Nice, the “Green City of the Mediterranean” between art and gardens

At a time when the planet demands special and attentive care, the City of Nice has conceived a highly committed policy in terms of sustainable development and environmental protection. For this purpose, a vast program for the redevelopment of the parks and gardens is underway. With over 300 hectares and 19 parks and gardens, Nice can be considered the “Green City of the Mediterranean” and makes every effort so that sustainable development is at the heart of its policy in all the sectors of the city. The incredible diversity of plants, introduced by the landscape gardeners of past and present provides the opportunity to discover the city from a different angle. The same applies to strategies implemented to make life in the city “cleaner” in every sense of the word. The green itinerary leads to discover enchanting gardens from Albert 1st garden, one of the oldest gardens in the city to the garden of Monastery of Cimiez with a beautiful view over the city. The garden of Albert 1st, containing many species of palms and ancient roses, is an integral part of the Promenade du Paillon.

The Promenade du Paillon revolutionizes the heart of the city, consisting of a 12-hectare river garden. From the Nice National Theatre to the Promenade des Anglais, the city’s main street, an area of relaxation in the heart of the city is offered to the pedestrians. The main alley retraces the riverbed of the Paillon, the coastal river that crossed the city. Sustainable development is at the heart of this project, as it complies with all the environmental constraints, such as the “green charter”, by integrating new plant species and using so-called “sustainable” materials. Energy savings as well as controlling water consumption are implemented in order to combine pleasure and ecology.  Even at the top of the hill of Cimiez, the one-hectare garden of the monastery of Cimiez, the monk’s ancient vegetable garden, and orchard, it is cultivated in an ecological way, recycling water and without the use of pesticides. It has retained its original layout, divided into three parts: ornamental, medicinal and nourishing. Its central wells and ancient pergolas entirely covered with climbing roses offer a multitude of flower varieties that embalm the atmosphere. The bottom of the garden provides a vast viewpoint over the city and particularly the castle hill. Opposite the Monastery, the garden is a vast olive grove, consisting of thousands of century-old trees. Its freely accessible lawns make it a privileged place where the Matisse Museum, as well as the archaeological museums,  are grouped together within this large green space. For art lovers, coming down from the hill near it, there is the national museum dedicated to the painter Chagall, with a Mediterranean style garden, created by landscape designer Henri Fisch. Another magnificent view over the city of Nice and the sea can be observed by the Saint-Barthélémy hill, where the Villa Arson property extends over more than two hectares. The Villa Arson is a unique national institution dedicated to contemporary art. It reunites in a single venue a school of art, an art center, an artists’ residence, and a specialized library. The building has been listed on the Heritage of the 20th century. Designed in the 60s by architect Michel Marot, is a maze of intermingled concrete, stone, and vegetation, with inner streets and patios, outdoor amphitheaters, suspended terraces, and gardens, harmoniously connecting around the old mansion of the Arson family in Italian style.  For a full immersion stay between art and gardens, the Windsor Hotel is a charming hotel located in Nice city center, only a few stapes from the sea front. The Windsor is an old building from the 19th century, well known by contemporary art lovers, as main site and promoter of OVNi Objectif Video Nice (UFO in french), a festival dedicated to video installations, programming from end of November to December. Owned by the Redolfi family for more than 70 years, it offers a new lifestyle in an original setting. All the rooms are different, most of them being decorated with frescoes, or designed by contemporary artists and the tropical garden offers a moment of poetry among bamboos, bougainvillea and fruit trees, with lots of contemporary works of art installed in the garden.



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