Nice, France: Nice, the Beautiful

Nice France

Nice is a stunning city along the coast of France, and is second only to Paris in vacationing popularity. Located in the south east coast of France, and right along the Mediterranean Sea, Nice is the 5th most populated city in France with a population of about 1 million inhabitants. Appropriately, Nice La Bella (the city’s full name) translates into Nice the Beautiful. 

This coastal beauty is actually believed to be one of the oldest human settlements in Europe, with one of the archaeological sites displaying what looks like evidence of a very early fire. Originally, the Greeks founded a settlement here in 350 BC and named it Nikaia. Nice continued to change ownership over the years, before finally becoming a part of France between the years of 1792 and 1815. Nice being a highly desirable vacation spot, however, was discovered very early on – with even the English upper class  valuing it as a vacation destination since the mid 18th century. The city’s warm and moderate climate, 6 months of summer, tranquil views, broad and extensive cultural beauty is what draws thousands every year to this day.

nice france 2

Nice consists of two very large bays, Villefranche-sur-Mer and Aeroport de Cote d’Azur. Moving from the beach further inland, the terrain gently slopes into hills, and eventually into the Ligurian Alps mountain range. The city itself is laid out in multiple squares, each housing a multitude of sights, sounds, and beautiful architecture – five squares to be exact. The Place Massena is the main square of Nice. It’s lined with palm trees, boasts a tramline, and hosts most of the cities main events, such as concerts and festivals. The Place Garibaldi is well known for its beautiful historical architecture, including the House of Savoy. The Place Rossetti is home to the Cathedrale Sainte-Reparate, many gourmet restaurants, musical events, and some very unique night lighting. The Cours Saleya has a flower market and other markets, Nicoise cuisine restaurants, pubs, and the Palais des Rois Sardes (Palace of the Kings of Sardinia). The Place du Palais contains the Palais de la Justice (court house), a city clock, and stages many concerts, film viewings, and other public events.

Place Masséna

Nice has a very unique culture, filled with immigrants from Asia, Western African colonies, Spain, Portugal and other countries. This contributes to its vibrant scene and colorful festivals, including the Carnaval de Nice and the Nice Jazz Festival. Also, quite a few notable museums can be found here: Musee Marc Chagall, Musee Matisse, Musee des Beaux-Arts Jules Cheret, Musee International d’Art naif Anatole Jakovksy, Musee Terra-Amata, Museum of Asian Art, and many others. This cultural blend also contributes to a wide variety of specialty cuisine, with the majority of cuisine falling in the Nicois regional specialty. Popular Nicois dishes that can be found at many restaurants may include: Ratatouille, Pichade, Socca, Daube, Salade Nicoise, and Soupe au pistou. Many of the local dishes feature, sheep, fresh fish, sea urchins, anchovies, and mullets.

ratatouille