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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Nice is the fifth most populous city in France and it is the capital of the Alpes Maritimes département.

The natural beauty of the Nice area and its mild Mediterranean climate came to the attention of the English upper classes in the second half of the 18th century, when an increasing number of aristocratic families took to spending their winter there. The city's main seaside promenade, the Promenade des Anglais (‘the Walkway of the English') owes its name to the earliest visitors to the resort.

For decades now, the picturesque Nicean surroundings have attracted not only those in search of relaxation, but also those seeking inspiration. The clear air and soft light has been of particular appeal to some of Western culture's most outstanding painters, such as Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Niki de Saint Phalle and Arman.

Nice inspired many composers and intellectuals in different countries e.g. Berlioz, Rossini, Nietzsche etc.

Contents

Sights

The Promenade des Anglais ("Promenade of the English") is a promenade along the Baie des Anges ("Bay of the Angels"), which is a bay of the Mediterranean, in Nice. Before Nice was urbanised, the coastline at Nice was just bordered by a deserted stretch of beach covered with large pebbles. The first houses were located on higher ground well away from the sea, as wealthy tourists visiting Nice in the 18th century did not come for the beach, but for the gentle winter weather. The areas close to the water were home to Nice's dockworkers and fishermen.

In the second half of the 18th century, many wealthy English people took to spending the winter in Nice, enjoying the panorama along the coast. When a particularly harsh winter up north brought an influx of beggars to Nice, some of the rich Englishmen proposed a useful project for them: the construction of a walkway (chemin de promenade) along the sea.

The city of Nice, intrigued by the prospect of a pleasant promenade, greatly increased the scope of the work. The Promenade was first called the Camin dei Anglès (the English Way) by the Niçois in their native dialect, Nissart. After the annexation of Nice by France in 1860 it was rechristened La Promenade des Anglais, replacing the former Nissart name with its French translation.

The Hotel Negresco on the Promenade des Anglais was named after Henri Negresco (1868–1920) who had the palatial hotel constructed in 1912. In keeping with the conventions of the time, when the Negresco first opened in 1913 its front opened on the side opposite the Mediterranean.

Another place worth mentioning is the small street parallel to the Promenade des Anglais, leading from Nice's downtown, beginning at Place Masséna and running parallel to the promenade in the direction of the airport for a short distance of about 4 blocks. This section of the city is referred to as the "Zone Pietonne", or "Pedestrian Zone". Cars are not allowed (with exception to delivery trucks), making this avenue a popular walkway. Here, tourists can find a fine selection of restaurants, specializing in various types of cuisine, including Niçoise, French, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish and Italian. There is also a large selection of cafés where one can sit and enjoy an apéritif, as well as several bakeries with coffee, cake, and a terrace. There are also plenty of small shops selling clothing, shoes, and souvenirs.

Old Nice is also home to the Opéra de Nice. It was constructed at the end of the 19th century under the design of François Aune, to replace King Charles Félix's Maccarani Theater. Today, it is open to the public and provides a regular program of performances.

Other sights include:

Squares

Place Masséna

The Place Masséna is the main square of the city. Before the Paillon River was covered over, the Pont-Neuf was the only practicable way between the old town and the modern one. The square was thus divided into two parts (North and South) in 1824. With the demolition of the Masséna Casino in 1979, the Place Masséna became more spacious and less dense and is now bordered by red ochre buildings of Italian architecture.

The recent rebuilding of the tramline gave the square back to the pedestrians, restoring its status as a real Mediterranean square. It is lined with palm trees and stone pines, instead of being the rectangular roundabout of sorts it had become over the years. Since its construction, the Place Masséna has always been the spot for great public events. It is used for concerts, and particularly during the summer festivals, the Corso carnavalesque (carnival parade) in February, the military procession of 14 July (Bastille Day) or other traditional celebrations and banquets.

The Place Masséna is a two-minute walk from the Promenade des Anglais, old town, town centre, and Albert I Garden (Jardin Albert Ier). It is also a large crossroads between several of the main streets of the city: avenue Jean Médecin, avenue Félix Faure, boulevard Jean Jaurès, avenue de Verdun and rue Gioffredo.

Place Garibaldi

The Place Garibaldi also stands out for its architecture and history. It is named after Giuseppe Garibaldi, hero of the Italian unification (born in Nice in 1807 when Nice was part of the Napoleonic Empire, before reverting to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia). The square was built at the end of the 18th century and served as the entry gate to the city and end of the road to Turin. It took several names between 1780 and 1870 (Plaça Pairoulièra, Place de la République, Place Napoléon, Place d'Armes, Place Saint-Augustin, Piazza Vittorio) and finally Place Garibaldi in September 1870.

A statue of Garibaldi, who was fiercely in favour of the union of Nice with Italy, stands in the centre of the square. The recent rebuilding of the area to accommodate the new tramway line gave mostly the entire square to pedestrians. The architecture is in line with the Turin model, which was the norm of urban renewal throughout the entire realm of the House of Savoy.

It is a crossroads between the Vieux Nice (old town) and the town centre. Place Garibaldi is close to the eastern districts of Nice, Port Lympia (Lympia Harbour), and the TNL commercial centre. This square is also a junction of several important streets: the boulevard Jean-Jaurès, the avenue de la République, the rue Cassini and the rue Catherine-Ségurane.

Place Rossetti

Entirely enclosed and pedestrianised, this square is located in the heart of the old town. With typical buildings in red and yellow ochres surrounding the square, the cathédrale Sainte-Réparate and the fountain in the centre, place Rossetti is a must-see spot in the old town. By day, the place is invaded by the terraces of traditional restaurants and the finest ice-cream makers. By night, the environment changes radically, with tourists and youths flocking to the square, where music reverberates on the walls of the small square. The square's lighting at night gives it a magical aspect.

Place Rossetti is in the centre of the old town, streets Jesus, Rossetti, Mascoïnat and the Pont-vieux (old bridge)

Cours Saleya

The Cours Saleya is situated parallel to the Quai des États-Unis. In the past, it belonged to the upper classes. It is probably the most traditional square of the town, with its daily flower market. The Cours Saleya also opens on the Palais des Rois Sardes (Palace of the Kings of Sardinia). In the present, the court is mostly a place of entertainment. There are good restaurants serving typical Nicois cuisine, markets and many pubs. It is no doubt one of the most active spots in Nice.

Place du Palais

As its name indicates, the Place du Palais is where the Palais de la Justice (Law courts) of Nice is located. On this square, there also is the Palais Rusca, which also belongs to the justice department (home of the tribunal de grande instance).

The square is also notable due to the presence of the city clock. Today, the Place du Palais is alive day and night. Often, groups of youths will hangout on the steps leading to the Palais de la Justice. Concerts, films, and other major public events frequently occur in this space.

It is situated halfway between the Cours Saleya and Place Masséna.

Religious


See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Nice" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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