The italian border is a mere 40 minute drive from Nice.
There is a strong italian influence on the French Riviera, always has been, and Nice was actually part of Italy, until 1860.
Popular destinations just across the border include Ventimiglia, San Remo, Bordighera and Cinque Terre.
Ventimiglia is just 40 minutes east from Nice, and very popular with tourists, from France, and from everywhere else too!
You will notice immediately the different ambiance compared with the Cote d'Azur: this part of Italy is more down to earth and lacks the displays of riches one finds just west across the border with France.
Ventimiglia has the same shingle beaches as Nice.
Every Friday there is the famous and very colourful street market. Note that upong crossing the border back into France, you're likely to be asked by the French police to let them have a look at your purchases... don't buy fake brands is the advice!
50 Minutes drive from Nice, Bordighera is a charming town that merits a visit, for its town centre, architecture and seafront.
The Mercantour National park is part French, part Itilian. Walking from the Madone de Fenestre refuge, up to the Fenestre pass, you will see this sign, with Italy on the other side.
In fact, this route was used during the second world war, by Jews and others fleeing persecution.