Nice’s historic Old Town is a magnet for tourists and property buyers alike. Full of lively bars, gastronomic restaurants, Provencal boutiques and oozing with atmosphere, the Old Town is undoubtedly one of the most popular areas of Nice.
The Old Town, or Vieux Nice, as the locals call it, dates back to the 16th century and is bordered by the Promenade des Anglais, the ‘Chateau on the hill’ and Boulevard Jean Jaures. The main bus station, the beach and the new Tramway stops are all within 5 minutes of anywhere in the Old Town, making it an ideal location for holiday-makers.
The Chateau on the hill is the former site of a once great castle that had panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. Demolished in 1706, the site and adjacent grounds now contain a large park, playground, a waterfall and many areas from which one can enjoy spectacular views of Central Nice, the Port, the Promenade des Anglais and the long beach that winds itself around the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels). If the 213 steps to the top seem daunting, one can take the public elevator for a token fee.
Vieux Nice is a traditional Medieval village characterised by narrow, winding streets and buildings that date back to the 16th Century. There are many traditional shops selling Provencal fabrics and Nicoise gourmet foods, such as Socca, a pancake made from chick peas and olive oil. The Salad Nicoise is also a local favourite, featuring prominently on restaurant menus in the city. In the evening, the Old Town comes alive with an abundance of fine restaurants and late-night bars, from French Brasseries to Irish bars, from Indian restaurants to Provencal gastronomy. The Palais de Justice (the courthouse) is the major landmark, linking the Cours Saleya – a street filled end-to-end with restaurants and bars which is famous for its daily markets- with the more typical narrow streets behind rue de la Prefecture. Nice’s Opera house, an architectural masterpiece, is in the heart of the Old Town and has regular performances throughout the year.
Apartments in the Old Town are varied and unique. From small studios to former palaces, the range in price, size and quality can be immense.
There are some magnificent former palaces in the Old Town, some of which contain some exquisite apartments that come on the market from time to time. Palais Lascaris, today a museum, is a fine example of the grandeur of some of these palaces.
The area of the Old Town that looks onto the Promenade des Anglais is known as the Ponchettes, and is one of the most sought after locations in Nice. When you consider the glorious sea views, the seven kilometres of beach on your doorstep and a medieval village behind you, it’s not difficult to imagine the phenomenal demand associated with this area of Nice.
Vieux Nice is one of the prime attractions of the Riviera, an area with clearly defined boundaries that is carefully protected and maintained and steeped in history. It is an essential port-of-call for holiday-makers and an excellent location for investors. For individuality and charm, nowhere beats it.