse of many artists (Matisse lived and worked here for years). Taking inspiration from its elaborate Belle Époque mansions and hidden ochre-infused alleyways, Sylvie T’s unique, colourful and beautiful paintings will transport you back to Nice once you’ve returned home to the cold, grey reality that is life away from the French Riviera!

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5. Café du Cycliste

What is it? As much a café and place to relax as a traditional shop, the lovely Café du Cycliste in Nice harbour also rents and sells bikes and cycling paraphernalia. 

Why go? One of those modern hybrid stores that blur the lines between social space and commercial outlet fabulously. Friendly staff, very (very) good coffee and a knowledgeable approachable clientele of cycling enthusiasts touring the French Riviera and beyond. If you’re thinking of exploring the coast by bike, this is the place to rent from.

6. Trésors Publics

What is it? A gift and souvenir shop – but don’t let that put you off. Trésors Publics eschews the usual tourist tat for beautiful French-made gifts in the heart of the Old Town. 

Why go? France encapsulated, stepping through the doors is to enter an almost fantastical treasure trove of handmade, cleverly sourced French-only goodies. Grab a woollen beret, wooden child’s toy, tangy mustard or block of handmade soap. Eclectic, humorous and loved by everyone who walks through its doors.

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7. Molinard

What is it? Continuing the venerable theme along the Rue François de Paul is the Provençal perfumer Molinard, whose store has been improving peoples’ aromas since 1849. 

Why go? Extracting five generations of smelly excellence from its home in Grasse near Nice, Molinard is a French institution that has long peddled its unique, rare smells to the rich, famous and fragrant. Book ahead, and you can even attend a workshop to create your own unique perfume. Aromatic!

8. Marché de la Libération

What is it? A vast, sprawling food market on the Place Charles de Gaulle that demands you get up early to sample its many culinary delights.

Why go? More popular with locals than tourists (always a good sign), the Liberation Market sells fresh, local and seasonal produce at better prices than you’ll find in most supermarkets. Open from 6am until 1pm daily (except Mondays), it’s the perfect place for a morning stroll to pick up some pastries and peruse some lunch options. Don’t miss the awesome seafood stalls under the red canopies.

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9. La Maison Auer

What is it? A Nice landmark directly off the Cours Saleya, famed for its candied fruits and chocolate almonds made only more mouth-watering by the antique display cases. 

Why go? What could be more French than a 200-year-old, family-run chocolaterie and confiserie? Rien is the answer! A staple of Nice food tours and sweet-toothed visitors, La Maison Auer is almost as enticing as the confectionary and was the go-to for Queen Victoria. And if it was good enough for her…

10. Alziari

What is it? The Alziari family have been cultivating olives since 1868 and selling their wares in this beautiful boutique near the Opera House in Old Nice since 1936.

Why go? If you like your olive oils, tapenades, pestos and cosmetics to be the best, look no further. One of two Nicolas Alziari stores in town, if you’re inspired by a visit here (and trust us, you will be), make sure to head over to Boulevard de la Madeleine for a free tour of their wonderful olive oil mill, the last in Nice.

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11. La Brasserie Artisanale de Nice

What is it? Located in the Libération district, this craft beer hotspot is a self-sufficient brewery where they hand brew beer at every stage, from hops to a hangover. 

Why go? While France is famed for its fine wines, it’s not all grapes and gargling. Visit La Brasserie Artisanale in the evening mid-week or on a Saturday morning to see every stage of the hand brewing technique before heading to one of the many local bars to try its Zytha (bière blonde), Hopstock (bière Ambrée) or Blùna (bière Blanche) bottles.

12. Galeries Lafayette

What is it? A smaller version of the famed Parisian department store in the glorious environs of the glam Place Masséna.

Why go? As reviled for its comically unfriendly staff as it is loved for its fantastic selection of high-end (eye-wateringly pricey) goods and a must for any (great department store) wonderful gourmet basement food market, the Galeries Lafayette is quintessentially French. If pockets are deep enough, stop in for a gateau at the lovely salon de La Table.

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13. Carrefour Nice Lingostiere

What is it? One of France’s biggest supermarket chains it may be, but there’s something wonderful about a genuine French hypermarché that must be experienced to be understood.

Why go? At Carrefour Nice Lingostiere, ou’ll find everything you might expect from your standard supermarket, plus a lot more – and it all feels far more civilized than your average grocery store. For gift shopping and picking up the basics, there are few better places to explore, and the wine cave is huge, amazing and fantastically priced.

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