This interactive panorama presents the seafront of Nice, from the Rauba Capèu to the airport, realized in 2015 by the photographer Olivier Monge for the exhibition « The Promenade, inventing a new city », set up in summer 2015 at the Masséna museum.
Since the XXth century, the banks of the river Var offer a conducive area to the installation of major leisure facilities, such as the Bois de Boulogne Park, the racecourse, the aerodrome or even the film studios, witnesses of a booming activity. The urban development, consequence of great economic and demographic changes, gradually extends to the bed of the Var, conquering the neighbourhood of Sainte-Hélène, or the hamlet of fishermen of Carras. The regattas, the airshows enliven this side of the Baie des Anges.
In the XXth century the airport becomes the international access of the city, like the station did in the XIXth century. In 1965, the Administrative Departmental Centre and the International Market boost economic activity, closely followed by the Arénas business centre. Today a big project for a multimodal hub is being carried out, in order to connect the airport and a TGV (high-speed train) station to the city centre of Nice by a tramway line. A modern service, silent and fast, will replace the old XIXth century carriage rides.
This part of the Promenade des Anglais reveals the complexity of its history. In this segment is located the oldest aristocratic villa remaining, the current Villa Fortunado-Heine, which was, at the end of the 18th century, the residence of Lady Penelope Rivers, figure of the first English community in Nice. You can also find some of the most remarkable apartment buildings constructed in the '30s, '40s and '50s, like « Le Forum » and « Le Capitole » by Dikansky Architecture Studio or « Le Palais Mary » and « Gloria Mansions » by Kevork Arsenian.
The perpendicular streets to the Promenade des Anglais cross the old road, now called rue de France, and lead to the heights of the city, crossing many green spaces such as the square Alsace-Lorraine.
Avenues, streets and squares are lined with remarkable buildings, in particular numerous apartment buildings, called "palaces". The hills of Nice, instead, are a much elitist places, with their beautiful villas and winter gardens, notably on the hill of Baumettes, or their princely residences, on the Piol for example, the quintessential neighborhood of the Russians residents, who have also built their cathedral here.
In the middle of the 1700, the new winter visitors choose as residence destination the right bank of the Paillon, an area still agricultural which offer a pastoral and relaxing life style, very appreciated. The neighborhood Croix-de-Marbre, called the « New Borough » is the germ of a real new city made for leisure and walking in public spaces decorated with exotic plants. Gradually the « Chemin des Anglais » becomes the « Promenade », lined with large hotels and villas, the heart of society, the place where you have to be seen. It is there that some of the most emblematic buildings of the new city are concentrated in the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the Palais de la Méditerranée or the Casino de la Jetée-Promenade, unfortunately destroyed during the Second World War.
After the discreet bathing machines or the beach cabins, the seaside facilities begin to flourish along the Promenade, as well as the pergolas which shade the benches and chairs offered for the rest of the walkers. The line of palm trees is also a fundamental element that characterizes the Promenade, giving it a new emblematic identity.
In 1717, the new neighborhood "Villa Nova" is added to the old town near the mouth of the river Paillon, in the zone called "pré-aux-oies".
This first stage of Turin's regulated urban planning shows the new taste for wider, airy streets, for a residential area with places to walk. The construction, on the site of the old southern rampart, of the « Terrasses des Ponchettes » begins since the 1770s, and the park on the hill of the Castle is created from 1828, providing the seaside of Nice with a "backdrop" richly planted with local and exotic varieties. This first new town also offers to winter visitors the pleasure of a rich program at the Royal Theater and the possibility of visiting of libraries and lounges.
The Promenade des Anglais, an integral part of the perimeter proposed by the City of Nice for the inscription on the World Heritage List, is the symbol of the invention of a new city and at the same time it became a model for the creation of many other urban communities. The city’s Promenade is a living reality, which has continued to grow and transform within the past two centuries, by following various tourist trends, from the elite tourism of the 19th century to the modern mass tourism. It has also been a source of inspiration for many writers, filmmakers, painters and musicians.
On 14 July 2016, Nice and the Promenade des Anglais were bereaved by a terrible terrorist attack which caused 86 victims and many injured. The Mission Nice Patrimoine Mondial team honors their memory.
In 2014, the Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, announced his wish to apply for the City’s inclusion on the World Heritage List. The exhibition presented at the Musée Masséna, from 12 June to 4 October 2015, curated by Jean-Jacques Aillagon, highlighted the Outstanding Universal Value of the urban landscape that constitute the Promenade des Anglais and the urban area around it.
Since that date, thanks to the advice of many experts, the City of Nice has decided to delineate a larger perimeter. It includes the new town developed in the mid-18th century as well as the districts of the city centre and on the hills, which, during 19th and early 20th centuries, would expand to welcome visitors from all over the world.
From the Middle Ages to the final annexation of Nice to France, the fortified city born around the hill of the Castle gradually opened towards the sea, then towards the other bank of the river Paillon. Starting from the 19th century a new city grew up juxtaposed with the old town, to welcome the wealthy foreign tourists, who came to enjoy the mild winter in Nice. They were attracted by an enchanting landscape offering beautiful panoramas from the hills over the sea and the coast. Moreover, new hygiene and therapeutic theories prompted many people to undertake winter trips because they believed that mild climate and sea bathing practices would improve their health or even cure a variety of ailments. The increasing number of these winter tourists created a real society with their customs, habits and activities.
The "Chemin des Anglais", this coastal road that was born out of the initiative of the British living in the new "Croix-de-Marbre" neighborhood, is the witness and the symbol of the emergence of a new urbanism. Thanks to this development, many noteworthy buildings - villas, guest-houses, palaces, hotels, casinos, clubs, or places of worship for foreign communities - were constructed, by following the changes in architectural styles, to welcome the tourists. From 1832 to 1860, the Consiglio d´Ornato (town-planning Committee) supervised these constructions, regulating the urban fabric and controlling each project. This city dedicated to the international aristocracy was also the setting for an intense artistic and literary life. From the final annexation to France in 1860, representatives of the ruling classes from all over Europe came to join the aristocrats to spend the winter in Nice. The expansion of the city was also accelerated by the arrival of the railway in 1864, offering an unprecedented tourist advertising for Nice and the French Riviera.
The story of Nice is inseparable from the gradual shift from winter to summer tourism. This change started from 1918, and continued when paid holidays were introduced in 1936. The less well-off classes began to flock to the city, turning Nice into a place where people from all walks of life mixed together. This « new tourism » fit into the structure of the existing « winter city » and contemporary constructions emerged at the place of the former buildings. Yet Nice also remained attractive for winter tourists, with its first Jazz Festival in February 1948 and, the Carnival that is still nowadays extremely popular. The « new town » retained its vibrant cultural scene, adapting constantly to new demands and trends.