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Start Foot of Colline du Chateau (Castle Hill)
Finish Port Lympia
Time 3 hours
Good for History, scenic views, parkland, architecture, kids
Points of Interest ruins of 5th-century Cathedral, Cascade, Cemeteries, Monument aux Morts
Points to Note Start the tour in the morning when the steps up Castle Hill are in shade.

Castle Hill (Colline du Chateau) is Nice’s most historic spot which is why I was surprised that no one has thought to put together an organized walk of the place. Maybe because it’s so fiddly to map it out! If  you get lost despite my clear instructions, fear not. The city has installed plenty of signposts to help you out.

Because the old chateau was blown up in 1706 (thanks Louis XIV!) it can take a lot of imagination to conjure up all the old walls and bastions. I love this rendering of the old citadelle in 1692 superimposed on modern Nice. (No, beloved Castel Plage doesn’t date back to the 17th century)


It was created by Florent Pey for akg-images. Bravo!

It’s a little more evocative than this little remnant of the original wall (item 19 in the Chateau to Port Lympia walk)

Fragment of old citadel on Castle Hill

The ruins of the ancient cathedral are still being excavated but it’s a lovely peaceful spot (item number 8). Hard to imagine German artillery installed nearby!

Ruins of Sainte Marie church on the Colline du Chateau

There’ surprisingly little that’s actually known about the the ancient Greek settlement up there. Scholars are now divided over whether the Colline was actually the birthplace of Nice or if the Old Town was settled earlier.

Another mystery (at least to me) is who made those fine mosaics (item number 9) near the ruins. No one seems to know.

Mosaics on the Colline du Chateau

If anyone has more information, please leave a note in the comments below!

A mystery I did manage to clear up was the origins of the famous Marché aux Puces on the Port (item number 33). I was so surprised to learn of its connection to WWI.

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Marché aux Puces, Nice 

 

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