From its past, Nice has a rich architectural heritage. During the Savoyard period, several palaces and mansions were built, as well as churches in the Baroque style. During the Belle Époque, the city was enriched with numerous villas and hotels.
The Promenade des Anglais is the symbol of the city for the whole world. Nice has a large number of places. Many are located in the old town, such as Place Saint-François, Place Garibaldi or Cours Saleya. Place Courthouse, old place St. Dominic, and instead of the Prefecture, created in the xix th century, are also located in the old town. Most other town squares were designed to xix th century and are located on the edge or outside of Old Nice. This is the case for Place Charles-Albert and Place Massénaor the Place de la Croix de Marbre. Place Arson between Auguste Gal street and the street Arson, is from the end of xix th century a special place for the game balls.
Nice has also retained few traces of its military past, apart from the fort of Mont Alban. On the other hand, it has kept a number of interesting buildings dating from modern times, such as the Palais communal de Nice, the Palais du Senate de Nice, or the Palais de la Préfecture de Nice, which once hosted sovereigns. de Savoie during their stay in Nice.
Several monuments and statues commemorate events or characters linked to the history of the city, such as the Marble Cross, the Pope’s Column, or the Locksmiths monument. The city also has a number of statues. The best known are the statue of Charles-Félix, the statue of Masséna and the statue of Garibaldi. We can also mention the monument to Queen Victoria, the monument to the dead of Rauba-Capeù, and the centenary monument.
Architecture and town planning
The promenade des Anglais is certainly the most famous avenue in the city. Nice has also retained few traces of its military past, apart from the fort of Mont Alban. On the other hand, it has kept a certain number of interesting buildings dating from modern times, such as the Communal Palace of Nice, the Senate Palace of Nice, or the Palais de la Préfecture des Alpes Maritimes, which once hosted the sovereigns of Savoy during their stay in Nice.
Nice has a large number of places. Many are located in the old town, such as Place Saint-François, Place Garibaldi or Cours Saleya. Place the courthouse, old place St. Dominic, and instead of the Prefecture, created in the XIX century, are also located in the vieille-ville.La most other town squares were designed to XIX century and are located on the edge or outside of Old Nice. This is the case for Place Charles-Albert and Place Masséna or Place de la Croix de Marbre. Place Arson, between the streetCaïs Pierlas and Arson street is from the end of XIX century a great place to play balls.
Several monuments and statues commemorate events or characters linked to the history of the city, such as the Marble Cross, the Pope’s Column, or the Locksmiths monument. The city also has a number of statues. The best known are the statue of Charles-Félix, the statue of Masséna and the statue of Garibaldi. We can also mention the monument to Queen Victoria, the Rauba-Capeù war memorial and the Centenary monument.
Most public facilities date from the second half of the XIX century or the beginning of the XX century. The Saint-Roch hospital was thus built in 1853 by the architect Joseph Vernier. Neoclassical in style, it was, with the Church of the Vow, an architectural link between the two banks of Paillon. The PLM station, avenue Thiers, dates from 1865. Its Louis XIII style participated in the francization of urban space, after annexation. The municipal library, boulevard Dubouchage, was originally a villa, built in1870.
In 1920, it was bought by the municipality, which transformed it into a library. It opened in 1925. It is one of the rare examples of a library built between the wars. The Palais de Marbre, avenue de Fabron, was built in 1872 – 1874 by Sébastien-Marcel Biasini. The style is very eclectic, ranging from neo-gothic to neo-classical. Since 1960, it has housed the municipal archives. The Museum of Fine Arts, avenue des Baumettes, was built in 1878 by Constantin Scala. The museum is due to an initiative ofNapoleon III. Through donations, it houses works from the XVI century to the middle of XX century.
The years 1880 – 1890 are particularly well represented. The Crédit lyonnais building, avenue Jean-Médecin, dates from 1882. Designed by Sébastien-Marcel Biasini, it is in the Palladian and classical style. The Nice opera house, rue Saint-François-de-Paule, was built in 1884 – 1885 by the municipal architect François Aune, supervised by Charles Garnier. The style of the building tries to make the synthesis between the Second Empire style and the Italianist influence. Wilson Post was built in 1888. Like all public buildings built in Nice after 1860, it contributes to the francization of the urban landscape.
The Gare du Sud was built in 1891 by the architect Prosper Bobin. The latter was inspired by the Gare du Nord in Paris. The glass roof that protected the quays is perhaps a re-use of that of the Austro-Hungarian pavilion at the Paris exhibition. Today it hosts a variety of restaurant chains. The Palais de Justice dates from 1891 and was built by Auguste-Vincent Dieudé-Defly, on the site of the Dominican Church. It is classic in style. The large dome of the Nice observatory was built in 1884 – 1886 by Charles Garnier and Gustave Eiffel. It was restored in 1967.
The Temple of Love, in Chambrun Park, is a bandstand inaugurated in 1890. It was built for Count Joseph de Chambrun (1821-1899), who had bought the property from the Caïs de Pierlas in the Saint-Maurice district. The castle has since been badly disfigured. The park was designed by the landscape architect Philippe Randon. The kiosk, in Carrara marble, is inspired by the Temple of the Sibyl in Tivoli. The salons of the Château des Chambrun and the kiosk were one of the high places of musical and social life in Nice.
The beginning of the XX century saw the construction of a number of interesting buildings. The villa of the Société d’agriculture, on the promenade des Anglais, was built in 1900 – 1901 by Paul Martin and inaugurated by the President of the Republic Émile Loubet, inApril 1901. The Masséna high school was built by architect Henri Ebrard from 1909 to 1930. Its architecture is inspired by classicism. The Thiers post office was built in 1931 by Guillaume Tronchet. It is the only brick building in town. The Mediterranean University Center (CUM), on the Promenade des Anglais, was created in 1933 and opened in 1935. It shows Jean Médecin’s desire todevelop the cultural and intellectual vocation of Nice. Its first administrator was Paul Valéry. The building has a large amphitheater. They give lectures.
A number of interesting buildings are built after World War II. The Palais des Expositions was built in 1955 – 1964 by Richard and Michel Laigier. It is located above the Paillon and hosts shows, exhibitions and conferences. The Faculty of Law and Economics was created in 1966 by Roger Séassal and Paul-Albert Juillet. It houses a mosaic by Marc Chagall, Le Message d’Ulysse (1967). The National Museum of the Biblical Message Marc-Chagall dates from 1973and was directed by André Hernant. He was born of the will of Chagall to gather in one place his work on the Bible. The Acropolis convention center, built above the Paillon, was inaugurated in 1984. It is due to the architects Baptiste, Bernasconi and Buzzi. The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, inaugurated in 1990, was built by Yves Bayard. The Asian Art Museum, inaugurated in 1998, is a work of Kenzō Tange.
The Château cemetery was created in 1783, on the site of the old citadel. There are the graves of Léon Gambetta, Rosa Garibaldi (mother of the general) and Anita Garibaldi.
The port of Nice, called Lympia port, dated XVIII century. It was fitted out from 1750 to 1770 by the engineer Antoine-Félix de Vincenti. The interior basin was dug by Philippe Nicolis de Robilante. The port then underwent various developments and was not completed until 1880. It is connected to the city by Cassini Street. It was extended in 1975 to accommodate ferries to Corsica. The old platforms have been transformed into a parking lot.
Architectural heritage by type
Palaces, castles, villas and mansions
The presence of fairly powerful families of notables, then that of winter residents, has endowed the city with a rich heritage of private residences: castles, palaces and villas.
Some of these residences are in the hills surrounding Nice. The castle of Bellet is thus located in the district of Saint-Roman-de-Bellet. It dates from the xvi th century. He belongs to a family of Nice aristocrats from Savoy, the Roissard de Bellets. The castle was enlarged in the xix th century and restored twice in the xx th century. Today it is located in the middle of the vines that produce Bellet wine. The area also houses a chapel neogothic of the xix th century. In the vineyard of Bellet, there is also the castle of Crémat, built in 1906 and of medieval style.
The Matisse Museum was originally a house built in the xvii th century Cimiez by Jean-Baptiste Gubernatis, Nice consul. Its style is characteristic of that of the rich Genoese residences. The villa, called the Gubernatis Palace, was sold in 1823 to an aristocrat from Nice, Raymond Garin de Cocconato. It then belonged to a real estate company and was then bought by the city of Nice in 1950. The palace then became the Villa des Arènes and was fitted out to accommodate the Matisse museum, which opened in 1963, and the archeology museum. The building was renovated from 1987 to 1993.
Some palaces are located in Old Nice. The Palais Lascaris, located Right in the old town, was built between 1648 and the beginning of the xviii th century to the marshal Jean Baptiste Lascaris-Ventimiglia, nephew of the 55 th Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. -John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta. His descendants, the Counts of Peille, completed the construction of the building. It is a baroque palace, whose architecture and decoration show the Genoese influence. The palace now houses a museum dedicated to decorative arts and popular arts and traditions.
Several buildings were built for wealthy Nice families. The palace Marie-Christine Place de la Croix-de-Marble, was built in the xix th century, from 1800 to 1887. It was built for Saïssi Châteauneuf and has hosted many personalities including, in 1842, the queen Marie-Christine, widow of the King of Sardinia Charles-Félix. Its style is neoclassical.
The Palais Masséna, rue de France, dates from 1899. It was commissioned by Victor Masséna and designed by Hans-Georg Tersling, architect of Empress Eugenie. It is inspired by the Rothschild villa in Cannes. The style is neo-classical, Louis XVI and Empire. In 1920, the city bought the building to make it a museum of art and local history. Other famous buildings in the city include the Marble Palace, built FABRON the late xix th century and today housing the Nice municipal archives, and Maeterlinck Palace, an old palace of the Cap de Nice.
Most of the castles of the xix th century were built for wintering, French or foreigners. The English Castle was built in 1857 by and for Robert Smith, a former English colonel. It is the first castle built in Nice by a winter visitor. It is a pastiche of the palaces of Jaipur. The park and castle of Valrose were built in 1867 by architect David Grimm for a wealthy Russian winterist, Paul Von Derwies. It is neo-Gothic in style and today houses the presidency of the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis. The Sainte-Hélène castle was built in the 19th century century for the manager of the Monte Carlo casino, François Blanc. It then belonged to the perfumer François Coty, before becoming the International Museum of Naive Art Anatole Jakovsky, in 1982. The castle Gairaut was built for Joseph Giordan. The Châteauneuf estate is also located in the Gairaut district.
Some famous estates have disappeared. The Villa les Tropiques, an acclimatization park, was directed by a naturalist, Axel Robertson-Proschowsky (1857-1944), whose botanical contributions were present in all specialized periodicals. This space, expropriated by the city of Nice in 1966, is now granted to an amusement park called “Parc des miniatures”. The Count of Pierlas, lover of exotic plants and the first propagator of palm trees in Nice, had planted on his property in Le Ray, the Villa Pierlas, as early as 1837, Chamaedorea elegans, C. sartorii, Phoenix sylvestris and Trachycarpus martianus.
Cafes, ancient palaces and hotels
Several institutions related to the tourism history of the city existed since the xix th century and are still operated more or less transformed.
The Turin cafe, located on Garibaldi Square, is one of the city’s most famous cafes. Founded in the xix th century, it was originally a meeting place of Piedmontese immigrants. The Auer pastry shop, rue Saint-François-de-Paule, opened in 1860, testifies to the Rococo style, very fashionable at that time. La Trappa, rue Malonat, founded in 1886, was originally a fishermen’s restaurant.
The hotel properties, due to the growth of tourism in the second half of the xix th century, is considerable, many institutions including having been built in the Belle Époque. Palaces are gone (usually turned into residential condominiums), but several large hotels have been restored and modernized in the second half of the xx th century.
The old Hotel Regina was built on the hill of Cimiez in 1896 by the Nice architect Sébastien Marcel Biasini. The wrought iron crown of its left wing was made according to the plans of François-Félix Gordolon. The gigantic Regina, which had 400 rooms and suites, housed Queen Victoria, her small court and her overflowing staff (the sovereign, enamored of Nice since 1895, attended its inauguration in 1897). Converted into private apartments in the 1930s, it was lived in by Henri Matisse.
The old Alhambra hotel, on Boulevard de Cimiez, was built in 1900 by Jules-Joseph Sioly. This architect, also known for the Palais Lamartine with its splendor of the Second Empire (rue Lamartine), delivered here one of the rare examples in Nice of the Moorish Art style. It has also been transformed into a residential residence.
The Palais Donadei housed the “Grand-Hôtel Nice-Palace” and the “Restaurant Belle Meunière” of the famous Marie Quinton (1854-1933). The Niçoise villa of La Mère Quinton is currently the hotel of “La Belle Meunière”. We find her at the Nice Carnival with “Belle Meunière” floats like the one from 1909. Finally, “La Belle Meunière from La Belle Époque, La Mère Quinton from the Roaring Twenties” follows her wealthy clientele of winter visitors, winter in Nice and summer in his hometown of Royat-les-Bains in Auvergne. At the end of the 1880s “La Bonne Meunière” by General Boulanger (1837-1891) “The Emperor of Lovers” already had Daisies sent from the Nice flower market for the feast of La Vicomtesse de Bonnemains (1853-1891) “The Lady with the Red Carnations” as well as carnations.
Several large hotel establishments have been built along the Promenade des Anglais.
The West-End Hotel, originally Hotel de Rome, was built in 1842 by English aristocrats. Expanded and embellished later, it is the oldest of the large hotels on the Promenade des Anglais. Nearby, since 1878 has been the Westminster Hotel with its pale pink facade.
Not far from there, the Negresco was built in 1912 by Édouard-Jean Niermans, by the ex- Romanian cook and butler Henri Negresco, financed by extremely wealthy gastronomes, his clients, when he worked at the Grand Cercle de Nice.. The exterior style is neo-Louis XVI. The interior is largely in the ” Late Second Empire ” style. Its noble part, renovated by Paul and Jeanne Augier, has been listed (facades) in the inventory of historical monuments since 1975.
Jeanne Augier (“the Lady of the Negresco”) has succeeded, for nearly 60 years, in making her hotel a museum where works by Largillierre, François Boucher, Raymond Moretti, René Gruau, Cyril de La Patellière, etc. are mixed.
The Palais de la Méditerranée, also on the Promenade des Anglais, was built in 1927-1928 by Charles and Marcel Dalmas. Its facade is decorated with female figures and sea horses sculpted by Antoine Sartorio. The complex, which housed a casino and a theater, was inaugurated in 1929. Victim of financial difficulties, it closed in 1978. The Art Deco facade was saved at the last minute from demolition in 1990. A decade later, the building is completely rebuilt. It was inaugurated in January 2004 and today comprises a luxury hotel, a casino and an auditorium, original facade preserved.
Outside the Promenade des Anglais, among the luxury hotels, we find the Boscolo Exedra Nice, previously named “Atlantic”, located on Boulevard Victor-Hugo. Built in 1913 by Charles Dalmas on order from a Swiss hotelier, its facade is in the Belle Époque style. Taken over in 2000 by the Italian hotel chain Boscolo, it was completely renovated from 2005 to 2008.
The city of Nice has two casinos located a hundred meters from each other and belonging to the two largest French groups.
The Partouche casino opened its doors in 2004 in the Palais de la Méditerranée in the heart of the Promenade des Anglais, replacing the old casino destroyed in 1990.
The Ruhl casino of the Barrière group is located on the ground floor of the Le Méridien hotel on the Promenade des Anglais.
The city retains a large number of religious buildings, characteristic of Baroque piety. The oldest is the church of Our Lady of Cimiez, which was built in 1450 and rebuilt in the XVII and XIX centuries. First property of the Benedictine monks of Saint-Pons, it was then ceded to the Franciscans in 1546. The latter developed pilgrimages to Mary there. The church houses three altarpieces of Louis Brea (XV and XVI centuries).
Above all, the city has a large number of Italian Baroque religious buildings. Among them, the church of Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur, or of Gesù, located rue Droite, dates from 1607. It first belonged to the Jesuits then became the seat of the Saint-Jacques parish. Its facade shows the beginning of the influence of the Roman Baroque in Nice. It was redesigned during the first half of the XIX century. Its bell tower dates from the XVIII century. Its plan and its architecture are inspired by the church of Gesù created by Vignole inRome. The Saint-Philippe-Néri chapel dates from 1612. The Sainte-Reparate cathedral, Place Rossetti, was built from 1650 by the architect Jean-André Guibert. The church is mentioned since the XI century. It was originally a priory of the abbey of Saint-Pons and it is promoted cathedral in XVI century, replacing Sainte-Marie-du-Château. The cathedral was rebuilt in the middle of the 17th century, from around 1650 to 1680. The church is inspired by early Baroque Roman architectural models (Vignole, Maderno). The bell tower was built in the XVIII century. Among the other Baroque religious buildings, besides the Chapel of the Visitation and the Chapel of the Visitation of St. Clair, we find the Church of St. Martin-St. Augustine, located on the Place St. Augustine. It dates from the late XVII century but only completed in 1830. It is served by the Augustinians. Its facade is neoclassical. St. Jaume chapel or Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur or St. Giaume or Santa Rita, also known under the name of Church of the Annunciation, the XVI century was listed building February 3, 1942. Finally, the Church of Saint-François-de-Paule, in the eponymous street, is in the late Piedmontese Baroque style, but the facade is neoclassical. It dates from the XVIII century as the Saint-Aubert Chapel with Baroque facade.
The Church of the Vow, located on Quai Saint-Jean-Baptiste, was built in 1840-1853 by the architect Carlo Mosca. It was erected to thank the Virgin for saving the city from a cholera epidemic. It is considered to be the most beautiful church of this period, thanks to the use of simple volumes. The Notre-Dame-du-Port church was built in 1840-1853 according to plans by architect Joseph Vernier. The facade was added in 1896 by Jules Fèbvre.
The brotherhoods of penitents have also marked the religious landscape. The Sainte-Croix chapel of the archconfraternity of white penitents, located on rue Saint-Joseph, was first built by the Minimes, from 1633. It was then bought by the Archconfraternity of the penitents of the Holy Cross, which makes redecorating in the second half of the XVIII century by architect Antoine Spinelli. Its facade is in the style of the XVII century. The chapel of the Archconfraternity of the Most Holy Trinity and the ShroudLocated rue Jules Gilly, next to the old Senate, when meanwhile the XVII century. Modified XVIII century by the architect Gio Battista Borra Piedmont, it belonged to the brotherhood of the penitents of the Holy Shroud, which was founded in Nice in 1620. It is neoclassical. Two other brotherhoods settled there, the white penitents of the Holy Spirit and the red penitents, before the three brotherhoods merged and became the archconfraternity of the Most Holy Trinity. Among the other chapels of penitents, we find the Chapel of Mercy of the Archconfraternity of the Black Penitents, located Cours Saleya and dating from theXVIII century. The architect was Bernardo Antonio Vittone. It became the property of the black penitents in 1829. Finally, the Holy Sepulcher Chapel of the Arch-Confraternity of the Blue Penitents, work of Antoine Spinelli, located Piazza Garibaldi is neoclassical and dates from the end of the XVIII century.
The attachment of the county of Nice to France led to the construction of religious buildings in Gothic style. Thus, between 1864 and 1868, avenue Jean-Médecin, is erected the Notre-Dame basilica from the plans of the French architect Louis Lenormand. It is inspired by Angers Cathedral and has a large rose window surrounded by two square towers of 65 meters.
Among the churches built in the XX century, the church of Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc, Grammont Street, typical architecture of the 1930s it was designed by the architect Jacques Droz, and completed in 1933. The Notre-Dame-Auxiliatrice church, Place Don Bosco, is the largest in the diocese. It is in Art Deco style. The Church of St. John the Evangelist also dated XX century, as the Armenian Church of St. Mary (1927-1928), and the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes of 2004.
The presence of foreign wintering in Nice from the second half of the XIX century led to the construction of new places of worship. Thus the establishment of a Russian colony in the city led to the creation of Russian Orthodox churches, the first of which, Saint-Nicolas-et-Sainte-Alexandra, located rue de Longchamp, was built in 1858 by the architect Antoine-François Barraya.
After the death of his eldest son, Tsarevich Nicolas Alexandrovich in 1865, Alexander II had a memorial chapel built on the site of the villa where the prince died. The building is located on Boulevard du Tzaréwitch.
Next to the chapel stands the Saint Nicholas Cathedral, built from 1903 to 1912 in the “Old Russian” style. Its architect, Preobrazhensky, also built the castle of Valrose. It is the largest Russian Orthodox building outside of Russia. In 2015, the Court of Cassation rejected an appeal against a decision which had ruled the State of the Russian Federation justified in repossessing it.
The Greek community of the Côte d’Azur, for its part, inaugurated in 1955, avenue Désambrois, the Saint-Spyridon Orthodox Church, which offers a unique example in the region of Byzantine frescoes.
Since the beginning of the XX century, the presence Armenian translates the existence of the Armenian Church of St. Mary.
There is also a Franco-Serbian community with the chapel of the Dormition-de-la-Vierge, rue Fodéré in the port district.
In the same way, the presence of English in Nice led to the construction of an Anglican church in the district of Buffa, inspired by the King’s College Chapel of the University of Cambridge.
Protestant places of worship were built in Nice, such as the Protestant temple on Boulevard Victor-Hugo, which dates from 1887. It was built for the American community which, having become too small, sold it in 1974 to the Vaudois Reformed Church. Its architecture is in the Neo-Gothic Nordic style.
The strong establishment of the Vaud church in Piedmont and the adoption in 1848 of the Albertine Statute by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia which gave religious freedom to this church, led to the construction in 1855 of the Vaudois temple, rue Gioffredo. It is one of the first religious buildings built in Nice by a non-Catholic religious community. It is antique in style and today houses a.
The Nice synagogue was built in 1885 in the city center and renovated in 1988.
The city is home to five mosques ː the Al Fourkane Mosque, the Ar-Rahma Mosque (located on avenue du Général-Saramito), the En-Nour Mosque (inaugurated on July 8, 2016), the Giuliani Mosque and the Imane Mosque, as well as several rooms of prayer.
The city has 2 sets of places of worship called Kingdom Hall, one located on Avenue St Joseph and another located on Rue Pie François Toesca. Meetings are held in several languages including English, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Lingala, Ewe, Cambodian, Chinese (Mandarin), Malagasy, Haitian Creole, Serbian, Armenian.
Every day, from the hill of the castle of Nice, the population of Nice is warned that it is exactly noon. According to tradition, the Scottish Lord Thomas Coventry-More, a former colonel in the English army, came to Nice every winter from 1861 to 1866. In 1862, wishing to have lunch with his wife who was still late on the Promenade des Anglais, proposed to the mayor of Nice, François Malausséna, to fire a cannon every noon. His proposal was accepted, he took charge of the costs, and the cannon shots began. After 1866, shots were fired on an ad hoc basis, so on November 19, 1885, a decree institutedlou cannon de miejour. For twenty years, the 1 April, the gun is pulled at eleven. Formerly entrusted to the police, it is an artificer (Philippe Arnello since 1992) who has been taking care of it since 1922. But it is a fireworks bomb that is launched 60 meters high every day, except July 14 in tribute to the victims of the Nice attack, in 2016.
Architectural heritage by Location
Former Regina Hotel
The Excelsior Régina Palace is the name given to a luxury hotel in Nice between 1897 and 1935. It is located on the Cimiez hill (rating: 104 meters) on the boulevard of the same name, and was reconverted in the 1930s in apartment building. Its construction was entrusted to the architect Sébastien-Marcel Biasini (1841-1913). The area of the building is 6,260 m 2 spread over five floors (plus a sixth in the attic) with a southern facade length of 104 meters and 45 meters southeast. The design of the whole is based on decoration techniques characteristic of the Belle Époque. A garden is located in front of the hotel. It is accessed by means of a marble and ornate metal walkway. Covering an area of 8,250 m 2, it is created on land raised with earth extracted during the digging of the building foundation. From 1897, it was converted into a promenade with lawns dotted with tropical plants, glazed ceramics and a greenhouse.
The Notre-Dame basilica in Nice is a basilica located on Avenue Jean-Médecin in the city center. It was built between 1864 and 1868 according to the plans of the French architect Louis Lenormand. It is the largest church in Nice. Neo-Gothic in style, it is inspired by the cathedral of Angers. The basilica has two square towers twenty-five meters high, surmounting on both sides a large rose window representing scenes from the mystery of the Assumption. Its construction was part of a desire by the authorities to francize the city after the annexation of the County of Nice to France. Gothic-style buildings were in fact supposed to be characteristic of a French style.
The Battery of Mont-Boron, a former military fort, is an enclosure 400 meters long and 15,000 square meters, built in 1886-1887 and intended for the protection of both the Baie des Anges and the bay of Villefranche. on sea. It will soon be transformed by Jean Nouvel, a great French architect of international renown (Quai Branly Museum / Paris, Soho Hotel / New York, the large urban park of Barcelona…) into a high place of creation and architectural research French, a real bridge between heritage and modernity.
On the cornice of the Rauba Capeu quay which links the Promenade des Anglais to the port, stand in the heart of the sundial, your shadow will tell you the time.
Fort of Mont-Alban
The fort of Mont Alban is a military fortification. Built between 1557 and 1560, located on the eponymous hill, between Nice and the bay of Villefranche. In France, it is a rare example of military architecture from the mid-sixteenth th century, in good condition. Located on a strategic point, 220 meters above sea level, it offers a magnificent panorama, to the west over the Baie des Anges to the Esterel massif and to the east over the bay of Villefranche to the Italian Riviera. It has a rectangular plan, 40 by 46 meters on each side, with ramparts pierced with embrasures, and extended by corner bastions in the shape of a very prominent ace of spades, flanked by watchtowers. It can accommodate a garrison of about fifty soldiers.
Built on the famous Baie des Anges in 1912 by Niermans for the Romanian Henri Négresco, this Belle Epoque palace remains the only palace-museum in Nice. Classified as a Historic Monument since 2003, it houses numerous collections retracing five centuries of art history. The 121 rooms and 24 suites each have their own decoration. The styles of the most brilliant periods of French art are represented there, from Louis XIII to modern art. Recently classified 5 *, it is listed among the most beautiful hotels in the world.
The palace of the mediterranean
Temple of the arts and games during the Roaring Twenties, it appears, from 1927 year of its construction, as the most grandiose casino in the world. Closed in 1978, it was not until 2004, after three years of work that the myth of art deco architecture was brought back to life, thanks to a private developer who restored the interior of the building while retaining the sumptuous facade. listed as a Historic Monument. Today it is one of the most beautiful 5-star hotels in the world.
The project carried out between 1924 and 1928 in Rauba-Capeù at a cost of around 3 million francs by the Niçois Roger Séassal (1885-1969), Grand Prix de Rome in 1913, the Parisian sculptor Alfred Janniot (1889-1969) and the entrepreneurs Antoine and André Groppo, is a 32-meter stone building from Comblanchien (Côte-d’Or) built in the old quarries dug into the side of the castle hill, preceded by a large stone paved square and five steps representing the five years of war. It was classified as a historical monument by decree of May 24, 2011.
Erected in 1893, the Centenary monument commemorates the decree relating to the joining of the County of Nice to France and the creation of the Alpes-Maritimes department. Facing the Promenade des Anglais and the sea, it stands on the edge of the Albert 1er garden.
The square head
Imagined by the sculptor Sacha Sosno, the “Square Head” is the key symbol of the city’s contemporary architecture. 30 meters high and 14 wide, this monument-sculpture is not accessible to the public and houses the offices of the Louis Nucéra municipal library.
To get there, cross Place Masséna heading south… At the entrance to Old Nice, you will discover rue Saint-François-de-Paule, near the Town Hall, the Opera, the beach and the many shops. We pass in front of the Saint François de Paule church, adjoining a convent of the Minimes brothers. In the grayness of the neighboring buildings it is hardly visible. Dating from the 18th century, it is decorated with paintings by Hercules Trachel. The majestic facade of the Opera House opposite is a contrast.
The red of its facades, the white window frames, the arcades and the square shape of its northern part signify the Piedmontese influence in the architecture of this place, the center of the city and the center of the famous Carnival. Once cut in two by the straw, it only found its unity in 1884. It bears the name of André Masséna, a French patriot firmly attached to his origins in Nice. On the “fountain of the sun”, inaugurated in 1956, are five bronze statues sculpted by Alfred Janniot. They all represent characters from Greco-Roman mythology: Earth, Mars, Venus, Mercury and Saturn. In the center of the fountain is a marble statue of Apollo, seven meters high. The square also has seven scribes statufies in white resin, about ten meters above the ground. These statues light up at night thanks to changing light effects and turn them into “Sitting Tatoos”, or translucent men who light up in different colors depending on the moment. They were made by the Catalan sculptor Jaume Plensa.
The river separates the old town from the rest of the city and whose existence we no longer suspect because it is largely covered by a set of monuments (Promenade du Paillon, Theater, Museum of Modern Art, Acropolis, Palais of Congresses).
It was built in 1855 on the site of an old theater, by the Nice architect François Aune who was inspired by the Paris Opera. The ceiling is painted by Emmanuel Costa, painter from Menton. Continuing towards the castle, you enter the vast space of Cours Saleya. In the middle of the course, we discover the Place Pierre Gautier with the column facade of the former prefecture as a backdrop and to its right the Chapel of Mercy.
The old Prefecture
It is located on the site of the palace of the Dukes of Savoy then the government palace. It was a high place of social gatherings of the last century. There are paintings by Jules Cheret.
The Chapel of Mercy
Considered the most beautiful baroque chapel in the city, the richness of its interior decorations, the originality of its volumes and the paintings of Bistolfi make it the masterpiece of the architect Vittone.
Continuing towards the castle until the rue de la Poissonnerie, you will be able to discover on a facade dated 1584 a sculpted and painted bas relief representing Eve and Adam armed with a club, a profane subject rare at that time.
Saint Giaume church
A few steps away, stands one of the oldest churches in the city, the Church of Saint Giaume, built on a chapel which dates from the year 900. Restored in baroque style, it celebrates and venerates Saint Rita. stone constructions is one of the reasons for the evolution of Romanesque churches towards a transformation in the following period into a baroque church.
It was built in the 12th century. The citadel surrounded the whole city from 1388, when Nice abandoned French and Provençal tutelage to choose Savoyard domination. The castle takes on strategic importance and the inhabitants are forced to settle on the banks of the Paillon. This agreement not recognized by the French sovereigns will lead to many conflicts. Deemed to be impregnable, the castle was taken by French troops in 1706 and razed to the ground by order of Louis XIV.
Sainte Reparate cathedral
The rue Sainte-Reparate leads to the Cathedral, whose baroque facade and the dome with glazed tiles face the Place Rossetti. The Sainte Reparate cathedral was built in 1649 by the architect Jean-André Guibert. It is dedicated to the patron saint of the city.
Jesuit Church known as the “Gésu”
Built in 1607 by the architect André Guibert who was inspired by a Roman church for its Baroque facade, its interior is very richly decorated. Start from the rue du Gésu which faces the church until the rue sainte Reparate where you passed previously and join the rue de la Préfecture on the left.
The Lascaris Palace
Genoese-type residence built in 1648, with a facade adorned with fire pots, garlands with an entrance portal with pilasters and a monumental staircase of honor the ground floor is reserved for commercial activities.
A fish market surrounding a fountain decorated with dolphins characterizes it. It is dominated by the Communal Palace, the old town hall of the city, current labor market, a rare example of civil baroque architecture.
La Tour and rue Pairolière
A little beyond at the corner of rue de la Tour and rue Pairolière, the pretty clock tower is the only vestige of a former convent. The rue Pairolière leads to the boulevard Jean Jaurès. We then leave the pedestrian zone to reach a little further in the same direction the place Garibaldi. The most beautiful square in the city, surrounded by arcades which house shops. The southern part houses the Chapel of the Holy Sepulcher known as the White Penitents. The center of the square is occupied by a statue of Garibaldi, the work of the sculptor Etex (in 1891).
It was built as part of the Longlio d’Ornato, a town planning project. From 1850 by the architect Conte Robilante to pay homage to the Piemontese sovereign Victor Amédé III. Joseph Garibaldi was born in Nice in 1807, ardent revolutionary, he participated in South America in the wars of independence then for Italian unity against the Austrian Empire. He fought for France in 1871. Towards the east, you will reach rue Catherine Ségurane, a woman of the people of Nice who, during the battle between Nice Savoyarde and the French and Ottoman troops (François I and Frédéric Barberousse) in 1543, stood out for her daring… the legend, it is the symbol of courage and independence.
The Promenade des Anglais
As early as the 19th century, the English made the Baie des Anges their favorite winter resort, giving their name to the most famous promenade in the world, on the initiative of Reverend Lewis Way. It gives Nice its cosmopolitan and aesthetic identity between sea and palm trees. Nice’s relationship to the sea has long been purely utilitarian and often marked by fear. The usefulness lies in fishing, which is not very productive due to the depth of the seabed, and in trade, welcomed from the origins in the 18th century in the Anse des Ponchettes, which has no fixed port facilities. As for fear, in addition to the violence and suddenness of the storms in the Mediterranean, it also relies heavily on the omnipresence of privateers, whether Christians (Genoese, Provençal, Monegasque or Catalan) or Barbary.
From the 14th century, this fear led to the construction of a wall along the coastal part of the city (that is to say of what is now Old Nice), pierced by a single door, the Marine Gate. The 18th century saw a combination of several facts which would suddenly open the city to the sea: the destruction of the walls by Louis XIV’s army in 1706, the transfer of commercial activities to the new Lympia port from 1751, the arrival of first British winterers in the 1760s, the construction of the Terraces in the 1770s and the opening of their rooftop promenade changed the relationship between Nice and the sea. This change allowed the creation of a coastal promenade entirely and originally dedicated to leisure, the first in the history of the world, the promenade des Anglais.
The new form of this path, which is not intended to lead from one point to another but only to contemplate, motionless or at the slow pace of the promenade, the sea horizon, generates the creation of a new town planning “panoramic “and seaside resort made up of constructions facing the sea and exotic gardens. As for access and service, they are provided by the route de France, road network in the classic sense of the term. The first buildings to date are, from the end of the 18th century, imposing villas in the middle of vast gardens of which only two remain. The Villa Furtado-Heine known as the “Officers” was built in 1787, well before the opening of the Promenade, by an Englishwoman, Lady Penelope Rivers. During the Empire she welcomed Pauline Bonaparte, sister of Napoleon and Marie-Louise, former queen of Etruria. In 1895, Madame Furtado-Heine offered it to the French army to receive convalescent soldiers.
The other villa still in existence was built by her daughter and her son-in-law, Prince d’Essling, descendant of Marshal Masséna. It is the last large villa built on the Promenade in 1900, by the architect Tersling. It replaced the one built in the middle of the 19th century for the Diesbach family in the troubadour style, where Tsarevich Nicolas had stayed before settling in the Bermond villa and dying there (1865). In 1919, the son and heir of the sponsor almost donated it to the city of Nice on condition of making it into a museum and opening the gardens to the public. The Masséna museum has since been devoted to the history of Nice. Other villas now destroyed include the Villa de Orestis, built in 1845, who welcomed the Empress Dowager Alexandra Feodorovna. It then belonged to Prince Stirbey, a former hospodar of Wallachia. His son lodged the great sculptor Carpeaux in one of the pavilions. Queen Isabella of Spain stayed there in 1882, just before its destruction to open Boulevard Gambetta.
At the corner of the current rue Andrioli, let us evoke the Villa Avigdor, built in 1786, along the road to France. Alexandra Feodorovna, the king and queen of Württemberg, the king of Bavaria, Marie Baschkirtseff stayed there during the 19th century. Finally, let us recall the Lyons villas, three buildings in a large park, which also accommodate large aristocratic families. Louis I of Bavaria died there in 1868. As for the first hotels, they were built in the neoclassical style then in vogue:
In 1863, the road was widened by two meters, the Promenade was increased with a twelve-meter causeway and a three-meter sidewalk. Thirty gas lamps light it up. In 1864, a bridge, the Napoleon Bridge then the Angels Bridge spanned the mouth of the Paillon and linked it to the Quai du Midi (currently Quai des Etats-Unis). The Promenade becomes the center of social life. Winter, then privileged time of the Season, at the end of the morning or the afternoon, it is an incessant comings and goings of riders, prams, coupés, victorias. We walk, parasol in hand, between the hedges of oleanders. In 1867, the first casino in Nice was inaugurated there, which the Cercle de la Méditerranée, the most elegant in the city, replaced between 1872 and 1884. So, the Savoy hotel, which was demolished to be replaced in 1951 by the current Savoy-Palace building, was built on its site. In 1880, the Westminster hotel took the place of two villas.
We then witness an architectural mutation at the end of which the initial neoclassicism is replaced by all the variants of an eclecticism then in vogue. Monument remained in the collective memory of Nice for its metallic architecture, its construction on pontoon, the eclectic forms of its architecture, the richness and the diversity of its musical program, the casino of the Jetée-Promenade is opened in 1891. In 1906, the promenade des Anglais reaches the racecourse on the banks of the Var. It was the time of palaces with the construction of the Hôtel Royal (1905) and the Hôtel Ruhl (1913) by Charles Dalmas, and the Hôtel Negresco (1913) by Edouard-Jean Niermans.
A modern promenade
Healed from the terrible wound of the 1914-1918 war, the Promenade des Anglais regains its elegant animation. From the 1920s, with its new seaside leisure activities and dynamic water sports, the Summer Season gradually replaced the Winter Season and the American Franck Jay Gould financed a new casino: the Palais de la Méditerranée, considered as one of the masterpieces of the Art-Deco style (architects: Charles and Marcel Dalmas), opened on January 10, 1929. The new mayor of Nice Jean Médecin then decided to give a new dimension to the Promenade. In 1931-1932, the lane reserved for cars was doubled (ten meters each), a five-meter flower bed separated them, new street furniture was created and installed (luminous fountains, candelabra). The sidewalk along hotels and villas is three meters wide and the one overlooking the beach is increased to sixteen meters. The new developments (initially limited to Boulevard Gambetta) were inaugurated on January 29, 1931 by one of the queen’s sons
Victoria, the Duke of Connaught and the Duchess of Vendôme, sister of the King of the Belgians. Many villas are starting to be destroyed to be replaced by apartment buildings often of indisputable architectural quality where a seductive Art-Deco style prevails under the signature of architects Dikansky, Sorg or Guillot: La Couronne (1927), La Mascotte (1930), Le Forum (1932), Solemar (1934), Palais Mecatti (1937), a movement that will continue and intensify after 1945 with Les Loggias (1947), Le Capitole (1948-1959) or the palace Orient (1960). The destruction of the Pier-Promenade in 1944,
The Colline du Château was the site chosen by the Phocaean Greeks to establish their trading post and thus found the city of Nice, a few millennia ago.
Nowadays, a large landscaped park in the heart of Old Nice, the Castle Hill takes its name from the imposing fortification which was built there and which was destroyed by Louis XIV in 1706. The medieval city took its place there before the habitat does not extend below (from the 12th century). In particular, there were the palace of the Counts of Provence and the cathedral, two major elements of the medieval city that archaeological excavations are trying to rediscover.
The historical interest of the site
Protected since the 18th century by a total absence of urban development, the site contains in its basement the remains of the medieval and modern city, but also of older periods. If we do not yet know if the Greek city of Nikaïa is indeed at its summit, archaeological excavations clearly show an ancient occupation, dating back to the beginning of Protohistory, a millennium BC. The hill has always been a privileged place for habitat and surveillance of a territory in contact with the sea.
The remains of the fortification
There are still some vestiges of the old fortification in the current park. But fragments are so rare that visitors fail to understand their nature, and even less to visualize the monumental ensemble to which they belonged. It must be said that the destruction ordered by Louis XIV, in 1706, of the entire fortified system of Nice (urban fortification, castle and citadel) was extremely radical. This is why it seemed particularly important to give the most exact possible representation.