Postcards from Southern France: Nice’s Prom du Paillon

Nice’s Promenade du Paillon or shorter Prom du Paillon is a large green corridor linking the National Theatre area with the Promenade des Anglais on the seacoast. Being known as an urban park covering 12 ha, it was built on the river bearing the same name, Paillon.

The Prom du Paillon has got two major sustainable benefits for Nice. It overcomes the floods of the Paillon, a mountain torrent, which troubled the city in the past. The second one makes Nice greener and offers an entertaining space to both locals and tourists. The Prom length is about 1.2 km.

The water jets running on Prom de Paillon in Nice

The water jets running on Prom de Paillon in Nice

The Nice’s inhabitants are very proud of the Prom. They consider it a green carpet in the heart of the city heading to the blue carpet of the sea. The Prom has also got a symbolic cultural meaning. It establishes a coherent link between the strong Italian accent of the Old Nice’s architecture and the French fascinating architecture of the 19th century’s Nice.

The mirror effect when the water jets stop on Prom du Paillon, Nice

The mirror effect when the water jets stop on Prom du Paillon, Nice

The Prom offers a number of attractions. Walking the Prom is like touring the world. There are plants from all over the places in the worlds, from all continents.

The Mediterranean area is the best represented with oaks, pines, cypresses, olive trees, grape vines, pomegranate, fig trees and many others.

The most surprising area is the Prom water mirror, a gigantic open space where 128 water jets run randomly. No one knows when the water comes out. We saw children with their parents who were waiting for the jets to push the water and then to enjoy a natural shower in the sun. They enjoyed any and every moment, given the 32 degree outside temperature.

When the water was on, a huge lake appeared in front of us. The wet ground amplified the sunlight, so the mirror effect was marvellous. The place then deserves such a metaphoric name, “Water mirror”.

It is hard to imagine the water mirror in winter. Or perhaps the jets hibernate. We shall look for this piece of information or better go to Nice in wintertime.

Another remarkable area is around the Lycée Masséna. It is a large garden with clove pink plants (Dianthus caryophyllus, or carnation). The habitants of Nice want to remind us the days when they were world leaders as florists, surpassing the Netherlands. We read somewhere that once Nice was the world capital of flowers, mainly between 1950-1960. Destructive fungus, building construction pressure and the tough competition of the Dutch florists were the reasons of loosing the title.

The water jets running next to Masséna Place in Nice

The water jets running next to Masséna Place in Nice

One day is not enough to explore and enjoy all the Prom attractions. We plan to come back and revisit the Prom, for sure.

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