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The Villa Les Palmiers (aka Palais de Marbre) is the jewel of West Nice. Ernest Gambart, an English art dealer, built a vast mansion on an 18th-century estate to house his extensive art collection. 27 boats sailed from Carrara, Italy laden with marble for the statues, columns, balustrades, walls and floors. It soon became the center of Nice’s social life when Gambart welcomed his famous friends. Argentinian meat-baron Edouard Soulas later renovated the interior in a neoclassical Louis XV style replete with chinoiserie, paneling, inlaid wood and gilt. He also laid out the English-style garden.

Readers of Nice Uncovered know that the vast garden is open to the public and well-worth a visit. The interior contains Nice’s Municipal Archives and is usually only open to researchers and on special occasions.Read the rest

The full program for the Journées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days) is finally available with ALL the special visits scheduled for September 17-19. (See here for the partial program in English). Everything is FREE but for many events a reservation is necessary. Don’t delay! Note that a “Pass Sanitaire” or negative Covid test will be required. Some sites may require ID and/or a passage through a metal detector to gain entry.

Don’t think that it’s all about visiting stuffy museums and listening to lectures in French! There are plenty of activities for kids of all ages as well as special dance, musical and theatrical presentations. If you’ve ever wondered what Nice’s traditional language, Nissart, sounds like you’ll want to listen in on some of the short tours conducted in that language.Read the rest


Mid-September is the very best time to dig deeply into Nice culture during the Journées du Patrimoine which are part of the European Journées du Patrimoine.  For one weekend, the city schedules a series of tours and events that showcase its heritage. This year the Heritage Days fall on September 18 and 19. There’s a lot going on in Nice that weekend! I’m told that there may be a few more special historical sites open to the public which will be publicized on Monday September 13. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, check out these activities and do reserve in advance  when indicated. (Note that the guided visits are in French.)

Archives Nice Côte d´Azur, Palais de Marbre
Walking tour: “In the footsteps of the Gastaud domain”
Walking tour from the Marble Palace to the Naïve Art Museum
Departure in front of the entrance to the Palais de Marbre – municipal archives of Nice.Read the rest

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