23 Best Things to Do in Nice, France + Useful Travel Tips

Planning to visit the South of France and looking for the best things to do in Nice? I got you covered because I am about to share all my knowledge about this charming French city.

Nice is the capital of French Riviera and one of the most popular destinations in Europe. Not only it is filled with a lot of fun activities, but Nice also opens the door to the rest of the region.

When it comes to the best things to do in Nice, this city has it all. No matter if you are looking for food experiences, museum hopping or simply relaxing on the beach, you will love Nice.

So without further ado, let’s dive in and let’s discover all the fun activities in Nice. I have divided this guide into separate sections, so you will find fun free things to do in Nice, indoor activities, foodie experiences, and more.

*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Are you still planning your trip to Nice?

If the answer is yes, I am here to help you out with some of the essentials, like tours, hotels, and other useful tips that will help you with the entire process.

🏆Are you looking for fun experiences in Nice? Don’t miss these top-rated tours in Nice:

🔎 Want to see beyond Nice? Book a half-day trip to Monaco & Eze or discover the most beautiful villages near Nice.

⏰ Wondering how long to stay in Nice? You can cover the essentials of Nice in one day and you can easily find entertainment for a week. Nice is a great base if you want to explore the rest of the French Riviera.

🏠 When it comes to accommodations, there are plenty of luxury hotels, yet not much for those seeking mid-range or affordable hotels. Here are some suggestions that can help you.

🌊 Or check out these hotels in Nice with amazing sea views directly from your balcony.

✈️ From the airport of Nice, you can take the bus, a tram, or book a private transfer to reach your accommodation.

🚗 If you are planning a road trip around the French Riviera, you will love Rentalcars and all these beautiful places on the French Riviera that should be added to your itinerary.

Fun free things to do in Nice

Promenade des Anglais

Fun free things to do in Nice
most Instagrammable places in Nice

In the heart of Nice lies the iconic Promenade des Anglais, a boulevard that hugs the picturesque coastline. Named after the English expats who fell in love with the area in the 19th century, this promenade is a blend of history, beauty, and vibrant energy.

As you stroll along its length, you’ll be greeted by swaying palm trees, luxury hotels, and charming cafes, creating a postcard-perfect scene. The wide pedestrian walkway invites you to take in the mesmerizing views of the azure Mediterranean Sea.

One highlight not to be missed is the famous Blue Beach, conveniently located near the renowned Le Negresco hotel. It’s the perfect spot to unwind and soak up the sun after a busy morning exploring the city. 

Blue Beach, Le Negresco hotel, cafes, and restaurants come with a big price tag. But strolling around Promenade des Anglais is completely free. And it is one of the picturesque places in Nice.

We stayed directly on the Promenade des Anglais and sitting down on the blue chairs of the promenade while soaking up the sun was the highlight of my time in Nice. This is truly one of the best free things to do in Nice.

Colline du Château

best views of Nice - Fun free things to do in Nice
best views of Nice
Fun free things to do in Nice

Offering panoramic views of the city and the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Colline du Château represents the essence of Nice. Some of the highlights include Promenade des Anglais, Nice Old Town, and Port Lympia.

The Colline du Château has a rich history dating back to medieval times when it served as the site of a formidable fortress. Today, it is a must-visit place and one of the best things to do in Nice. No trip to Nice is complete without a visit to this iconic hill.

From the cascading waters of Cascade Dijon to the historic Bellanda Tower and the ancient Cathedral, every corner of the hill exudes an undeniable charm. Cascade Dijon is an artificial waterfall running over a rocky cliff and another that you shouldn’t miss when visiting Nice.

There is no charge to visit Colline du Château which makes it one of the best free things to do in Nice. Especially if you choose to walk up to the peak.

From the 1st of October until the 31st of March, it is open from 8.30 am to 6 pm and from the 1st of April to the 30th of September it is open from 8.30 am to 8 pm. Yes, even though it is a free park, access is limited.

How to visit Colline du Château?

How to visit Colline du Château?

It is located 90 meters above sea level and there is no public transport that brings you to the top. If you choose to walk, it will take you around 300 stairs to reach the peak. 

As an alternative, you can take Ascenseur du Château and take s short walk up from there. It is free of charge, however, it is open from 10 am to 5 pm. Look up Ascenseur du Château to find the exact location on Google Maps.

When I first visited Nice some years ago, I opted for a Le Petit Train Touristique de Nice. It starts from Monument du Centenaire and takes 50 minutes to bring you around Nice attractions. The last stop is Colline du Château, where you have 10 minutes of free time. Not ideal, but works if you are on the clock.

The price is 12 euro and it leaves once every hour or once every 30 minutes depending on the season. It is open from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm.

St Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral

best places to visit in Nice
Fun free things to do in Nice

As you explore the enchanting city of Nice, certain landmarks simply cannot be missed. Among them stands the majestic St Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral and visiting this religious site is one of the free things to do in Nice.

From its grand facade to its towering spires, this cathedral is a true masterpiece. It’s not just about looks though—it’s the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedral in Western Europe. So, you can imagine the sense of awe you’ll feel as you stand in front of it.

Make sure you visit the inside of the church and take a stroll around the church. Don’t miss Chapelle du tsarévitch Nicolas Alexandrovitch and Nicholas Alexandrovich Statue as well.

One of the best things about visiting St Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral is that it’s away from the busy alleys of Old Town. So, you can expect a peaceful atmosphere, especially if you visit during the quieter shoulder season.

It is open on weekdays from 10 am to 1.30 pm and from 2 pm to 5.30 pm. On the weekends it is open from 10 am to 6 pm. St Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral is not accessible to tourists on Sundays from 9 am to midday. There is no entrance fee but feel free to leave a donation.

Place Masséna

Fun free things to do in Nice

When it comes to must-visit spots in Nice, Place Masséna takes center stage as the city’s main square, and for good reason. From its stunning Fontaine du Soleil to its lively atmosphere, this vibrant square is a must-add to every Nice itinerary.

The first thing that catches your eye is the magnificent Fontaine du Soleil, standing proudly in the center. With its grand statue of Apollo, the Greek god of the sun, and the intricate figures representing the four seasons, it’s a true masterpiece of art and craftsmanship.

The contrast of the black and white pavement against the colorful facades of the buildings is another interesting feature of this square.

If you’re hoping to avoid the crowds and capture the square in its full glory, it’s best to arrive early in the morning. I personally loved seeing it empty, but the lively atmosphere during the day is charming as well.

Port Lympia

Fun free things to do in Nice
Fun free things to do in Nice

If you are wondering what to do in Nice on a sunny day, head to Port Lympia, which is a charming harbor situated along the Mediterranean coast.

This charming harbor has a rich history that dates back centuries, harking back to ancient times when it was a bustling trading post. Today, Port Lympia continues to thrive as a vital link between the city and the sea.

What makes Port Lympia truly special is its picturesque setting. Colorful buildings line the waterfront, while quaint cafes invite you to sit back, relax, and soak in the atmosphere. And let’s not forget about the boats! From majestic yachts to humble fishing vessels, Port Lympia has it all. 

As you wander around Port Lympia, take the time to appreciate the sights and sounds of this harbor. It will take you approximately one hour and it is truly one of the best free things to do in Nice.

Are you looking for a dreamy hotel in Nice with sea views?

La place Garibaldi

Fun free things to do in Nice
Fun free things to do in Nice

La Place Garibaldi is all about the buzz of life. It’s a symphony of clattering cafe chairs, animated conversations, and the rhythmic hiss of espresso machines.  Trust me, it’s on my list of the best things to do in Nice

Named after the Italian hero Giuseppe Garibaldi, the square itself whispers of history, but it isn’t stuck in the past. The buildings that surround La Place Garibaldi are architectural beauties, each facade a perfect example of a bygone era.

La Place Garibaldi comes alive during the day. The square fills with locals grabbing a morning espresso, artists sketching the scene, and the occasional street performer stealing the crowd.

This is a perfect square with a lively atmosphere and you don’t want to miss it during your next trip to Nice.

Nice Old Town

23 Best Things to Do in Nice, France
23 Best Things to Do in Nice, France
23 Best Things to Do in Nice, France

Old Town is the most popular tourist attraction in Nice and you cannot visit Nice without seeing it. However, what is there to do in Nice Old Town? It is one of my favorite areas of the city, so let’s dive in!

Nice Cathedral is the heart of Old Town and it must be added to your Nice itinerary. Dedicated to Saint Reparata, an early Christian martyr, the cathedral dates back to the 17th century, although it underwent significant renovations and enhancements over the years. 

Right in front of the Cathedral, you will find Place Rossetti and La Fontaine historique d’Obélisque. On the right side of the Nice Cathedral, you will find a unique narrow building and another must-visit spot.

If you want to discover hidden gems of Nice Old Town, you will love Maison d’Adam et Eve. It is a façade adorned with intricately carved figures and symbols, including depictions of Adam and Eve, as well as other biblical motifs. 

It is so hidden that you can easily miss it unless you pay attention and know what you are looking for. You can keep Théâtre du Cours as a reference point because Maison d’Adam et Eve is located right in front of it. 

As you wanted around, don’t miss Tour de l’Horloge, Cours Saleya, Marché Aux Fleurs, and Les Distilleries Idéales. These are all the best free things to do in Nice Old Town, but there are other indoor places that we will discover further down.

Cimiez

23 Best Things to Do in Nice, France
23 Best Things to Do in Nice, France

Nice spoils the visitors with its azure coastline and vibrant energy, but sometimes you crave a breath of fresh air and a dose of history. That’s where Cimiez comes in. Perched on a hill overlooking the city, Cimiez offers a delightful escape, and it is one of the best free things to do in Nice.

The main attraction in Cimiez is Musée Matisse and you shouldn’t miss Excelsior Regina Hotel together with Cimiez Monastery Garden, however, just strolling around the area with leave you impressed. 

The neighborhood boasts some of the finest examples of Belle Époque architecture in Nice and Boulevard de Cimiez is a perfect example of that. Imagine the lives lived within these walls, the stories they could tell.

Cimiez is a reminder that the best things in Nice don’t always come with a price tag. It’s a place to slow down, appreciate the beauty of the city, and delve into its rich past. You might just discover your favorite free activity in Nice.

Sent. du Littoral

23 Best Things to Do in Nice, France
23 Best Things to Do in Nice, France

If you are an adventurous traveler and you want to stay active during your time in Nice, don’t miss Sent. du Littoral in Nice. It is one of the best free outdoor activities in Nice and it comes with a fantastic view of the Mediterranean coastline.

This route isn’t your average stroll in the park, however, it is a relatively easy trek. You’ll encounter rocky paths by the sea, hillside steps that’ll give your calves a workout, and peaceful trails right along the beach. But trust me, the views you’ll soak in along the way are worth it.

This path starts from Coco Beach and has multiple indications so it will be very easy to find. You can walk all the way to Villefranche-sur-Mer and it takes 1-2 hours depending on your speed. However, this path is not for racing, it is all for enjoying the views around you.

There is no fee to visit Sent. du Littoral and it is a well-maintained path, however, I still recommend comfortable shoes. Also, avoid it when the tide is high because some parts of the path will be covered with water.

Libération market

23 Best Things to Do in Nice, France
23 Best Things to Do in Nice, France

Do you want to blend in with the locals when visiting Nice? Head to the lively Libération market. If you are planning to spend a longer time in Nice and have an Airbnb booked, this is a great place to buy groceries and savor some of the freshest local ingredients.

Wandering through the market stalls, you’ll be greeted by the sights and smells of ripe fruits, colorful vegetables, fragrant herbs, and freshly caught seafood. It’s a feast for the senses, where you can sample the flavors of the region and discover unique ingredients.

Nearby you will find La Gare Du Sud, which is a newly built food court in a beautiful setting. I personally didn’t try any of the food stalls considering the bad ratings, however, it is still a pretty sight to see.

Unique indoor things to do in Nice

Do you love museums and want to save money when visiting Nice?

Before we dive into the best indoor things to do in Nice, I wanted to share this great Nice budget tip. Instead of paying for each museum separately, you can get a museum pass for 4 days and pay 15 EUR to access 10 must-visit museums in Nice. 

Even if you are planning to spend less time in Nice and want to visit just 3-4 museums, this is a great deal and you can save a couple of entrance fees when wandering around Nice.

It includes: Musée Matisse, Musée Massena, Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, Musée des Beaux-Arts Jules Chéret, Musée de la Photographie Charles Nègre, Musée d’Archéologie de Nice Cimiez, Musée d’Art Naïf, Musée de Préhistoire de Terra Amata, Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle, Palais Lascaris.

The website is available only in French (the English option doesn’t work for me), but it is pretty easy to navigate, so click here to get your museum pass.

Villa Masséna Musée

most beautiful places in Nice
Unique indoor things to do in Nice

Visiting Villa Masséna Musée is one of the best indoor things to do in Nice. Once the luxurious residence of a prominent local family, the villa now serves as a museum which means that you can visit and see it with your own eyes.

As you approach Villa Masséna Musée, you will be welcomed with a beautiful garden and stunning exterior, but the best secrets are still hidden inside. The museum’s exhibits take you back to the time when Nice was just a small fishing village and showcases all the progress that the city made ever since.

It is open from 11 am to 6 pm every day except Tuesdays when the museum is closed. The entrance fee is 10 EUR. The entrance is behind the Promenade des Anglais and you can see gardens for free.

Palais Lascaris

Unique indoor things to do in Nice
Unique indoor things to do in Nice

Musée du Palais Lascaris is one of the prettiest places in Nice and quite a hidden gem for tourists despite its central location in the old town. If you are looking for indoor things to do in Nice, this should be on top of your list.

Housed within a magnificent Baroque palace, this museum offers insights into the opulent lifestyle of the aristocracy during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Originally built as a private residence for the illustrious Lascaris-Vintimille family, the palace was transformed into a museum in the 1970s, allowing the public to explore its rich history and exquisite architectural details.

The museum’s carefully curated collection includes an impressive array of period furniture, decorative arts, and musical instruments. However, if you ask me, the palace itself is the most beautiful part of the museum and transfers you back in time.

One of the highlights of the museum is its magnificent staircase, adorned with intricate stucco work and ornate balustrades, leading to the upper floors where you will find opulent living quarters and reception rooms.

It is a relatively small museum, so you can easily visit the entire palace in one hour. The entrance fee is 5 EUR and it is open from 10 am to 6 pm. Keep in mind that the museum is closed on Tuesdays.

Modern and Contemporary Art Museum (MAMAC)

Unique indoor things to do in Nice

The Modern and Contemporary Art Museum (MAMAC) in Nice, France, is a dynamic cultural institution that celebrates the creativity and innovation of contemporary artists.

Housed in a striking modernist building, its sleek lines and bold architecture make MAMAC a standout landmark in Nice. Inside, the museum’s collection showcases a diverse range of artworks, from paintings and sculptures to multimedia installations and performance art. 

Once you reach the last floor of the museum, you will find a nice rooftop terrace that offers fantastic views over Nice. Tourists often miss this spot, so this is your opportunity to get a different perspective of Nice.

If you like modern art, this is a must-visit museum for you and one of the best indoor things to do in Nice. Exploring the entire building will take you a few hours.

Update! The museum is closed until 2028 for construction.

Musée Matisse

Located in the posh district of Cimiez lies the famous Musée Matisse, just a gasp away from the iconic Ancien Hôtel Régina and the Thermes Romains. You already know that visiting Cimiez is one of the best free things to do in Nice, so you can easily combine it with Musée Matisse.

Any true art lover has to add the Musée Matisse to their Nice itinerary. The Musée Matisse is hosted in a beautiful XVII century villa and it is one of the most visited museums in Nice.

The museum showcases a collection of art by the French painter Henri Matisse that includes paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and photography. It also hosts temporary exhibitions.

If you are particularly interested in Henri Matisse’s art this is the best place to see his art coming to life. Nearby the museum you also can find the tomb of the painter, just next to Cimiez Monastery.

The museum is open every day except on Tuesdays from 10 am to 5 pm and the admission ticket is 8 euros.

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nice

Unique indoor things to do in Nice

The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nice is one of the main museums of Nice and it hosts one of the greatest collections of works of art in all South of France. It is built in a mansion built in 1878 by a Russian Princess and it’s a splendid example of the local architecture.

The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nice houses a collection of art spanning the past four centuries and includes pieces from famous French artists like Rodin and Foreign like Picasso. It also offers guided tours are regularly offered to you on different themes and periods of art history.

The opening times of the museum are the following: from May 2 to October 31 from 10 am to 6 pm. From November 1 to April 30 from 11 am to 6 pm. Closed on Mondays.

Best things to do in Nice for foodies

Eat your way through Niçoise specialties

Best things to do in Nice for foodies

Are you a foodie like me? If so you will love this and the next few chapters. So you have just arrived in Nice and want to try local Niçoise specialties, but where to start?

Nice is known for its delicious cuisine, blending Mediterranean flavors with French influences. Whether you’re exploring the local markets, dining in a cozy bistro, or enjoying a fine dining scene, Nice offers a wide variety of foods that will satisfy your taste buds.

Some of the famous dishes include Socca, Pissaladière, Salad Nicoise, Pan bagnat, Ratatouille, and Panisse. Nice gastronomy has a life of its own – most local dishes you won’t find elsewhere in France, at least not in their authentic form.

However, if you want to dive deeper into local specialties, how they are made, and where to sample the best of the best, make sure you read this Nice food guide.

Discover the best local restaurants in Nice

Best things to do in Nice for foodies

Wondering where to eat in Nice like a local? I spent more than one month in Nice, so I have carefully handpicked and tested the best restaurants in Nice. 

Popular tourist destinations mean a lot of tourist traps and even some disappointing experiences. I had a few of those despite all the research I did before, but I am offering you a shortcut to the best of the best.

Click here to discover 10 amazing local restaurants in Nice Old Town. This means that most of the restaurants are located within popular attractions and can be easily implemented in your Nice itinerary.

We will also cover different price ranges, starting from affordable street food to high-end restaurants with a pinch of apéro in the middle. I am sure you will find suitable restaurants even if you have a few meals in Nice.

Join a food tour

Best things to do in Nice for foodies
Best things to do in Nice for foodies

By now you already know all the Niçoise specialties and the best local restaurants in Nice, but maybe you want to join a fun food tour and explore a local cuisine with a certified guide?

I got you covered! I have gathered a list of the best food tours in Nice that every foodie must try. If you don’t have the time to read the full article, here is a quick recap.

The best tour in Nice is the Half Day Afternoon Walking Food Tour with Dinner with a constant 5-star rating.

If you are on a budget, NO DIET CLUB – Unique Local Food in Nice is one of the best affordable food tours in Nice.

Viator Exclusive: Organic French Dinner in the Garden of Nice and French Breakfast Gastronomy offer unique food experiences in Nice where you get to visit locals’ home and savor your meal in an authentic environment.

Stop by some amazing cafes in Nice

Best things to do in Nice for foodies
Best things to do in Nice for foodies

While the local food is amazing in Nice, I am sure you will want to try some pastries, enjoy a coffee break, or even stop for a late brunch in a nice cafe. After spending more than a month in Nice, I tried it all – some popular cafes, some aesthetic places, and some famous bakeries. 

I have prepared Nice cafe guide that features only the best of the best. No matter if you are looking for fabulous brunch, traditional croissants, or delicious coffee, you will find something suitable for your next trip to Nice.

Click here to read the full article and discover the best cafes in Nice.

End your trip with a fancy dinner on the Promenade des Anglais

Best things to do in Nice for foodies

Are you dreaming about your trip to Nice already? If so, I imagine a picture of you enjoying a fabulous meal with a sea view comes to your mind.

One of the best things to do in Nice is enjoy a romantic and fancy vibe in one of the restaurants on the Promenade des Anglais. The promenade offers countless options for you to enjoy a fantastic meal or an aperitif while the Nice life flows.

However, this area is filled with tourist traps so my recommendation is to have dinner at Le Siècle. It is a beautiful restaurant featuring art deco-style decor, a terrace, and Mediterranean cuisine.

I don’t exaggerate when I say that this was one of the best restaurants in Nice and the whole of France. From the meat to the fish, through the sweets, everything is skillfully prepared by the chef and his “équipe”.

Extra tip! If you are on a tight budget, head to Le Siècle for lunch, because they have a daily menu for a very affordable price.

Other amazing things to do in Nice

Plan a fun day trip from Nice

Take a Day Trips from Nice by Train or Bus

Nice is one of the most beautiful places on the French Riviera and thanks to its strategic location, it is a great base to explore the rest of the region. From Nice, you can easily reach multiple iconic locations just by using public transport.

Monaco and Eze are probably the most visited places, but there is more. If you want to discover popular towns and unlock some hidden gems of the French Riviera, make sure you read this comprehensive Nice day trip travel guide.

It will help you pick the right options for your next trip. And for each destination, you will find useful tips like things to do and see together with practical information like how to reach and how much it costs.

French Riviera is one of the best European summer destinations and the dream vacation of many! Trust me, you want to explore as much as you can and visit beyond Nice.

Enjoy a beach day

23 Best Things to Do in Nice, France
23 Best Things to Do in Nice, France

While Nice is located on the beach, it is not the best destination for a beach holiday. First of all, there are no sand beaches in Nice. Second, these places can get extremely busy, especially during summer. However, if you still want to enjoy a beach day in Nice, here are some tips.

Blue Beach is the most popular place and it is known for its iconic blue umbrellas. It is located in the center of Nice on the Promenade des Angles and only a few steps away from the old town.

However, it is a private beach, and the prices can be steep. But you get a comfortable bed, parasol, and access to the iconic local. Opéra Plage is another similar alternative on the Promenade des Angles.

Plage Des Ponchettes is located next to the old town and it is completely free, but it gets packed in summer. If you are looking for a relaxing day, this is not the place to be.

Coco Beach is a bit more laid-back option and a popular spot for locals. But the beach is made of cliffs. While you can access the sea and enjoy your swim, you won’t be able to lay on the beach unless you have your sunbed or chair.

If you are looking for a comfortable sand beach, you will need to travel further to Plage des Marinières in Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Discover the best-hidden gem in Nice: Tour Saint-François

Nice Hidden Gems
23 Best Things to Do in Nice, France

Looking for unique views over Nice? Colline du Château is probably the number one option for most of the tourists, but I want you to discover some hidden places in Nice as well. This is why you need to visit Tour Saint-François.

Be prepared for a long spiral staircase that leads you up to the peak of the tower. After 15 minutes of stairs, you will be welcomed with some of the best views of Nice. It is not as high as Colline du Château, so you get a very different perspective on the city.

Keep in mind that it is open only on the weekends and occasionally on Fridays during the summer season. Opening times on the weekends are from 9.30 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 5 pm. On Fridays, you can visit from 7 pm to 10 pm.

The entrance fee is 6 EUR. You have to get your ticket at the office downstairs and show your ticket at the top. The person checking your ticket can also give you a little guided tour, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Further reading for the best things to do in Nice

Or read more about: Nice | Paris | Menton | Saint-Paul-de-Vence | Cannes | Eze | Villefranche-sur-Mer | France

In conclusion…

23 Best Things to Do in Nice, France

This is the end of the best things to do in Nice and I am sure this list got you all excited for your trip to Nice. Ticking off most of these things will make your vacation unforgettable.

I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.

Pin it for later and save the best things to do in Nice!

23 Best Things to Do in Nice, France
23 Best Things to Do in Nice, France

3 Comments

  1. I went to Nice for the first time two years ago and LOVED it! The water there is so stunning and I also enjoyed the views from Castle Hill. You made me want to go back!

  2. We loved our first visit to Nice but always planned to return. Your post has given me some great things for our next trip. We would definitely take the Ascenseur du Château to visit the Colline du Château for those views! And I am sad we missed the St Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral on our first visit. And a stroll along Sent. du Littoral sounds perfect for us. We need to get a return visit to Nice on the planning board.

  3. Nice is really a beautiful city. I love the colourful buildings and the views from Modern and Contemporary Art Museum–too bad it’s closed for such a lengthy time.

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