Very little beats casually strolling the Promenade des Anglais on a picture-perfect French Riviera afternoon. Such is the joy of living in Nice, even if only for a week.
Promenade des Anglais – The Place to See & Bee Seen
That feeling is as true today as it was a nearly 200 years ago when the English aristocracy began wintering in Nice. In 1820, a walkway along the sea was proposed, where the affluent could enjoy the Cote d’Azur sun without the trouble of navigating the pebbled beach. It soon became the place to see and be seen in Nice.
One of the more popular spots in Nice is the Jardin Albert Premier at the intersection of the Promenade des Anglais, and the Promenade du Paillon. The park is named for King Albert I of Belgium, and features the Monument du Centenaire, erected in 1892 to mark the 100
Over the years, the original Promenade des Anglais has grown into a busy, multi-lane boulevard with broad sidewalks on either side, topping the seawall. La Prom, as the Niçois call it, now hugs the shore from the Promenade du Paillon to the public beach la Lanterne. (The street turns inland here, but continues on to the Nice Cote d’Azur airport.) It is lined with shops and restaurants, hotels, condos, and public buildings on one side, and the beautiful blue Mediterranean Sea on the other. Occasional steps lead down to the pebbled beach and restaurants serving seaside food and drinks.
Beyond the Promenade des Anglais
In the opposite direction, the walkway follows Quai des États Unis from Promenade du Paillon to Château Hill. Here, the historic Vieux Ville has several arcades that lead into the narrow streets and charming buildings of the old town. Just one block over is le Marché, a festival for the senses as every day sees different items at market; flowers, fruits and vegetables, artisanal meats and cheeses, antiques, and more! At the Hôtel Suisse Nice, you have an important decision: Up or around? A free elevator will take you to the top of Château Hill (or you can follow the trail up). In the hilltop Parc de la Colline du Château, you can explore the remains of the city’s original site and castle. The main attraction, though, is the sweeping view across the Baie des Anges, Old Nice, and the Port of Nice.
If you choose to go around, you’re rewarded with stunning views off the small cliffs that begin at Plage Castel and wrap around Château Hill. On the other side, the moving Monument aux Morts honors the 4,000 locals killed in World War One. Across the street is the Port of Nice where ferries, yachts, and cruise ships call. Opposite the port are several tempting restaurants and a few shops, though nowhere near the caliber of the Promenade.
Sidewalks will take you around the port, and the seaside footpath picks up again off of Boulevard Franck Pilatte. Beyond the restaurant La Réserve, the beach is gone but you can continue atop the cliffs and rocks all the way to Cap de Nice. The entire distance, from Parc Phoenix opposite the airport, to Cap de Nice, is about 10km. You could walk the route in a couple of hours, but where’s the fun in that? We opted to stroll on la Prom for a couple of days, instead.
Have you taken a stroll down the Promenade des Anglais? What other city walks have you enjoyed? Let us know in the comments!