Vieux Nice - Old Town, Nice
Wow! One of the best memories of Nice is the old town market called Cours Saleya. Old town, Vieille Ville, is another wow, but this is just about the market. Wake up early, walk from your hotel to the old town plaza and viola! Covered cart after cart of flowers, all kinds, make a rainbow right before your eyes. You can purchase just about any type of flower here and it does make your stay in a hotel much nicer with fresh flowers in the room.
Beyond the flower carts, row after row of displays of fruits, vegetables, foods, and the fresh fish from the sea are being sold by colorful, barking vendors. What a treat of sight and sound! You simply must purchase those special olives to have with your cheese and bread with a good bottle of wine. The vendors are friendly, happy, and helpful. Please, visit this great location in Nice. It is more than nice, its wonderful. remember to walk the cobblestone streets for the many restaurants and shops.
Vieux Nice is such a delight to explore on foot. As well as many beautiful buildings and squares, the old town is a maze of narrow streets. Tucked away down these are many small shops, restaurants & bars.
This building in the neo-classical style was built in the 1880's to house the city's law courts. It's not open to visit, but does provide a backdrop to the Place Du Palais. This was a lively square containing many book stalls.
Wandering around a town and exploring hidden corners is one of our favourite things to do, and Nice Old Town is a great place to do just that. There are plenty of small shops and galleries, cafes and restaurants. Try some socca, a local kind of pancake made from chick pea flour. Spend as much time as you can here so that you can get lost in the maze of streets and not worry about getting anywhere else in a hurry.
A trip to Nice isn't complete without trying some of the weird and wonderful flavours of ice cream from Fenocchios. The 94 flavours (59 ices-cream and 35 sorbets) to choose from are sure to give your taste buds a treat! There is such a vast range to choose from such as Lavender, Rose, Honey & Pine Nuts, Tiramisu, Chocolate Orange, Chilli chocolate, Chocolate Ginger, Poppy, Jasmine and advocado ice-cream, alongside numerous flavours of sorbets including Fresh Mint, Pina Colada, Cactus, Lychee, Beer, Tomato and Basil to name just a few.
Amost hidden in the narrow lanes of Vieux Nice is the Palais Lascaris, home to the municipal museum of Nice. The beautiful facade of the Palais is to be noticed only if you look straight up, and is easy to miss.
The Palais dates back to the 1700's and houses a fascinating collection of antiquities including a recreation of 19th century French pharmacy. The vaulted ceilings and baroque stairwells are set off in rich pinks, gold and alabaster.
The gift shop has an excellent selection of books about Nice many of which are not found elsewhere, along with a selection of posters from THE photographer of Nice, Jean-Louis Martinetti.
Remarkably for France, entrance to the Palais is free.
Old Nice is a lively and bustling mass of winding lanes choc with little boutiques, patisieres, restaurants and snack bars, touristy nicknacks, everything within one compact area bounded by the Cours Saleya on one side and the Albert 1st Gardens on the other.
Wander the lanes and soak up the atmosphere, stop for a coffee or sample the traditional Nicois dishes at one of the many snackbars. The air is perfumed with the smell of provencal lavender sachets and scented soaps. Massed ceramic cicadas pump out their distintive mating call. Olive oil in traditional yellow and green pouring bottles. Postcards, posters, fridge magnets, souvenirs of Nice and the Riviera. Or try some of the two hundred flavours of Fennochio's icecream.
Most importantly, unlike some urban centres, (provided you are sensible) Vieux Nice by day or night is entirely safe. You can wander out at night, relaxed and secure, until the nightspots close at 02:00am.
At the eastern end of Cours Saleya is the townhouse where the artist Matisse spent the 2nd half of the 1920s & the early 1930s. He lived & worked on the third & fourth floors. The building isn't open to the public & the museum isn't found there.
It does look very impressive though, especially when it's bathed in sunshine.
Dating from the 18th century the cathedral was built in honour of the city's patron saint, a teenage girl martyred in the Holy Land in 250 AD.
The Cathedral is to be found in Nice's most beautiful square, Place Rossetti.
Although located in the centre of Nice, Vieux Nice or Old Nice is quite secluded from the larger city and its buzz. This is because of its natural location, bordered by a hill (Colline du Château) on one side and the Mediterranean on other. The neighbourhood has not changed in at least two centuries and has the feel of a small Mediterranean town than one of France's largest cities. The narrow streets meander between Mediterranean architecture, Baroque churches, and lively squares. There are numerous shops, cafés and restaurants, along with some of the city's oldest churches. This is the most charming part of Nice.
Dedicated to the patron saint of Nice, Réparate from Palestine, la Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate dominates Place Rossetti, the heart of Old Nice. The Cathedral dates from 1699 AD, but was modified over the years. Its façade is distinctly Baroque in style and is complemented by a square bell tower and a grand dome.
Le Théâtre Municipal, better known as l'Opéra, was built in 1885 to replace a previous theatre destroyed by a fire four years earlier. The beautiful theatre was designed by a local architect François Aune who was clearly inspired by Opéra Garnier in Paris, particularly on the side facing rue Saint-François-de-Paule.
Located across from the Opéra in Vieux Nice (Old Nice), the church of Saint François-de-Paul was built in the 18th century. It has a beautiful imposing Neo-Classical façade that is now painted in two colours, grey and creme, to accentuate the architecture.
Just returned from a week in Nice. A truly beautiful city. We were fortunate enough to have the weather. So even though it was the start of Sept we could still swim.
Of all the things to do in Nice we found the most interesting were the guided tours. We did 3 which you can reserve from the Tourist Office. Each one offers an insight into the history and culture of Nice. After doing the tours you can revisit the same places with a better understanding of how the city of Nice is like it is.
The 3 tours we did were:
1. The walking tour of the Old Nice
2. Nice Cycle Tours
3. The small tourist train.
As I said each one can be reserved at the Tourist Office. Definitely recommended
Old Nice is downright dripping with atmosphere. Its narrow streets are a one-stop shop for take-home finds, such as Provençal wares, household items, wine, gourmet gifts, hip clothing and more. There are numerous restaurants in the area, as well as several fun bars and nightclubs. Be sure to stop off for a delicious ice cream in this neighborhood.