Nice is a famous seaside resort located in the south east of France, in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region. With almost 348,000 inhabitants called the Niçois, this town is the administrative centre of the Alpes Maritimes department. Nice boasts an outstanding location: situated at 30km only from the Italian border, on the Mediterranean coastline along the baie des Anges (‘Angels’ bay’). This town is the economic centre of the Côte d’Azur, tourism and business being the most important part of it. Nice is also the capital city of the Comté de Nice (County of Nice), a former region of south-eastern France the name of which is nowadays still used to refer to the culture and history of the area.
Nice is the 5th French cities in terms of population after Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Toulouse. It is the centre of a urban area called Nice Côte d’Azur that gathers 24 towns and more than 500,000 inhabitants. Nice’s history is marked by two major features. First of all, Nice is a border town that was governed by many different persons throughout its history. The town was successively Provencal, Italian and French. Secondly, Nice expanded a lot during the 20th century thanks to tourism. These special features led to important social, political, economical and cultural consequences. The town planning also changed a lot as a consequence of this evolution. As said before, Nice is the historical capital city of the County of Nice. The city also belonged to the Maison de Savoie (European Dynasty during the Middle Ages) and to the Royaume de Piémont-Sardaigne (Sardinia’s Kingdom) before becoming French in1860.
Every year, Nice welcomes more than 4 million of tourists, including business tourism. There are indeed two convention centres and several business quarters. The assets of this worldwide renowned city are important: a sunny weather, strategic location, active business centre, great beaches and coast, many interesting museums, an airport (the 3rd of France), a national theatre, an opera, concert halls, a national conservatoire, university, etc. Nice is the largest city of the French Riviera. Its territory spreads from Hyères and Menton. The valley of Var (west) and mountain of Boron (east) mark the boundary of the city. Situated between the Mediterranean Sea and the Alps, Nice has a perfect setting for holidays. It is a great place to go to for those who are eager to discover the French art de vivre of southern France.
Given the size of the city, many quarters exist: 41 according to the town council! Nice is also divided in eight territories, each of them having an annexe town council. Property prices can vary a lot depending of course of the area. For instance, buying an apartment in Cimiez (north-east) cost between €3,370 and €4,540 / square metre by the end of 2008, which is very expensive if we compare it to quarters in the northern part of Nice’s city centre where an apartment cost €2,440 / sq m at the same period. Cimiez is a pretty expensive area as many museums can be found there. House prices in the quartier de la vieille ville (‘old town’s quarter’) are also high as there are many places of interests in this area: the law court, numerous palaces, museums, the opera, cathedral, etc.
Investing in a property in Nice costs in average €3,640 / square metre. The national average being of €3,200 / sq m, we can see that house prices in this town are pretty expensive. Nice is ranked 252th in the list of the 1000 most expensive French towns in terms of real estate. But it is understandable when we look at all the assets that Nice is boasting. Moreover, Nice is really affordable in comparison with some other towns of the French Riviera such as Gorbio, Sainte-Agnès, Villeneuve Loubet (€4,227/sq m), Saint-Jean-Cap Ferrat (€4,521/sq m) or Villefranche-sur-Mer (€5,442/sq m) where property prices are incredibly high! As far as apartments are concerned, prices are approximately comprised between €2,780 and €4,440 / square metre for Nice, depending again of the area and amenities.
Even if properties in the area around Nice are pretty expensive, there are still bargains to be driven. Buying a studio flat or apartment and renting it during summer is definitely a very good investment, especially in this area!
To get updated info about the property prices in Alpes Maritimes, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
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There are many reasons which can explain the worldwide popularity of Nice: the climate, beaches, places of interests, rich history, etc. Investing in this wonderful city is definitely worthing.
Architecture: Nice has a varied and rich architecture which is marked by its history. The old town has some features of an Italian fortified town: narrow and winding streets, buildings covered with a coating of warm colours such as ochre and red, etc. Quarters being built in the early 19th century are characterised by larger straight streets and colourful buildings. After the city became French in 1860, the architecture changed and was influenced by the architectural style of Haussman: large and straight streets and stone covering the buildings’ fronts amongst other features. Nice kept many buildings from the different times of its history: it is home to plenty of palaces and town houses, Baroque churches (from the time it belonged to the Kingdom of Savoy), wonderful villas and hotels (Belle Epoque), etc. The old town houses many squares (place Masséna, place Garibaldi, place du Palais de Justice, de la Préfecture, place Charles-Albert, etc.). Many statues can also be found in the city (statues from Charles-Félix, Masséna and Garibaldi), as well as commemorative monuments (Croix de Marbre, colonne du pape, monument des Serruriers) and wonderful castles(château de Bellet, château de Crémat, château de l'Anglais, château Valrose, etc.).
Famous attractions: the Promenade des Anglais (‘Walk of the English’) is definitely not to be missed when going to Nice. This 5.4km bustling walkway running along the Mediterranean Sea is for the entire world the symbol of Nice. The name dates from the 18th century, as rich Englishmen came to spend the winter in Nice and proposed to build a walkway that would allow enjoying the panorama along the coast. Nowadays, we can see many people strolling on this promenade, especially on Sundays or during the holidays. It is a great place for families, but also bicyclists, skaters, skateboarders, etc. Nice is also famous for its annual Carnaval. Do not miss this festive 10-day celebration which features daily parades, concerts, street theatre and more! A stroll on the cours Salvea is also worthing. You will enjoy the renowned ‘Flower Market’ held 6 days out of 7 which has plenty of flowers of offer: carnations, roses, mimosas, cactus, etc.
Art - culture: Nice is home to numerous museums that are all worth visiting when spending time in the region. Amongst others: the Fine Arts Museum, Matisse Museum, the departmental Museum of Asian Arts, Art and History Museum, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Franciscan Museum, etc. Art lovers will be delighted as there are also many art galleries in this city.
Development: many projects are to grow in Nice. Amongst others: a second tramway line (2012), a third railway line between Cannes and Nice, football stadium. The business quarters ‘L’Arénas’ and ‘Nice Méridia’ will also grow in order to diversify the economical activities. The most controversial project is the one that forsee to build a TGV (high speed train) line by 2020: the LGV Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur would link Nice to Paris without going through Toulon and Marseille.
Transports: about 310,000 persons enter and leave Nice every day, therefore the city has developed transport facilities. A tramway line linking the city centre to the northern and eastern quarters was built in order to decrease the daily traffic jams in the city. As said previously (See ‘Development’), another one will be built by 2012. This second tramway line should make easier to reach the famous promenade des Anglais, more than 100,000 vehicles passing trhough it every day! Two ‘urban motorways’ allow an easy access to the different quarters of the city. Many regional train lines allow to travel in the Côte d’Azur and reach Nice. The train line ‘Mandelieu-la-Napoule - Vintimille’ is the major one and serves 29 train stations, the most important ones being Cannes, Antibes-Ville, Cagnes-sur-Mer, Nice (St-Augustin, Ville, Riquier), Monaco, Menton and Vintimille. Nice international airport is the third French one in terms of number of travelers after Paris. The airport offers daily flights from and to most European countries, North Africa, United States and Middle-East. Lastly, Nice’s port - port Lympia - provides link to Corsica.
Maisons Provencales: typical from southern France, these properties are featured by large dimensions, walls painted or whitewashed in warm colours such as ochre, orange or yellow and a roof made of tiles. Most of these villas also have a veranda and terrace at the back of the property on which people can enjoy having lunch or dinner. A large piece of land always come with this kind of house, as well as a private swimming-pool.
Studio flats/apartments: given its popularity amongst holiday makers, Nice has many studio flats and apartments on offer, either to rent or for sale. These properties have most of the time small dimensions but a very practical layout and an optimisation of the little space available. Some of them are even in a secured residence, which is definitely an advantage as a caretaker is here to protect the property. Contrary to villas which are often located far away from the city centre, on hills for instance, studio flats and apartments in Nice have a very central position and allow to move easily without being obliged to use a car.
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