Pronouncing the name of this city immediately springs to mind images of Provençal markets, colours, palm trees, monuments and historical residences of great architectural value, all this exploited by a splendid sea as blue as the sky. Today’s Nice is a mixture of Belle Epoque and modernity. The old town (Vielle Ville) is full of small winding streets that come out onto lively baroque squares. The heart of the Vielle Ville is Cours Saleya in the ‘700 it was the promenade of the high society today it is the flower market. It also has many buildings and churches which go back mostly to the Baroque period, amongst which we note, the church of Sainte Rèparate dedicated to the patron saint of the town and the church of Saint Jacques.
To the east the old town leans to the Colline du Chateau (hill of de castle) where the ancients built the Acropoli and the Savoias the fortress, destroyed later by Luis XIV at the foot of the hill opens up the port occupied by fishing boats and lined by cafes and restaurant. On the other side, in the Limpya region, you will find the Musee de Terra Amata, the archeological museum which hosts findings of late Paleolitical age a settlement discovered on Mont Beron in 1966.
The centre of Nice is represented by Place Massena, the building of which began in the 18th century. The square, together with the Promenade du Paillon which leads to MAMAC (museum of modern an contemporary art) and to the pharaonic Acropolis Congress Centre, marks the boundary of the nineteenth century town with the Vielle Ville. Symbol of the Belle Epoque is the “Promenade des Anglais”, the town’s sea front. As testimony of the avenue’s grand past remain the hotels Westminster, West End, palais de la Mediterraneè and above all the famous Hotel Negresco (1912) its dome has become the symbol of Nice.
Nice has also many interesting museums besides the two previously mentioned, are Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, the Musée des Beaux-Arts Jules Chéret (with a rich collection of 17th century european objects) the Musée du Message Biblique Marc Chagall (the most important permanent exhibition of this artist) the Musée d’Archéologie and the Musée Matisse.
Nice is a city to be discovered slowly a short day trip is not enough. Often it becomes a transit town for those who arrive at its international airport to move on to smaller remote areas of the Riviera. Although Nice is France’s sixth largest city its atmosphere is never too metropolitan. Maybe its the sea, the sea breeze that comes from afar, the oriental shapes... “Nissa la Bella” (dialect for “oh Lovely Nice”) will never stop to enchant the souls of its visitors.