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One night in Nice, on the way to Aix

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DH and I will arrive in Nice in mid October, after a long flight, due to arrive around 5:30 pm. Rather than drive immediately to our destination, Aix, we'd like to spend the night and rest. Does anyone have any advice as to whether it's best to stay in Nice or a smaller town away from the city? We haven't booked car rental yet, and I'd love advice on whether there's somewhere better than the airport to rent. We're not thrilled about driving around Nice looking for a parking lot. Perhaps we could take public transit to the hotel, then pick up the car the next day?

Things to keep in mind: we don't want to drive more than 45-60 minutes from airport after arrival...we don't do well with jet lag, darkness and not knowing where we are. Also, at the end of our trip, we will have two nights to stay near Nice, so we will have time then to explore the area. (I will work on that hotel decision after we get this taken care of!)

Thanks to anyone who can give us some advice.

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