Old town of Nice – Vieille Ville

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Old town of Nice – Vieille Ville

There are many reasons to fall in love with Nice. One of the obvious ones is the charming old town with its cozy little streets, narrow houses painted in breathtaking southern colors as well as the well-kept historic buildings.

Place Rosetti with Cathedral Sainte-Réparate in Nice old town
Place Rosetti with Cathedral Sainte-Réparate – ©cityxee.com

The old town of Nice

In the old city of Nice, you experience the special authentic Niçois atmosphere, which is so alluring and traces right into the soul so well that a crush is almost inevitable.

Back in the 1600s, the old town was bounded by Colline du Chateau to the East, Place Garibaldi to the North and, on the West, by the river Paillon, which has its mouth in the sea where Jardin Albert the 1st is located today and  covers the river.

Sights, art and local cuisine in the Vieille Ville

The old city of Nice offers a lot of experiences and I will mention here some of the most important, to give you an impression of the city’s colorful diversity and interesting history.

If you start your walk through la Vieille Ville from the Promenade des Anglais, you will first meet Cour Saleya, where the famous markets take place. Here is also the Chapelle de la Miséricorde, the chapel of mercy that presents a unique architecture and is considered by many to be one of the world’s most beautiful baroque buildings and, at the end of the square, is the building where Henri Matisse lived a part of his life.

Square “Cours Saleya” with the flower market in the old town of Nice

If you walk further through the town from the eastern end of Cour Saleya, you will meet the central Place Rossetti, where the atmosphere is at its peak with all the cafes and restaurants beautifully flanked by the baroque church from 1650, Cathédrale Sainte Réparate, with its 10 chapels and 3 organs, a historical monument since 1906.

Not far from Place Rossetti, you will find the Musée du Palais Lascaris, a mansion from 1658 with an impressive interior and, just 350 feet from here, Montée du Chateau, one of the roads up to the Colline du Chateau.

In addition, the old town can also offer a very nice opera situated near the cozy Place du Palais de Justice, with well-visited cafes.

See the complete list of sights below this article.

The charming art shops

Part of the charm of wandering in the old town is to peek into the various art galleries found throughout the neighborhood. There is a lot of art to see and enjoy, and the local artists use different techniques and media to illustrate the beautiful colors and scenes of Nice. Here you may find something special to take home as a gift or souvenir.

The atmosphere of the old town of Nice
The atmosphere of the old city is not in denial – ©cityxee.com

The charming Nice cuisine awaits you

Nice is gastronomically known for some very special dishes. Some more well-known than others. Take advantage of the visit to the old town to taste some of the popular local dishes such as La Socca, Pissaladière or here the world-renowned original salad Niçoise.

La Socca is a crêpe made from chickpea flour, baked in the oven, can be both fluffy or crunchy, can be eaten hot and eaten with your fingers by simply adding a little pepper! A great snack to accompany a good glass of wine.

La Socca served in the old town of Nice
Don’t miss the classic Socca along with a good glass of wine

Pissaladière is a flatbread (a kind of French pizza) topped with onion compote, olives, and anchovies or with pissalat, a salted fish paste made from anchovies and spices.

Slice of Pissaladière from old town of Nice
Pissaladière is not so similar in taste to regular pizza. It is more salty and characterized by onions

From the lesser-known dishes to a true classic, Salade Niçoise, served in most restaurants and cafes, it is a tasty mixed salad.

Salat Niçoise from old town of Nice
Salad Niçoise is often served exposed to the chef’s own interpretation

That traditionally includes tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, fava beans, radishes, cucumber, onions, tuna or anchovies and the special Niçoise olives that originated in the western Alpine region are solid ingredients, mixed with lettuce and a dressing of olive oil. However, the overall mix varies according to the chef’s discretion.

Vive la Vielle Ville!

By Tommy Sverre – 2022

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