SEP 17,2015 - SEP 17,2015 (1 DAYS)
Nice - From the Promenade du Paillon to the Castle Hill (Le Chateau):
Main Attractions: Promenade du Paillon, Lycée Massena, National Theatre of Nice, Museum of Contemporary Art, Jardin Maréchal Juin, Esplanade Francis Giordan, Acropolis, Place Garibaldi, Rue Arson, Place de l'Île de Beauté, Port of Nice, jardin Auguste Icart, Place Saint-François, Rue Droite.
Start: Le Méridien Hotel, Prom. des Anglais.
End: Rue Droite, Le Vieux Nice (Palais Lascaris).
or Place Massena:
Opposite Le Méridien Hotel in the Prom. des Anglais:
A genius man-made creation of landscaping - the Promenade du Paillon is a pedestrians-only avenue with gardens, fountains, sculptures and pathways. It is a VERY pleasant area to explore. This wonderful new (from 2013) park creates a green centre to the bustling city. The Promenade du Paillon is named after the river Paillon that used to flow underneath the new park.
You can start at Place Massena and walk eastward along the promenade. Or, you can walk from the beach over the Jardin Albert 1er directly into it.
Jardin Albert 1er:
The walk from Place massena to Place Garibaldi, along Promenade du Paillon, is for 950-1200 m. It is a nice itinerary to fill a sunny morning or afternoon in Nice, especially if you have kids with you.
The promenade stretches as a border between the new and old town sections of Nice. The Promenade du Paillon is dotted with art galleries, restaurants and pleasant areas to picnic and relax. Off bothof the sides are several little paths meandering through different kinds of trees and vegetation. There are lovely playgrounds of wooden animals to climb over, pirate ships and other fun structures to play on - all arranged by age category. Watch the fountains and the more sophisticated water displays - and you can do it for hours. Inspect the sculptures and enjoy the people-watching and open spaces with the brilliant antique buildings spread here and there.
The promenade was inaugurated in October 2013 as the new “green axis” (coulée verte), officially known as the Promenade de Paillon, covering 1.2 km. It started with the demolition of the old bus station and car park which was a total eyesore and scarred the town centre architecturally. It took 20 years to construct this architectural miracle.
The lighting in the evening is colourful and merges well, in its western end, with the illumination of nearby Place Massena:
The huge, rusty sculpture of L'Arc 115°5 by Bernar Venet - in the stretch between the Promenade des Anglais and Place Massena:
Note: the Segway police is patrolling the promenade. There is a couple of restrooms along the promenade with a small fee. The whole stretch is a free WI-FI area.
First you encounter the “water mirror” attraction which you can walk through. it is dotted with fountains that launch in random patterns, soaking everyone - probably great in the summer. Avoid it in cold days ! On your left - Boscolo Hôtel Plaza:
Heading up, you pass the wooden children’s playground games shaped like various animals (giant squids, turtles, dolphins and an enormous whale house):
You can see the rather original 19th century architecture of the Lycée Massena, the top high school of the city to the left. Originally, it was used as the convent of the Augustinian Friars, built in 1623 , opposite the Old Bridge. After the occupation of the County of Nice by revolutionary France in 1792 , the buildings were transformed into the central school of the department. In 1803 , year of the reform of the education system by Napoleon, work began to transform it into Imperial High School. Nowadays, Massena High School is a general local education school:
and the lovely colourful architecture and Baroque church spires of Old Nice to the right.
Opposite the Lycee Massena, in the last section of the Promenade des Arts (Allee Albert Camus), and facing the Allee the Italiens - stands a copy of King David sculpture. This bronze statue 6 meters high and weighing a ton, is a reproduction of the masterpiece of the Florentine sculptor Michelangelo. It was installed in Nice in March 2015 - the 540th anniversary of the birth of Michelangelo. Not quite sure that you'll see this statue. It was declared that it would be exposed for limited period of time...
Finally, around the bend of the river bed (350-400 m. north of Lycee Massena), you’ll reach the end of the garden and find the modern building complex housing the National Theatre of Nice and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. The Theatre National de Nice is located in a newly developing cultural area that includes museums, the Acropolis (see below) and this stunning complex of theatre, museum, gardens and sculptures. If you find yourself in Avenue Saint-Sébastien, take the stairs to your left (north-west) and climb to the National Theatre courtyard (there is a sign pointing to the exact location). If you coming from the street (Avenue Saint-Sébastien) - the Theatre is on your left and the Museum of Contemporary Art is on your right.
The National Theatre of Nice (Theatre National de Nice) (TNN) was built in 1989. It was founded within the Drama Centre of Nice - Cote d'Azur, which was established after the joint project of the French Ministry of Culture and the city of Nice in 1969. The project proved to be extremely successful in its numerous initiatives. Ever since, the theatre, enjoys a growing number of visitors and more and more premières. It can accommodate more than 1,000 spectators, Within its walls, there is an Italian hall, an amphitheater, and a repetition hall. The architecture of the The National Theatre of Nice was inspired by the Museum of Contemporary Art, located very close to it, and it repeats its octagonal shape. Opening hours: Pierre Brasseur Hall - TUE - SAT: 20.00, SUN 15.00, Michel Simon Hall - TUE - SAT 20.30, SUN 15.30. Tickets (for performances): 12 euros (balconies) to 40 euros (stalls):
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MAMAC DE NICE) stands east to the theatre. The main entrance is from Place Yves Klein. Opening hours: everyday (EXCEPT Mondays): 10.00 - 18.00. Prices: 10 euros for a ticket valid for 48 hours. Free for children under 18 years and holders of student's cards. A questionable site. The exterior is not so inviting. The interior is nothing special. It is not the first place in Nice which demands high tariff for a questionable "experience" and for minimal provision of information and essential services for the non-speaking-French visitor. I advice you to enter ONLY if they have a temporary, FREE exhibition inside...
The western facade:
The Place Yves Kleine entrance:
From Place Yves Klein we descend back (heading south-east) to Avenue Saint-Sébastien. We turn LEFT (north-east) and continue along Boulevard Risso when the terra-cotta walls and buildings are on our left. On our left is the Jardin Maréchal Juin. DO NOT MISS this colorful garden. A tranquil oasis in the heart of Nice, located directly opposite the Acropolis. The many footpaths make the June Marshal Garden a great place to take a stroll and enjoy both the nature and the artwork. Beautiful flowerbeds line the paths in neat arrangements. Pack a picnic and enjoy the warm Southern French sunshine. The garden is adjacent to the Municipal Library. Garden Marshal June is not important for its size (its area has neither at least one hectare), but on the other hand, it is considered one of the finest Nice flower gardens. And, indeed, the garden is famous for its layered-colored flower beds that line the winding paths of the park. The cascade of flavors and the splendid array of colors justify classification of the garden as one of the most important attractions of Nice, at least from the perspective of public gardens and parks of the city:
View of the National Theatre from the Jardin Maréchal Juin:
The Rock Man sculpture, held in place by wire wrapped around his body.
View of the Acropolis from the Jardin Maréchal Juin:
One famous example of the latter is La Tête Carrée, or the Square Head, by Sacha Sosno, which is honestly hard to miss. It’s official title is ‘La Tete au Carre de Sosno’ which translates to ‘Thinking Inside the Box’. It was created by the French artist and sculptor Sacha Sosno. The sculpture is home to a library with three floors:
We continue heading north-east and cross Traverse Barla - facing Esplanade Francis Giordan. The Esplanade, which is located opposite the Acropolis, is about half way between Port de Nice and Vieux Nice. It is a splendid square (or roundabout) which is dotted with lines of greenery and decorative sculptural works. Its uniqueness is by the spectacular water fountains and shows. The esplanade bears the name of Francis Giordan, a public figure of Nice involved in the building of the Acropolis. Given his achievements for the city, Nice thought it proper to name a public venue after him. The esplanade and the Acropolis were inaugurated in May 1985:
The view of the esplanade with the garden (your back direction) is marvelous:
We face the Acropolis, Espace John Fitzgerald Kennedy 1, or the Palais des Expositions. To arrive by public transport to this building or complex - take the tramway towards “Pont Michel” and drop off at “Acropolis”.
Throughout the year, the Nice Acropolis Convention and Exhibition Centre welcomes professionals and the general public for conferences, industry fairs, trade shows, performing arts events, concerts, exhibitions, sporting and cultural events, and more. Its current events can be found at: http://www.nice-acropolis.com/agenda.php
The Acropolis - the entrance to the Palais des Expositions:
From the Acropolis we head to Garibaldi Square. Head southwest on Avenue Gallieni, 190 m. Turn left toward Boulevard Risso, 80 m. Turn left onto Boulevard Risso, 140 m. Turn right onto Rue Smolett, 60 m and turn RIGHT (south) to the Avenue de la République. Walk along the avenue until its end in Place Garibaldi. Place Garibaldi is one of the oldest and the largest squares in Nice. It has a great ambiance nestled between the port and the city. It was designed by Antonio Spinelli in the second half of the 18th century. It is crossed by the Nice Tram line and the transport through this square is quite complicated (and dangerous). Garibaldi Square is the junction of several important thoroughfares of Nice (Boulevard Jean Jaures, Avenue de la Republique, Rue Cassini and Rue Catherine Segurane). Still, the square is undoubtedly a tourist sight in itself. The square is surrounded by beautiful Baroque, yellow-colored, arcaded buildings framing the square, and its center is earmarked by a statue of Garibaldi (Giuseppe Garibaldi was born in Nice). Again, the main feel here, in this huge bustling square, is Italian. There are, now, massive construction works for newly planned underground line - but, most of the square is open and free of construction noise. Lot's of restaurants/eateries and shopping nearby. The church in the southern end of the square is Eglise Saint Augustin. Every Saturday there is an Flea Market around this square. Be careful around the square during the dark hours (chaps and prostitutes):
Of particular note is a well known seafood restaurant on the south west corner, Cafe de Turin, favored by locals and tourists as well. Good food and service. Average prices. Avoid the rush hours.
We do not enter the Old Town. Head southeast on Place Garibaldi toward Rue Bonaparte, 80 m. Slight left onto Rue Bonaparte, 260 m and turn, a bit, to the left to the small Place aux Fleurs (or Place du Pin):
We return to Rue Bonaparte and continue walking, approx. 350 m., from west to east. We turn RIGHT (south) to Rue Arson (almost in the eastern end of Rue Bonaparte). This road is lined with BEAUTIFUL orange, red and yellow colored houses, 100-200 years old. The most beautiful section is the intersection of Rue Arson and Rue Fodéré:
From Rue Arson - turn right onto Rue Fodéré, 120 m. Turn left onto Rue, Pacho, 70 m. Turn right onto Place de l'Île de Beauté, 15 m. Another name of the square is Place du Port. The buildings and houses on the square form a symmetrical look and Neoclassical style. This square was constructed in the 1780's (several decades later than the old Lympia - the former name of the port), along the north side of the port of Nice or Quai Cassini. The square is overlooked by the Church of Notre Dame du Port. Parts of the square enjoy the status of historical monument (the church, the facades of certain buildings and the portico stretching along the square, as well as the staircase leading from Place Ile de Beaute to Quai Cassini). When we visited, there (SEP 2015) was massive construction in Place de l'Île de Beauté that unfortunately spoiled the view from the north end of the Old Port. Place Ile-de-Beauté is one of the the busiest areas in Nice, with various lanes of traffic and bus routes all jostling for space. The best time, during a sunny day, to take photographs is early morning, or early evening (because the port is south to Place de l'Île de Beauté). The port (see below) is quite magical at sunset, and the lamp posts around the port change colours like Chinese lanterns:
The Old Port is opposite Place de l'Île de Beauté and well worth a visit. It is also known as the Port of Nice or Port Lympia. It is a place that looks like postcard, not as much as the port of Monaco, but in the same style. Impressive yachts alongside working boats. All very idyllic and glamorous. Cute for a walk, and of course for those who can embark. The port is surrounded on three sides by long roads lined with bars, restaurants and shops. Quai Cassini on the east, Quai des Docks on the west and Place Ile-de-Beauté joining the two at the head of the port. The restaurants here are well-established and always seem quite busy but if you prefer somewhere a little quieter then head alongside the port on Quai des Docks (right, with your face to the port) for more chilled-out surroundings. Some of our favourite seafood restaurants are along this quiet stretch but if you just fancy a couple of drinks as the sun goes down then you can grab a table outside the ever-popular Ma Nolan’s Irish bar. The port holds an annual festival each September when food stalls line the harbour and stages are erected at various points. You can try all sorts of tasty foods from local producers. Sometimes, during the dark hours you can find some live bands and /or spectacular firework displays that light up the port's water. Again, parts of the port are under construction and there are many cranes and facades completely covered that spoil the whole sightseeing around the port. Many restaurants, antiques shops alongside with naval accessories and equipment shops. In case you face a very hot day - use Quai des Deux Emmanuels with its shady side:
After browsing the Old Port - we return northward (back) along Quai des Deux Emmanuels, we turn left (west) back to Place de l'Île de Beauté, crossing Rue Arson, Ruse Rusca, Rue Pacho and, finally, Rue Guisol on our right. We continue direct, in the same direction (north-west) along Rue Cassini (take the left, shady side). It is, approx. 400 m. walk until the end of Rue Cassini - and we arrive, back, to Place Garibaldi. We cross Garibaldi Square with our face, still, in the same direction (north-west) until we hit Ave. Saint Sebastien. Turn left and walk along Boulevard Jean Jaurès with your face to the south-west. On your right is the Esplanade de la Bourgada (part of the Promenade du Paillon). 50 metres further down (south-west),on your left, is Rue de la Tour and jardin Auguste Icart - a busy small square with many eateries and cafes. Auguste Icart , Councillor and Deputy Mayor of Nice, was born and died in Nice ( 1884-1942 ) . He was responsible for the modernization of the city:
The second turn on your left (east) is the Place Saint-François. with its bustling Fish Market (le Marche aux Poissons). A Franciscan convent was built in the thirteenth century in this square , abandoned and destroyed during the French Revolution and only its tower remained. Saint Francois d'Assise visited Nice in 1214 and was also troubadour and poet. His artistic talents are represented by birds sculptures surrounding the past church building. The Municipal Old Town Hall) , built in Italian Baroque style, resides in this square and was abandoned in 1792:
WE cross the Place Saint-François with our back to Rue Pairolière and Boulevard Jean Jaurès. We turn RIGHT (south-west) to Rue Saint-François. Here, we hit a fork. If we take the left leg - we enter Rue Droite which is the backbone of the Old Town of Nice (le Vieux Ville). Here we end our route and join the "Nice Old Town (Vieille Ville)" TIPTER itinerary.