Le château

Between the old town of Nice and the city's harbor, there is a 92 meter (300 feet) tall hill that dominates its surroundings and from which one has a fantastic view in all directions. Called Le parc de la colline du château (Castle Hill Parc) or simply Le château for short, it is a favorite place of Niçois and tourists alike. The place derives its name from a castle whose origins go back to the 11th Century but that was rebuilt several times until its complete destruction in 1706 by order of Louis XIV.

The first archeological traces are far older. In the 5th Century B.C. a Greek settlement was established on the hill and named first "Nikaïa", then "Nike" (after the Greek goddess of victory). It's what has given Nice its name. Incidentally, I refuse to replace the perfectly useful B.C. with the politically correct but semantically questionable B.C.E. for a variety of reasons, some of which were given by William Safire in his August 17, 1997 On Language column.

Nowadays, Le château is a very popular excursion spot in Nice. Access is via steps or an elevator at the east end of the Quai des États-Unis, by a somewhat more gentle ascension from the northern side (the same route chosen to head back into town in the photos below), or by one of these ubiquitous little tourist trains. Cars are not permitted on the hill. The visit is free, and the parc is open from sunrise to sunset all year long.

Click on any image to see a larger (1500 x 1000 pixel) version!


On the 'Quai des États-Unis' The Bellanda tower

On the Quai des États-Unis

The Bellanda tower


The waterfall and the Nietzsche terrace Starting the climb up

The waterfall and the Nietzsche terrace

Starting the climb up


Nice's pebble beach Looking toward the old town

Nice's pebble beach

Looking toward the old town


On top of the Bellanda tower Looking down onto the 'Quai des États-Unis'

On top of the Bellanda tower

Looking down onto the Quai des États-Unis


The view across the old town The 'Baie des Anges'

The view across the old town

The Baie des Anges


The café on the hill The playground

The café on the hill

The playground


The east side of the hill... ...overlooks the harbor of Nice.

The east side of the hill...

...overlooks the harbor of Nice.


The large pier is used for the ferries to Corsica The park features some lovely walkways

The large pier is used for the ferries to Corsica

The park features some lovely walkways


These ruins are the only thing... ...that remains of the old castle.

These ruins are the only thing...

...that remains of the old castle.


Climbing higher still Looking across the bay to Nice airport

Climbing higher still

Looking across the bay to Nice airport


The view to the Mediterranean The cemetery on the north side of castle hill

The view to the Mediterranean

The cemetery on the north side of castle hill


The view from the Nietzsche terrace into the old town... ...and into the newer part of Nice.

The view from the Nietzsche terrace into the old town...

...and into the newer part of Nice.


The Nietzsche terrace overlooks the waterfall By the waterfall

The Nietzsche terrace overlooks the waterfall

By the waterfall


In the summer, the artificial fall... ...provides a welcome, cooling spray.

In the summer, the artificial fall...

...provides a welcome, cooling spray.


Heading down the 'Montée du château' Montée Auguste Kerl Back at the bottom:  the clock tower

Heading down the Montée du château

Montée Auguste Kerl

Back at the bottom: the clock tower


Do you miss our old Château page? You can still take a look at it here.
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