Sunday, 10 July 2011

Colline du Chatêau, Nice

City of Nice with the Colline du Chatêau at the summit in this image from 1691

La Colline du Chatêau, or Castle Hill, is one of the main visitor attractions of Nice on the Côte d’Azur.  It was a military fortification from the 11th to the 18th century, and was the last bastion in the siege of Nice in 1705 by King Louis XIV of France.  After several weeks of siege the town surrendered, but the castle held out until it was reduced to rubble by 113 canons and mortars.  The king ordered that what remained of the bastion be destroyed by explosives, so that nothing of the original structure is now in place. 

Access to the summit is by a lift inside the cliff face; by the tourist train (le petit train); or by a hard slog on foot. But once there you can enjoy a landscaped garden where the castle once stood; panoramic views over the old town and the Cours Saleya with its celebrated flower market;  expansive views of the equally celebrated Promenade des Anglais and the Bay of Angels; and gaze down on the busy port with its luxury yachts and watch the yellow ferries weighing anchor for Corsica.

La Colline du Chatêau was at second place in the Lonely Planet list of '212 things to do in in Nice', while at No. 1 was the Cours Saleya and at No. 4 the fine arts museum with its definitely not-to-be-missed paintings of Nice by Raoul Dufy.

Looking down from the Colline over the old town of Nice

The port of Nice seen from the summit
of the hill

The broad sweep of the Promenade
des Anglais and the Bay of Angels

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