Nice, is the fifth most populous city in France and the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes département. The urban area of Nice extends beyond the administrative city limits, with a population of about 1 million on an area of (721 km/278 sq mi). Located in the French Riviera, on the south east coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, at the foot of the Alps, Nice is the second-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast and the second-largest city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region after Marseille. Nice is about (13 kilometres/8 miles) from the principality of Monaco, and its airport is a gateway to the principality as well.
The first known hominid settlements in the Nice area date back about 400,000 years; the Terra Amata archeological site shows one of the earliest uses of fire, construction of houses, and flint findings dated to around 230,000 years ago. Nice was probably founded around 350 BC by the Greeks of Massalia, and was given the name of Nikaia in honour of a victory over the neighbouring Ligurians; Nike was the Greek goddess of victory. The city soon became one of the busiest trading ports on the Ligurian coast; but it had an important rival in the Roman town of Cemenelum, which continued to exist as a separate city until the time of the Lombard invasions. The ruins of Cemenelum are in Cimiez, now a district of Nice. After the Treaty of Turin was signed in 1860 between the Sardinian king and Napoleon III, the County was again and definitively ceded to France as a territorial reward for French assistance in the Second Italian War of Independence against Austria, which saw Lombardy united with Piedmont-Sardinia. The cession was ratified by a regional referendum: over 25,000 electors out of a total of 30,700 were in favour of the attachment to France. Savoy was also transferred to the French crown by similar means. Giuseppe Garibaldi, born in Nice, opposed the cession to France, arguing that the ballot was rigged by the French. Italian irredentists considered the acquisition of Nice to be one of their main nationalist goals, along with Istria, Dalmatia, Corsica and Trentino. In 1942–1943 the city was occupied and administered by Italy.
Nice is the second most popular French city among tourists after Paris, which, combined with the difficulties of the terrestrial communications at long distance (because of the Alpes), allows Nice to have the second busiest airport of France in terms of passenger numbers (around 10,000,000 passengers in 2005).
Nice has two conference centres, Palais des Congrès Acropolis and Palais des Congrès de Nice. Nice has several business parks; l’ Arenas, Nice the Plain, Nice Méridia, Saint Isidore, Northern Forum. There are also several shopping centres in Nice like Nice Star, Nice TNL, Nice Lingostière, Northern Forum, St-Isidore, the Trinity (around the Auchan hypermarket) and Cape 3000 with Saint-Laurent-du-Var.
Places to visit
The Promenade des Anglais is a promenade along the Mediterranean at Nice, France. It extends from the airport on the west to the Quai des États-Unis or United States Quay on the east, a distance of approximately 7 km. Administratively speaking, it forms part of Route nationale 98, which runs between Toulon and Menton.
The Musée Matisse in Nice is a national museum devoted to the work of French painter Henri Matisse. It gathers one of the world’s largest collections of his works, tracing his artistic beginnings and his evolution through his last works. The museum, which opened in 1963, is located in the Villa des Arènes, a seventeenth-century villa in the neighborhood of Cimiez.
Things to do
The Place Masséna is a historic square in Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, France. It was named for André Masséna. Its layout was designed by Joseph Vernier in 1843-1844.
Nice Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church located in the old town of Nice in southern France. It is the seat of the Diocese of Nice. The cathedral was built between 1650 and 1699, the year of its consecration. It is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and Saint Reparata. It has been classed as a national monument since 9 August 1906.