Nice, France

Nice is a commune in the south-east of France, prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes department and second city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region behind Marseille. Located about thirty kilometers from the Franco-Italian border, it is established on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, along the Baie des Anges and at the mouth of the Paillon.

According to the 2017 census, with 340,017 inhabitants, it is the fifth largest municipality in France in terms of population (after Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Toulouse). It is located in the heart of the sixth largest agglomeration in France with 942,886 inhabitants and the seventh attraction area in France, with approximately 600,000 inhabitants. The city is the center of a metropolis, Nice Côte d'Azur, which brings together forty-nine municipalities and approximately 540,000 inhabitants.

Located between sea and mountains, economic and cultural capital of the Côte d'Azur, Nice benefits from significant natural assets. Tourism, commerce and administrations (public or private) occupy an important place in the activity of the city. It has the second largest hotel capacity in the country, which allows it to welcome around 4 million tourists each year. It also has the third airport in France (the first in the provinces) and two convention centers devoted to business tourism.

The city has a university, several business districts, many museums (it is even the city that has the most in France, after Paris), a national theater, an opera, a regional library, a regional conservatory and concert halls.

Capital of the Viguerie of Nice, it was once part of ancient Liguria between the Var and Magra rivers, of the Roman Regio IX Liguria, of the Kingdom of Italy (Holy Roman Empire) between the ninth and the eleventh century , of the Ligurian League and of the Republic of Genoa, before choosing in 1388 the protection of the County of Savoy following the war of the Union of Aix (dedition of Nice to Savoy). In 1526 it became the capital of the County of Nice. In 1720, following the Peace of The Hague, Savoy ceded Sicily (which it had acquired in 1713 by the Treaties of Utrecht) and received Sardinia giving birth to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia. This new group thus forms one of the pre-unitary Italian states, the capital of which is set at Turin. Nice became French in 1860, after a plebiscite.



As a result of its checkered past, the city of Nice has created a rich architectural heritage. Due to the concentration of building activity on urban expansion in the Second Empire, the old town center remained essentially intact. Many villas, palaces and baroque churches were built in Savoyard times and have been preserved. A special feature is the arching of the river Paillon, which was carried out in several historical stages from 1868. It made it possible to create important green spaces in what is now the central area of the city, and part of the space thus gained also served as a site for large public buildings. The Belle Époque before 1914 also left clear traces in Nice.

Nice has many museums dedicated to art, history or local traditions. The diversity of the different museums strengthens Nice's reputation as an art metropolis. Admission to the municipal museums was free from July 1, 2008 to 2014. This now only applies to residents of the Provence-Alpes-Cotes d'Azur region.

Art museums
The Musée des Beaux-Arts on Avenue des Baumettes features collections from the late 16th century to the mid-20th century. It was opened in 1878 and mainly houses paintings by French artists, including Jules Chéret, who died in Nice. Styles on display are Mannerism (Bronzino), Rococo (van Loo, Fragonard), Impressionism (Sisley, Monet), Post-Impressionism (Vuillard, Bonnard) and Fauvism (van Dongen, Dufy).

Housed in a 17th-century Genoese residence on Mount Cimiez, the Musée Matisse houses the private collection of Henri Matisse, who lived here for most of his life from 1917 until his death in 1954. It opened in 1963 and since then has housed a permanent collection of 218 prints, 57 sculptures, 68 paintings, 95 photographs, 236 drawings, 14 illustrated books and 187 objects that were Matisse's property such as serigraphs, tapestries, ceramics, stained glass windows and documents.

The Musée Message Biblique Marc Chagall in Cimiez houses a collection of 17 works by Marc Chagall that was created during the artist's lifetime. It deals with biblical themes and shows Genesis, Exodus and the Song of Songs. It was inaugurated in 1973.

Opened in 1990, the Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain (MAMAC) brings together works by New Realists (Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Niki de Saint Phalle, César, Arman, Martial Raysse), pop art -artists (Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselmann, Robert Indiana, Jim Dine) and representatives of American abstraction (Frank Stella, Sol LeWitt). The museum is also often used for temporary exhibitions.

The Musée des Arts Asiatiques, a modern building by the architect Kenzō Tange, is located in the L'Arenas business district on the Promenade des Anglais, opposite the airport. It has collections of Buddhist art and exhibitions of Asian art. His approach is historical, artistic and ethnological.

The Musée international d'art naïf Anatole Jakovsky with works of naïve painting and art brut from the 18th to the 20th century was inaugurated in 1982. The collection comes from the foundation of Anatole and Renée Jakovsky.

History Museums
The Musée de Paléontologie Humaine de Terra Amata houses the artifacts, some 400,000 years old, which are among the oldest known dwellings in Western Europe and were found during excavation works above the old port in 1965.

The Musée Archéologique de Cimiez displays the finds of the archaeological excavations in the Roman settlement of Cimiez.

The Musée de la Résistance azuréenne is dedicated to the resistance of the Alpes-Maritimes department to German occupation during World War II.

The Musée Masséna shows the varied history of Nice.

Other museums
The Musée d'Histoire Naturelle de Nice, which opened in 1846, is the oldest museum in the city. It features nineteenth-century collections brought together by local naturalists. Among other things, birds, shells, minerals, fossils and flowering plants and mushrooms from Nice are shown.

The Musée Prieuré du Vieux-Logis (Musée des Arts et Mobilier de la fin du Moyen-Age) houses a collection of Gothic and Renaissance furniture and objects of religious art.

cultural institutions
Orchester Philharmonique de Nice
The Orchester Philharmonique de Nice (Nice Philharmonic Orchestra) is the orchestra of the city of Nice and is considered one of the leading opera and symphony orchestras in France. It was officially founded in 1945 as L'Orchestre Symphonique Municipal de la Ville de Nice (Nice City Symphony Orchestra).

Center Cinematographique
Alongside the Philharmonic Orchestra, the Center Cinématographique in Nice is one of the city's most important cultural institutions. The aim of the film center is to build a bridge between theoretical training at universities and the demands of everyday production. In addition, it manages a stock of audiovisual media on historical topics, political education, business, art and culture.

Le théâtre niçois de Francis Gag
Founded in 1936 by dramaturge Francis Gag, the Théâtre niçois performs works in the local language Nissart and French.

There are numerous baroque buildings in the well-preserved old town. Churches include the 17th-century Sainte-Réparate Cathedral, although the facade dates from 1825, the Church of the Annunciation (Sainte-Rita), the Église du Gésu, the Church of Saint-Martin-Saint-Augustin, the Shroud Church of St -Suaire or the Église la Miséricorde.

Furthermore, secular buildings such as the prefecture, once the seat of the Dukes of Savoy or the Palais communal as the former town hall stand out. This was built in 1580 and expanded in the 17th century by Marc'Antonio Grigho with a monumental portal. Above the old town is the castle hill (Colline du Château) with the ruins of the citadel, which was razed in 1706.

The Place Garibaldi and the Place Masséna, both uniformly designed squares based on Turin models, form the transition to the new town. It is characterized by numerous luxury hotels, apartment buildings and villas from the Belle Époque. The most famous hotel is the Negresco. On the south side of the new town is the Promenade des Anglais, a boulevard built between 1822 and 1824.

The growth of the Russian community since the second half of the 19th century led to the construction of Orthodox churches. The first Russian church, Saint-Nicolas-et-Sainte-Alexandra, was built by architect Antoine-François Barraya from 1858, making it the first in Western Europe. In the 1860s, a memorial chapel (1867-1868) for Tsarevich Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov, who died here in 1865, and the Russian Cemetery, the oldest and second largest Russian cemetery in France, with the Saint-Nicolas Chapel (1867-1868) followed. Finally, in 1912, the architect Preobrajensky commissioned Tsar Nicholas II to create the Russian Orthodox Saint Nicolas Cathedral, the largest outside of Russia.

The excavations of the Roman city can be visited on Mount Cimiez. There is also a Franciscan monastery with paintings by Jacques Bréa and the cemetery where Henri Matisse is buried. The German Church in Nice has existed since Italian times.



Every year in February, on the occasion of the carnival, the flower parade with festively decorated floats and countless flower arrangements, which has also become well-known in the rest of Europe, takes place on Nice's prestigious street, the Promenade des Anglais.


How to get here

By plane
Nice-Côte d'Azur Airport (on the western edge of the city) – Nice Airport is the 2nd French airport in terms of traffic. It is composed of two terminals connected by a free shuttle.

The low-cost airline Easyjet has recently become the leading operator in terms of the number of French and European destinations. It is ahead of Air France which mainly serves French destinations. A significant number of other companies connect it to many destinations in France and Europe, regular flights also exist to other countries (Maghreb, United States).

You can rent a car at the airport or use the shuttles to get to Nice (every 16 minutes, ticket price: € 6) or in most other cities in the department (preferably buy your ticket at the counter near the terminal in front of the platforms before the arrival of the bus because the driver could refuse in case of delay). An economical alternative is to take the bus n ° 23 which stops on the main road passing 100 m in front of Terminal 1 (Airport / Promenade bus stop). This bus will take you 500 m west of the central station (Thiers / Gambetta stop) for the price of an ordinary ticket (€ 1.5). If you are arriving from Nice, go down the stairs and go under the road to reach the airport.

By train
Nice-Ville railway station
Nice-Ville train station (Thiers station) (in the city center. 250 m from the tram line– - The main train station of Nice. It has two lines, the first and most important one runs along the coast and welcomes regional and TGV trains. The trains are particularly crowded there during peak hours. There are also two other minor stations on this line: Nice Saint-Augustin Logo station indicating a wikipedia link to the west and Nice-Riquier Logo station indicating a wikipedia link to the east. The other line leads to Breil-sur-Roya in the hinterland.

Access to the platforms is only possible by validating your ticket at the entrance gates. Allow a few minutes of margin because the validation of a QR code on the phone can be capricious. A yellow call terminal to the right of the gates allows you to contact the staff in case of problems.
TGV trains connect Nice to Marseille (2:40 a.m.), Lyon (4:30 a.m.), Paris (5:30 a.m.), as well as other European cities. They are managed by the national company SNCF, which offers classic "inOui" services and low-cost "Ouigo" services.
To the east, we can go to Monaco and Menton. By changing in Ventimiglia in Italy for a Trenitalia train, it is possible to travel to the Italian cities of Genoa and Milan.

Railways of Provence
Provence railway station (700 m north of Nice-Ville station) - This station is the starting point of the line from Nice to Digne. The latter passes through the Var plain and joins Digne-les-Bains in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.

By boat
Port of Nice (Port Lympia)

Two companies serve Corsica from Nice. These two companies operate fast ships allowing a crossing in about three hours :

Corsica Ferries

By coach
Nice bus station 14 avenue des diables bleus - There are regional connections to Gap, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Avignon and Toulon by the regional service LER. Nice is also served by regular international lines (Intercar and Eurolines companies in particular)

By car
The A8/E80 motorway extends from the Italian border to Aix-en-Provence. It passes to the north of the city and descends along the Var on its western part, before leaving parallel to the coast. Take one of the exits between the numbers 51 and 55, depending on the district where you need to go.


Local transport

By car
It is sometimes very difficult to move around Nice, especially during peak hours and parking is often paid and expensive. Note that following the implementation of the tramway, traffic has been modified in many streets.

For information, there are automatic speed cameras on the Promenade des Anglais (at the airport), on the national road 202 (at Nikaia) and in the Las Planas motorway tunnel (A8, direction France-Italy). Mobile speed camera checks are also daily: respect for speed limits is essential.

By bus
Most of the lines have a high frequency, there is a dedicated corridor that crosses the city from East to West and vice versa. The "Lignes d'Azur" network covers Nice and 23 surrounding municipalities. The single ticket costs € 1.5, the day ticket € 5. The ticket for the airport lines (98 and 99) costs € 6 and allows a one-way ticket on the airport lines and free movement for 24 hours on the other lines of the network. It should be noted that the timetables displayed at the stops are in the majority of cases the departure times from the terminus. To find out what time your bus will pass, refer to the travel times between stops listed on the time sheet.
A tram line was put into operation on November 24, 2007. This line is in correspondence with the rest of the network. On the occasion of the opening of this line, "relay car parks" have been set up: their use is free for public transport users.

For night owls, know that there are 5 night bus lines called "Noctambus". These lines operate between 21:30 and 1:10 and serve the main districts of the city, their departure is located at the J.C. Bermond station, next to the bus station. The tickets and prices are the same as those for the day. Information: Lignes d'Azur website or by phone 0800 06 01 06 (from France, cost of a local call).

In addition, please note that correspondence is possible between the Ligne d'Azur network and the TAM departmental network :

For a connection between Lignes d'Azur and TAM, you must buy an "Azur Ticket" at a Ligne d'Azur commercial agency: validate your "Azur Ticket" on the Lignes d'Azur bus and then give this ticket to the TAM bus driver who will give you a countermark.
For a TAM → Lignes d'Azur connection, you must indicate it to the driver of the TAM bus, who will give you, in addition to your TAM ticket, a magnetic ticket "Ticket Azur" which you will have to validate on the Lignes d'Azur bus.
In any case, the connecting ticket costs € 1 (€ 1.5 from May 3, 2013) and it must not take more than 2 hours 30 minutes between the time you board the first bus and the time you board the second.

On foot
Many of the interesting sites are located along Avenue Jean-Médecin (shops), around Old Nice and the port, and therefore are within walking distance. For the others, it will be better to organize by neighborhood and take public transport or bike.

By bike
Since the introduction of Blue Bicycles in 2009, cycling has become much safer vis-à-vis motorists and bike lanes and lanes have multiplied, especially in the city center. A long two-way cycle path runs along the seaside from the port to Antibes.

If you have your own bike, it will often not be long before you find a place to attach it. On the other hand, plan a solid padlock like a "U", and not a simple cable, to protect it.

Blue Bike classic bicycles: € 1.5 for a day, € 5 for the week, € 10 for the month, € 25 for the year, including 30 minutes, € 1 for the next 30 minutes, then € 2 / h. Electric bicycles: € 3 for the day or € 40 per year free for students, apprentices, -25 years and + 65 years, including 30 minutes then € 1.5 for 30 minutes. - A self-service bike service of classic and electric bicycles. The first ones must be picked up and brought back to one of the stations (in April 2022, 158 stations for about 1000 bicycles). If the rental is charged beyond 30 minutes, it is possible to make longer trips for free to bring the bike back just before this time and borrow one immediately (you can take the same one back if it works well). A prior registration on the Internet (or perhaps in an agency) is required. To pick up a classic bike at the station, you must ring a free phone number displayed on the terminal, unless you have obtained a contactless card for free at the branch (faster and more convenient). The mooring chain of classic bicycles also serves as a padlock whose code is displayed most of the time on the terminal when booking. Given the weight of the bikes, do not plan to climb the Nice hills, including those of Cimiez or Mont Boron, unless you are a great sportsman and do not worry about sweating!

By Tram
Line 1: 22 stops from Henri Sappia to the Pasteur Hospital. The line passes along Avenue Jean Médecin, from the train station to Place Masséna, the Acropolis conference center and Old Nice. The tram passes every 15 to 4 minutes from 4:25 to 01:35.
Line 2: runs on solar energy! The line goes from the Port of Lympia to the airport and the administrative center CADAM. The tram runs every 10 minutes from 4:45 to 00:35.
Line 3: connects terminal 2 of the airport to St Isidore, with a stop at the Allianz Riviera, the football stadium of Nice.La line runs from about 4:30 am to midnight.

You cannot buy a ticket on the tram. There is a vending machine at each tram stop that sells tickets either solo (€1.5), as a 10-trip card (€10), for a day (€5) or 7 days (€15). Tickets are valid for the tram or bus. You can switch from bus to tram (and vice versa) for a duration of 74 minutes but only in one direction. Payment is made in euros or by credit card. Another option is to create an account on where you can buy your tickets and subscription cards online and have them delivered to your French address. An application called "Nice Ticket" is also available on the AppStore and the PlayStore. All trams are wheelchair accessible.



Located in south-eastern France, Nice is in the direct extension of the Mercantour massif (Maritime Alps), bordered by the Var valley to the west and Mont Boron to the east. The distance to the Principality of Monaco is about ten kilometers, the distance to the Italian border is 30 kilometers.

language and population
The inhabitants of Nice are called Niçois in French and Niceer in German. In the Nizzard region, an Occitan or Provençal dialect is still spoken in part, the so-called Nissart or Niçard, standard language Niçois, which ultimately went back to a mixture of the local Ligurian dialect with the Latin of the Roman conquerors.

climate and local geography
Thanks to its sheltered location, Nice is one of the warmest places on the French Côte d'Azur, even in winter. The most pleasant travel months are May and mid-September to mid-October. In general, the temperatures in Nice are a few degrees higher than in Germany. The months of June to August can get very hot. The winters are mild, there is hardly any frost in Nice. This is why this city was a popular winter quarters for British and Russians, including the royal family, in the 19th century. Even today the large hotels and gardens as well as the orthodox church bear witness to this fact. Nice does not have a sandy beach, but a stone one. The mild Mediterranean climate favors viticulture, the wine-growing region around Nice is called Bellet.



The area of today's Nice was settled by Homo erectus 400,000 years ago. Excavation work in 1965 uncovered numerous artefacts that are now on display in the Terra Amata Museum. Neanderthals lived here between 190,000 and 130,000 years ago, and their remains were excavated in the Grotte du Lazaret.

Probably around 350 BC. BC the Phocaeans from the area around Marseille defeated the Ligurians and founded Νίκαια Níkaia (“the victorious”, after Nike, the goddess of victory). In 154 BC The Romans established themselves in the area after the Greek settlements of Nicaia and Antipolis, now Antibes, were attacked by Ligurians from the Biot and Cannes area. To secure the region, the Romans built a second settlement next to Nikaia, Cemenelum, on the mountains of today's Cimiez. The preserved ruins indicate a population of 15,000 to 20,000 inhabitants for Cemenelum (today's district of Cimiez). The place was thus a regional administrative center and experienced an upswing in particular through the construction of the Via Julia Augusta (7 BC), so that around this time the base grew into a city.

In the fifth century Cemenelum was abandoned in favor of Nicaea. Provence fell to the Ostrogoths in 508 and to the Franks in 536. In 813, 859 and 880 Nice was sacked by Saracen raiders coming from the sea. Also in the period that followed (e.g. in the year 943) the city was at the mercy of the attacks of the Muslims. These had established themselves in nearby Fraxinetum from 888 to around 975 before Count Wilhelm von der Provence could drive them out.

In 1144 a city council ("Consulat") is mentioned, in 1176 a first city constitution. However, Nice remained under the county of Provence, so the city was Aragonese in the twelfth century and belonged to the House of Anjou from 1246. In the 13th century, competition with Genoa became increasingly noticeable, and around 1215 Genoa even briefly gained sovereignty over the city. In response, the Count of Provence had a fleet stationed in Nice around 1250. In 1295 the city of Villefranche (free city) was founded near Nice with a base to fight piracy. In 1385, after the death of the sovereign Johanna I, confusion arose when Charles of Anjou and his cousin Charles of Durazzo claimed the county of Provence for themselves. In this situation, Nice turned against the Angevins at the instigation of Jean Grimaldi, whereupon in 1388 Count Amadeus VII of Savoy incorporated the eastern part of Provence into his county as Terre Neuve de Provence and thus gained access to the sea. Later, this part of Savoy was raised to the County of Nice (Comté de Nice). Due to its strategic location, the city was heavily fortified and subsequently fought over and over again.

In 1524, Francis I of Valois-Angoulême crossed the county of Nice to fight French claims in Lombardy against the Habsburgs. In the Battle of Pavia, however, he was taken prisoner by Charles V, who had him shipped to Spain from Villefranche in 1525. In 1536, the Duke of Savoy retreated to the County of Nice before the King of France. Two years later in Nice mediated by Pope Paul III. a truce negotiated between Francis I and Charles V. In 1543 Nice was besieged and sacked by French troops and the fleet of Khair ad-Din Barbarossa; the citadel could be held. According to local tradition, it was a laundress, Catherine Ségourane, who is said to have forced the departure of Ottoman troops as a "Joan of Arc of Nice".

In 1600 Henry IV had the city besieged. On the occasion of the Peace of Lyons of 1601, Nice remained with the Duchy of Savoy, which established one of the country's three courts here in 1614. In 1631 Nice was hit by a plague epidemic. In 1642 the Spaniards were expelled from Nice. In 1691, Louis XIV took Nice and the region, at the same time assuming the title of Count of Nice. In 1693, the military architect Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban visited the Nice region to organize the restoration of the fortifications. Two years later, the Duke of Savoy regained the county of Nice through the marriage of his daughter to a grandson of Louis XIV. In the War of the Spanish Succession, fighting broke out again in the region, as Savoy sided with the Habsburgs against France. However, a French attack under General Catinat led to the extensive destruction of the fortress.

In 1744, as part of the War of the Austrian Succession, Franco-Spanish troops conquered the county, which, however, was again given to Savoy in the Peace of Aachen in 1748. In 1749 the Bassin Lympia, today's port, was created. After a referendum in 1793, the county was annexed to France and raised to the 85th department called Alpes-Maritimes.

From here Napoleon Bonaparte began his Italian campaign in 1796, which led to the occupation of Piedmont. In 1800, the region was briefly occupied by Austrian troops, but after Napoleon's victory in the Battle of Marengo it was again placed under French rule. In 1804, Nice recognized the Empire by a vote of 3,488 to 2. In 1814, in the First Peace of Paris, the County of Nice reverted to Piedmont, which had meanwhile become part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. The borders of 1760 were thus restored. In 1859, France supported the national unification of Italy, which had been won against the Habsburgs, under the rule of the king of Sardinia-Piedmont, Napoleon III. had to concede the final annexation of Savoy and Nice to France in the Treaty of Turin. This was approved by the people of Nice in a plebiscite in 1860, 6810 of the 7912 eligible voters supported the project. The railway (PLM – Chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée) reached the city in 1864. Since the station was built far outside the city in an open field, construction activity shifted to the area across the Paillon River. As a result, the old town was well preserved. In 1882, French architect Charles Garnier built the Nice Observatory.

By now the city was so well established as a summer resort for the British that Alexandre Dumas declared in 1851 that Nice was essentially an English city where one could occasionally meet a local. The European aristocracy, such as the Russian Tsar and Victoria of Great Britain, also increasingly lodged here. Around 1890, around 22,000 guests spent the winter here, by 1910 there were already 150,000, with 140,000 inhabitants by 1911.

The boom as a tourist destination was accompanied by a corresponding industrialization, which increasingly attracted Italian guest workers in the 20th century, who settled mainly in the Riquier and Madeleine districts. During the Second World War the city, which was first Italian and later German occupied, remained largely undamaged; Resistance centers of the Résistance were located in the mountains above the city. An American air raid on May 27, 1944 killed 316 people. While the proportion of Britons in the city gradually declined, that of Italian immigrants, wealthy pensioners from other parts of France and 'repatriated' Algerian French (Pied-noir) and Harki families from the former French colonies increased, particularly after World War II and the end of the Algerian War.

In 1974, Mayor Jacques Médecin, who had close ties to the extreme right, initiated a town twinning with Cape Town in South Africa, which was then internationally proscribed because of apartheid. In 1979, the site was hit by two tsunamis.

In 2000, the Treaty of Nice was passed in the city. Nice has above-average unemployment and poverty in a national comparison, with above-average social housing (Habitation à loyer modéré, HLM) and has an above-average number of voters from the extreme right (FN, Les Identitaires/Nissa Rebela). Around 1700 surveillance cameras have been installed for security reasons. The city, which is considered a center of petty crime, employed around 400 police officers in 2017. The situation is particularly difficult for residents in the outskirts of L'Ariane, in the far north-east of the city, which was once a landfill site and has been classified as a zone de sécurité prioritaire (ZSP) by the Ministry of the Interior. The district has an 80% Muslim population.

On the evening of July 14, 2016, during the celebrations for the national day, a truck drove about two kilometers into a crowd on the Promenade des Anglais. The attack in Nice killed 86 people and injured more than 200 people, some seriously. The driver, a 31-year-old Nice resident with Tunisian citizenship, was killed in a shootout by police.

The city works with numerous cultural and social projects to improve social cohesion and the quality of life.