Nice- French Reviera by Night

Nice is a beautiful city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France. It has a unique culture within France with its own Language as well as a distinct culture. Nice plays host to many festivals, Carnaval de Nice and the Nice Jazz Festival to name a couple. After Dusk the entire cityscape lights up and that is the best way to explore this part of the French Reviera and seep in the beauty of Nice.

Reaching and Getting around Nice

Nice Cote d'Azur Airport is well connected by Airlines to London, Paris and other prominent European Cities. Those arriving in Paris can take the high speed Train to Nice. Gare de Nice Ville the main station of Nice is a 20 minute walk from the promenade along the Avenue Jean Medecin. For commuting within Nice, there is a decent public transportation system comprising Trams, Ferries and Buses.

What to see at Nice

Promenade des Anglaisis the most famous promenade along the Mediterranean in Nice. It has an interesting history behind it. Since the second half of 18th Century, affluent Englishmen started spending the winter at Nice. Harsh winters also brought an influx of Beggars into Nice. The English came out with an idea of a walkway along the sea to help the poor. The promenade was originally called Camin deis Anglés or the English Way.

Today the Promenade is a sight to behold especially on Sundays when the entire city including bicyclists, baby strollers, and skateboarders descend upon it.  The famous Nice Carnival is also held on the Promenade.

Located a few paces from the Promenade is Place Masséna the main square of Nice. It is a beautiful sight lined with palm trees and stone pines. There is a lovely fountain with bronze statues around it. Place Masséna plays host to many events like The Bastille Day Military procession and Corso Carnavalesque.

Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate is a beautiful Cathedral in Place Rosetti in the old town. St Reparate lived in 3rd century Ad, when Nice was part of the Roman Empire and France was called Gaul. In 250 AD, he was martyred upon refusing to carry out the decree of Emperor Gaius Decius to make sacrifices to the State God. The cathedral was officially consecrated in 1699. The most striking feature in the Cathedral is a 18th Century bell tower with its dome is covered in ceramic tiles. The whole of Place Rosetti lights up at Night with reverberating Music providing a magical air to the Cathedral. 

 

Place du Palais is the famous Court of Law, situated between Cours Saleya and Place Massena. Palais de Justice is designed in Neo-Classical style and connects Palais Rusca by a fountain. A majestic City Clock adds to the ambience of the Square. Today the most common sight at Place du Palais is that of Youth with beer cans sitting on its steps by Night! The area around Place du Palais has plenty of stalls selling books, records and art objects.

Musee Picasso located in Chateau Grimaldi, is a famous Museum of Pablo Picasso the Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer. The building belongs to the 14th Century and showcases more than 150 paintings of Picasso including "The Goat" and "La Joie de Vivre".

Musee des Beaux Arts is a special museum of Fine Arts. It is located in 33 av. des Baumettes. The building used to be a private mansion of Ukrainian Princess, Elisabeth Vassilievna Kotschoubey. The Museum des Beaux Arts displays works from Impressionist and post-Impressionist artists like Monet, Renoir, Duffy and Sisley. It also has ceramic pieces by Pablo Picasso.  

Famous Son of Nice

Giuseppe Garibaldi the famous Italian General, Politian and Patriot was born on 4th July in Nice. Garibaldi was a central figure in the Italian Risorgimento and one of the key factors behind the unification of Italy. He was a staunch crusader for integrating Nice with Italy. There is a statue of Garibaldi in the middle of Place Garibaldi, which is at the crossroads between the Vieux Nice, the old town and the town Centre.

Lance Armstrong the winner of Tour de France a record seven consecutive times, also used to live in Nice during his professional Career days.  

Unique Culture of Nice

Since ancient times, Nice has attracted artists and intellectuals from all over the world. Chagall, Matisse, Niki de Saint Phalle, Klein, Arman , Sosno. Berlioz, Rossini and Nietzsche were some of those who came to Nice made it their home.

The people of Nice speak Niçard, an Occitan dialect.

Nice is also famous for its culinary powers. Pissaladière is a local tart made with onions and anchovies. Socca is a type of pancake made from chickpea flour. Farcis niçois is a dish made from vegetables stuffed with breadcrumbs. Salade niçoise is a tomato salad with green peppers, baked eggs, tuna or anchovies.

Shopping in Nice

Shopping in Nice means designer boutiques, street markets and antique shops along boulevards and promenades. The central shopping area of Nice is Magenta Square and the streets surrounding it. Galeries LaFayette located on Place Massena is one of the most famous stores in Nice. Rue Paradis has the original shop of popular brand Façonnable. Atelier Contre-Jour on Rue du Pont Vieux sells silk lampshades, artfully carved furniture and hand-painted posters. Marche aux Fleurs in the old city offers good bargains on fruits, vegetables and flowers.  

Brief History of Nice

Nice la Belle, which means Nice the Beautiful, is supposed to have some of the oldest human settlements in Europe. Archaeological evidence traces back history of mankind at the area around Nice to 400,000 years. Terra Amata an archeological site on the slopes of Mount Boron in Nice shows one of the earliest uses of fire and construction of houses by Man.  During the middle ages, it participated in the Italian wars as an ally of Pisa. In 1388, Nice was placed under the protection of Count of Savoy. Nice was made part of France in 1860 as a reward for French assistance to Italy in their war against Austria through a treaty between the Sardinian king and Napoleon III.  

For more of my travelogues across the world, visit Great Vacations.

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