Postcards from Southern France: Nice in a nutshell

The French city of Nice is well known for its particular charm and privileged location. The city looks to the sea from the Mediterranean coast, sitting with the mountains behind.

Although the summers may look hot to some tourists, the winters are mild, and the weather goes to the freezing temperatures only exceptionally.

The Nice Train Station (Gare de Nice-Ville)

The Nice Train Station (Gare de Nice-Ville)

A city of high contrasts, Nice features no transition from poverty to luxury. One can look at the buildings and can easily notice the contrast. Although the signs of modernity are pretty well integrated into the city context, there are city parts were certain modern buildings damage the architectural harmony.

I guess this is an issue not only for Nice, but also for many other cities in their attempt to strike a balance between old and new or to adapt public transport infrastructure to an old city configuration with small streets.

Nice’s Town Hall

The Town Hall of Nice is a building where both neoclassical and Art-Deco styles live in harmony. The building exterior is neoclassical while its interior is Art Deco. The Art Deco indoor decorations were signed by architect Goyeneche, around 1930. For architecture lovers the building is a must-see in Nice.

Nice Town Hall

Nice Town Hall

Over the years the building went through extensive renovation works. Before operating as the official seat of the local administration, the building served as a seminary, a hospital and a military quarter, since its construction in the 18th century.

Nice Town Hall

Nice Town Hall

Nice’s Administration: Tourism, a priority

The Town Hall is too small to accommodate all 7,000 staff, therefore the staff work in different office locations. The staff are involved in about 300 types of activities: urban planning, law, finances, music, social assistance, gardening, fire fighting, sports, police, to name a few.

Although most of local French authorities focus on local tourism, the administration of Nice threats it as a priority. We noticed that the administration website pays attention to promoting the touristic opportunities in the city and region. It appears that the website team spends a significant amount of time on updating the content and producing news.

A beautiful narrow street in the Old Nice

A beautiful narrow street in the Old Nice

The administration publishes key information on Nice and its people. According to the latest figures of 2012, Nice has got 343,629 inhabitants, with a high population density: 4,778 inhabitants per square kilometre. Population wise, Nice is the 5th largest French city.

Why was worth spending ten days in Nice

We were “running” from here to there to see and visit as much as we could. We walked a lot and remembered the old days when Romain Gary used to do the same with his pockets full of fresh cucumbers, his favourite food.

A square in Old Nice

A square in Old Nice

People are kind and the food is great. Restaurants are affordable. The Old Nice area is the best known for its restaurants. Both local and regional public transport means are cheap and enable one to easily get to the Nice’s neighbouring cities and villages.

Certainly ten days were not enough to cover what we had in mind. So, we will come back for sure.

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