ECHAEno. 3

Places & Things

Nice, France

In 1887, the poet Stéphen Liégeard first coined the term "Cote d'Azur". Of course by then, Provence was already the place to go for well to do English men and women. We had only been in London a week before we decided to go see what all the commotion was about, but it was well worth the trip.

The Vieux Nice is particularly beautiful and not as touristy as one might expect, with plenty of authentic Niçois food and crafts. You should definitely sample some of the local cusine and a street vendor's Nutella crepes are the perfect treat after some late night bar hopping.

The downsides: crowds and parking. After all Nice isn't a little known corner of the world and its one of France's largest cities. On Saturday night, we ended up waiting in a queue for a parking garage to empty out.

Overall, a fantastic trip and I wouldn't be surprised if we find ourselves visiting again next year.


The foundation of ancient Nice was on the Colline du Chateau positioned between the port and the Vieux Nice, where the Greek Massaliote would later establish the colony of Nikaia, from the goddess Nike.

The Romans settled in 14 BC and established Cemenelum, at Cimiez, as the regional center of the Alpes Maritimae. Cemenelum was never seriously threatened until the decline of the Roman occupation along with the Western Roman Empire at the end of the 4th century.

Medieval Nice grew up around the cathedral on the Colline du Chateau. In 1388, eastern Provence passed under the rule of the Maison de Savoie, and the Comté de Nice was formed as a new province, with Nice as the principal city. Nice remained the key defensive point for the Var, centered around the Colline du Chateau.

In 1543, after combined French and Turkish forces took momentary control of the citadel, the inhabitants of the upper city regrouped down below, at the site of old Nikaia, to form what eventually became the present city of Nice.

Louis XIV occupied Nice in 1691-1696, and again in 1706-1713 when he destroyed the Chateau and all other military installations.

At the start of the Restauration, in 1814, Nice returned to control of Savoy, and became even more popular with foreign visitors, especially the English. The Promenade des Anglais was built, along with other amenities for the visitors.

The treaty of 24 March 1860, followed by a plebiscite on 15-16 April, returned the Comté de Nice to France, and its popularity as a winter resort increased even more.

Bryce Ashdown