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The Nice and Must-See Buildings of Nice


Nice has a rich history (the name Nice heralds from the Greek name Nikaia, which means “City of Victory”). Nice has been inhabited for around 400,000 years. It is thought that the first people to reside in Nice did so in a cave known as the Grotte du Lazaret, they were not lonely, sharing their unique home with stags, oxen and apparently elephants too. Over the years numerous visitors came to Nice – some friendly and some in the form of (less friendly) invaders, but all played a part in influencing and shaping the history of Nice. If you are considering re-locating to the area (there are some delightful properties for sale in Nice), then it’s certainly worth acquainting yourself with its colourful past. There is a plethora of historical buildings that are definitely worth a visit.


Matisse Museum

Henri Matisse deserves a building dedicated to him and not just any old place, how about a 17th century villa that once played host to the museum of archaeology? The setting is unique too, on the top of a hill in Cimiez, in a pretty park lined with olive trees.  We are sure Matisse would have approved. Inside you will find homage to Matisse in the form of his early artwork (including the very first piece he painted – The Nature Mortem Aux Livers), alongside more of his later work.


Basilique Notre-Dame

The large Notre-Dame Church sits majestically in the old town of Nice and was built back in 1848. Up until that point the majority of religious buildings had been created in an Italian Baroque style, so it was refreshing (and probably a little shocking back then) when the Eglise Notre-Dame was built, showcasing a very new look, courtesy of C. Lenormand, and that new look was gothic.


Musée Palais Masséna

If you would like to see the actual death mask of Napoleon (and his coronation robe) then you need to head to The Massena Palace Museum. This place pays homage to history and art and there are over 15,000 exhibits to view – that sounds a lot but when you consider that every room within the building is designed with the history of Nice in mind, it’s no surprise that there are so many things to see.


The museum is in a lovely location, situated on the Promenade des Anglais and surrounded by stunning landscaped gardens (created by well-known designer Edouard Andre).


Cemelenum Amphitheatre

As the remains of an ancient Roman arena, there might not be much left of the Cemelenum Amphitheatre (situated near the Matisse Museum). However, what there is continues to be an important and historical part of Nice, where once there were gladiators, ferocious beasts and brutal executions. Today a nice ham sandwich should be enough to ensure you survive the visit.


Nice by name, Nice by Nature

Nice is a renowned tourist hotspot (no surprise with the many things it has going for it). The pretty hills surrounding Nice offer shelter from inclement weather and help to make sure the climate remains pleasant. If you’re seeking a little warmth and a nice life on the Cote d’Azur we heartily suggest looking at some of the properties for sale in Nice. A new life in the South of France? Oh, go then!


For more information on living in Nice and the French Riviera, contact our friendly team today!