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About Nice

French Riviera, France

There are very few towns which typify the French Riviera more than Nice. The official name of the city is Nice La Belle, or Nice the beautiful, and it has a population of over 350,000 inhabitants which makes it the second largest city on the Riviera after Marseille. With over 4 million visitors a year, Nice is one of the most visited cities in France and after Paris it has the busiest airport and greatest number of hotels in France. The city is situated directly on the Mediterranean Sea and is now a commercial seaport and ferry terminal, the older profession of fishing having virtually died out with only around 10 commercial fishing vessels now being based out of Nice.

A short history of nice

It is difficult to be totally precise as to when the first inhabitants of the area appeared, but Nice is the site of the Terra Amataarchaeological dig which shows indications of man’s first use of fire, together with flint buildings which date back some 230,000 years. Nice itself was so named by the Greeks who founded a colony there in 300BC, its original name being Nikaia after the goddess of victory, Nike. The city’s history is heavily connected with Italy, Nice having predominantly been under the rule of the Counts of Savoy. In the 16th century Italian was declared the official language of Nice, but then the city was captured by Barbarossa, its rule not coming under Savoy governance again until the late 17th century. It first came under French rule in 1794 after its capture by the French First Republic, reverting back to Italian and Sardinian rule 22 years later and it was not until after the Treaty of Turin signed between the King of Sardinia and Napoleon III that Nice came under French possession for the final time, despite being occupied by the Italians during the Second World War.

tourist attractions in nice

Part of Nice’s success as a tourist resort is its accessibility, despite the presence of the Alps. The A8 autoroute connects Nice with the rest of the Riviera and Italy, while there are direct international flights to and from Nice Cote d’Azur Airport and the port brings in over 1 million visitors on an annual basis. It was around the latter half of the 18th century that the English discovered Nice as a holiday destination and the city’s popularity with them saw them fund the creation of what is now known as the ‘Promenade des Anglais’ along the sea front. One of the most impressive hotels along this promenade is the Hotel Negresco which first opened in 1913. One of the biggest attractions of Nice is the abundance of substantial open squares within the city centre, many pedestrianized owing to the tramway which runs throughout the city, these squares including Place Méssina, Place Garibaldi, Place du Palais and CoursSaleya.

festivals and events in nice

Nice is without doubt one of the most multicultural cities in France and throughout the year there are festivals and events which cater for all interests. For two weeks in May and June there is the ‘Crossover Festival’ which is an eclectic mix of music and dance, while June to September in 2013 sees the 50th museum anniversary exhibition for the painter Matisse. From May to August sees Nice Été, which is a series of summer concerts and plays, while in the first week of June is the ‘Festival du Livre’ or Book Festival. At the end of September there is the annual Nice triathlon.


The influence of Provence and surrounding areas is clear to see in the gastronomy of Nice, but being a port, the city has always had access to additional ingredients from throughout the world. Nice is perhaps best known for the ‘salad niçoise’, which combines tomatoes with anchovies, egg, black olives and green ‘corne’ peppers, plus there is also the local speciality of Pan-Bagnat, which is basically a large crusty roll with a salad niçoise filling. Pissaladiere is a local tart made from onions and anchovy paste, while ‘socca’ is a form of pancake made from chickpeas and there is also farcisniçoise, which are vegetables stuffed with sausage meat and breadcrumbs.

recommended restaurants in nice
L'Aromate 20 av. Mar. Foch F - 06000 Nice
Phone: +33-493629824
La Cashbah 3 r. Dr Balestre F - 06000 Nice
Phone: +33-493855881
Flaveur 25 r. Gubernatis F - 06000 Nice
Phone: +33-493625395
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villa rentals in the nice area
The Frogs House

Looking for an unforgettable experience in a typical French village, 15km from Nice and the French Riviera ? Come to enjoy our 7 cosy bedrooms with views to the sea and over the surrounding hills.

  • Villa Belmonte "Villa Belmont" is a brand new luxury villa in the beautiful old village of Biot in the South of France.
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    Nice Properties
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    We offer the widest choice of hotels, from budget to deluxe, relaxed to lively, family friendly to child free properties. We also offer a large number of upgraded and refurbished rooms within not available through any other tour operator.
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    To achieve the guest satisfaction we aim at, we need to live according to a strong and very clear set of values. And we do. Our approach to customer service is simple. Everything we do has one purpose: Making People Feel Special
    We speak your language
    Our staff is multilingual and speaks English, Spanish, German, French and Dutch
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