Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Place Masséna, Nice

Place Masséna c. 1905

Nice's beautiful Place Masséna owes its name to Marshall André Masséna, a lieutenant in Bonaparte's Italian Army. He saw victory in Zurich in 1799, distinguished himself at the siege of Genoa in 1800, defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Caldiero in 1805, and was conqueror of the Kingdom of Naples in 1806. In 1804 he was made Marshall of the Empire, in 1808 he became Duke of Rivoli, and in 1809 Prince of Essling. But he fell from grace after reverses in Portugal in 1810. More interested in pleasure than in patriotism, he aged prematurely and died in 1817.

Carnival on Place Masséna c. 1900

An important date for Nice, and for the Place Masséna is 26 May 1832 as this is the day that the king Charles-Albert established an institution with the task of creating an urban plan which would determine the shape of the modern city. This led in 1844 to the creation of the Place Masséna with Boulevard Barthélemy (later Avenue de la Victoire, now Avenue Jean Médecin) to the north. 

And in 1928, Jean Médecin, an energetic and stubborn man, was elected mayor of Nice, and oversaw the enlargement of the square to what it is today - a vibrant crossroads in the heart of la belle ville de Nice.

Strollers on Place Masséna today

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