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Prefecture of Alpes-Maritimes (06)
Population: 340,000 (Niçois) and 537,000 in the 49 communes of Nice Côte d’Azur.
Celebrities: Garibaldi (19th century general and politician), Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy, Yves Klein (painters), Arman Jean Sosno (sculptor), Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, Louis Nucera, Max Gallo, Didier Van Cauwelaert (writers), Simone Veil (politician), Georges Lautner, Jean-Pierre Mocky (film directors), Michelle Mercier, Mylène Demongeot, Michèle Laroque (actresses), Denise Fabre (TV personality), Dick Rivers, Jenifer, Rose, Medi (singers), Yannick Agnel, Clément Lefert, Camille Muffat (swimmers), Jean-Pierre Dick (yachtsman), Suzanne Lenglen (tennis), Hugo Lloris (footballer), Surya Bonaly (figure skater), Gilles Veissière (football referee), Marcel Huot (Tour stage winner in 1928).
Specialities: pissaladière, fougasse, socca, brissaouda, tapenade, salade niçoise, pan bagnat, porchetta, trulle, ratatouille, daube niçoise (stew), bellet (wine)
Sport: OGC Nice (football), OGC Nice Handball (women’s Ligue 1), Olympic Nice Natation.
Events: Paris-Nice cycling. Iron Man France. Open de Nice tennis.
Culture: Nice carnival (February), Crossover Festival (May), Nice book festival (June), Nice Jazz Festival (July), Festival International des Musiques d’Aujourd’hui Manca (November), Holy Art Festival (December). 18 museums and galleries including Archaeology museum, Massena museum (art and history), museum of modern and contemporary art, Matisse museum, Chagall museum, theatre of Photography and Image. Cinémathèque de Nice.
Economy: tourism, business tourism, commerce, building and real estate, third airport in France.
Devise: Nice la très fidèle (Nice the very faithful)
Signature: capital of Côte d’Azur
Labels: ville fleurie (4), ville Internet 5@
NICE AND CYCLING
In 2013, for the 100th edition of the Tour de France, Nice had been back on the Tour map, 32 years after hosting the Grand Départ in 1981. Back on the mainland from Corsica, team Orica Greenedge won the team time trial to hand the yellow jersey to Simon Gerrans, already a stage winner in Calvi. The Australian outfit kept the Tour reins for four days, Gerrans handing the overall lead to team-mate Daryl Impey, who became the first South-African to don the yellow jersey.
In 1981, Bernard Hinault had swapped the world champions rainbow jersey with the yellow by winning the prologue. The next two stages saw victories by Fredy Maertens and by team Ti-Raleigh, whose Gerry Knetemann took the GC lead over from the Badger. “Nice the very faithful » is the city’s motto and it could apply to the Tour since it hosted the race 36 times since 1906. Outside the Tour, the prefecture of Alpes-Maritimes also welcomes the world peloton every year in spring for the finale of Paris-Nice. In 77 editions, the Race to the Sun, was won by 12 Tour de France winners. Six won both the same year, including Egan Bernal in 2019.
Nice is also the hometown, of one of the most famous cycling writers in France, novelists Luis Nucera, author of a famous “King René’ biography of René Vietto and of novel “Mes rayons de soleil”, in which he tells how, in 1985 at the age of 85, he rode the 1949 course of the Tour de France. Countless pro riders hailed from Nice, among them Lucien Teisseire, winner of three stages between 1947 and 1954, Pierre Molineris, stage winner in 1952 or Charly Bérard, loyal team-mate of Bernard Hinault, who rode in seven Tours de France.
Garibaldi, Hero of Nice
Nice gave birth to one of the most legendary, romantic, but also historically decisive figures of the 19th century: Giuseppe Garibaldi. His aura in his day was such that some portray him as the Che Guevara of the previous century. Abraham Lincoln even considered entrusting his armies to him during the Civil War while in England, young ladies bought water taken from his bath as would the groupies of a rock star. The son of a Nice fisherman, with little interest in education, he lived an extraordinary life from his birth in 1807. Hired as a sailor in his teens, he travelled the Mediterranean and was initiated during a voyage by Saint-Simonians, a political sect advocating scientific progress and friendship between the West and the East. His liberal, republican and anti-clerical ideas came from there. Going from navy into‡ activism, he became associated with Mazzini, creator of the Young Italy movement and an ardent supporter of Italian unification. Garibaldi became one of the leaders of this quest, despite being born French, at a time when Nice briefly passed from Savoy to French rule. Exile took him to Latin America, where he supported the independence movements of Brazil and Uruguay. On his return to Nice, he played a key role in the struggle for the unification of Italy and the peninsula’s battles against Austria or France. Insubordinate, independent, a strong leader but a poor strategist, he achieved many feats but hardly got along with other heroes of Italian independence. Mazzini accused him of siding with royalty while Garibaldi never forgave Cavour for handing his beloved city of Nice to France in 1860. Garibaldi was not anti-French, however, far from it. He supported the men who, in 1870, proclaimed the French Republic and Léon Gambetta even offered him command of the Eastern Front. He was then elected member of Parliament but his election was invalidated by the enemies of the Republic on the grounds that the man who was born French against his will… was Italian! Tired of politics, he then retired to the islet of Caprera, and died there in 1882. "I am from Nice, so I am neither French nor Italian," he wrote, dreaming of a European Union with Nice as its capital.
Promenade des Anglais
Famous promenade of nearly 7 km. It goes along the Mediterranean from the mouth of the Paillon to the mouth of the Magnan.
The creation of this cult boulevard is due to the English who spent winter in Nice. Embellished and enlarged during a century and a half, it has become emblematic of the French Riviera. In the 19th century, a simple path was opened under the pressure of English reverend Lewis Way whose parishioners complained that they did not have a place to stroll along the seashore. It was then nicknamed lou camin dei Ingles (the path of the English in the Nice patois). Enlarged in 1844, it officially became Promenade des Anglais in 1856.
The most famous square in Nice
It was originally made of two squares: place Charles-Albert, a half-circle in neoclassical style, and the proper Massena Square to the north, rectangular in the 18th century style, conceived by architect Joseph Vernier.It was named after Nice-born Empire Marshall André Massena (1758-1817), nicknamed the “dear child of victory” by Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) during the Italian campaign in Rivoli in 1797. The name of Massena is also engraved on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Between 2003 and 2007, during works for the tramway, the esplanade was entirely refurbished by architect Bruno Fortier (1947) to restore its past splendour: mainly pedestrian, paved with black and white stones composing a giant chequerboard. It became one of Nice favourite spots for a walk with the superb Fountaine du Soleil (Fountain of the sun) with bronze statues by Alfred Janniot (1889-1969) representing characters of the Greek and Roman mythologies: Gaia, Mars, Venus, Mercury and Saturn.
Since 2007, as it was decided to plant contemporary works of art all along the tramway line, seven statues by Catalan sculptor Jaume Plensa (1955) were installed on the square. They are Buddhas and scribes made of white resin and set at the top of high masts. At night they are floodlit in different colours representing the seven continents. The whole is titled Conversation in Nice.
Formerly known as Piazza Vitorio, the square was the first extension of the Old Nice. Designed by architect Antonio Spinelli in 1773, it was built between 1782 and 1784.
In 1871, it was renamed after Joseph Garibaldi (1807-1882) as a tribute to the hero of Italian unity (a statue was erected in 1891 in the centre of the square). The rectangular square is 123 metres long and 92 metres wide. With its Dorian arcades and its pillars, Place Garibaldi is inspired by the typical royal squares of Baroque urbanism. Lots of shops, restaurants, luxury boutiques.
Listed as a historical monument in 1906
Built in the 17th century
Built from 1650 to 1699, dedicated to young martyr St. Reparate, the holy patron of Nice whose beheaded body drifted from Palestine in a boat pulled by angels towards Nice. Her remains have rested in the cathedral since 1690.
Before, the building was known as St. Mary of the Castle and was a modest rectangular church.
Inspired by the Santa Susann church in Rome, it is made in a Latin cross plan with a coloured tiled tome in the Genovese style. A campanile was added in the 18th century as well as a Baroque façade in the early 19th century. Ten chapels are hosted inside the nave.
A jewel of Promenade des Anglais. One of the most famous luxury hotels on the French Riviera and in France. Oddly enough, the Negresco is not considered a palace. It was denied the Palace label because it does not have a pool or a spa.
From an idea by Henri Negrescu (1868-1920) and plans by architect Edouard-Jean Niermans (1859-1928), the hotel was inaugurated on January 4, 1913 in front of seven kings and queens. Its façades have a neo-classical frame while their opulent adornments are nearly Baroque. According to legend, the pink dome would be an evocation of Negrescu’s mistress’s breasts. The first year was flourishing but the hotel was confiscated by the military during WWI and was used as a hospital. Several families later ran the hotel, including Jean-Baptiste Mesnage and his wife, who bought it in 1957. Their daughter, Jeanne Augier(1923-2019), owned the Negresco until her death in 2019 at the age of 95.
The hotel is renowned for the many works of art it displays (nearly 6,000) including works by Salvador Dali (1904-1989), Vasarely (1906-1997), César (1921-1998), Niki De Saint-Phalle (1930-2002).
It is impossible to trace the history of socca with certainty except that its origins are very old. Neither Provençal nor Italian, Nice cuisine borrows from one and the other to forge its own identity. In this case, socca is probably a form derived from "farinata", a pancake made from chickpea flour that Italians have been baking in the oven since the Middle Ages. It may have been imported to Nice by the Genoese in the 19th century. It can be found under different names and different forms of pancakes made with chickpea flour from Genoa to Marseille - and in other countries in North Africa, Asia or South America - but it is in Nice that it has definitely taken root in the city's culinary heritage, under the name socca.