The Côte d'Azur covers the coastline from the Italian border through the sovereign state of Monaco to Saint Tropez in the west. The name was given to the coast by the writer Stéphen Liégeard in his book, La Côte d’azur, published in December 1887. Liégeard was born in Dijon, in the French department of Côte-d'Or, and adapted that name by substituting the azure blue color of the Mediterranean for the gold of Côte-d'Or.
line, designers such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Gucci, and private beach clubs line the boulevard. It is the place to see and be seen.
Wander down La Croisette to the Palais des Festivals, where stars of the screen gather and watch films screened during the world's most famous film festival, the Festival de Cannes. It's irresistible not to pose on the red carpet leading up to the entrance. Also surrounding the Palais is the Allee des Stars, a chain a bronze hand prints of the stars.
During the Thirty Years War, the Spanish occupied the island and built the fort from 1635 to 1637. After the Spanish were defeated, the French army completed the area's fortification. A prison was added to its military function in 1637 which lasted until the twentieth century. The Fort Royal became home to a number of famous prisoners until its closure in the 20th century: Abdel Kadir (an Algerian rebel leader), Marquis Jouffroy d’Abbans (inventor of the steamboat) and Marshal Bazaine (the only successful escapee from the island) have all spent time there. It's most famous prisoner is the Man in the Iron Mask, a mysterious prisoner whose identity remains unknown.
Sentries and cannons guard the entrance to the restored palace and the colorful changing of the guard occurs every day outside the Palais at 11:55 am. Today the palace is home to Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier's son and successor, Prince Albert II.
The Cathédrale Notre-Dame-Immaculée is also known as the Saint Nicholas Cathedral, was consecrated in 1875, and is on the site of the first parish church in Monaco built in 1252 and dedicated to St. Nicholas. Many of the Grimaldis are buried here, including Grace Kelly and more recently, Rainier III.
During 1854 gambling was legalized by Prince Florestan I. The first casino was opened during 1856 in a villa near the harbor. Prince Charles III ordered the construction of a new complex named Monte Carlo. A new casino was also part of this plan. The construction of the current building started during 1858. To make the casino more successful a 50-year concession to operate the gaming rooms was granted to a private individual named François Blanc during 1861. The new facility opened during 1863. Adding to the glamor and legend of the poker tables and the roulette wheels is that Ian Fleming in his first James Bond book includes it as a setting in Casino Royale, and the 1995 Bond film Goldeneye includes it as one of the locations.
The Casino has been designed around an atrium surrounded by 28 onyx columns, behind which the Salle Garnier, an Italian theater decorated in red and gold is the veritable miniature replica of the Paris opera house.
Around the Place du Casino, window shop at the heart of the famous Cercle d'Or: jewelers, haute couture boutiques, antique dealers and drip extravagant luxury.
The area of today’s Nice is believed to be among the oldest human settlements in Europe. One of the archaeological sites, Terra Amata, displays evidence of a very early usage of fire. Around 350 BC, Greeks of Marseille founded a permanent settlement and called it Nikaia, after Nike, the goddess of victory.
The Place Garibaldi stands out for its architecture and history. It is named after Giuseppe Garibaldi, hero of the Italian unification (born in Nice in 1807 when Nice was part of the Napoleonic Empire, before reverting back to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia). The square was built at the end of the 18th century and served as the entry gate to the city and end of the road to Turin. A statue of Garibaldi, who was fiercely in favor of the union of Nice with Italy, stands in the center of the square. It is a crossroads between the Vieux Nice (old town) and the town center.
With its narrow, shadowy streets, cozy squares, colorful markets, baroque churches and jumble of pastel houses, Vieux Nice looks and feels much as it must have about two centuries ago. We stumbled upon a road leading up to Le Chateau (Castle Hill) at the end of Vieux Nice. The name refers to the castle which was here once. On top of the mountain is a nice square with balustrades, the Terrasse Frédéric Nietzsche. From here one has a magnificent view over Nice.