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As the Côte d’Azur’s leading city following closely behind Paris as France’s second largest international tourism hub, Nice is a modern, bustling city that serves as the economic heart of the département. Established on 1 January 2012, the Nice Côte d’Azur metropolis is made up of 80% mountainous terrain, stretching from the mediterranean beaches to the ski resorts in mercantour national park.
Elegant and hugely popular, the city’s charm lies in its easy-going, idyllic pace of life that stems from the beauty of Nice itself as well as its exceptional micro-climate. A mediterranean city overlooking the sea and sheltered from blustering winds by the neighbouring mountains, Nice’s mild winters and 300 days of sun per year are legendary, lending the city a quality of light and luminosity that never fails to draw in the greatest of painters and artists. With its shops, beaches and vibrant nightlife, the capital of the Côte d’Azur is a little piece of heaven on earth. A host of major cultural venues (museums, National Theatre, Opera, etc.) lie at the heart of Nice’s cultural reputation and influence throughout Europe.
Along with Cannes, Nice is home to one of the Côte d’Azur’s oldest ports.made up of a 10-hectare harbour, 7.5 hectares of platform and around 10 quays, of which 6 are commercial, the port is ideally located close to the city’s tourist centre and has developed around key activities such as cruises, yachting, ferry transport to and from Corsica, cement shipping, as well as traditional activities (specialised). The Bassin lympia marina is nestled in the heart of the red ochre Place de l’Ile de Beauté, one of the city’s three listed squares.
Strolling through the shaded streets of Old Nice to get a feel for the city’s soul is a world-famous imperative. With its tangle of narrow streets and brightly coloured façade, this district reflects the colours and style of Sardinian architecture. Palais lascaris (17th century), the Hall of Justice, Palais de la Préfecture (former Palace of the Kings of Sardinia), the former town hall, Palais Communal masséna, and the former Senate illustrate the richness and diversity of buildingsin the old town. religious architecture is well represented with such exceptional structures as Cathédrale Sainte-réparate and Chapelle de la miséricorde – a little jewel – typifying the baroque art of Nice with its specificity from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Old Nice is also a major area of creativity in the image of the city, with its wealth of 20th-century artistic representations. Four municipal galleries accompany the multitude of private galleries, as well as shops selling arts and crafts.
Nice is characterized by a great variety of architectural styles from different periods. Over the centuries, through its tumultuous history, Nice retained the marks of each one…
Antiquity brought here the Greeks and romans, who left such sites as Cimiez with its amphitheatre and baths… traces of Greek presence and mediaeval remains on the Castle Hill and under Place Garibaldi, where archaeological excavations have revealed an exceptional complex retracing 700 years of history. Baroque art, along with the Classic style, is the first to offer a true heritage, a perfect example of this very theatrical architecture. The most creative period remains, today, the Belle époque,when the hills were occupied by winter visitors, hivernants, members of the European aristocracy or bourgeoisie, who gave free rein to their whims and imagination. This resulted in châteaux and palaces nestled in gardens as elaborate as the homes: Château de l’Anglais, baroque with oriental inspiration, the Fine Arts museum, Château de valrose, home today of the university’s Science Division, one of Europe’s finest campuses…
Another jewel of the city, Saint Nicolas’ russian Orthodox Cathedral, is testimony to the Tsars’ interest in Nice. Built at the foot of the Parc Impérial, one of the finest secondary schools in France today, it is reputedly Western Europe’s most splendid russian Orthodox church, with its wealth of exceptional icons, wood panels and murals. Of course, Hôtel Negresco, a listed historic building and selected by the American press as one of the world’s ten finest luxury hotels, as well as the régina, Grand Hôtel… are the witnesses of this privileged holiday resort, that survive in many parts of the city.
The best of Nice with a single pass
This pass offers visitors the opportunity to experience the Nice Côte d’Azur metropolis and its surrounding area to the full, combining the vast majority of must-see sites with access to Nice’s most stunning locations,such as the”Nice, le Grand Tour “tourist bus as well as entry to numerous sites and guided tours of both museums and the city itself. Card holders can also enjoy offers and deals from a number of carefully selected service providers (shops, leisure activities, restaurants). Available in three versions (24hr, 48hr 72hr), the pass also features an extra add-on option that includes a city transport package.
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