Last Updated on 11/02/2023 by secretmoona
The Promenade des Anglais is, without a doubt, the most famous thing to do in Nice. Known as “Prom’” by the locals, the famous avenue is more than just a seaside walk. Stretching for more than seven kilometres, from Nice Airport to Port Lympia, the Promenade des Anglais provides an unlimited and uninterrupted view of the Mediterranean sea on one side and palm trees and stunning architecture on the other.
While walking on the Promenade des Anglais (“Promenade of the English”), you will not only discover some of the city’s most beautiful buildings but also admire the blue azure of the sea.
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History of the Promenade des Anglais
Long before Nice was a French city, it was already a winter destination for wealthy aristocrats. Thanks to its exceptional location and breathtaking view of the blue sea, the Bay of Angels (Baie des Anges in French) has quickly gained the reputation of a quality resort town. The Russian Aristocrats were the first, but soon enough, the British bourgeoisie joined them, looking for the mild winter climate of the Riviera. They started coming in mass, trying to escape the cold English winters.
In those days, there were only unpaved walking paths along the beach, so Reverend Lewis Way had the idea to create a promenade, and the Camin dei Anglés was born, hence its name. The name in old Niçard (an Occitan dialect) was later turned to the Promenade des Anglais (after the city became French). When this promenade was created between 1820 and 1821, it was just a path less than 2 metres wide along the sea.
Over the years, international tourism and the city’s urbanisation continued to expand. Then came luxury hotels and beautiful palaces in the Belle Époque that contributed to the fame of the Promenade des Anglais.
Today, it is the most touristy place in the city, where thousands of people love to spend time admiring the mediterranean sea. The tourists go there every day and enjoy a pleasant walk and the beautiful setting.
Nice made history in July 2021 after being awarded world heritage status by UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nice joins other interesting sites such as the banks of the river Seine in Paris, the Mont Saint Michel, the Great Wall of China and Machu Picchu in Peru.
Things to Do in the Promenade des Anglais
Strolling along the Promenade des Anglais is among the best things to do in Nice. As well as offering stunning views over the Baie des Anges, the Promenade des Anglais is mainly known for the strolling opportunities it gives people. People can walk for kilometres without worrying about cars and bikes while having an unobstructed view of the sea.
La Prom’ is also where lots of the events organised by the city are held: anything from the famous Nice carnival, celebrations of Bastille Day or sports events.
Let’s look at some activities you can do along the famous avenue.
Nice is one of the few large cities with a beach right by the city centre! Stretching over five kilometres, the coast of Nice is long and follows the curve of the Baie des Anges. I have to warn you, however, not to expect to walk barefoot on sandy beaches! The beaches of Nice are made up of pebbles!
Restaurants, beach clubs and hotels own private beaches. These are where you can find restaurants inches away from the sea and where you can rent sun loungers and parasols.
That said if you want to spend a day by the beach without paying exorbitant prices to rent a space on one of the private beaches, especially during the high of summer, know there are many public beaches. The beaches closer to the airport are far less touristy and crowded than those opposite Old Nice, so bear that in mind.
For families with young children, I recommend the sandy beaches of Villefranche-sur-Mer.
Sport activities on the Promenade des Anglais
Today’s promenade is not only a popular place for walks but also for sports. To the Nicois (residents of the city), la Prom is everything at once: seaside promenade, gym, running track, cycling route and many more.
Strolling the Promenade des Anglais is one of the best things to do in Nice. You can walk a seven-kilometre-long avenue without feeling it. If you are visiting during the summer months, you prefer walking in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the sun.
If you are into active sports, you will find something to do on the Promenade des Anglais. You can choose to go running while enjoying the breeze or rollerblading. Cyclists have a bike path which runs throughout its entire length, and people riding a Segway or scooter can also use it.
You will find various water activities in late June through August, such as jet-skiing, paragliding or boat tours to discover the surrounding towns and islands.
The famous blue chairs of Nice
You cannot miss the iconic blue chairs installed on the avenue facing the sea. Specific to Nice and Cannes, you will find these chairs along the Prom’. They invite people to take a break from their walk or other activities to sit and admire the city’s beauty: the Mediterranean sea!
On hot summer days, if you stop by one of the three Art Deco pergolas, not only will you be shaded from the sun, but you will feel refreshed thanks to the cooling mist that gets sprayed now and again.
A little further, near the Albert Ier garden, you will find the two-dimensional installation by artist Sabine Geraudie (SAB) called “La chaise bleue de SAB” or “Sab’s blue chair” in English. It celebrates the chairs which were first introduced in the 1950s.
Things to See in the Promenade des Anglais
Visit the famous hotels
In order to satisfy the growing demand of affluent guests, luxury hotels, sumptuous villas, casinos and theatres were built; many of them on the Promenade des Anglais. Over time, most of these Belle Époque hotels and villas were replaced by other buildings.
However, today you can still admire, while strolling the beautiful promenade, two of the most iconic architectural gems and historical landmarks of Nice: Hotel Negresco and the Palais de la Mediterranée.
Built in 1912, Hotel Le Negresco is the city’s most important Belle Époque building. Le Negresco is the perfect example of when the old-fashioned decor is done the right way. The five-star hotel is like a museum full of antique furniture and art collection. Although the decor is a little flashy, it is never tacky.
If staying the night is not within budget, head to the bar for a drink or two. Walking inside the hotel is a worthwhile experience. Classified as a historical monument, Le Negresco is worth visiting to observe the facade and admire the decor inside.
Palais de la Méditerranée
Located a little further is the Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée, another hotel worth a look at. The building, within a striking Art Déco style, opened in 1929 as a casino and theatre. After the casino’s closure in 1977, it was rebuilt as a Hyatt Regency hotel in 2004. Only the facade remains of the original building since the Art Deco facade is a protected historical monument.
Admire outstanding installations on Promenade des Anglais
Along the promenade, you will find several nice sculptures.
Statue of Liberty
In front of the Opera House, you will find the replica of the iconic statue from Bartholdi: the Statue of Liberty. Although not on the same scale as the one welcoming people to New York City, at 1.35m, the little statue is cute.
Installed in front of Place Masséna, L’Obélisque or Neuf Lignes Obliques by Artist Bernar Venet is hard to miss. It commemorates the 150th anniversary of the annexation of Nice by France. The nine steel beams forming the 30-metre-high installation symbolise the nine valleys or regions that joined France in 1860.
L’Ange de la Baie
The sculpture called “L’Ange de la Baie” by artist Jean-Marie Fondacaro has been installed to commemorate the victims of the terrorist attack which occurred in Nice on 14 July 2016, during Bastille Day. This 4-meter-high sculpture represents a bird-man resting on a wave. The sculpture has a heart engraved with the name of the 86 people who lost their lives.
Visit Musée Masséna
One of the well-kept secrets in Nice is the garden of the Masséna Museum. The museum, located in a pretty villa, is surrounded by beauty. The peaceful garden contains benches for relaxation and plenty of plants, such as succulents and cacti. The museum is lovely to visit and is dedicated to the city of Nice. You will find a rich collection of paintings, sculptures and posters.
Relax at Jardin Albert Ier
Opened in 1852, the Jardin Albert Ier is the oldest public garden in the city and opens to the sea. Covering an area of three hectares, the garden is an excellent place to stroll. In the park, you will find palm trees, green spaces with water features such as pools and fountains, tropical plants and an open-air theatre. The Théâtre de Verdure regularly hosts outdoor concerts and performances during the summer.
Stop by Quai des États-Unis and Ponchettes
Why not extend the walk to the Quai des États-Unis? The seaside promenade follows along the first path people from the Old Town used to take before the Promenade des Anglais was created. If you get to visit Castle Hill, you will be able to spot a row of flat-roofed buildings. Known as ponchettes, they are a series of buildings with flat roofs between Cours Saleya and the seaside. They were erected between 1731 and 1839 after Louis XIV destroyed the old city’s ramparts. When they were built, there was no promenade, so people used to walk on them to admire the sea.
See La Prom’ at Quai Rauba Capeu
Located at the foot of Castle Hill, Quai Rauba Capeu is the extension of Promenade des Anglais and Quai des Etats-Unis. It offers one of the most beautiful views of the Mediterranean and the city. You will find the famous sculpture # I Love Nice there. In Niçois, “rauba capeu” means “hat theft” because of the strong wind stealing people’s hats!
Get Postcard views from Colline du Château
What better way to end the walking tour of the Promenade des Anglais than climbing to the Parc de la Colline du Château (castle hill)? This park, perched on a hill, offers the most breathtaking views of the Promenade des Anglais, Baie des Anges and the Nice Port.
You can access the park by climbing the stairs near Quai des Etats-Unis. If the stairs are too much for you, you can also access Castle Hill with a free public lift or by boarding the Nice tourist train. The highlight of the Colline du Château is not the medieval castle, alas, it was destroyed in 1706 but the views you get. Additionally, the park offers a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere with plenty of green spaces and game areas for kids to enjoy.
9 thoughts on “Promenade Des Anglais – What To Do In The Famous Promenade”
Your post brings back wonderful memories of my two visits to Nice – one in the autumn, one in the spring. I will forget the most delicious lobster meal in a tiny cafe hidden down an alley.
Sound like somewhere in Old Nice! I also had some of the best food while in Nice.
Planning a trip to Nice in June and I loved this post, so helpfull! Thank you for sharing it.
Thank you. Enjoy Nice, hopefully you will have enough time to explore the surrounding cities
This makes me want to visit Nice so badly! It looks gorgeous there, and I love that the beach is so close to the city center!
Thanks! Indeed, it’s nice to have the beach right in the city centre!
We certainly did enjoy strolling along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. And we love the very European practice of “promenading” in the evening. I must admit the stone beaches were a challenge unless you paid to rent a chair. We will have to plan to visit the Massena Museum next time. It is definitely time we head back to Nice!
Thanks Linda! Agree, the pebbles are not the best for relaxing by the beach or even for walking barefoot. For that reason, a chair is a must. Alternatively, Villefranche-sue-Mer is very close by and they have sandy beaches.
Great post and information, Love the explanation of the Hotel Le Negresco