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Coordinates: 43°42′12″N 7°15′59″E / 43.703393°N 7.266274°E / 43.703393; 7.266274

Ville de Nice
Flag of Nice
Coat of arms of Nice
Flag of Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur Coat of arms of Nice

Motto: Nicæa civitas.

Nice-night-view-with-blurred-cars 1200x900.jpg
Nice is located in France
Time zone CET (GMT +1)
Country France
Region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Department Alpes-Maritimes (06)
Arrondissement Nice
Canton chief town of 14 cantons
Intercommunality Community of Agglomeration Nice Côte d'Azur
Mayor Christian Estrosi (UMP)
(since 2008)
Land area1 71.92 km2 (27.77 sq mi)
Population2 347,060  (2006)
 - Ranking 5th in France
 - Density 4,826 /km2 (12,500 /sq mi)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Nice (pronounced /ˈniːs/; French pronunciation: [nis]; Niçard Occitan: Niça [classical norm] or Nissa [nonstandard], Italian: Nizza or Nizza Marittima, Greek: Νίκαια, Latin: Nicaea) is a city in southern France on the Mediterranean coast. The city is nicknamed Nice la Belle (Nissa la Bella in Niçard), which means The Beautiful Nice.

It is the capital of the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur) with 347,060 inhabitants (2006), making it the 5th largest city of France. The metropolitan area is also the 5th largest with 1,281,503 inhabitants (2006).[1]

The area of today’s Nice is believed to be among the oldest human settlements in the world. One of the archaeological sites, Terra Amata, displays evidence of a very early usage of fire. Around 350 BC, Greeks of Marseille founded a permanent settlement and called it Nikaia, after Nike, the goddess of victory.[2]

Throughout the ages the town changed hands many times. Its strategic location and port significantly contributed to its maritime strength. For years, it was an Italian dominion, then became part of France in 1860. Culturally and architecturally enriched over time, today Nice has become a truly cosmopolitan tourist destination.[3] The spectacular natural beauty of the Nice area and its mild Mediterranean climate came to the attention of the English upper classes in the second half of the 18th Century, when an increasing number of aristocratic families took to spending their winter there. The city’s main seaside promenade, the Promenade des Anglais (‘the Walkway of the English’) owes its name to the earliest visitors to the resort.[4] For decades now, the picturesque Nicean surroundings have attracted not only those in search of relaxation, but also those seeking inspiration. The clear air and soft light has been of particular appeal to some of Western culture’s most outstanding 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, Musée Matisse and Musée des Beaux-Arts Jules Chéret.[5] The climate and landscape are still what attracts most visitors today. It has the second largest hotel capacity in the country[6] and it’s the second-most visited place in France after Paris, receiving 4 million tourists every year.[7] It also has the second busiest airport in France after Paris[8] and two convention centers dedicated to business tourism. The city also has a university, several business districts and some major cultural facilities, such as museums, a national theater, an opera house with a regional library and several concert halls and casinos. It is the historical capital city of the County of Nice (Comté de Nice).




The first known human settlements in the Nice area date back approximately 400,000 years;[9] the Terra Amata archeological site shows one of the earliest uses of fire and construction of houses and flint findings are dated as around 230,000 years old.[10] Nice (Nicaea) was probably founded around 350 BC by the Greeks of Massilia (Marseille), and was given the name of Νικαία ("Nikaia") in honour of a victory over the neighbouring Ligurians (Nike is the Greek goddess of victory). The city soon became one of the busiest trading ports on the Ligurian coast; but it had an important rival in the Roman town of Cemenelum, which continued to exist as a separate city until the time of the Lombard invasions. The ruins of Cemenelum are located in Cimiez, which is now a district in Nice.


In the 7th century, Nice joined the Genoese League formed by the towns of Liguria. In 729 the city repulsed the Saracens; but in 859 and again in 880 the Saracens pillaged and burned it, and for most of the 10th century remained masters of the surrounding country.

During the Middle Ages, Nice participated in the wars and history of Italy. As an ally of Pisa it was the enemy of Genoa, and both the King of France and the Emperor endeavoured to subjugate it; but in spite of this it maintained its municipal liberties. During the course of the 13th and 14th centuries the city fell more than once into the hands of the Counts of Provence; and at length in 1388 the commune placed itself under the protection of the Counts of Savoy. Nice participated - directly or indirectly - in the history of Savoy up until 1860.

The maritime strength of Nice now rapidly increased until it was able to cope with the Barbary pirates; the fortifications were largely extended and the roads to the city improved. In 1561 Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, abolished the use of Latin as an administrative language and established the Italian language as the official language of government affairs in Nice.

During the struggle between Francis I and Charles V great damage was caused by the passage of the armies invading Provence; pestilence and famine raged in the city for several years. It was in the nearby town of Villeneuve-Loubet that the two monarchs in 1538 concluded, through the mediation of Pope Paul III, a truce of ten years.[11]

Combined Franco-Ottoman fleet besieging Nice in 1543

In 1543, Nice was attacked by the united Franco-Ottoman forces of Francis I and Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha, in the Siege of Nice; and, though the inhabitants repulsed the assault which succeeded the terrible bombardment, they were ultimately compelled to surrender, and Barbarossa was allowed to pillage the city and to carry off 2,500 captives. Pestilence appeared again in 1550 and 1580.

Nice seen from Spot Satellite

In 1600, Nice was briefly taken by the duke of Guise. By opening the ports of the county to all nations, and proclaiming full freedom of trade (1626), the commerce of the city was given great stimulus, the noble families taking part in its mercantile enterprises. Captured by Nicolas Catinat in 1691, Nice was restored to Savoy in 1696; but it was again besieged by the French in 1705, and in the following year its citadel and ramparts were demolished.

The treaty of Utrecht in 1713 once more gave the city back to the Duke of Savoy who was on that same occasion recognized as King of Sicily. In the peaceful years which followed the "new town" was built. From 1744 till the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) the French and Spaniards were again in possession. In 1775 the king, who in 1718 had swapped his sovereignty of Sicily for the Kingdom of Sardinia, destroyed all that remained of the ancient liberties of the commune. Conquered in 1792 by the armies of the First French Republic, the County of Nice continued to be part of France until 1814; but after that date it reverted to the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont.

By a treaty concluded in 1860 between the Sardinian king and Napoleon III, the County was again ceded to France as a territorial reward for French assistance in the Second Italian War of Independence against Austria, which saw Lombardy unified with Piedmont-Sardinia. The cession was ratified by over 25,000 electors out of a total of 30,700. Savoy was also transferred to the French crown by similar means.

Nice in 1624, when it was called Nizza

Giuseppe Garibaldi, born in Nice, strongly opposed the cession to France (arguing that it was not done with a "universal" vote and that the ballot was rigged by the French) and in 1866 there were even popular riots in the city, promoted by "Garibaldini" in favour of the unification of Nice to Italy. The Italian irredentists considered Nice one of their main nationalistic requests and in 1942/3 the city was occupied and administered by Italy during World War II.

The 20th century saw the arrival of modern transportation. In 1900, the Tramway de Nice electrified its horse drawn streetcars and spread its network to the entire département from Menton to Cagnes-sur-Mer. By the 1930’s additional bus connections added to the transportation network of the entire area.

Starting in 1932, Nice hosted international car racing in the Formula Libre (predecessor to Formula One) on the so-called Circuit Nice. The circuit started along the waterfront just south of the Jardin Albert I, then headed westward along the Promenade des Anglais followed by a hairpin turn at the Hotel Negresco to come back eastward and around the Jardin Albert I before heading again east along the beach on the Quai des Etats-Unis. In 1932, Louis Chiron won the Nice Grand Prix aboard a Bugatti T51, closely followed just 3.4 seconds behind by Raymond Sommer in an Alfa Romeo Monza with third place going to René Dreyfus, also in a Bugatti T51. In 1933, the race was won byTazio Nuvolari in a Maserati 8C, followed by René Dreyfus in his Bugatti and Guy Moll in an Alfa Romeo Monza. In 1934, the race was again won by an Italian in an Alfa Romeo Tipo B, none other than the best driver of the season, Achille Varzi. The last season to feature a Grand Prix at Nice was in 1935, when the Alfa Romeo Tipo Bs dominated the circuit in the hands of Tazio Nuvolari and Louis Chiron, who placed second, and René Dreyfus, who took third.

As war broke out in September 1939, Nice became a city of refuge for many displaced foreigners, notably Jews fleeing the Nazi progression into Eastern Europe. From Nice many sought further shelter in the French colonies, Morocco and North and South America. After July 1940 and the establishment of the Vichy Regime, antisemitic aggressions accelerated the exodus, starting in July 1941 and continuing through 1942. On August 26, 1942, 655 Jews of foreign origin were rounded up by the Laval government and interned in the Auvare barracks. Of them, 560 would be deported to Drancy internment camp on August 31, 1942. Thanks to the activity of the Jewish banker Angelo Donati and of the Capuchin friar Père Marie-Benoît the local authorities hindered the applications of anti Jewish Vichy laws.[12]

The first ”résistants” to the new Regime were a group of High School seniors of the Lycée de Nice, now Lycée Masséna, in September 1940, later arrested and executed in 1944 near Castellane. The first public demonstrations occurred on July 14, 1942 when several hundred protesters took to the streets along the Avenue de la Victoire and Place Masséna. After November 1942 and the arrival of Italian troops occupying the city, a certain ambivalence remained among the population, many recent immigrants of Italian ancestry. However, the resistance got momentum after the Italian surrendered in 1943 when the German armies occupied Vichy France. Reprisals intensified between December 1943 and July 1944 when numbers of partisans were tortured and executed by the local Gestapo and the French Milice. Nice also was heavily bombarded by the American aviation in preparation for the Allied landing in Provence (1000 dead or wounded and more than 5600 people homeless) and famine ensued in the course of the summer of 1944. Finally American paratroopers entered the city on August 30, 1944 and Nice was finally liberated. The consequences of the war were heavy, the population decreased by 15% and the economic life totally disrupted.

In the second half of the 20th century, Nice enjoyed an economic boom primarily driven by tourism and construction. Two men dominated this period: Jean Médecin, mayor for 33 years from 1928 to 1943 and from 1947 to 1965 and his son Jacques, mayor for 24 years from 1966 to 1990. Under their leadership, the city experienced extensive urban renewal and new constructions were undertaken (Convention centre, theatres, new thoroughfares and expressways, etc…) The arrival of the Pieds-Noirs, refugees from Algeria after 1962 independence, also gave the city a boost and changed somewhat the make-up of its population and traditional views. By the late 1980’s, rumors of political corruption in the city government surfaced and eventually formal accusations against Jacques Médecin forced him to flee France in 1990. Later arrested in Uruguay in 1993, he was extradited back to France in 1994, convicted of several counts of corruption and associated crimes and sentenced to imprisonment.

On October 16, 1979, a tsunami, caused by an undersea landslide hit the western coast of Nice and 23 people died.

In February 2001, European leaders met at Nice to negotiate and sign what is now the Treaty of Nice amending the institutions of the European Union.

In 2003, local Chief Prosecutor Éric de Montgolfier alleged that some judicial cases involving local personalities had been suspiciously derailed by the local judiciary, which he suspected having unhealthy contacts through Masonic lodges with the very people prosecuted or judged. A controversial official report stated later that de Montgolfier had made unwarranted accusations.

Coat of arms

Arms of Nice

The coat of arms Nice appeared for the first time in a copy of the Regulations of Amadeus VIII, probably written in around 1430.[13] The Nice is symbolized by a red eagle on white background, placed on three mountains, which can be described in French heraldic language as "d'argent à une aigle de gueule posée sur trois coupeaux".[13] The arms have only undergone minor changes : the eagle has become more and more stylized, it now 'wears' coronet for the County of Nice,and the three mountains are now surrounded by a stylised sea.[13]

The presence of the eagle, an imperial emblem, shows that these arms are related to the power of the House of Savoy.The eagle standing over the three hills is an illustration and a depiction of Savoy, in establishment of its domination over the country around Nice.[13] The combination of white and red (argent and gules) is a reference to the colours of the flag of Savoy.[13] The three mountains symbolize a territorial honor, without concern for geographic realism.[13]


Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur région, Nice is a commune and the préfecture (administrative capital) of the Alpes-Maritimes département. However, it is also the largest city in France that is not a regional capital; the much larger Marseille is its regional capital. The current mayor of Nice is Christian Estrosi who was elected in 2008. He is a member of the Union for a Popular Movement, the party supporting President Nicolas Sarkozy.


Nice has a Mediterranean climate: the city enjoys mild temperatures most of the year; rainfall is very moderate and mainly concentrated in the darkest part of the year (September to March).

Summers are hot, dry, and sunny. Rainfall is rare in this season, and a typical July month only records one or two days with measurable rainfall. Temperatures seldom go below 20 °C (68 °F), and frequently reach 30 °C (86 °F). Average annual maximum is about 35 °C (95 °F). The absolute maximum recorded temperature in Nice was 37.7 °C (99.9 °F) on the 1st of August 2006.

Autumn generally starts sunny in September and becomes more cloudy and rainy towards October, while temperatures usually remain above 20 °C (68 °F) until November where days start to cool down to around 17 °C (63 °F).

Winters are characterized by mild days (11 to 17 °C (52 to 63 °F)), cool nights (4 to 9 °C (39 to 48 °F)) and variable weather. Days can be either sunny and dry, or damp and rainy. Frost is unusual and snowfalls are so extremely rare that they are remembered by inhabitants as special events. Annual minimum is on average around 1 °C (34 °F).

Spring starts mild and rainy in late March, and is increasingly warm and sunny towards June.

Climate data for Nice
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 12.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 9.1
Average low °C (°F) 5.3
Precipitation cm (inches) 8.51
Avg. precipitation days 6.5 5.5 5.2 7.2 5.4 4.0 2.0 2.9 4.4 7.3 6.6 6.0 63
Source: World Meteorological Organization (UN)[14] 25 August 2009


The natural vegetation of Nice is typical for a Mediterranean landscape, with a heavy representation of broadleaf evergreen shrubs. Trees tend to be scattered but form dense forests in some areas. Large native tree species include evergreens such as holm oak, stone pine and arbutus. Many introduced species grow in parks and gardens. Palms, eucalyptus and citrus fruits are among the trees which give Nice a subtropical appearance. But there are also species familiar to temperate areas around the world; examples include horse chestnut, linden and even Norway spruce.


View of the old town

Nice is the seat of the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie Nice Côte d'Azur. It manages both the Nice - Côte d'Azur Airport and the Cannes - Mandelieu Airport, as well as the Port of Nice.

Nice has the second market of national interest in France and the country's first port cement manufacturer. It also has a large number of museums and hotels.

Investors from France and abroad can benefit from the assistance of the Côte d'Azur Economic Development Agency Team Côte d'Azur.

Among tourists, Nice is the second most popular French city after Paris, a fact which, combined with the difficulties of land travel at long distance (partly because of the Alps), allows it to have the second busiest airport in France in terms of passenger numbers (close to 10,000,000 passengers in 2005).

Nice has one conference centre: the Palais des Congrès Acropolis. The city also has several business parks, including l'Arenas, Nice the Plain, Nice Méridia, Saint Isidore, and the Northern Forum.

In addition, the city features several shopping centres such as Nicetoile, Nice TNL, Nice Lingostière, Northern Forum, St-Isidore, the Trinity (around the Auchan hypermarket) and Cap3000 in Saint-Laurent-du-Var.

Sophia Antipolis is a technology park northwest of Antibes. Much of the park is within the commune of Valbonne. Established between 1970 and 1984, it primarily houses companies in the fields of computing, electronics, pharmacology and biotechnology. Several institutions of higher learning are also located here, along with the European headquarters of W3C. The park is named after Sophie Glikman-Toumarkine, the wife of French Senator Pierre Laffitte, founder of the park, and incidentally, Sophia, the goddess of wisdom. The second half of the park's name is derived from Antipolis, the ancient Greek name of Antibes.


The port of Nice

The port of Nice is also known as Lympia port. This name comes from the Lympia spring which fed a small lake in a marshy zone where work on the port was started in 1745. Today this is the principal harbour installation of Nice - there is also a small port in the Carras district.

The port is the first port cement manufacturer in France, linked to the treatment plants of the rollers of the valley of Paillon.

Fishing activities remain but the number of professional fishermen is now less than 10. Nice, being the point of continental France nearest to Corsica, has ferry connections with the island developed with the arrival of NGV (navires à grande vitesse) or high-speed craft. Two companies provide the connections: SNCM, a partially public company and Corsica Ferries - Sardinia Ferries, an entirely private company. Located in front of the port, the Place Cassini has been renamed Place of Corsica.

Nice Côte d'Azur Airport

The Nice Côte d'Azur Airport (French: Aéroport Nice Côte d'Azur) (IATA: NCEICAO: LFMN) is an airport in Nice, in the Alpes-Maritimes department of France. It is the third most important airport in France after Charles de Gaulle Airport and Orly Airport, both in Paris. It is on the Promenade des Anglais, near l'Arénas and has two terminals. Due to its proximity to the Principality of Monaco, it also serves as that city–state's airport, with helicopter service linking the city and airport.

It is run by the Chamber of Commerce and the Nice Côte d'Azur industry. Its director is Hervé de Place, director of the Côte d'Azur airports, which includes Cannes - Mandelieu Airport. In 2009, 9,830,987 passengers travelled through the airport.[15]

Main sights

Monument Aux Morts in Nice
Seafront at Nice, capital of the Alpes-Maritimes département.
View of the Place Masséna
Place du Palais view of the Rusca palace
Saleya Course (2007)
Cathédrale Sainte Réparate

The Promenade des Anglais ("Promenade of the English") is a celebrated promenade along the Baie des Anges, a bay of the Mediterranean, in Nice. Before Nice was urbanized, the coastline at Nice was just bordered by a deserted stretch of beach covered with large pebbles. The first houses were located on higher ground well away from the sea.

Starting 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. When a particularly harsh winter up north brought an influx of beggars to Nice, some of the rich Englishmen proposed a useful project for them: the construction of a walkway (chemin de promenade) along the sea.

The city of Nice, intrigued by the prospect of a pleasant promenade, greatly increased the scope of the work. The Promenade was first called the Camin dei Anglès (the English Way) by the Niçois in their native dialect Nissart. After the annexation of Nice by France in 1860 it was rechristened La Promenade des Anglais, replacing the former Nissart name with its French translation.

The Hotel Negresco on the Promenade des Anglais was named after Henri Negresco (1868–1920) who had the palatial hotel constructed in 1912. In keeping with the conventions of the time, when the Negresco first opened in 1913 its front opened on the side opposite the Mediterranean.

Another place worth mentioning is the small street parallel to the Promenade des Anglais, leading from Nice's downtown, beginning at Place Masséna, and running parallel to the promenade in the direction of the airport for a short distance of about 4 blocks. This section of the city is referred to as the "Zone Pietonne", or "Pedestrian Zone". The banning of cars creates a more serene setting. Here tourists can find a fine selection of restaurants, specializing in both Niçoise cuisine and various types of foreign cuisine. There is also a large selection of cafés where one can sit and enjoy an espresso or choose from a variety of speciality coffees, gelati and desserts, and watch the city walk by. There are also plenty of small shops selling clothing, shoes and souvenirs.

Other squares include:


Place Masséna

The Place Masséna 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 square was thus divided into two parts (North and South) in 1824. With the demolition of the Masséna Casino in 1979, the Place Masséna became more spacious and less dense and is now bordered by red ochre buildings of Italian architecture.

The recent rebuilding of the tramline gave the square back to the pedestrians, restoring its status as a real Mediterranean square. It is lined with palm trees and stone pines, instead of being the rectangular roundabout of sorts it had become over the years. Since its construction, the Place Masséna has always been the spot for great public events. It is used for concerts, and particularly during the summer festivals, the Corso carnavalesque (carnival parade) in February, the military procession of July 14 (Bastille Day) or other traditional celebrations and banquets.

The Place Masséna is a two-minute walk from the Promenade des Anglais, old town, town centre, and Albert I Garden (Jardin Albert Ier). It is also a large crossroads between several of the main streets of the city: avenue Jean Médecin, avenue Félix Faure, boulevard Jean Jaurès, avenue de Verdun and rue Gioffredo.

Place Garibaldi

The Place Garibaldi also stands out for its architecture and history. It is named after Giuseppe Garibaldi, hero of the Italian unification (born in Nice in 1807 when Nice was part of the Napoleonic Empire, before reverting back to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia). 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 to Turin. It took several names between 1780 and 1870 (Plaça Pairoulièra, Place de la République, Place Napoléon, Place d'Armes, Place Saint-Augustin, Piazza Vittorio) and finally Place Garibaldi in September 1870.

A statue of Garibaldi, who was fiercely in favour of the union of Nice with Italy. stands in the centre of the square. The recent rebuilding of the area to accommodate the new tramway line gave mostly the entire square to pedestrians, The architecture is in line with the Turin model, which was the norm of urban renewal throughout the entire realm of the House of Savoy.

It is a crossroads between the Vieux Nice (old town) and the town centre. Place Garibaldi is close to the eastern districts of Nice, Port Lympia (Lympia Harbor), and the TNL commercial centre. This square is also a junction of several important streets: the boulevard Jean-Jaurès, the avenue de la République, the rue Cassini and the rue Catherine-Ségurane.

Place Rossetti

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 and the fountain in the centre, place Rossetti is a must-see spot in the old town. By day, the place is invaded by the terraces of traditional restaurants and the finest ice-cream makers. By night, the environment changes radically, with tourists and youths flocking to the square, where music reverberates on the walls of the small square. The square's lighting at night gives it a magical aspect.

Place Rossetti is in the centre of the old town, streets Jesus, Rossetti, Mascoïnat and the Pont-vieux (old bridge)

Cours Saleya

The Cours Saleya is situated parallel to the Quai des Etats-Unis. In the past, it belonged to the upper classes. It probably is the most traditional square of the town, with its daily flower market. The Cours Saleya also opens on the Palais des Rois Sardes (Palace of the Kings of Sardinia). In the present, the court is mostly a place of entertainment. There are good restaurants serving typical Nicois cuisine, markets and many pubs. It is no doubt one of the most active spots in Nice.

Place du Palais

As its name indicates, the place du palais is where the Palais de Justice (Law courts) of Nice is located. On this square, there also is the Palais Rusca, which also belongs to the justice department (home of the tribunal de grande instance).

The square is also notable due to the presence of the city clock. Nowadays, the Place du Palais is alive day and night. It is particularly appreciated by youths who hangout on the steps leading to the Palais de justice, often with alcoholic bottles in hand. The place is not a large open-air bar, though, concerts, animations and events are frequent.

It is situated halfway between cour Saleya and place Masséna.


Sports and entertainment


According to the estimates of INSEE, the population of Nice was 347,900 inhabitants on January 1, 2005. Nice is thus the fifth largest city in France, behind Paris, Marseilles, Lyon and Toulouse. The agglomeration of Nice, defined by INSEE, is home to 888,784 inhabitants (fifth most populous in France) and its urban area totals 933,080 inhabitants, which makes it the sixth largest in France.

The city saw a big demographic rise in the second half of the 19th century, a period when the population more than doubled, mainly due to French immigration. At the beginning of the 20th century, this rise intensified with the arrival of internal immigrants from the County of Nice itself.[citation needed]

After the First World War, the city had a strong increase in population. Immigration was again the reason of this growth. The hotel industry and that of the construction industry, in full strength in the 1920s, attracted the world more and more and thus made it possible for Nice to become a town of national importance. In 1921, Nice then became the eleventh most populous town of France, then in 1931, the eighth, before being ranked sixth in 1946; thereafter the city reached its current demographic level thanks to the arrival of sixty thousand people including French citizens from Algeria.[citation needed]

Since the 1970s, the number of inhabitants has not changed significantly; the relatively high migration to Nice is compensated by a natural negative growth of the population. Nice has a high proportion of elderly people.[citation needed]

Currently, the population of the city is growing again, the reason of which is a preference for the climate.[citation needed] Nice is projected to have 360,000 citizens in 2008, and 370,000 by 2012.[citation needed]

Nice Observatory

View of the Bischoffsheim cupola, main cupola of Nice Observatory

The Observatoire de Nice (Nice Observatory) is located on the summit of Mont Gros. The observatory was initiated in 1879 by the banker Raphaël Bischoffsheim. The architect was Charles Garnier, and Gustave Eiffel designed the main dome.

The 76-cm (30-inch) refractor telescope that became operational in 1888 was at that time the world's largest telescope. It was outperformed one year later by the 36-inch (91-cm) refractor at the Lick Observatory.

As a scientific institution, the Nice Observatory no longer exists. It was merged with CERGA in 1988 to form the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur.


Nice is one of the oldest human settlements in the world. Terra-Amata, an archaeological site dating from the Lower Palaeolithic age, is situated near Nice. Nice itself was established by the ancient Greeks. There was also an independent Roman city, Cemenelum, near Nice, where the hill of Cimiez is located. It is an archaeological site with treasures, of which only a small part has been excavated. The excavated site includes thermal baths, arenas and Roman road.

Since the second century AD, the light of the city has attracted many famous painters such as Chagall, Matisse, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Arman and inspired many artists and intellectuals in different countries e.g. Berlioz, Nietzsche, Rossini etc.

Nice also has numerous museums of all kinds: Musée Chagall, Musée Matisse (arenas of Cimiez containing Roman ruins), Musée des Beaux-Arts Jules Chéret, Museum of Naïve arts, Musée Terra-Amata, Museum of Asian Art, Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary Art which devotes much space to the well-known Ecole of Nice ”), Museum of Natural History, Musée Masséna, Naval Museum and Galerie des Ponchettes.

Being a vacation resort, Nice hosts many festivals throughout the year, such as the Carnaval de Nice and the Nice Jazz Festival.

Nice has a distinct culture due to its unique history. The local language Niçard (Nissart) is an Occitan dialect (but some Italian scholars argue that it is a Ligurian dialect). It is still spoken by a substantial minority. Strong Italian and (to a lesser extent) Corsican influences make it more intelligible than other extant Provençal dialects.

In the past, Nice welcomed many immigrants from Italy (who continue to make up a large proportion of the population), as well as Spanish and Portuguese immigrants. However, in the past few decades immigration has been opened to include immigrants from all over the world, particularly those from former Northern and Western African colonies, as well as southeast Asia. Traditions are still alive, especially in folk music and dances. The most famous dance is the farandole.


The cuisine of Nice is close to those of Provence and especially Liguria and uses local ingredients (olive oil, anchovies, fruit and vegetables) but also those from more remote regions, in particular from Northern Europe, because ships which came to pick up olive oil arrived full of food products, such as dried haddock.

Nice has a few local dishes. There is a local tart made with onions and anchovies (or anchovy paste), named "Pissaladière". Socca is a type of pancake made from chickpea flour. Nice is also known for bouillabaisse and various fish soups; "Stockfish" (traditionally pronounced as "Stoquefiche" with special emphasis on the first "e"). Farcis niçois is a dish made from vegetables stuffed with breadcrumbs; and salade niçoise is a tomato salad with green peppers of the "Corne" variety, baked eggs, tuna or anchovies and olives.

Local meat comes from neighbouring valleys, such as the sheep of Sisteron. Local fish, such as mullets, bream, sea urchins, and anchovies (alevins) are used to a great extent, so much so that it has given birth to a proverb: "fish are born in the sea and die in oil"[citation needed].

Examples of Niçois specialties include:


Nice is home to many preparatory schools which prepare students for entrance to the Grandes Ecoles (e.g. the Ecole Normale Supérieure).

  • IEHEI - Institut Européen des hautes Etudes Internationales
  • Azurlingua
  • EF Ecole de Français
  • Top Dance
  • EDJ

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Nice is twinned with:

Active twinnings
Other twinnings
Pact of friendship

See also


  1. ^ Aire urbaine 1999 : Nice (006), Insee. In French. Retrieved 27 December 2009.
  2. ^ Ruggiero, Alain, ed (2006). Nouvelle histoire de Nice. Toulouse: Privat. pp. 17–18. ISBN 978-2708983359. 
  3. ^ Luc, Thevenon (1993). Nice, cité d'histoire, ville d'art. Nice: Serre. ISBN 978-2864101956. 
  4. ^ Alain Ruggiero, op. cit., p. 137
  5. ^ Nice, France travel. Comprehensive guide to Nice
  6. ^ Un savoir-faire et un équipement complet en matière d’accueil, site de la CANCA
  7. ^ Les chiffres clés du tourisme à Nice, site municipal
  8. ^ Union des aéroports français - Résultats d'activité des aéroports français 2007 - Trafic passagers 2007 classement - page 8
  9. ^ "Le Nouveau venu" (in French). Musée de Paléontologie Humaine de Terra Amata. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  10. ^ A. G. Wintle; M. J: Aitken (July 1997). "Thermoluminescence dating of burnt flint: application to a Lower Paleolithic site, Terra Amata". Archaeometry 19 (2): 111–130. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4754.1977.tb00189.x. 
  11. ^ "The Chsteau of Villeneuve-Loubet". Villeneuve-Loubet Guide and Hotels. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  12. ^ Léon Poliakov, La conditions des Juifs sous l'occupation italienne, Paris, CDJC, 1946 and bibliographies of Angelo Donati and Père Marie-Benoît
  13. ^ a b c d e f Ralph Schor (Edited by), Dictionnaire historique et biographique du comté de Nice(Historical and biographical dictionary of the County of Nice), Nice, Serre, 2002, ISBN 978-2864103660, pp.22-23 (French)
  14. ^ "Weather Information for Nice". 
  15. ^ 2009 traffic details from Nice airport website
  16. ^ "Edinburgh - Twin and Partner Cities". City of Edinburgh Council. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  17. ^ "Gdańsk Official Website: 'Miasta partnerskie'" (in Polish & English). Urząd Miejski w Gdańsku.,62,733.html. Retrieved 2009-07-11. 
  18. ^ "Twinning Cities". City of Thessaloniki. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  19. ^ "Sister Cities of Manila". City Government of Manila. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Harbor of Nice, France
Harbor of Nice, France
Sunset on the Mediterranean Sea in Juan-Les-Pins near Nice
Sunset on the Mediterranean Sea in Juan-Les-Pins near Nice

Nice [1] (pronounced like the English word "niece") is a large city in France on the French Riviera. It's a popular destination for vacationers both young and old, with something to offer nearly everyone. It is well known for the beautiful view on the Promenade des Anglais, its famous waterfront, and is an ethnically diverse port city.


Its origins can be found among the Gallo-Roman ruins of Cimiez, in the hills up the boulevard de Cimiez from downtown. Cimiez also contains a monastery and some museums, but nowadays, most of the city's inhabitants live closer to sea level. Nice was part of the Italian Duchy of Savoia and then the Kingdom of Sardinia until it was ceded to France in 1860. The ancient local language is Nissart, but of course, everyone speaks French. Don't assume everyone you encounter will speak English — an effort at French will always be appreciated.

Get in

By plane

Nice Airport [2] (IATA: NCE) is one of the busiest in France and has frequent daily flights to Paris, and direct to most major cities in Europe, including Moscow, as well New York, Atlanta, a number of destinations in North Africa and the Middle East. The airport is located at the western end of Nice on a landfill. Arrival and departure in good weather often provides beautiful views of the French Riviera.

Most airlines use Terminal 1 (the older terminal) while Terminal 2 is used primarily by Air France (and partners) and Easyjet. There is a free shuttle bus between the terminals.

Airport to Nice — The best and most reliable way to get from the Airport to central Nice or the Nice Ville train station is the airport express buses. Take the 98 to the Nice bus station (Gare Routiere) or take the 99 to the Nice main railway station (Gare Nice Ville SNCF). Routes 98 and 99 cost just €4 and are accessible from both T1 and T2. They run every 30 minutes during the following hours: the 98 from 6AM to midnight, and the 99 from 8AM to 9PM. Pay the driver on boarding and the ticket acts as a "Pass de Jour" for unlimited travel on local buses and the tram that day. The airport website [3] has information and timetables for ground transportation. The cheapest connection with Nice is the local bus service 23 (Terminal 1 only), costing €1, and running between 5:30AM and 8:05PM. The journey takes about 30 minutes from T 1 to the major train station (Gare Nice Thiers).

Convenient for some destinations, there is also a small train station close to the airport (Nice St Augustin) where you can pick up a TER train eastward to Nice, Monaco and all stations to the Italian border at Ventimiglia, or west back to Antibes and Cannes. The station can be reached by foot (approx. half a kilometre) via underpasses and road-crossings, on the other side of the Arenas office complex. Be sure to take out some Euro (€) coins from the airport if you are reaching Nice St Augustin before 9AM. The ticket vending machine does not accept notes. There are note-to-coin changer machines in the airport. €10 change per person should be sufficient for any journey.

Some hotels offer shuttle buses from the airport, inquire with your hotel before or upon arrival.

If there is no transportation running, it's reassuring to know that it is quite possible to walk the six km to town or vice versa to airport, in a little over an hour. This may be a useful in the current social discontent in France, where "manifestations" (demonstrations) and "grèves" (strikes) frequently affect public transportation. Recently (June-08) for example, lorry (truck) drivers created a blockade to airport to protest about rising fuel prices. It is prudent to check the local newspaper ("Nice Matin") where you will usually receive advance warning of potential problems.

  • Nice airport transfer, (, fax: +33959073587), [4]. Getting from Nice airport to town in an 8 seats luxury minivan. The best way to get from Nice Airport to Cannes, Monaco, Antibes and all the main cities in the French Riviera. starting at €43.  edit

By train

Nice is connected to the rest of France via the SNCF train network. A direct TGV train from Paris to Nice takes about 6 hours, fare for an adult is about €100, and on TGVs a reservation is obligatory. The train arrives in Nice at the central station, called simply "Gare Nice Ville" (not to be confused with the stations at the city limits, Nice Riquier and Nice St Augustin).

Trenitalia trains connect Nice to Italian cities like Milan, Genoa, Rome and Venice.

A new service called "IdTGV" [5] is now available: it offers low-cost TGV ticket (starting at just €19 for a single trip between Paris and Nice). These tickets have to be bought online, and are not refundable.

By car

The A8 autoroute is the easiest way to access Nice either from the west (Cannes, Aix-en-Provence) or from Italy. From the east take exit 50 and follow the signs for the Promenade des Anglais which takes you into Nice and is a lovely drive along the coast. Coming from the west take exit 55 and follow the signs for 'Nice centre'.

By bus

Long distance buses connect Nice with other major European cities. Eurolines, and the French LER "Lignes Express Regionaux" connect Nice with Marseille, Toulon and Aix-en-Provence at a reasonable price and acceptable three hour journey time via the motorways.

By boat

Nice is right along the coast, so you should be able to find your way easily no matter if you run on gas or let the wind help you. However, remember to contact the local port before arrival to reserve a place for your boat. Otherwise there will most likely not be room for you.

Nice has direct ferry routes to: Ajaccio (Corsica), Bastia (Corsica), Calvi and Ile Rousse. Advance booking is advised in all cases.

Get around

By public transport

Each main town on the French Riviera has its own local bus network, for Nice its "Lignes d'Azur" (Antibes has "Envibus", Cannes has "Bus Azur", and so on) and the 100 or more Ligne d'Azur routes are the main form of urban transport for locals going to work or school. Of more interest to tourists, an inter-urban network, the TAM (Transport Alpes-Maritimes)connects all the Eastern Riviera towns between Cannes and Menton and all the main villages like Èze and Vence. Its routes radiate from the main bus station in Nice, the (Gare Routière) in central Nice on Avenue Félix Faure near the Rue du Lycée. Bus fares are only €1, with a change to a non-return connecting service also permitted within 74 minutes, so it is worth mastering the bus system to get around.

The Ligne d'Azur and TAM routes overlap in and around Nice, so the ticket and tariff system is integrated to a common ticket zone, in which the local Ligne d'Azur tickets and passes are accepted on the longer distance TAM buses, but only between Cagnes-sur-Mer to the west, and Cap d'Ail short of Monaco to the east. The fare is identical on both networks - €1 for any distance - but with TAM you must always tell the driver your intended destination, so he can judge whether you should purchase a TAM ticket or a Lignes d'Azur. Outside the common zone, Lignes d'Azur passes are not valid and you need to pay the €1 fare in cash. In January 2009 the TAM and Lignes d'Azur will be merging, so there will be no need to know any of this stuff, as they will be rationalising the fare structures to match the single transport authority area. More mergers of the other five Riviera bus companies are on the cards, with the eventual goal of a unified bus tram and train ticket. But for now you need the knowledge.

The one exception to the €1 fare is the Airport Express bus, which has a €4 flat fare. This buys you a Ligne d'Azur all day pass into the bargain - handy if you're arriving, not as beneficial if you're leaving.

The long awaited tram line opened in November 2007, and forms a U-shaped route from Las Planas to the northeast to Pont St Michel to the northwest. Whilst it links the main train station, bus station, downtown and the university, it is basically a mass transit system designed to get workers and shoppers to the centre of Nice from the suburbs, and is not of any particular value to tourists. It uses the same tickets as the buses but you buy these from the machines at bus stops, unlike buses, where it is usual to pay the driver or show your pass on entering the bus. Another innovation is the hourly "commuter express" bus service direct to Monaco via the Autoroute, the 100Express, though visitors may still prefer the slower and more scenic 100 route along the coast.

The SNCF rail service also links all the main coastal towns, so which is the best way to get around - bus or train? The journey from Nice to say Cannes by the 200 bus at €1 is considerably cheaper than the train, which is currently over €5. Meaning that the buses are liable to dreadful overcrowding and the prospect of standing for nearly two hours as it is slow with frequent stops and many traffic lights along the route. If you're short on cash and don't mind discomfort, take the bus. If you're short on time and prefer to sit, take the train.

When taking the bus, you must be aware of the somewhat odd way the bus schedules are laid out. They list the departure time at the first bus station, not the one you are currently at (unless the two coincide, naturally). At the right hand side of the bus schedule, you have a list of stations, and next to some you will find the time listed it will take the bus to get there (+20', for example). This means that you will have to do a lot of guessing. Best ask a native and leave some extra padding time if you plan to take a bus to any scheduled event that you really do not want to miss (airport, train, concerts, etc).

You can find local bus and tram route maps and timetables online [6]. Route maps are listed under 'Maps' and timetables as 'Timetables'. They are provided in PDF format. Also, a new service ('Stop timetables') purports to display the times at your stop. From previous experience with the bus company, those should stand somewhere between educated guesses and outright fiction, due to unpredictable road traffic conditions (like one hour traffic jams around Villeneuve Loubet).

Apart from the airport express routes 98 and 99, buses rarely run after 8 o'clock in the evening. The tram however operates from around 4:30AM to after midnight. Five nightly bus routes (called Noctambus) serve the main parts of city, from 9:10PM to 1:10AM, and TAM has also now introduced infrequent buses throughout the night on the 100 line. The night buses leave from the Station J.C. Bermond, near the bus station, and the day fares apply on these night routes. If planning a visit involving a late evening return, consider train services, which provide the most reliable form of late travel.

By train

Nice has no metro and little need for one. The main train service is the national French railway SNCF which boasts the high speed TGV (slow to Marseilles and then very very fast on to Paris), and the local TER stopping trains which serve the main Riviera towns between Cannes and Ventimiglia across the border in Italy, including the daily commute to Monaco. Less well known is the little narrow-guage railway Chemin de Fer de Provence, which runs from Nice and has its own station two blocks north of Nice Gare Ville. It runs from Nice through the Var valley and along the Route Naploeon, three hours to Digne in Upper Provence. In summer months the latter part of the journey switches to a real steam train, the Train des Pignes (pinecones).

By car

Best access is by car from the A8 autoroute. The airport is well signed from the A8 and the A8 is well signed from the airport. Just make sure that you know which direction you need to go when getting on the A8 and which terminal when leaving, especially in the morning and evening rush hour, allow extra time to deal with accidents and traffic jams. The A8 has a ferocious bend just by the airport and accidents are frequent.

Even if it is going better today, driving a car on the Riviera is for the brave: The region has one of the worst accident records in France and every local has his or her favourite story about a mad driver. However, all major car rental firms, as well as some less well known ones, are present. Most are located by terminal 2. If you have a choice, try to pick a car that is already well dinged so that no one notices the new dings and scratches you will add. Never forget to lock the doors of the car at all times, in order not to tempt the carjackers.

By taxi

If you can, avoid the notoriously expensive taxis, though sometimes you do not have a choice. It is not always easy to find a taxi when you need one. Most will not respond to being hailed, and only ply from a taxi rank, from where cabs take passengers in turn. Taxi-drivers have great solidarity with their fellow taxi-drivers and will not accept offers to jump a line of waiting passengers. Taxi ranks will be found outside the train station and deluxe hotels (for example outside Le Meridien at 1 Promenade des Anglais).

Taxis are registered and licenced but like anywhere, it's not unknown for one to take advantage of tourists. If possible, agree on the rate BEFORE entering the cab. If running on the meter, insist on the meter being on the whole time. Try to sit where you can see it so that you can immediately query the driver when/if it goes off "accidentally." Taxi fares within Nice should be less than €20, to Antibes €50, Monaco or Cannes approximately €70 and St Tropez €250. The airport run to Nice is a fixed tariff around €35, depending on time of day, but you may be hit for surcharges on luggage or the presence of a 4th passenger (designed to discourage cab-sharing).

Under no circumstances, anywhere or anytime, get into an unlicensed "cab". That applies doubly so at times like the Film Festival, especially if you are female and have been drinking and partying late. Not unless you want your friends to read about you in the next day's newspapers, as happened (again!) this year.

By foot

Nice is a large, sprawling city of 300,000 population (5th largest in France) with large public housing projects spreading its surrounding suburbs, but most of the tourist and historical attractions are within the centre - a radius of a twenty minute walk at the most. You will most likely be concentrating your visit within the old town and the central shopping districts, so you will not need buses, taxis, or other forms of motorised travel. Car hire is a complete liability as parking is scarce and expensive. The only downside of "by foot" is the notorious volume of "dejections canine" (that's doggie-poo to you and me) and the lack of attention to the needs of those with reduced mobility - wheelchairs - as the dropping of kerbstones is entirely haphazard.

By scooter/motorbike

Unless you are very experienced, travelling by scooter is not recommended. By the time the first 9 months of this year was up, according to Nice Matin, there were 16 permanently fewer scooter and motorcycle riders in the city.

By inline skating / rollerblading

There is a place you can rent skates from called Fun 'N Roll on 13, rue Cassini 06300, (slightly northwest of the port/harbor/quay), [7].


The Colline du Chateau overlooking the Baie des Anges and harbour offers a spectacular vantage point overlooking the city. Not much is left of its ruined castle besides crumbling walls. Still, climbing up the stairs to reach the platforms 90 metres above Nice is well worth the view. There is also an asenceur (lift) which will take you three quarters of the way up. Be aware that the castle "park" closes at around sunset. Expect to be escorted outside if you stay longer.

Nice is also known for several museums, entry to most of which (as of July 2008) is free. Some of the most famous are in Cimiez, the older, upper part of the city which in a previous century was a favourite of Queen Victoria, including:

  • Musee Chagall — Includes stained glass windows by the artist. Fee is €8.50.
  • Musee Matisse
  • Musee et Site Archeologiques de Cimiez — The ruins of the Gallo-Roman settlement in Cimiez, plus a museum with nice documentation on Gallo-Roman life (but mostly not in English).

The old town (Vieux Nice) beneath the hill is a maze of streets and alleys, with many picturesque houses, boutiques and home to the daily flower and fruit market of the Cours Saleya.

Near the central bus terminal, there is also the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMAC) with four connected towers featuring modern and contemporary artists and their sculptures, paintings, and conceptual installations. Its open-air roof terraces offer one of the best panoramas of the city.

To the west, there is the Musee des Beaux-Arts housing an excellent collection of pastels and other works by Jules Cheret, among other artists.

Cliff Walk — If you go past the old port (probably 15 minute walk) heading east toward Monaco, there is a little pathway that leads from Coco Beach along the side of the cliff, the "Sentier Littoral" which you can follow around Cap de Nice half way to Villefranche, but be prepared for several thousand steps up to rejoin the road. It’s a very beautiful walk and you will find mostly local people using it.



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. Besides towels or mats, you should definitely bring sandals as walking on the stones can be painful, and a cushion, if you want to sit. Showers are provided (for free) on all public beaches and there is a beach volleyball area that is netted off with white sand.

Although the beaches are mainly pebbles it is important to note that many visitors enjoy the beautiful light blue sea for a swim. If you can bear to walk for few steps on the pebbles it is definitely an opportunity for swimming rather than playing in the water as the beach drops quickly and the tidal pull can be very strong, and not for beginners. Lying on the beach for a sun tan or relaxation is also manageable as long as you rearrange the rocks/pebbles to a comfy surface for sitting and lying. Private beaches offer various services from restaurants/bars to the rental of lounge chairs and towels.

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

Beautiful Landscapes

For views of Nice the best vantage point is the heights of Mont Boron. From the derelict old Fort and the nearby villa of Sir Elton John there are fine views over the city to the mountains and east over Villefranche and Cap Ferat.

Go to Eze. 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 with a spectacular view (a must see, 5 € entrance fee). There is also a perfume factory which you can visit for free.

Also close by is the magnificent Villa ile de France, of the Baroness Ephrussi de Rothschild, straddling the magnificent peninsula of St Jean Cap Ferrat in the so-called Golden Triangle of Villefranche, Beaulieu and Cap Ferrat.

Hiking trails emanate from La Turbie high above Monaco and the Grande Corniche, which are double the height above sea level of Eze and offer the hardened walker truly spectacular vantage points over the Riviera.

  • Nice Cycle Tours [8] — Discover Nice by bike. A guided bicycle tour which covers Nice's architectural, historical and cultural landmarks with the best places to eat and drink thrown in. Each tour lasts approximately 3 hours. Bicycle, cycle helmet and a free coffee included.


There are many schools offering courses in French. Perhaps the most reputable are Alliance Française [9] and EF.


Generally the Riviera is a place people come to spend money rather than earn it. Unemployment levels are high, casual work hard to come by, and as everywhere, service industry jobs tend to go to those with low wage expectations.

Sophia Antipolis is a huge office/science/tech park 20 minutes outside of Nice, which is the base for many French and multinational companies.

For those with the right qualifications and experience the luxury superyachts of Antibes International Yacht Club have spawned a major industry in crew and boat services which attracts many young English speakers. Connections are equally important as the boats often post signs to deter casual enquiries - "no day-workers required"

Financial service companies abound in Monaco which is readily commutable from Nice.

If you are seeking a career aboard one of the many superyachts in Nice a good place to register and start looking is Crew Central [10]


Most stores and restaurants in Nice will accept the major credit cards, as well as debit cards from major banks (anything carrying the EC or MAESTRO labels). If this fails you can always get money from any of the numerous ATM machines.

Postcards (as many other things) vary greatly in price. Do some comparison shopping as the price range is between 20 cents and €1 normal postcard. Typically they will set you back 25 cents each (correct at June-2009).

Nice's main shopping street av Jean Medecin is home to two giant music/entertainment stores, Virgin Megastore and the French FNAC. FNAC definitely has the edge as their many listening stations allow you to 'try before you buy' almost every CD in the house, whilst Virgin push only a few promotional selections. Both run near identical pricing policy on new albums. FNAC is closer to HMV, offering most forms of entertainment including books, games, CDs, DVDs and much more - the 4 floor store on Av. Jean Medecin is well worth an explore!

Designer label garments are as everywhere notoriously expensive but general fashion goods are really cheap compared to most other European countries, and Galleries Lafayette offers a lot under one roof. If that's not enough for you, they also have a huge superstore at Cap 3000 just next to St Laurent de Var past the airport (Lignes d Azur 52 and TAM bus 200, 400 and 500, stop La Passerelle). This is also home to Galleries Lafayette Gourmand, a food superstore to rival Londons Harrods and Selfridges. The wine selection is brilliant, especially aisles full of Rose de Provence, and there are a half dozen in-store lunch-time places.

Cheap bargain fashions are best sought at Ventimiglia's huge open street market each Friday, accessible by train from Nice Gare Ville to Ventimiglia a few kilometres over the Italian border. Just avoid the tempting fake luxury brands sold by the many street sellers. The war against counterfeiting is taken very seriously by the French border police and big fines are targeted at "innocent" tourists.

The central Nice Etoiles is available for anyone pining for a visit to a shopping mall, including three floors of an old British brand not seen for twenty years that is still big in France - C&A. More nostalgia can also be found in av Jean Medecins' "Damart" - yes, the people that gave you "thermoclactic underwear" to keep you warm in Winter are also big here. About as sensible as the local "Bronzage" tanning parlours.

A cautionary note: The "duty free" shops at Nice airport terminals are the absolute worst value you will ever find and should be avoided at all costs: prices are way over those of even the high street. Food, drink and cigarettes dreadfully overpriced, and there are no bargains "before you fly". If you haven't yet kicked the habit, cigarettes in particular are best bought in Italy over the border, where taxes on smoking have not reached health promoting punitive levels.


A food called "Socca", a chickpea flat bread, is a local specialty (though not universally enjoyed), as is a tuna fish sandwich called "Pan Bagnat." Other specialties include Soupe de Poisson (Fish Soup, made with chili aioli, croutons, and grated cheese), Salade Nicoise (made with tuna), and Tourtes aux Blettes (sweet tartes made with Savoy cabbage, raisins, nuts, and powdered sugar).

Check out the daily market in the Vieux Nice for fresh, local produce. You can save a lot of money if you are willing to cook at least some of your meals yourself and if you also eat leftovers, cooking can actually save you time as well since eating at a restaurant will easily cost you one to two hours per meal. There are several decent size 'supermarches' around the city as well as numerous boucheries, boulangeries and fruit and veg shops which are often competetive on price and superior on quality.


Cheap & cheerful food in Nice is hard to come by if you don't take your time to look for it, though a baguette with different fillings range from €4-6, which is very reasonable by Nice standards.

The best deals in the centre can be found in the port area.

Old Nice and all along the sea front the prices cannot be described as budget.

However, lunch-time set menus are certainly good value, if not 'cheap' per se. €10-12 should get you two courses, often with coffee and wine, and like much of continental Europe lunches can drift happily into the afternoon.

  • Lou Pilha Leva, place Centrale, Old Nice. Local dishes including the best tasting Socca, which only costs €2.50. Locals (and the lots of French tourists) seem to love this place and it is often quite busy. Order your food at the counter and take it with you to sit at the benches outside. Try Daube pasta/polenta and soupe au pistou, and socca. Very nice atmosphere and very decent price. For example, big plate of daube pasta costs €7 as well as chicken and fries and a side salad. Worth a try, even though the baked food can be somewhat soaked in oil. Avoid red wine at this place, though, as they serve it chilled rather than warm.
  • Casa Mia, Rue Pontin, Old Nice. Does amazing Italian in a very homely environment. The menus around €20-25 offer excellent value for the service and quality.
  • Domaine de Lintillac, 37 Rue d'Angleterre, +33-4-93885075. Specializes in duck. Main dishes are an excellent value at a little under €10.
  • le Delhi Belhi, 22 Rue de la Barillerie, +33-4-93925187 (fax: +33-4-93925187), [11]. 7:00PM to 11:30PM daily. Delhi Belhi is an award winning family owned and operated restaurant specializing in Indian cuisine. Open daily for dinner, a-la-carte or prix-fixe menu. Great curries and tandoori specialties. Delhi Belhi is the only Indian restaurant on the enitre french riviera that has been included in the prestigeous Gault-Millau guides since 2005. Fluent English also spoken here. Behind the popular cours Saleya flower market. This is a very popular restaurant so reservations are highly recommended (at least a few hours ahead). €15 to 20 per person (alcoholic drinks and wine are extra).  edit
  • Le Shalimar, 11 Rue Biscarra, +33-4-93139578. Has tasty Indian food. The lunch menus are a good deal.
  • L'Occitanie, 54, bd Gambetta, +33-44-9382114111. In the Musician's Quarter, about 5 blocks from the Promenade des Anglais. A delightful, authentic brasserie/bistrot with delicious food. Reasonable prices, €15-30 per person. Gambetta is a main North/South Street. The area is quiet at night, and safe.
  • Restaurant du Gésu, 1, Place Jésus, +33-4-93-62-26-46‎. In the heart of Vieux Nice, this is a friendly, vibrant, old-fashioned restaurant with as much Italian influence as Provencale. The beignets, and daube with gnocchi are particularly good. €15-€30.
  • les hussards bleus, 68, Rue de France, at the corner of Rue St.Philippe, behind Neptune plage.
    Guided by two brothers, originally from Paris. Guests: locals, lots of inside information, less traffic after 7PM.
    Fish, meat, pizza, tagliatelle, omelettes, delicious salads
  • Brasserie Flo, 2-4 Rue Sacha Guitry (behind Galeries Lafayette, a block from Jean Medecin), 33 (0)4 93 13 38 38, [12]. Not in the "tourist area", but nearby. Part of a chain that has ten or so brasseries all over France. This location was originally a theatre and the kitchen is on the stage behind a glass. Beautiful decor and professional, courteous staff. €15-25. Fixed price menus are varied and reasonable.
  • Le Safari, 1, cours Saleya, +33 4 93 80 18 44, (Fax: +33 4 93 62 62 14), [13]. Long established in the old quarter, now caters more for tourists than the locals. This reflects in the price and language spoken by those dining next to you. Overpriced compared to other local similar establishments. For a 3 course meal with wine, expect to pay more than €60/head.
  • Oliviera, 8 Bis rue du Collet, +33-4-93130645, [14]. Focus is on olive oil. Tasting of different particular oil types offered while you wait for the dishes. All dishes matched to the oil. Simple, sincere, good cuisine. Friendly service in a nice simple setting. Enjoyable experience. €15-20.
  • L'Univers, [15]. Signature chef Christian Plumail's own restaurant in Boulevard Jean Jaures, very serious gourmet French. Expect to pay €100 per person. A rival to Nice's most expensive restaurant Chantecler in the Negresco.


With the hot Niçois summers, carrying a bottle of water is almost a must. Bear in mind the largest single complaint to the municipal authority tourist department is the offering in restaurants of branded water bottles whose seal has been broken - ie refilled with tap water - and charged as Perrier or Evian.

You can save a lot of money by buying alcoholic drinks and such in a normal supermarket instead of the vendors geared towards tourists. Carrefour has a huge selection and unlike the other supermarkets has a policy of buying in wine show "prize winners" distinguished by their gold, silver or bronze medal stickers.

Some popular places to go out for a drink include:

  • Ma Nolan's [16] — Right in the heart of the 'Old Town' and next to the opera, Ma Nolan's has everything you would expect from an Irish pub and more. Live music every night, major sporting events on four screens, really good food and very friendly staff. This place is a must.
  • Mc Mahon's [17] — Cool Irish Pub with pool table and fun theme nights. Just by the Tram stop 'Vieux Nice'.
  • Thor Pub [18] — Big Scandinavian/Irish Pub with live music every night. On two floors with a large terrace this place is expensive but chill. Many of the larger hotels (such as the Holiday Inn) have 2-for-1 drink coupons which can be easily obtained even if you are not a guest.
  • Blue Whales — Stays open until the wee hours of the morning.
  • Wayne's [19] — An old school bar with live music and theme nights, a bit coyote ugly meets cheers. When the place is crowded, people dance on the tables. It's somewhat expensive to drink here (but Wayne's isn't alone with this characteristic), but definitely one of the most fun/party places in Nice. English-speaking tourists also seem to gravitate to this bar, but you'll also meet lots of French people or locals here.
  • Checkpoint — A cozy bar on the ground level, and a great dance floor underground.
  • Le Marches — Lounge style bar on two floors with cocktails and tapas.
  • Master Home — A pub by Wayne's and King's Pub. More "French" than Wayne's and King's pubs and a little more classy. When you order alcoholic drinks, they bring you two or three dishes of nibbles. Even though the price is a little more expensive than the "English" pubs next door, it's still worth a visit and a fraction cheaper that the touristy bars/pubs. Try the rose (€3.20), the cheapest on the menu but delicious!

Wine in restaurants is often ferociously expensive, do as the locals and order it by the "pichet" - usually a 50 centilitre jug. If however you fancy quality appellation French wine to drink back at base, Les Caves Caprioglio at 16 Rue de la Prefecture in Vieux Nice has a fabulous cellar of the wines you usually only read about in the fine wines books but rarely see. To see French wine making, the Chateau's Bellet and Cremat in the Var are nearest to Nice and will do tours by arrangement. (Reachable via the tiny narrow-guage train from the Chemin de Fer de Provence).


There are a number of hotels within walking distance of terminal 1 of the Airport and a special hotel shuttle bus serves other hotels within Nice itself. Be aware that the hotels near the airport are a long way away from Nice center (7km) and it will take a bus journey or taxi to reach the centre. A wide range of modern and traditional French hotels is available in the town, though few in the old quarter itself, which is mainly apartments.


It would seem that the simplest solution is to stay at a youth hostel. There are quite a number in Nice :

  • Mont-Boron, Route Forestière du Mont-Alban, [20]. Situated 4 kms from Nice in a forest.
  • Les Camélias, 3, rue Spitalieri. Situated near the shopping center Nice Etoile, in the heart of the city center.
  • Villa Saint Exupery, 22, Avenue Gravier, [21]. An amazing hostel with a great party vibe, includes free internet and free breakfast. Situated a short way to the north of the town centre in a former monastery. You can easily catch a bus there from Nice Ville train station (1, 2 or 23), the staff are very helpful, knowledgeable and will even pick you up free if you arrive late.
  • Backpacker's Hostel Chez Patrick, 32, Rue Pertinax, [22]. A clean, cheap hostel with dorm rooms and a shared kitchen. The host is very kind and helpful and you're just a few minutes from the Nice train station (Gare SNCF) and a few meters away from the next tram station.
  • PV-Holidays Résidence Maeva Nice Les Palmiers [23] +33 1 58 21 55 84, A recently renovated three-floor residence, located in a private garden in the heart of the Fabron district. Only 500m from the shops, 800m from the beach, 4km from the old port of Nice and just 6.5km from the airport.


Being a heavily touristed city, it's easy to find a number of small hotels which are perfectly acceptable, and usually at a decent rate.

  • Hotel Anis, 50, Avenue de la Lanterne, +33 (0) (, fax: +33 (0), [24]. Hotel 2* located in the centre of Nice  edit
  • La Résidence.
  • Le Vendôme [25].
  • Le Mas des Selves, +(33) 04 93291027. Beautiful Bed and Breakfast.
  • Twilightblue hotels in Nice [26].
  • Citadines Nice Promenade.
  • Citadines Nice Buffa, Well appointed and plenty of room but, be prepared for a bit of a walk to most attractions and the city centre. Several supermarkets close by and several bus routes pass right outside (if you can decipher the timetables!).
  • Hotel Canada, Two star. Quaint would be too nice to describe this place. Is not the best. But it is in the middle of Nice, good friendly staff too. Circa 55/65 euro a night for single/double.


Holiday palaces are numerous in Nice, there are 14 four-star hotels. The following is just a sample of the four-star offerings in Nice:

  • Negresco [27].
  • La Perouse.
  • Sheraton Four Points Elysée Palace.
  • Sofitel [28].
  • Beau Rivage.
  • Palais de la Mediterranee [29].
  • Westminster [30].

Holiday rentals

There are many holiday rentals in Nice, from a low budget to very expensive. Most of the apartments are in the town centre, others are located on the hills (a car will be required for such a rental) :

  • Luxury two bedroom apartment in the centre of Nice(sleeps up to 6)[31]

Stay in the heart of all Nice has to offer in this wonderful apartment no more than a short walk from all Nice's best attractions.

  • Holiday rental studio : Le Michaela, [32]. A quality holiday rental with affordable rates (from 200 € per week), near Nice old harbour. The host speaks a fluent English which makes the stay much easier !
  • a 3 bedroom holiday apartment for up to 6 to rent on the Promenade des Anglais in the centre of Nice, France[33]

Stay on the world famous Promenade des Anglais, sit on your own terrace and watch the world go by.

Stay safe

Nice is no more dangerous than other cities in western countries - indeed in many cases it's a lot safer - however, you can stay more safe still following a few pieces of advice:

  • Take precautions against pickpockets, who are a constant and serious problem on the Cote d'Azur. They operate usually in teams in any crowded areas like buses, train stations, and tourist sites. They may well look harmless fellow passengers but are extremely skilled and will lift your wallet from either your front or back pants pocket without your noticing. You are strongly advised not to carry anything valuable or annoying to replace in your pockets. Use pouches underneath your clothing for anything valuable, including cash. In restaurants and cafes opportunist theft of handbags is a constant risk - keep them close at hand.
  • Beware of gangs that prey on the beaches: stealing unattended bathers belongings is routine and common. Avoid taking anything valuable or important to the beach if you will be swimming without anyone to look after your belongings.
  • The vol à la portière, the practice of opening the door of a car stopped at a traffic light and stealing the passengers' goods, has decreased over the last few years, but a few are still reported every year. To avoid it, keep your car doors locked and make sure that purses, cameras or other expensive items cannot be seen from the outside. Note that cars registered outside the Alpes-Maritimes (with a number plate ending with something other than '06') are more at risk. A more sinister development recently has been gangs targeting mobile homes at night whilst their occupants are sleeping.
  • Rental Car keys should be given special protection. A number of car rental companies will bill you for the entire cost of your rental car if it is stolen by your losing the keys to theft. Victims of apartment burglary where car keys are taken have reported receiving demands for 15,000 - 25,000 euros to replace the car.
  • Areas to avoid are Les Moulins and l'Ariane, which are high-rise suburban social housing estates(HLM) with high crime records, in addition to lacking anything of interest to tourists. The streets around the railway station are also not recommended in the small hours of the morning. The rough-sleeping alcoholics that gather here are generally harmless but there are sometimes more sinister people according to local press reports.

If you do fall foul of Nice's criminal practitioners, the National Police Station is where you need to go to report problems such as being pickpocketed. It's at the junction of Ave Marechal Foch and Dubouchage, a couple of hundred metres east of the Nice Etoiles shopping centre. They will supply you with the necessary statements to support insurance claims, but don't expect Inspector Clouseau to solve your case. You will find the station very busy with other victims towards the end of the evening.


Its not really a personal threat but Nice is attracting organised gangs of street beggars. You will see teams of women positioned at intervals on the main streets, often with a very young child in arms and possibly a "cute" pet. Be aware that there is an element of organized crime involved with some begging schemes. Also fairly recent arrivals are numbers of amputees, the disfigured and other of life's unfortunates brought in from other countries by the gangs. Also ordinary Frenchmen for no apparent reason will also sit in a doorway with a paper cup out to appeal for loose change. The local longstanding beggars are part of street-life and as professionals, will often be accompanied by pets like cats, dogs and even rabbits. If you are so minded there are plenty of opportunities to give a little help to the less fortunate.


Religious services

Holy mass in Catholic churches in vicinity to the Convention center Acropolis (Palais des Congrès et des Expositions) [34]:

  • Notre-Dame Auxiliatrice, 36, Place Don Bosco. Sa 6:30PM, Su 8:30AM and 10AM, M-F 4:15PM and 6:30PM.
  • St. Joseph, 21, Rue Smolett. Sa 6:30PM, Su 9AM, Th 6PM.
  • Saint Jean-Baptiste, Place du Voeu/Rue Alfrede Mortier. Sa 6PM, Su 11AM, M-W 6:45PM, Th-F 8:30AM.
  • St. Martin-St. Augustin, Place Saint-Augustin. Sa 4PM and 5:30PM, Su 9:30AM and 11:00, Tu-F 4PM.

Some other Catholic churches in downtown Nice:

  • Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate, Place Rossetti. Sa 6:30PM, Su 10AM and noon, M-F 10AM.
  • Notre Dame du Port, 8, Place Ile de Beaute. Sun 10AM, M-F 6PM.
  • Basilique Notre Dame, 2, Rue d’Italie. Sa 11AM and 5:40PM, Su 8:30AM, 10AM, 11:15AM, 6PM, M-F 11AM, 6PM.

Protestant churches

  • Reformed temple, 21, blvd Victor Hugo. Su 10:15AM.
  • Lutheran church, 4, Rue Melchior de Vogüé. Su 10:30AM.
  • Baptist church, 32 rue de l'hôtel des postes. Su 10:30AM.
  • Evangelical church, 51bis, avenue de Pessicart. Su 10AM.
  • Anglican church Holy Trinity, 11, rue de la Buffa. Su 11AM, M&Th 12:15AM, Tu 6:15PM, W&F 10:30AM, Sa 9AM.

Orthodox churches

  • Greek orthodox church Saint Spyridon, 2, Avenue Desambrois. Su 10:30AM, M-Sa 10:15AM.
  • Russian orthodox cathedral Saint Nicolas, Avenue Nicolas II. Su-Sa 10AM.
  • Apostolic Armenian church, 281 Boulevard de la Madeleine. Su 10AM.


  • (Sunni) Mosque in Rue de Suisse (in the city center, near the cathedral - open at prayer times only)

Get out

By train

If you're getting out of Nice towards Paris, consider taking the TGV (approx €100, 6 hours). Cruising at 300 km/h is quite fun (but the train only reaches high speed beyond Marseille) and the train has a nice route with plenty of views of the coast. Be sure to ask for a seat on the left-hand side of the train when going west from Nice. Search online in advance to find dramatically reduced advance-purchase fares for which you can print out tickets yourself. These fares change on an hourly basis so check back often.

Some nice places just to the west of Nice include Haute de Cagnes, Antibes, Cannes and Saint-Tropez. East of Nice the trains stops at Villefranche, Monaco and Menton, and San Remo in Italy is also just a little over one hour away. To the North of Nice in the interior of Provence, Vence and St Paul are worth a visit for their hilltop old towns and boules pitches.

Villefranche is two stops east of the main station in Nice and is a rather nice village with a small beach (and it is much less rocky than in Nice). The village is quieter and more relaxed than Nice. A train ticket from the main station in Nice is just €1.40 each way.

By bus

There are express coaches from Nice Airport to most places between Marseille, Aix-en-Provence and Genoa. These are run by the Lignes Express Regionaux (LER), whose offices are next door to the main local bus station (Gare Routiere).

Eze can be reached using line 82 or 112 from the Gare Routiere (bus terminal) in Nice. (Note that the train station is in Eze-sur-Mer, which is a considerable walk from the village of Eze. There is an infrequent bus service connecting the village of Eze and Eze-sur-Mer.)


There are a number of helicopter services available with regular flights to St Tropez, Cannes and Monaco. The price is quite competitive, at only three times the taxi fare, and the views are stunning.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has articles on:


See also nice





Proper noun

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  1. A city in southeast France on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, capital of the department of Alpes-Maritimes.
  2. Nice (pronounced /ni:s/ or /naɪs/) is also a family name found in the United Kingdom, U.S.A., and other western countries.



  • Anagrams of cein
  • cien


Proper noun


  1. Nice

Derived terms


Simple English

Coordinates: 43°42′10″N, 7°16′09″E

Ville de Nice
File:Harbour of Nice (FR-06000).jpg
View of the city and the port of Nice
Time zone CET (GMT +1)
Coordinates 43°42′10″N, 7°16′09″E
Region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Intercommunality Community of Agglomeration Nice Côte d'Azur
Mayor Christian Estrosi (UMP)
(since 2008)
Land area1 71.92 km2 (27.77 sq mi)
Population2 347,100  
 - Ranking 5th in France
 - Density 4,826 /km2 (12,500 /sq mi)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Nice is a city in southern France that can be found on the Mediterranean coast. It is a commune in the French department of Alpes-Maritimes. It has over 1,100,000 people living in the city as of the year 2007. It has many beaches.


Old Nice

There is a part of Nice, the "Old Nice" (in french : le Vieux Nice), where we can find several things, as Fenocchio (a popular ice-cream maker). This is a popular place, where people like going to.

Twin Cities

Other websites


  1. The original city motto was Nicæa civitas fidelissima, i.e. "Nice the very loyal city" (loyal to the House of Savoy), but the motto was shortened in 1860 when Nice became French.

Template:Préfectures of départements of France

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