Vieille Ville, the Old Town of Nice

In the south of France, on the coast of the Mediterranean, sits a cozy neighbourhood with Baroque architecture and offering several beautiful places to visit. Touring Vieille Ville in Nice, France is easy, with most places accessible by foot.

Vieille Ville (Old Town) is a medieval village whose ochre houses and laundry hangings characterize the narrow streets and alleyways. Popularly known as “babazouk”, the streets of Vieille Ville lead to monumental buildings, a charming square or the inviting terrace of a little restaurant. From Castle Hill, a park on the south of the Old Town, enjoy the view that looks over the city of Nice or enjoy a Salade Niçoise or Socca in any of the restaurants.

Several boutiques line the streets, offering jewelry, souvenirs, art, fabrics and delicacies. Bestagno, established in 1850, is one of the oldest shops on the block, selling umbrellas and beautiful parasols.

The Old Town is a fitting place to begin touring greater Nice, with Colline du Chateau on the west end, boulevards and parks on the west, and Ponchettes and Cours Saleya to the south. To the northwest, Place Masséna greets you with modern shops, art galleries, hotels, restaurants and cafes. Most public events take place here. The Cours Saleya to the south is probably the most traditional square in town with low buildings separating the “Cours” from the seaside. On Monday mornings, a borcante and antique market draws collectors. From Tuesday through Sunday, however, the colorful flower and food market takes the stage.

In between the Cours Saleya and Place Masséna, you will find the Place du Palais; home to the law courts and the famous city clock. The Cathedrale Sainte-Reparte and the fountain in the centre, Place Rossetti, is a must-see in the Old Town. During the day, traditional restaurants are alive with customers, and the finest ice-cream makers offer their treats nearby. In the evening, the youth flock to the square for the nightlife. Finally, drop by the Palais Lascaris where you’ll be blown away by the great collection of antiquities that complement the rich interior of vaulted ceilings and ornamented staircases.

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