Nice, Away From The Clichés :
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Nice, Away From The Clichés
Nice, Away From The ClichésPedestrian, By car, 15 km, 2 days
Contrary to the clichés it contends with, the capital of the Côte d'Azur is young and full of energy... High-tech enterprises, an ultra modern airport located 10 minutes from the centre of town, a university, a national theatre, opera, a cruise port, a hotel catering school ... Nice is particularly fascinating for its light that led Nietzsche and Matisse to dream. As well as the promise of a busy day, this tour will allow you to immerse yourself in the charm of the most Italian of French cities.Customise this route and add it to My travel book
This palm tree-lined yet sundrenched avenue follows the curve of the Baie des Anges beside long, inviting pebble beaches. It was created by the English community in the 19C and is flanked by buildings such as the Négresco hotel, which has a superb glass ceiling designed by Gustave Eiffel, and the Palais de la Méditerranée, built in 1928 by Frank Jay Gould with a façade decorated by Nice sculptor Sartorio.
Once an elegant main thoroughfare, Cours Saleya is now the location of a very popular flower market. It is lined by Miséricorde chapel and, to the east, the Palais Caïs de Pierla, where Matisse lived from 1921 to 1938. To the left of the chapel stands the former Palais du Gouverneur et des Princes de Savoie, now the Prefecture (pl P.-Gautier). To the east is Saint-François-de-Paule church (18C).
This chapel, built in 1740 from plans by the Italian Guarini, belongs to the Black Penitents. Volutes (spiral scrolls) and S-curves decorate its bowed façade and oval oculi. This church is an undeniable celebration of Baroque. Push open the door and your breath will be taken away by the throng of angels flying among all the gilding and imitation marble. Don’t miss the two Primitive Nice retables in the sacristy by Jean Miralhet and Louis Bréa.
Vieux Nice (Nice’s old quarter) is a lively area packed with shops and small restaurants. Pastel-coloured buildings line the maze of narrow streets and there’s a Baroque church around every other corner.
Its Genoese-style 18C dome lights up the old town with its 14,000 varnished tiles. Built in 1650 by Nice architect JA Guiberto, the cathedral is dedicated to the city's patron saint. Inside, Baroque influences can be seen in the stuccos and marble.
This is in fact a 92m-high hill with a shaded footpath climbing up to the site of the old château (destroyed in 1706 by Louis XIV’s armies). From the top there’s a bird’s eye view over the rooftops of the old town and the Baie des Anges. Remains of the 11C cathedral can be seen to the southeast, with a 360° view from the top. Below the terrace are waterfalls fed by water from the Vésubie river.
The Port de Nice was dug out of the Lympia marshland on the orders of Charles-Emmanuel III of Savoy in 1750, then extended in the 19C. Place Île-de-Beauté with its porticoed buildings was developed at the same time. The harbour is used by freight ships, cruise liners, fishing boats, pleasure crafts and car ferries to Corsica.
This square is lined with ochre-coloured houses with Piedmont-style arcades. In the centre is a statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi. On the south side is Saint-Sépulcre chapel (18C) belonging to the high brotherhood of Blue Penitents. The Baroque interior is decorated in tones of blue.
Dominating the sea, this 17C villa, with its Sienna earth colour, houses around 30 paintings by Matisse (1869-1954). From dark palettes to canvases lit with the Mediterranean sun, then, after a stay in Morocco, to pure colour, and finally to the refined drawing of cut papers in absolute blue poster paint. 54 bronzes, sketches and models complete the panorama.
This museum contains the largest permanent collection of works by Marc Chagall (1887-1985). His Biblical Message cycle consists of 17 large paintings depicting scenes such as The Creation, Adam and Eve Expelled from Paradise, The Flood and Song of Songs. A tapestry (The Creation), an exterior mosaic and three large stained-glass windows are also on show.
The cathedral was built by a Russian architect in 1912. Its six cupola with golden bulbs add a touch of the exotic to the Nice skyline and symbolise the importance of the Russian colony on the Côte d'Azur. The interior, in the shape of a Greek cross, with its décor of frescos, woodwork and icons show great goldsmith's work. There is a sumptuous iconostas around the choir.