The iconic Promenade des Anglais
This seven-kilometer long promenade is the epitome of Nice and the French Riviera. An iconic landmark that today attracts tourists from all over the world as well as the local population.
The elongated boulevard, with the sea and the beach on one side and impressive historic buildings in the best Belle Époque style on the other, created a cosmopolitan gathering point.
Here all ages and nationalities meet. Some sit on one of the many benches and enjoy the vibrant life of the boulevard, others come jogging or skating, others just stroll quietly, while others lie and soak up the sun on the beach or sit at one of the many cozy restaurants.
With its central location, the Promenade des Anglais is the perfect base from which to explore Nice and discover the many exciting sights that this unique city has to offer.
The history of Promenade des Anglais
The history of the promenade goes back to 1822, when Nice in the years before had experienced a greater influx from the English upper class who wished to spend their cold winters in a milder climate along the Riviera.
At the same time, France had experienced two years of unusually poor harvests and this resulted in many farmers and workers searching for the Riviera and ending up having to beg to make ends meet.
There was work going on on the English side and financial means were available to build a promenade. This led the English priest Lewis Way, who believed that idleness was the way to all evil, to involve these unemployed in the work of building the promenade.
In 1824 the work was completed, and as a thank you for the English initiative Nice agreed to call the new promenade “Chemin des Anglais” “. This name retained the promenade until Nice via the Treaty of Turin became part of France in 1860, where it changed to the current name “La Promenade des Anglais”. Today, the locals call the promenade La Prom.
The Golden Age – La Belle Époque
The years from 1860 until the First World War were a spectacular period of cultural, technological and economic development in Europe, which the French called “Belle Époque”. It was the starting point for the construction of a number of luxurious hotels and lavish villas along with casinos, theaters, concert halls in Nice, especially along the promenade.
The vast majority of these buildings still stand today and can be admired for their architecture and history. Others have had to let go of life, such as the elegant casino from 1880, La Jetée, built in Moorish style out on a pier in the sea. Unfortunately, it did not survive World War II.
But some of the most interesting buildings from the Belle Époque period that you can still admire are, for example, the famous Hotel Negresco from 1912, the Hotel Palais de la Mediteranée from 1929 and two villas that are today housed in famous museums; Musée des Beaux Arts and Musée Masséna.
By Tommy Sverre / 2021
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