France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   La Colline du Château, Nice, France
The château is long gone, but the hill and park are lovely and offer great views.





La Colline du Château (also referred to as Castle Hill or Château Hill) in Nice is a significant landmark, serving as one end of the Baie des Anges, the beautiful bay around which Nice has grown; and framing the Port Lympia (formerly called Vieux Port) and its many boats.

You can access the top of the hill via an assortment of walking paths and small roads, but the easiest way is to take the ascenseur, or elevator located at the end of the Quai des États-Unis, at the eastern end of the Baie des Anges.

The elevator shaft was formerly a well for the castle, and it's deep in the hill. Look for the entrance (it's subtle, with orange brick arches in the side of the hill) and then walk along a corridor for a few hundred feet. The elevator is free and self-operating: when the doors open, just step in and it will take you up.

elevator to chateau hill, Nice

The hilltop offers several stunning panoramic vistas of the Baie des Anges, the lovely hills and mountains surrounding Nice, the Port Lyria, the Vieille Ville (Old Town) and more. As you wander, you'll get different perspectives and enjoy lovely views. There's also a man-made waterfall, and the sound and sight of rushing water is most welcome on hot days!

Enjoying the view, Colline du Chateau, Nice
Visitors enjoy a lovely view of the Vieille Ville and coastine of Nice, from the top of the Colline du Château.

The site itself has a long history, having been occupied by the Celtic Ligurians and later the Greeks, in about the 3rd century BC. Early in the Christian era the Romans took over. There is an archaeological site of dwellings, warehouses, and workshops, all of which were destroyed in the siege of 1691. Nearby are remnants of the Cathedral of Sainte-Marie, built in the 11th and 12th centuries and rebuilt in the late Middle Ages. Mosaics and walkways evoke this history.

It's been a long time since there was a château on the hill. The citadel, which some thought was unassailable, was destroyed in 1706 by soldiers of King Louis XIV.

The hilltop also has a children's playground and various sports areas, plus a couple of informal cafés where you can get a drink, snack, or light lunch. To the north are cemeteries, divided into three sections for Jews, Protestants, and Catholics. The cemeteries include some beautiful carved monuments.

By the way, you should be aware of the big boom. Every day at 12 noon a cannon is fired from the Colline du Château—a tradition that dates back over a century. And on the first Wednesday of each month, at 12:15, the city tests its alert system, which is very loud. Be prepared!

For unforgettable views of Nice, you can't beat Château Hill!

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Above, Baie des Anges, as seen from the top of Château Hill.

Below, Tranquil pool in the park at the top of the Colline du Château.


Pool, Colline du Chateau, Nice



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