Located on the southeast coast of France, this Mediterranean city is called "Nice la Belle" (Nice the Beautiful) for good reason. Between its comfortable climate and rich lifestyle, you will see why so many people are captivated by this gorgeous seaside destination.
Promenade des Anglais
One of Nice's most recognizable attractions, Promenade des Anglais is lined with cafes on the beach. Locals cycle, run and roller blade in the cool sea breeze. This famous Mediterranean promenade has become an icon of the French Riviera. Take a seat in one of the promenade's blue chairs and view the blue water out ahead. Aside from offering a terrific vantage point, the promenade is close to numerous sights so keep your eyes open: Palais de la Mediterranee, Casino Ruhl, The Hotel Negresco and Place Massena.
Cathédrale Orthodoxe Saint-Nicolas de Nice
Nice's Russian Orthodox Cathedral is the largest Orthodox cathedral in Western Europe. It is distinctly Russian yet has become a national landmark of France. It boasts a classic Russian architectural style with onion-shaped domes. Amid the gorgeous Mediterranean trees, the cathedral creates a stark contrast. It was a 1912 gift--lavishly decorated with icons and ornaments--from Russia's Tsar Nicholas II. This stylistic masterpiece is a truly unique structure for the region.
Like old town sections in other cities, Vieille has the old, preserved architecture and narrow streets you would expect. The various markets of Old Nice make for fun shopping. The popular Cours Saleya flower market features locally-grown flowers. The neighborhood also has arts and crafts markets, as well as opportunities to see some precious antiques. The Rue Saint François de Paule has wonderful shops as well, selling soaps and sweets. This is also where you can find the historic L'Opera. For a fantastic view of Old Nice's red rooftops, stroll to Le Chateau. This shaded hillside park is near the eastern end of Quai des États-Unis. Despite its name, there is no house at Le Chateau. The name comes from a 12th century château that was once there.
Henri Matisse founded the Fauves, the first major 20th century art movement, and the Matisse Museum can be found near the Franciscan monastery on the hill of Cimiez. Opened in 1963, the museum exhibits one of the world's largest Matisse collections from every era of Matisse's varied artistic career. This collection includes paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings, illustrated books and paper cut-outs. Matisse made the first donation to the museum himself on Oct. 21, 1953. Afterward, Matisse's wife and heirs gave more work to the museum. In 1987, the state donated two large drawings to the museum.
When the ancient Romans spread throughout the Mediterranean, they ruled over the area that is now Nice. The Romans referred to this province within their empire as Alpes Maritimae. The capital of this province was Cemenelum, now known as Cimiez, one of Nice's districts. Nice has one of France's best collection of Roman ruins. The Nice Archaeology Museum preserves ancient artifacts, classical sculptures and Roman baths. At this site, an old Roman amphitheater is largely intact.