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Nice: the beautiful french city
A Short History
Nice is the 5th largest city in France located on the French Riviera along the Mediterranean coast. The city is nicknamed Nice la Belle (Nice the beautiful).
In 350 BC, Greeks from Marseille founded the permanent settlement. They named Nice after Nike, the goddess of victory.
Nice was always an important port under the Greeks, Romans, Lombardis, Italians and eventually the French. Continuously besieged and pillaged by the Saracens, Barbary Pirates, Ottoman Turks, and
duchies for centuries.
Starting in the 18th century, Nice settled into peaceful existence, often changing hands from the Duke of Savoy, the French, Spaniards, to the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont
Finally in 1860, Napoleon III ceded Nice to France.
In World War II, Nice was occupied by the Italians in 1942 and later by the Germans in 1943.
Today, the picture perfect Nicean beaches, climate, surroundings and landscape attracts many tourists and vacationers.
The clear air and soft light has even appealed to some Western painters in the past including Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse. Many art works are commemorated in the city's museums like the Musée Marc Chagall, Musée Matisse and Musée des Beaux-Arts Jules Chéret.
Tourism and Tourist Spots
Nice has the second largest hotel capacity in France. It is the second-most visited place in France after Paris. Annual tourism reaches 4 million, especially during the winter months. It also has the second busiest airport in France after Paris. There are two convention centers for business tourism catering to international conventions and conferences.
The Place Masséna is the city's main square. The square is very spacious and never dense even when occupied by crowds during events. It is bordered by the red ochre buildings of Italian architecture.
A statue of the Italian unification hero, Guiseppe Garibaldi stands in the centre of the Place Garibaldi. It stands out for its architecture and history. The square was built at the end of the 18th century. It was the entry gate to the city. The Square took its name in September 1870.
The Place Rossetti is entirely enclosed for pedestrians. It is located in the heart of the old town. Red and yellow ochre buildings surround the square, with the cathédrale Sainte-Réparate and fountain in the centre. Traditional restaurants and the finest ice-cream makers are there by day. At night, tourists and youths flock to the square with music reverberating from the small square.
Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate de Nice or the Nice Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral in the heart of the old town in the Place Rossetti. It is the seat of the Bishop of Nice. It is dedicated to Saint Reparata, patron saint of Nice, with a Boisseau organ inside.
The Observatoire de Nice or Nice Observatory is located on the summit of Mont Gros. The observatory was built in 1879 by Raphaël Bischoffsheim, Charles Garnier and Gustave Eiffel who designed the dome. It has a 30-inch refractor telescope that became fully operational and functional in 1888. The observatory was eventually merged with CERGA in 1988 to form the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur.
Being France's second largest hotel capacity, tourists will have no problem to find a place to stay in Nice. You can even walk to the hotels from the terminal 1 of the Airport and a special hotel shuttle bus serves
hotels within Nice. We caution those who stay in hotels near the airport since the Nice city center is a good 7 km away. A bus ride or a taxi usually solves this problem.
The city center offers a wide range of modern and traditional French hotels, as well as apartments, youth hostels, and guesthouse accommodations.
As a heavy tourist city, it is fairly easy to find a number of small hotels and bread and breakfast accommodations usually at decent rates.
Cuisine and Restaurants
Flat breads, tuna fish salads, fish soups, sweet cabbages, raisins and nuts are the specialties of Nice cuisine.
The daily market in the Vieux Nice always has fresh, local produce. You can save money if you can cook at least some meals yourself. There are several decent size supermarkets around the city. There are also numerous fruit and vegetable shops which are often competitive on price and superior on quality.
The best restaurants in the center can be found in the port area. Usually lunch-time set menus in Nice are certainly good in value, if not cheap. €10-12 should get you two courses, often with coffee and wine.
How To Get to Nice
The port of Nice is called Lympia Port. It provides private and public moorings. Ships and ferries from Corsica are commonplace as is the NGV (navires à grande vitesse) or high-speed craft.
The Nice Côte d'Azur Airport or Aéroport Nice Côte d'Azur is the third most important airport in France after Charles de Gaulle Airport and Orly Airport. It is on the Promenade des Anglais, near l'Arénas. The airport has two terminals. Because it is also close to the Principality of Monaco, it also serves as city–state's airport.
Nice-Ville is the main railway station. The high speed TGV train connects Paris to Nice in less than 6 hours. Marseille can be reached in 2.5 hours. Nice railway station also has international connections to Switzerland, Italy and Belgium.
The Autobhan A8 autoroute and the Route Nationale 7 passes through the centre of Nice to link Marseille with Italy.
Security and Safety
Nice is just as safe as any
French and Italian city in the west and most of the time it is a lot safer than most cities.
Should you find it necessary, the National Police Station is at the junction of Ave Marechal Foch and Dubouchage, around a hundred metres east of the Nice Etoiles shopping centre. The police can supply you with the necessary statements to support insurance claims if necessary.
We caution people however, not to expect Inspector Clouseau to come out at any time.
Some Nice Trivia
City of Nice Coat of Arms
The beaches of Nice are the main attraction especially during the winter months.
Guiseppe Garibaldi, the unification hero of Italy was actually born in Nice in 1807 when the city was under the French Empire of Napoleon.
Inspector Clouseau, the comedy character from the TV and movie series, The Pink Panther, supposedly was born in Nice and became a policeman there.
So for a vacation mixture of the past, museums, churches, sun, beaches and nightlife…
and throw in a little shopping too…
Come to the most Beautiful City of France
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