City of Nice

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Nice (map) is a large city in France on the French Riviera. It’s a popular destination for vacationers young and old, with something to offer nearly everyone. It is well known for the beautiful view on the Promenade des Anglais (map), its famous waterfront, and is an ethnically diverse port city.

The *French Riviera (known in French as the Côte d’Azur) is no official boundary, but it is usually considered to extend from Toulon (map), Le Lavandou or Saint-Tropez in the west to Menton (map) at the France–Italy border in the east.

The city is nicknamed Nice la Belle (Nissa La Bella in Niçard), which means Nice the Beautiful, which is also the title of the unofficial anthem of Nice.

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The clear air and soft light have particularly appealed to notable painters, such as Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Niki de Saint Phalle and Arman. Their work is commemorated in many of the city’s museums, including Musée Marc Chagall (map), Musée Matisse (map) and Musée des Beaux-Arts (map).

International writers have also been attracted and inspired by the city. Frank Harris wrote several books including his autobiography My Life and Loves in Nice. Friedrich Nietzsche spent six consecutive winters in Nice, and wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra here. Additionally, Russian writer Anton Chekhov completed his play Three Sisters while living in Nice.

The Promenade des Anglais (“Promenade of the English”, map) is a promenade along the Baie des Anges (“Bay of the Angels”), which is a bay of the Mediterranean in Nice. 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.

Colline du Château (map). The castle hill overlooking the Baie des Anges and harbour offers a spectacular vantage point overlooking the city.

Old Nice (map) is also home to the Opéra de Nice (map). 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.

The Place Masséna (map) 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 Place Garibaldi (map) also stands out for its architecture and history. 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 from Turin. A statue of Garibaldi, who was fiercely in favour of the union of Nice with Italy, stands in the centre of the square.

Place Rossetti (map). 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 (map) and the fountain in the centre, place Rossetti is a must-see spot in the old town.

The Cours Saleya (map) 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.

Go to Èze (map). It is a small village on the way to Monaco. The village is situated on a small mountain and there is a beautiful cactus garden (map) with a spectacular view. There is a path that goes down the mountain from Eze Village to Eze Sur Mer (also Eze Gare, map). This is the Path of Nietzsche (named after the famous German philosopher Friedrich W. Nietzsche), with some fantastic views and a waterfall (if you know where to look).

If you go to Nice for bathing or general lounging on the beach, you may wish to think again. The beaches of Nice consist entirely of large flat stones (gallets). A few private beaches have added a layer of sand, but the free public beaches are a stony experience.

Much nicer beaches exist in other towns close by, such as Villefranche-sur-Mer (map), Antibes (map) and Cannes (map), which are far more sandy. Villefranche is a particularly preferred beach choice, especially if travelling with children, only 20 minutes away by the Zou! 100 bus.

Public transport

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Lignes d’Azur – public transport of Nice.

+ Getting around NiceGetting around the French Riviera (

 BUS > — sells bus tickets for all the bus companies. OuibusIsilinesFlixBusEurolinesMegabus >> (*Intercity buses in France)

 RAIL >   Trains are a great way to get around in France. For regional trains, schedules can be found at You can get from pretty much anywhere to anywhere else by train. For long distances, use the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse, or High-speed train) on which reservations are obligatory. TGVThelloOuigo. + RailEurope • EurostarThalysizy (Paris-Brussels) • TGV Lyria (Switzerland) • DB (Germany) • RENFE (Barcelona) >> *Rail travel in France

 AIRPORTS >   Nice Côte d’Azur Airport. – list of airports in France. – Paris airport information.

 WATERWAYS >   Brittany FerriesP&O FerriesDFDS Seaways

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