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  Villages /  Nice, France

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Nice, France

• Alpes-Maritimes (06000)   • Population: 342,439  • Altitude: 10 m

Gallery of 11 photos for Nice

The city of Nice has been a popular tourist destination for centuries, for royalty and commoners alike. As a transportation center, with the Paris-Nice train and the international airport, it is probable that your entry into Beyond will be Nice.
Check out or new Nice Tramway page and the Nice Tramway map. • Market day 1st Sun.

Nice is ancient. Inhabited for 400,000 years, the "modern" city of Nikaia was established by the Greeks. The Romans may have started the tourism with their extensive baths on Cimiez. In spite of modernization, the city retains its medieval heritage in the vieille ville (old town), with its narrow winding streets and closely-packed red-tiled roofs.

Other than a base for your trips into Beyond, Nice is a center of activities. Lodging, dining, shopping, sunbathing and swimming, movies, theaters, opera, museums -- or just strolling along the Promenade des Anglais and enjoying the good life.

What's happening in Nice this week? The "Semaine des Spectacles" is a weekly guide available from every newsstand. It comes out every Wednesday, and contains everything that's going on in the towns of Provence and the Côte d'Azur (including Nice, Cannes, Aix). It lists restaurants, nightclubs, movies (many in "Version Originale"), museums, and other diversions.

Parks and Playgrounds

There are parks and playgrounds all around Nice. Places to sit in the shade and rest your weary feet during a day of shopping or sightseeing, and let the kiddies burn off some energy.

The Center

The center of Nice is from the big fountain, Fountaine du Soleil, across the Place Massena, ringed by bright pastel buildings, and up the Avenue Jean Médecin. Continuing beneath the railway overpass beside the train station, Ave Jean Médecin becomes Ave Malaussena.

The Rue de France pedestrian shopping street runs from the end of the Place Massena, roughly parallel to the seaside. This area is full of shops, including some exclusive clothing boutiques, and restaurants and cafés with outdoor terraces - a great place to sit and watch the world go by, while you eat or drink.

The Chateau

Waterfall on the "Le Chateau" isn't a chateau -- the castle on top of this high rock hill overlooking Nice old town and the port has been gone since 1706, but it's a great place to visit. There are cool walks in the shade of the trees, great views out over Nice and the Mediterranean, a large grassy park, playground, Roman ruins and a waterfall.

Access. You can walk up the stairs at the front, from the Quai des Etats Unis, and have a great view as you climb; there are 213 steps from the bottom to the observation platform on top of the Naval Museum, and then more steps and various walkways on to the top. An elevator is available from the same starting point if your legs aren't up to it.

In the old town, go up the Rue Rossetti from the Cathedral Ste. Réparate to find steps and walkways that go up past the cemeteries to the top. There's also roads that you can drive, or walk, up: the Monté Montfort goes up from the "point" between the Baie des Anges and the port, and from near the Place Garibaldi.


Cimiez sits on a hill a couple of km from the center of town. It's about an hour's walk, or a short bus ride, to this lovely site in a residential area above the hustle and bustle of the city. The grounds of "Cimiez" include a large park amidst olive groves, the Archeology museum, Matisse museum and the Franciscan Museum and Monastery. During a couple of weeks in August, this is the site of the Nice Jazz Festival, with music until midnight every night from three stages, in the olive groves and the Roman Amphitheater.

There aren't many cafés in this residential area, but the terrace café in the park, on the Allée Miles Davis, behind the bust of Lionel Hampton, has whole-wheat baguette sandwiches.

Promenade des Anglais

The promenade stretches about 7 km around the Baie des Anges, a favorite for leisurely "promenades" since the Belle Epoque at the turn of the last century. Activities include sitting and watching the sea - and the sunbathers on the beach, jogging and roller skating. Summer nights the activity actually increases.

Vieille Ville (Old Town)

Red roofs of the The "vieille ville" is the most "Beyond" part of Nice. With narrow streets curving in irregular fashion between old buildings with red-tile roofs, this could be almost any medieval village of the region. The streets are packed with shops and shoppers. Small restaurants, food, meat, produce, pasta, clothes, gifts, anything and everything. You can buy wine by the bottle or the barrel (bring your own container) and an amazing variety of fresh-made ravioli and other pasta.

The Cours Saleya has a daily flower market and a food market in the mornings. There are scores of stands, from large, professionally displayed wares to folding tables set up by family farmers with their produce and live fowl directly from the farm. The length of the Cours Saleya is sided by the low buildings separating the "Cours" from the seaside. Once housing the fishermen's catch, they have given way largely to seafood restaurants. The other side of the Cours Saleya is lined by terrace cafés, lovely old buildings and the grand Prefecture.


December sun at the beach, Nice The beaches of Nice, and along the coast to Antibes, are shingle (smooth stones). From Antibes-Juan-les-Pins to Cannes, the beaches are sand. It's obvious which you need for building sand castles, but many people actually prefer the grit-free shingle beaches. Also, it's not much fun trying to skip sand out across the water. Our photo here shows a family enjoying the warm winter sun in the middle of December.

Nice Public Library

The public library is on Rue Biscarra, behind the "Nice Etoile" mall. Open to anybody, the library has a good collection of books on local history and regional areas and villages. Mostly French, of course, but it also contains a selection of books and magazines in English, and some other languages, if you want to spend a few hours inside on a rare rainy day.


The Walking along the Promenade des Anglais towards the port, the walk rises up to the Pointe des Ponchettes beneath the chateau rock. There's a good view from here back along the beaches and the town. You can become a part of the sundial (cadran solaire) here; stand at the correct place and your shadow will indicate the time.


Just a part of the Cour Cours Saleya. The most famous market of Nice is the flower market and main market on the Cours Saleya in the old town (see above). On Mondays, the Cours Saleya has a large flea market, the Marché a la Brocante et Antiquités.

Ave. Malaussena. A very large, authentic market can be found most mornings along the Ave. Malaussena (continuation of Ave. Jean Médecin beyond the train station overpass).

Rue Raiberti. The covered market on Rue Flaminius Raibereti, just off the Place Général de Gaulle at the top of Ave. Malaussena, has produce in the street-side stalls, and mostly butchers and dairy-product stands inside.

Favorite Sons and Daughters

Simone Veil, considered the "First Lady of Europe", was born in Nice. Passing via the Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen Nazi camps, Simone has gone on to win worldwide recognition as one of the most courageous and influential people in our time, with national honors from countries around the world. Simone Veil was the first president of the European Parliament, and just recently (May 2005) was awarded Spain's Prince of Asturias prize for International Cooperation, following previous winners Helmut Kohl, Yitzac Rabin, Yasser Arafat and Lula da Silva (of Brazil).


Market day: 1st Sun.

Brocante books; Place Palais de Justice: 1st Sat
Brocante, Cours Saleya: Every Mon
Mar - Foire Internationale de Nice - Palais des expositions
Mar - Paris-Nice Cycling Race, arrival in Nice
Mar - Festin des Cougourdons - celebrating the arrival of Spring, with folk dancing and squashes.
May (Each Sun) - La Fête des Mai - Cimiez jardins et Arènes
June - Fête de la Mer, Fete de la Saint Pierre - Port de Nice
July - Nice JAZZ Festival - Place Masséna and Theatre de Verdure
Oct - Fête Patronale de la Ville de Nice Sainte Reparate - Vieux Nice


• GPS: 43.703427, 7.266266

• The GR5 (Grande Randonnée) that begins at l'Aire St. Michel, Nice north, will take you across France or across Europe. The trail begins at the road junction of the D114 and D214, where the Grande Randonnée (marked with the red-and-white signs) goes up the small Chemin de Chateaurenard.

• The GR5 crosses the GR51 - Balcony of the Cote d'Azur 2 km north of the start, past Mont Chauve, between Aspremont and Tourrette-Levens.

Fun - Amusement - Kids

Aquascope - Trans Côte d'Azur

Explore the underwater world from a glass-bottomed boat.
•   Location: Quai Lunel, 06300 Port de Nice
•   Open: Spring - daily 9h, 10h, 11h, 14h, 15h, 16h, 17h, 18h.
•   Tel: 0492 004 230; Fax: 04 92 00 42 31


Discovering astronomy, planetarium, telescopes.
•   Location: Rte de la Revère, Grande Corniche, Col d'Eze
•   Open: July-Aug - every night starting at 18h30. Sept-June - Tue, Fri starting at 18h30.
•   Tel: 0493 858 558; Fax: 04 93 85 62 85

Kindia Park

Childrens attractions
•   Location: Parc de Vaugrenir - RN 7; Villeneuve Loubet
•   Tel: 0493 656 192

Marionnettes and Childrens Shows

Clown, Grenadine, Magician
•   Location: 28 rue El-Nouzah
•   Tel: 0493 802 183

Observatory of the Côte d'Azur

Visit the observatory
•   Location: Bd Bischoffsheim
•   Open: Saturday 15h
•   Tel: 0493 858 558; Fax: 04 93 85 62 85

Show at the Castel des 2 Rois

•   Location: Corniche André de Joly
•   Open: Wed, Sat, Sun - 16h, 17h.

Théâtre de la Cité et Théâtre Chou

4 children's shows alternately in both theateres
•   Open: Sat 14h30
•   Tel: 0493 268 345

Trans Côte d'Azur - Sea Excursions

Sea excursions along the coast, departing from Nice or St-Laurent-du-Var.
•   Location: Quai Lunel, 06300 Port de Nice
•   Tel: 0492 004 230; Fax: 04 92 00 42 31
•   Nice Côté Mer: 1 hr; Cap de Nice, Cap Ferrat, Baie de Villefranche, Promenade des Anglais. Monaco: all day or afternoon: Cap Ferrat, Baie de Villefranche, Beaulieu, Eze, to Monaco. San Remo: with a stop for shopping at San Remo. Iles de Lerins. Corniche d'Or: 2 hrs; departs from Sainte Marguerite (Iles de Lerins) Saint-Tropez.

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