A Travellerspoint blog

Nice, France.

Christmas 2015.

sunny

View over the Port of Nice - Nice

View over the Port of Nice - Nice

Christmas in Nice.

It has been many years since we were last in France. We decided to go there just before the terrible terrorist atrocities in Paris. When these happened, we briefly questioned whether we should go ahead with our visit or cancel. We decided to go ahead and we were very glad that we did as we had a great time. People were getting on with their daily lives. What else could they possibly do? There was a strong army presence. Security was being taken very seriously.

Nice has some wonderful Belle Epoque Architecture, a beautiful long stony beach stretching along the sparkling blue Mediterranean, a wonderful rambling old town, lots of stunning churches, a bustling port and during our visit many Christmas activities. We used Nice as a base from which we explored Nice itself, Monaco and Cannes. There are plenty more places left to visit by public transport such as Antibes, Grasse and Ventimiglia. Nice has a very pleasant, laid back atmosphere. There are lots of great places to eat and drink. People were friendly. We would certainly be happy to visit again and explore the surrounding area further. Nice is the fifth biggest city in France. It is the capital of the Alpes Maritimes département. Nice was founded around 350 BC by Greeks settled in Marseille. Nice was originally called Nikaia after Nike, the goddess of victory.

Ibis Styles Nice Centre Gare.

We stayed in this hotel for four nights in December 2015. To get there from the airport we took bus 99 to the train station. The hotel is on the street directly opposite the station, but you have to go to the right, cross another road then double back to the left to be on the correct level. It's a five minute walk from there in the direction of the sea. Check-in was friendly and efficient. Our room was spacious and clean. The bed was very comfortable. We had a lovely balcony. The room does not have a safe or a fridge. As it was cold outside at night we used the balcony as our fridge. Ibis styles favour a slightly quirky design with the odd strange feature such as a palm tree drawn on our bedroom wall and interesting arrangements of seats in the entrance. We quite liked these little touches. Breakfast was good. There were two coffee making machines, a selection of teas, a machine for making freshly squeezed orange juice, other juices. There were cereals and yogurt. There was a selection of fresh bread, croissants, pain au chocolate, toast bread, cheese and cold meat. The only thing missing that I would have liked was a bit of salad: tomato, cucumber, maybe even olives. The location of the hotel was good. There was a large supermarket just a couple of minutes away. You could walk to Nice's main shopping street in around 5 minutes. The old town is around 15 minutes walk away, the beach is around ten minutes away. The hotel was very quiet at night and we slept really well. Check out was quick and efficient. We would both be happy to stay here again. The hotel had free wifi and it worked consistently well throughout our stay. Address: 3 Avenue Durante, 06000.

Ibis Styles Nice Centre Gare. - Nice

Ibis Styles Nice Centre Gare. - Nice

Ibis Styles Nice Centre Gare. - Nice

Ibis Styles Nice Centre Gare. - Nice

Ibis Styles Nice Centre Gare. - Nice

Ibis Styles Nice Centre Gare. - Nice

The Russian Orthodox Cathedral.

One of the first places we visited in Nice was the Russian Orthodox Cathedral and with our impeccable timing we arrived at ten past five to discover it closed at 5pm. Oh well, we could still see it through the fence. The church's full name is the Saint Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral. It is the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral in Western Europe. It was opened in 1912. The Russian nobility began visiting Nice in the mid-19th century. When the railway to Nice was completed in 1864, Tsar Alexander II visited Nice by train. He loved the town and its pleasant climate. An association between Nice and Russia had begun. Directions: Off the Boulevard du Tzarewitch, near the train station (Gare NiceVille).

The Russian Orthodox Cathedral. - Nice

The Russian Orthodox Cathedral. - Nice

Notre Dame De Nice.

We visited this beautiful church twice. First we viewed it at night when it was all lit up, then we revisited it by day. The Basilica of Notre Dame de Nice is a Roman Catholic basilica located on the Avenue Jean Médecin. It was constructed between 1864 and 1868, and was designed by Louis Lenormand. The church was inspired by Angers Cathedral. It has two square towers and a large central rose window. The church is gothic in style and was built to help make Nice more French when it was annexed to France from Italy.

Notre Dame De Nice

Notre Dame De Nice

Notre Dame De Nice

Notre Dame De Nice

Notre Dame De Nice

Notre Dame De Nice

Place Massena.

Place Massena or Massena Square is Nice’s main square which links Nice's Old and New Towns. It is surrounded by beautiful old buildings, all painted red. The Fontaine du Soleil or the Sun Fountain is located near the old town end of the square. As we were there at Christmas, the fountain with its giant statue of Apollo had been enclosed and turned into a giant snow globe. Also in the square, seven statues by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa sit on top of tall poles. These are lit up in bright colors at night. Massena Square is mainly pedestrianized but is open to Nice's trams. During our visit the whole square had become Nice's Christmas Village.

Place Massena - Nice

Place Massena - Nice

Place Massena - Nice

Place Massena - Nice

Place Massena - Nice

Place Massena - Nice

Place Massena - Nice

Place Massena - Nice

The ice palace by day. - Nice

The ice palace by day. - Nice

Nice's Christmas Village.

As we visited Nice at Christmas time, Place Massena, Nice's main square, had been converted into a Christmas Village. It had a giant ferris wheel, an ice palace, an ice-skating rink, a huge Christmas tree and many Christmas stalls selling food,drink and Christmas gifts. The Fountain of the Sun with its huge Apollo statue had been converted into a giant snow globe.

Christmas stalls. - Nice

Christmas stalls. - Nice

The Ice Palace at night. - Nice

The Ice Palace at night. - Nice

The Christmas tree. - Nice

The Christmas tree. - Nice

The snow globe and the big wheel. - Nice

The snow globe and the big wheel. - Nice

Entertainment at the Christmas Market. - Nice

Entertainment at the Christmas Market. - Nice

The Old Town of Nice.

I was very pleasantly surprised by Nice's old town. It is filled with narrow winding streets, colourfully painted buildings, attractive shops, inviting restaurants, wonderful churches and a large market place. The market place is famous for its flower stalls but sells other things, too.

Colourful shop fronts in the old town. - Nice

Colourful shop fronts in the old town. - Nice

Colourful shop fronts in the old town. - Nice

Colourful shop fronts in the old town. - Nice

Peter by a fountain in the old town. - Nice

Peter by a fountain in the old town. - Nice

Narrow winding streets in the old town. - Nice

Narrow winding streets in the old town. - Nice

Narrow winding streets in the old town. - Nice

Narrow winding streets in the old town. - Nice

Nice's Cathedral. - Cathedral Sainte Reparate

Nice's old town is home to the wonderful Cathedral de Sainte Reparate. The cathedral is dedicated to Sainte Reparate, a virgin who was martyred. Her remains are sheltered inside the cathedral. The cathedral was built between 1650 and 1699. It has a bell tower and ten chapels. There are some wonderful works of art inside the cathedral. It was also home to a beautiful nativity scene during our visit. The cathedral's holy door, which is normally kept closed, was open during our visit by order of the pope as 2015 to 2016 is the Year of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy for the Catholic Church. I had never heard of a Jubilee Year, but have looked it up and found that it is a special year of remission of sins and universal pardon. Normally the pope opens the holy door in Saint Peter's, Rome during a Jubilee Year, but this year he ordered a holy Door open in every diocese around the world.

Nice Cathedral. - Nice

Nice Cathedral. - Nice

Nice Cathedral. - Nice

Nice Cathedral. - Nice

The Holy Door. - Nice

The Holy Door. - Nice

The Holy Door. - Nice

The Holy Door. - Nice

Nativity Scene. - Nice

Nativity Scene. - Nice

Place Rossetti.

Place Rossetti is the lovely square which is home to Nice Cathedral. It is surrounded by narrow streets and lots of shops and restaurants. It was also the location of a very large nativity scene during our visit. The French, we noticed, seem to like life size nativity scenes with moving figures.

Place Rossetti - Nice

Place Rossetti - Nice

Place Rossetti - Nice

Place Rossetti - Nice

Nativity scene, Place Rossetti. - Nice

Nativity scene, Place Rossetti. - Nice

Nativity scene, Place Rossetti. - Nice

Nativity scene, Place Rossetti. - Nice

Shop near Place Rossetti. - Nice

Shop near Place Rossetti. - Nice

Cours Saleya.

Cours Saleya in the old town of Nice is a long open space lined with restaurants and bars. It is home to Nice's fruit and vegetable market and its flower market. On Mondays there is an antique and flea market instead of the flower market.

Flower market, Cours Saleya. - Nice

Flower market, Cours Saleya. - Nice

Flower Market, Cours Saleya. - Nice

Flower Market, Cours Saleya. - Nice

Cours Saleya. - Nice

Cours Saleya. - Nice

Restaurant, Cours Saleya. - Nice

Restaurant, Cours Saleya. - Nice

Church, Cours Saleya. - Nice

Church, Cours Saleya. - Nice

The Castle of Nice - Parc de la Colline du Château.

At one time there was a castle perched on the hill overlooking Nice. Now very little of the actual castle remains only a few foundations, a gateway and some walls. This area is also home to the cascade a large, artificial waterfall. As well as this, there are the remains of the former eleventh century Cathedral of Nice. There are also walkways paved with colourful modern day mosaics. It is possible to get here by a free lift from Cours Saleya. This was not working when we visited. We walked up the hill. It was not a difficult walk. The main reason to visit the castle hill is for the stunning views which I will explain in a different tip. There was also a lovely monumental cemetery which I will also explain in a separate tip.
Directions: Vieille Ville.

Mosaic walkway. - Nice

Mosaic walkway. - Nice

Mosaic walkway. - Nice

Mosaic walkway. - Nice

The cascade. - Nice

The cascade. - Nice

Seagulls swimming in the cascade. - Nice

Seagulls swimming in the cascade. - Nice

Me at the viewpoint at the top of the cascade. - Nice

Me at the viewpoint at the top of the cascade. - Nice

Peter enjoying the view. - Nice

Peter enjoying the view. - Nice

Remains of the cathedral. - Nice

Remains of the cathedral. - Nice

The Castle of Nice - Views over Nice.

It is possible to get to the top of castle hill on foot, by lift or on the little train. However, you choose to get there, it is well worth the effort, because although little remains of the actual castle itself, the views over Nice from the top of the hill are absolutely breathtaking.

Views over Nice. - Nice

Views over Nice. - Nice

Views over Nice. - Nice

Views over Nice. - Nice

Views over Nice. - Nice

Views over Nice. - Nice

Views over Nice. - Nice

Views over Nice. - Nice

Views over Nice Port.

Don't just look at the view in one direction when you climb up Castle Hill. On one side you have a spectacular view over Nice town and its lovely, long beach. On the other side, you have a spectacular view over the port of Nice. This view is also absolutely breathtaking.

The view over the Port of Nice. - Nice

The view over the Port of Nice. - Nice

The view over the Port of Nice. - Nice

The view over the Port of Nice. - Nice

The view over the Port of Nice. - Nice

The view over the Port of Nice. - Nice

The view over the Port of Nice. - Nice

The view over the Port of Nice. - Nice

The Port Of Nice

The Port Of Nice

The Port Of Nice

The Port Of Nice

The Cemetery on Castle Hill.

As well as visiting the remains and gazing at the views, while on Castle Hill, visit the beautiful monumental cemetery. It has three sections: Catholic, Protestant and Jewish. Many of the monuments were very elaborate and beautiful. There was a little chapel near the gate. Inside it had a nativity scene using life size mannequins. The mannequins not selected for the display were just dumped on the floor at the side. All those broken limbs and dismembered bodies made it look like a massacre had taken place. Eerily disturbing and not what you want to find in a cemetery. Address: Rue des Ponchettes, Rue de Foresta.

Art in the chapel. - Nice

Art in the chapel. - Nice

The cemetery on Castle Hill. - Nice

The cemetery on Castle Hill. - Nice

The cemetery on Castle Hill. - Nice

The cemetery on Castle Hill. - Nice

Massacre of unwanted mannequins. - Nice

Massacre of unwanted mannequins. - Nice

Nativity scene in the chapel. - Nice

Nativity scene in the chapel. - Nice

Promenade des Anglais.

Nice is home to a very long stretch of pebbly beach next to the sparkling blue waters of the Bay of Angels. A long walkway known as the Promenade des Anglais runs along the waterfront. In the second half of the eighteenth century, many wealthy English people began spending the winter in Nice, due to its mild climate. In 1820 when a there was a large influx of beggars to the city, they were put to work building Nice's long promenade. The promenade was paid for by the Rev Lewis Way.

Promenade des Anglais. - Nice

Promenade des Anglais. - Nice

Promenade des Anglais. - Nice

Promenade des Anglais. - Nice

Promenade des Anglais. - Nice

Promenade des Anglais. - Nice

Promenade des Anglais. - Nice

Promenade des Anglais. - Nice

Promenade des Anglais. - Nice

Promenade des Anglais. - Nice

The beach at Nice - Nice

The beach at Nice - Nice

The Hotel de Ville, Town Hall.

Nice has an attractive looking town hall or Hotel de Ville which is located in the old town close to the Cours Saleya. It was built in the first half of the eighteenth century. It had a rather attractive Christmas tree outside during our visit. Address: Southeast section of Nice.

The Hotel de Ville. - Nice

The Hotel de Ville. - Nice

The Hotel de Ville. - Nice

The Hotel de Ville. - Nice

The Hotel de Ville. - Nice

The Hotel de Ville. - Nice

The Hotel de Ville at night. - Nice

The Hotel de Ville at night. - Nice

The Opera House.

Nice has a rather grand opera house in the old town. It is the third opera house to occupy this site. The first was demolished, the second burnt down in a tragic fire caused by a gas leak. The present Opera House was designed by architect François Aune. It opened on February 7th 1885 with a production of Verdi’s Aida.

The Opera House. - Nice

The Opera House. - Nice

The Opera House. - Nice

The Opera House. - Nice

The Promenade Du Paillon.

The River Paillon once separated the old and new parts of Nice. Nowadays most of it has been covered over and made into a long stretch of pleasant parkland. We walked along it starting from the sea. Part of it goes through Place Massena and its Christmas Market which I wrote about in another trip. It is also home to statues, children's playgrounds, theatres and museums.

The Promenade Du Paillon

The Promenade Du Paillon

The Promenade Du Paillon

The Promenade Du Paillon

The Promenade Du Paillon

The Promenade Du Paillon

The Promenade Du Paillon

The Promenade Du Paillon

The Promenade Du Paillon

The Promenade Du Paillon

Place Garibaldi.

Place Garibaldi or Garibaldi Square is one of the oldest and the largest squares in Nice. It was designed by Antonio Spinelli in the second half of the eighteenth century. In its centre stands a statue of Garibaldi. It is between the old town and the Promenade de Paillion.

Place Garibaldi

Place Garibaldi

Place Garibaldi

Place Garibaldi

Monument Aux Morts.

We walked past this monument on our way to the Port of Nice. It is located at the bottom of Castle Hill on the side nearest the port. This monument was inaugurated in 1928 in honour of the 4,000 people of Nice who died in World War I. We also passed this monument at night when it was lit up in the colours of the French flag.

Monument Aux Morts

Monument Aux Morts

Monument Aux Morts

Monument Aux Morts

Monument Aux Morts

Monument Aux Morts

Restaurants.

Hotel Negresco.

We did not stay in the Negresco, but we did walk along the Promenade des Anglais and stop to have a look at it. The Negresco was named after Henri Negresco, who had the palatial hotel constructed in 1912. Henri Negresco was the son of a Romanian innkeeper. He left home at fifteen and went to Paris, then the French Riviera. Over time he became more and more successful eventually becoming the director of the Municipal Casino in Nice. He had the Negresco built to attract wealthy clients to his casino. The Hotel Negresco has a famous restaurant Le Chantecler. We did not go inside the hotel. It had a sign up saying it had changed its visiting policy and only hotel guests were allowed inside. I think this may be a security measure. There is a famous statue outside the hotel. Address: 37 Promenade des Anglais, Nice, French Riviera Cote d'Azur, 06000, France.

Hotel Negresco. - Nice

Hotel Negresco. - Nice

Restaurant at Hotel Negresco. - Nice

Restaurant at Hotel Negresco. - Nice

Famous statue outside Hotel Negresco. - Nice

Famous statue outside Hotel Negresco. - Nice

One of the statues outside Hotel Negresco. - Nice

One of the statues outside Hotel Negresco. - Nice

Ma Nolan's Irish Pub: Pleasant Place To Eat In Nice.

This Irish pub/restaurant is located in the old town near Cours Saleya. We went here on Christmas Day after spending the day in Monaco. The service was friendly and efficient. The food and draft beer were good. I had a chicken burger and my husband had the beef and ale pie. Both meals were tasty and hot. The price was reasonable. We sat at the front part of the restaurant, because the restaurant was very busy. This proved to be quite smoky, which I normally don't mind, but I must admit it was a bit of a pain smelling of smoke on holiday when I could not wash my clothes.

Pleasant Place To Eat In Nice.

Pleasant Place To Eat In Nice.

Pleasant Place To Eat In Nice.

Pleasant Place To Eat In Nice.

Pleasant Place To Eat In Nice.

Pleasant Place To Eat In Nice.

Point of View: Pleasant Spot For Refreshments.

This little cafe is at the top of Castle Hill. It is located close to the viewpoint and has pleasant views from its outdoor seats. These are over the town, to see the view over the sea you must go to the viewpoint. We stopped here for a drink and to use the toilet. There was a charge of 50 cents for the toilet, but I think that was for non-customers. Service was pleasant. The people near us had snacks and they looked nice. We just had a drink. The little train stops right next to this cafe.

Pleasant Spot For Refreshments.

Pleasant Spot For Refreshments.

Pleasant Spot For Refreshments.

Pleasant Spot For Refreshments.

Pleasant Spot For Refreshments.

Pleasant Spot For Refreshments.

Pleasant Spot For Refreshments.

Pleasant Spot For Refreshments.

Posted by irenevt 03:48 Archived in France

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