Nice, la ville neuve née du tourisme, ou l’invention de la Riviera
Nice, la ville neuve née du tourisme, ou l’invention de la Riviera is part of the Tentative list of France in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
Click here for a short description of the site, as delivered by the state party.
Map of Nice, la ville neuve née du tourisme, ou l’invention de la RivieraLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
The recently published ICOMOS working documents show that a big portion of Nice is to be included in this nomination and not only its waterfront promenade. Nice is a major tourist hub in France mostly catering for beach tourists. This can be regarded as a sign of continuity, perpetuating the historic function of Nice in the development of modern tourism. The most significant component, the renowned Promenade des Anglais, I did not find neither very scenic nor authentic. A lot of new buildings on the city side of the road do not allow for a unified cityscape. However, other parts of the city centre, which are all included, are very well preserved.
The mediaeval old town is a typical Ligurian city with dark little alleyways and colourful fronts. Although included in the perimeter, it had little to do with the birth of modern tourism. Its extension in the 19th century includes large avenues and a lot of historicist mansions. They constitute a nice ensemble, but I think it would be difficult to demonstrate their connection to Nice becoming a tourist centre. Cimiez, Nice's Roman antecedent is included too. It now houses two famous museums dedicated to Matisse and Chagall. Although Nice's artistic contribution is mentioned as a part of its OUV, these museums are new and, as with other components, I fail to see the connection to modern tourism.
The beaches of Nice are pebbly and not very nice to lie on. For beach tourism other areas of the French Riviera are surely superior. Culturally, however, it offers a lot for a few days stay. I would especially recommend its comprehensive and high quality museum of contemporary art, one of the best in Europe and the second best in France after Centre Pompidour in Paris. Nice is a comfortable hub for day trips along the French Riviera (Grasse, Cannes, Antibes, Saint-Paul/Vence to the west Eze, Menton, Monaco, Ventimiglia to the west) with many sites that are artistically important (Matisse, Picasso, Fragonard, Le Corbusier, Renoir). Although interesting, I fail to see a great potential of OUV. Moreover, I would highly advise against visiting Nice during peak season.
I visited Nice, France during the later part of October 2007. The holiday crowds were gone, the temperature required a light jacket, and the day I spent the most time by the Promenade, it was overcast and gray. There were however, a couple highlights.
Cathedral of Saint Nicholas, a beautiful Eastern Orthodox Church that was built for the Russian nobility who visited Nice during the Early 20th century. The nomination description includes a full section on "- Places of worship and cemeteries", which relates to foreigners who "Wintered" in Nice.
Another highlight was the National Museum of Marc Chagall, which is a wonderful small gallery dedicated to an artist who lived just outside Nice for decades. Its worth noting the nomination includes justification for criteria vi, "The city is thus directly associated with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. This is particularly true for painting with Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Raoul Dufy, Max Beckmann and Edvard Munch, who lived in Nice and represented the city in major works."
I was not overly impressed or awed by Nice. I appreciate the creativity and the persistent ability of France to pursue new nominations. Perhaps Nice has a shot.
Read more from Kyle Magnuson here.
2017 Added to Tentative List
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