Set at an elevation of 302 feet, Parc du Château is the perfect place to look out over the Baie des Anges and the spires of Vieux Nice. A château dating from the 1100s, after which this hilltop park is named, used to stand near the eastern end of Quai des États-Unis. However, it was destroyed under orders from Louis XIV in 1706 during a fit of temper. Sadly, it was never rebuilt. One tower is left standing; the Tour Bellanda, dating from the 1500s. The Musée Naval is situated here. In the northwest section of the park is a cemetery – it is here that Garibaldi was laid to rest. Of all the things to see in Nice France this is one you should not miss because it has great views over the city.
The Musée des Beaux-Arts is situated in a beautiful belle époque villa dating from the late 19th century. Here, masterpieces from impressionist painters like Sisley, Bonnard and Monet, as well as works by Fragonard and Raoul Dufy, are complemented by Rodin sculptures. There are also works by Alexis Mossa, the famous artist of obscure symbolist watercolours, and Jules Chéret, who today is fondly known as the ‘Father of the Poster’. If you visit the Nice Carnival, you will see a number of floats which have been inspired by Mossa’s paintings.
Musée Masséna charts the absorbing history of Nice and the Riviera from the early 1800s right up to the Second World War. This is the story of royalty, the various roles that the Americans, British and Russians played in the city, tourism and the Nice Carnival, to list just a few of the city’s influences over the past two centuries. The museum is situated in a very impressive Italianate neoclassical villa dating from the late 19th century. The rooms on the ground floor are used by the city for official events. Inside, you can explore the furniture, paintings, photographs, memorabilia and art deco posters that bring the history of Nice to life.
The bluish grey and yellow Église du Gesù (also known as the Église Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur Nice, or Church of Jesus) is a Jesuit Baroque church near Rue Rossetti that took 43 years to be constructed. It finally reached completion in the mid 17th century. Its architect, Santi Martiri de Turin, took his inspiration for its design from the Église du Gesù in the city of Rome – hence the Corinthian frontage of the building. The brick bell tower is 138 feet high, and polychrome tiles were used for the roof of the dome. Around the interior are patterns telling the life story of Saint Jacques le Majeur.
Although the Mercantour National Park is situated well off the beaten track, it is this separation from civilization which makes it so awe-inspiring. This is amongst France’s few remaining “wild” places, established in 1979. It is spread over 264.5 square miles and six valleys on the border with Italy. As a result you will find all sorts of micro-climates here, from the snowy mountains of the Alps to the heat of the Mediterranean. There are 373 miles of marked trails which bring hikers through the various villages of the National Park.