The Castle

The Castle (5)

If you are near the castle's hill and you hear a big cannon fire, do not worry. This just means it is noon. In 1861 the Scot Sir Thomas Conventry-More installed the cannon, at his expense, to thereby tell his wife he was preparing her food. And so began the tradition that was formalised in 1875 after a Niçoise vote. In any case, the sound of cannons will remind you that at least once in life you have to climb this iconic hill.

At just 92 metres high, the castle hill is located between the old town and the port of Nice and is mainly visited to get the best views of the city and the Baie des Anges. To reach this park you have several options. You can take the tourist train that runs through the city, hop on the famous art-deco elevator or climb the stairs around the hill.

Of all these options, perhaps the stairs at the end of Rue des Ponchettes, by the sea, are preferred by most tourists. This is the Lesage ladder, from which you will see a large round tower called the Tour Belinda. It was built where there was once a fortified building belonging to Luis XIV. Beyond its artistic quality, its large size, its roundness and its ceramic mosaics representing Greek motifs, the place is known because it was the home of Hector Berlioz during the time he composed his famous opera King Lear. Today, this tower is home to the Naval Museum, though it is more commonly frequented to climb to the terrace and enjoy a perfect spot for a good view.

Once you have reached the Coline du Château you will wonder where the castle is. Do not look for it, because you will not find it, as it was completely destroyed by Louis XIV in 1706. Today only some walls of what was once the cradle and impregnable citadel of Nice remain and the area has become a beautiful and flowery park where you can find a refreshing artificial waterfall, beautiful forests, small monuments, large verandas, a romantic corner and remains of the old cathedral dating from the 11th century. In addition, it is the ideal place to walk, enjoy the outdoor cafés, take spectacular photographs and relax in a unique setting.

And if the sun goes down and you are still here, do not worry: the guards will kindly accompany you out of the park as it closes at night. At this time the castle's lighting is spectacular and can be seen from the promenade.

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