The English, Russian and American aristocrats who once set their sights on this coast were not mistaken: here, as nowhere else, everything inspires tranquillity when a little bit of it provokes wonder. From the flower gardens to the baroque arabesques, from this azure coast to the lands full of character: Nice simply shines. Such is its influence that on 27 July this year, the Côte d'Azur city was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as a "winter resort town on the Riviera"
Unesco's world heritage listing, an international recognition
At the end of July, after seven long years of waiting, Nice became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A great reward for an entire city and the 48th French property to join this prestigious list. As the "winter resort city of the Riviera", the Côte d'Azur city, well known for its summer tourism, stands out for its winter appeal which has made it an ideal holiday spot for the European, American and Russian aristocracy since the beginning of the 19th century. Today, all the heritage (and the controlled urban planning in the future) in the perimeter defined by Unesco is therefore protected: the Promenade des Anglais, Old Nice, South-East Nice and the Port Lympia. An opportunity for a nice walk in the streets of "Nissa la Bella"
Vieux-Nice, the beating and historic heart of the city
In the old quarter, the popular theatre is played out in a labyrinth of alleys where the washing dries between two Sardinian windows with little regard for the bondieuseries of the surrounding chapels. You will come across many food shops, with all the gouaille coming from the stalls of fresh pasta, spices and small stalls offering socca to passers-by. The stroll takes place along the alleys which, here and there, lead to the lively squares, leading to the Cours Saleya. The beating heart of Vieux-Nice welcomes the flower market during the day, and at nightfall the youth of Nice. At its sides, the hill of the Castle watches over their carefree evenings with one eye, and with the other, over the anchor that rises from the quays of the Lympia port. The "Old Man", as he is fondly called, cultivates a certain nostalgia, and any renovation is always done with respect for the heritage. An archaeological crypt has been discovered a few steps away. One can admire the remains of a fortified complex around what was the main gate of the city in the 14th century. These fortifications established by the Counts of Provence were transformed by the Dukes of Savoy until they became a real bastion of defence for the county sacked by Louis XIV. It is amazing to walk through this 2,000m2 underground gallery which contains an important chapter in the history of the region..
You can leaf through other historical pages just as easily. Between the tram, the buses, the blue bikes and the electric cars equipped with a GPS audio guide, there is no longer any need to be in a vehicle to weave your way around. In the same day, you can climb to Cimiez to visit the arena, go back to the tropical greenhouse in Phoenix Park, have a bite to eat at the port, take an English-style walk along the sea, go shopping around Avenue Jean-Médecin and greet the volutes of the astonishing Russian Orthodox cathedral! A pleasant urban life which, moreover, is enhanced by more than 300 hectares of green spaces spread throughout the city. You can enjoy a walk on the hill of the Castle, take advantage of the panorama of the Estienne d'Orves park, meditate in the monastery garden or relax in a corner of the Albert I garden...
Nice, a city rooted in the past and looking to the future
Shaped by the splendour of the Baroque period, brightened up by so many flower gardens, bewitched by the blue of the Mediterranean, Nice is an enchantment... but not only! Rather than snoring under its crown of laurels, the city has set itself the ambitions of its time, perhaps even a step ahead. Conservative, it remains so for the better, devoting its ancestral heritage and cultivating a romantic regard for plants. Innovative, we discover it in the developments undertaken in recent years. The tramway, the new Allianz Riviera stadium... Nice is transfigured, transported by a certain exaltation towards the future. A feeling that is brought to life by the seven "thinkers" on 12-metre masts that are at ease among the neoclassical candelabras and the arcades of the Place Masséna. Vast, clear and airy, this pedestrian esplanade is the emblem of modern-day Nice
After the visits, let's eat!
If Unesco has decided to classify Nice's architecture as a world heritage site, it would be a shame to discover the pearl of the Alpes-Maritimes and miss out on what has also made up a large part of its reputation throughout the world: its excellent gastronomy!
For neither should beauty take precedence over goodness in a region of epicureans which, believe it or not, takes cooking very seriously. Nissarde cuisine is not about salads, apart from its beautiful ambassador, the Nicoise salad, which is affiliated to the "Cuisine Nissarde, respect for tradition" brand! A brand to protect a culinary heritage that is both simple and unique. Pissaladière, pan bagnat, stuffed dishes, ratatouille, ravioli, gnocchi, stockfish, stuffed sardines, chard pie, ganses... so many household recipes that can now be tasted in many restaurants in the city. At the same time, the county relies on a rich marine and land soil allowing to alternate grilled bass and porchetta as long as one honours the sacrosanct coumpanage, understood as "what one eats with the bread" or aperitif. Tapenade washed down with Bellet wines to start with, then you'll have to venture out to the renowned chefs who play with the abundance of fresh produce to perfect another part of Nice's culture than the one recognised and honoured (quite rightly) by Unesco. Pleasures for the eyes and therefore also for the taste buds await you this summer on the shores of the Mediterranean.
When to visit? A destination that can be enjoyed all year round. In summer, for the beach and the party. We love spring and autumn for the mild climate, and we appreciate winter for the sparkling landscapes of mimosas and the carnival.
Getting there. By car, by train or by plane (only 1h30 from Paris), everything is possible
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