NiceNice Patrimoine Mondial de l'UNESCO

Nice, Unesco World Heritage site

While the region of Nice Côte d’Azur is world-famous for its buildings and countryside, the city is now mainly dominated by architecture from the Belle Époque. This period bequeathed us an exceptional architectural heritage, elevating Nice to the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site as the ‘winter resort town of the Riviera.’ Here, we take a look at these unique buildings that line the streets and coastline of the French Riviera.

Villas in Nice

The vast majority of the villas, mainly situated on the hills overlooking Nice and on the seafront, date from the turn of the 20th century, with a few fine art-deco, modernist or contemporary examples dotted around the Nice countryside. The oldest of them, the Furtado-Heine villa, known as the ‘Officers’ villa’, was built in 1787 by Lady Penelope Rivers on the Promenade des Anglais. The Villa Marichu and its art-deco style dominates the Cap de Nice. The villa, built during the Roaring Twenties, played host to Hemingway, Cocteau, Picasso and Maria Callas, among others. On the rocky slopes of Mont-Boron, the Château de l’Anglais is fascinating for its architecture in an exotic whimsical style and a neo-classical rotunda. Thanks to its eclectic style and botanical gardens, the building has been classified as a historical monument.

Luxury hotels on the French Riviera

Famed for its beautiful scenery and mild climate, the Côte d’Azur has been the favourite destination for many wealthy travellers in search of winter sun since the end of the 18th century. As transport systems improved, people started staying for shorter periods and hotels began to be built.

Established in 1913, the famous Negresco hotel is a unique and timeless legend on the Promenade des Anglais. This Palace was declared a historical monument in 2003 thanks to its intact architectural splendour. With its magnificent royal lounge, the iconic glass roof and its art collection, the 5-star hotel has been awarded the title of Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant (Living cultural heritage company) since 2015. The Negresco was one of the first luxury hotels to commit to a voluntary environmental policy and has been awarded the European Ecolabel which certifies that it carries out environmental protection measures.

Decorative mansions

The ornamental façades of Nice’s mansions are reminiscent of the hotels, as they share the same objective of being attractive. They are often referred to as ‘palaces.’ Friezes, frescoes, wall decorations and domes decorate the Paschetta Palace, the Alice Palace, the Juliet Palace and the Mozart Palace. These corner buildings are typical of the Belle Epoque period and showcase the skills of Italian craftsmen. On the Promenade des Anglais, the Couronnne (Crown) impresses with its large green space and the multi-coloured mosaics that adorn its façade. Today, these buildings are an integral part of the Nice’s identity and the Côte d’Azur’s heritage.

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Une publication partagée par Le Plongeoir (@leplongeoir)

Nice, a city for the people

The places where people come together to socialise testify to the human and historical values that have shaped Nice. A dozen places of worship of cosmopolitan communities therefore form an integral part of the urban landscape.

Entertainment venues also shape the image of the city centre and the coastline. The private beaches on the Promenade des Anglais, the concert hall at the Château de Valrose and the Casino at the Palais de la Méditerranée are all excellent examples. The fresco of the great ceiling of the Nice Opera House with its mythological sky and its adjoining decorations have led to it being classed as a Historic Monument. Many department stores and luxury boutiques still have their historic shop windows. Like the former department store, À La Riviera, which is still very much in its original state with its vast central atrium. The diving board of La Réserve restaurant, perched on rocks overlooking the sea, is a true icon of modern art deco architecture. The elegant, white structure with three boards and a delicate spiral staircase, stands proudly above the blue sea.

Nice, UNESCO World Heritage Site

As you can see, Nice has an exceptional heritage.
Since 27 July 2021, this ‘winter resort town of the Riviera’ has been universally recognised.

Nice, inscrite sur la liste du Patrimoine mondial de l'UNESCO
Nice, inscrite sur la liste du Patrimoine mondial de l'UNESCO
Nice, inscrite sur la liste du Patrimoine mondial de l'UNESCO