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Nizza, Bild: Oleg_P / shutterstock

Nice – the most beautiful destination on the Côte d’Azur

A perfect blend of laid-back seaside resort and cosmopolitan port city, Nice is the ideal base for a stay on the French Riviera. Rich in culture, with a mild Mediterranean climate, a lively old town and a picturesque waterfront, the city has been a popular tourist destination since the 18th century.

Nice has long been an inspiration for many artists, including Matisse and Chagall, and numerous museums and exhibitions bear witness to their work. Although the city was founded as early as the 4th century BC, Nice has a surprisingly modern feel with an infrastructure that is continuously improving.

A city with an eventful history

Pedestrian zone in Nice
Image: xbrchx / shutterstock

Nice was founded around 350 BC by Greek sailors who settled in Marseille and named the city Nicaia. In 154 BC, the Greeks were followed by the Romans, who settled in the area around today’s Cimiez, where there are still Roman ruins. In the 10th century, Nice was ruled by the Counts of Provence , but in 1388 it turned to Amadeus VII of the House of Savoy. In 18. and In the 19th century, Nice was occupied by the French several times, but it was not until 1860 that it finally became part of France, when Napoleon III signed the Treaty of Turin with the House of Savoy. During the Victorian period, the English aristocracy and European royalty enjoyed Nice’s mild winter climate.

The relatively young status as a French city, combined with the long-standing tradition of international visitors, gives Nice an Italian flair and an open, welcoming attitude towards visitors. Today, it is the second most visited city in France after Paris.

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Excellent climatic conditions

View of Nice
View of Nice, Image: LiliGraphie / shutterstock

Nice is a popular visitor magnet worldwide. Shopping and nightlife, attractions and sights, the beaches and the fantastic location on the French Riviera near Cannes and Monaco, contribute to the fantastic reputation of the city. The excellent climatic conditions make Nice a year-round destination. In fact, the pleasant Mediterranean climate is characterized by mild winter temperatures, hot and sunny summer days and little but constant rainfall in autumn. Spring in Nice is ideal for sightseeing, as the water temperature is quite low until May, which makes swimming rather unsuitable.

Nice – glamorous seaside resort and cultural capital on the Mediterranean

Tourism has a long history in Nice and is one of the most important economic activities in the city. In addition to the beaches and marina, the number of visitors is boosted by Nice’s cultural institutions, shops and architectural heritage. Art Deco and Belle Époque style is particularly represented here. In addition, numerous events and festivals are organized every year, in particular the Nice Carnival of 1873.

Fountains in Nice
Image: Boris Stroujko / shutterstock

The partially underground coastal river Paillon separates the new town in the west from the old town, the port and the industrial area in the east. The old town, with its narrow, winding streets, is located at the western foot of a granite hill known as Le Château. However, the castle that once crowned it was destroyed in 1706. The port, which was begun in 1750 and expanded after 1870, is now mainly used for ferry connections to Corsica and by sailing boats. The most striking part of the new town is the famous Promenade des Anglais, which was created in 1822 as a riverside path of the English colony.

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The Musée Jules Chéret des Beaux-Arts and the Musée Masséna have collections of early Italian painting and works by artists of the 19th century and the present. A monument was erected to the painter Marc Chagall to house a collection of biblical paintings donated by the artist in 1966. About two kilometers northeast of the city center is the ancient episcopal city of Cimiez, home to the majestic ruins of a Roman amphitheater. Nearby is a 17th-century villa that houses an archaeological museum and a collection of more than 40 paintings and drawings by the French painter Henri Matisse.

Culinary sophistication in Nice

Nice offers all the gastronomic delights of French cuisine, but is characterized by a few special features. The gastronomy typical of the Côte d’Azur has a Mediterranean influence in the use of seafood, fish, vegetables and fruit. Another notable feature of Nice’s regional cuisine is the liberal use of a variety of herbs, such as bay leaves, basil, thyme, oregano, and, in moderation, garlic. Olive oil is a ubiquitous ingredient, and that’s exactly what distinguishes the cuisine of the Cote d’Azur from all other French gastronomic traditions. The prestige and scale of the use of olive oil is due to the fact that this region is one of the most important suppliers of olive oil in France.