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Old Town of Nice

Old Town of Nice

Nice Old Town is a characterful district in the south of the city. It forms a triangle, hemmed in by the port to the east and Castle Hill to the west, where the Promenade des Anglais runs out. The glittering water of the Mediterranean lines its southern edge. To the north is the Promenade du Paillon. Once, this was a river, but a series of floods led successive city governments to order that it should be covered up. Today, it’s a beautiful park.

Tightly packed tenements line the narrow streets. Their ground floors are full of shops, restaurants, bars, museums and galleries. Above are residential apartments adorned with wrought iron balconies and brightly painted wooden shutters. You could argue that those living in the Vieille Ville, as it’s known, boast the best address in Nice. With neighbourhoods as charming as this, it certainly isn’t hard to see why many refer to the city as Nice La Belle (Nissa La Bella according to the local Niçois) – ‘Nice the Beautiful’.

What to see and do in Nice Old Town?
Visitors come to see the many churches that litter the streets and squares of Old Nice. Among them is the Cathedral of Saint Reparata, which graces pretty Place Rossetti. Construction of this landmark religious building began in 1650, but it has been added to and altered many times over the years, most recently in 1949. The adjoining bell tower, for instance, is a 17th-century embellishment. Saint Reparata is the city’s patron saint and relics belonging to this 3rd-century martyr are interred in the cathedral.

Lascaris Palace also dates from the 17th century and was originally a mansion belonging to an aristocrat. Today, it’s open to the public as a museum. The building houses an extensive collection of musical instruments, including vintage guitars, violins, harps and saxophones. A Niçois man called Antoine Gautier collected many of them. He lived in the city during the 19th century. When he died, he bequeathed his treasures to the city.