The history of Nice | Best Western Plus Hotel Masséna Nice
Historical hotel of Nice, our 4-star hotel right in the heart of the city, nestling behind its majestic Belle Epoque façade, offers you to discover the history of the city of Nice.
Discover the key steps that marked Nice city and how this Mediterranean city has been constructed and modernized over the centuries.
A prehistorical city
The archaeological research provides evidence that human was present as soon as 400,000 years before our era. Other traces testify the existence of a camp on the current Castle Hill and near the Paillon, located near the Best Western Plus Hotel Masséna Nice, in the Bronze Age (1800 to 600 BC).
The creation of Nice
We cannot talk about the city of Nice before the 4th century BC, when the Greeks settled there. The origin of its name is a hot button issue : some see a tribute to the Greek goddess Nikaïa or Nike, “the victorious”, but no battle took place here. It seems that the name rather comes from the indigenous term Nisse (pronounced “neetché”), which refers to a source of fresh water. The fountain of the Castle Hill was indeed known from the Greeks, who had settled in Marseille and made from Nice one of their trading posts.
The Roman Empire developed from the 1st century AC, particularly at Cemenelum, rather known as Cimiez quarter nowadays. Nice had been incorporated to Italy at that time.
The Cimiez Hill, which is today part of Nice, was the capital of the province between the middle of the 1st century and the 4th century ; we can still see the remains of Roman baths as well as the arenas. Don’t hesitate to visit them and take advantage of it to see the Archaeological Museum, the Matisse Museum and to walk in the Cimiez gardens. To enjoy a breathtaking view on the city of Nice, we advise you to walk to the garden of the Cimiez Abbey : the panorama is worth the trip !
Middle Ages and Renaissance
Nice became an important trading post during that period.
The city of Nice faced a chequered history during the whole Middle Ages, particularly because of its location, at the border of several realms : it was first under the authority of the counts of Provence, then of those of Genoa in 1215, and then of Anjou in 1265. It accepted the incorporation to the House of Savoy in 1388, date on which the County of Nice was created, and finally joined the Kingdom of France during the 16th century.
The construction of the famous castle of Nice, of which only ruins remain today, began in 1159 on the hill.
The castle of Nice has witnessed the different sieges suffered by the city and made by the Kingdom of France which was at war against the Habsbourgs, in 1543, 1691 and 1705. This is this last siege that caused the total destruction of the castle. The Castle Hill is now a privileged place to stroll, only a few minutes from the Best Western Plus Hotel Masséna Nice. It offers an amazing view on the city on one side and the port on the other.
The Middle Ages are also famous to have been the period of the erection of cathedrals, and Nice is no exception.
The original cathedral of Nice was constructed during the 5th century, on the Castle Hill, and knew several reconstructions. The cathedral had been transferred to the Sainte-Réparate church, on Rossetti place, in 1531, making of the cathedral of the castle the church of the castle. But it underwent important changes to give it its present aspect, between 1649 and 1699.
Visit this wonderful Sainte-Réparate cathedral and then enjoy a refreshing drink on one of the terraces of the place or an ice cream at the ice-cream maker Fenocchio, one of the most renowned in the city. You will get a relaxing moment !
Finally, this is during that period that the Nice Carnival appeared. This event is celebrated each year in February and nowadays appeals tourists from all over the world.
Nice became a touristic city with the arrival of the first English tourists during the 18th century. They are the ones who built the beautiful Promenade des Anglais, a few steps from the hotel and which goes along the Angels Bay.
Nice changed its nationality several times during this period : it was French from 1792 to 1814, then Italian until the final annexation of Nice to France, in 1860.
Nice took the identity for which it is known during the Belle Epoque : English tourists made this city a seaside resort that cannot be missed on the French Riviera. Palaces and villas developed on the heights of Cimiez as well as along the Promenade des Anglais.
Between the two World Wars, the greatest names of American literature made Nice their favourite holiday destination.
During the post-war, the city finally democratised itself and attracted an increasing number of tourists, from France and all over the world, up to the present day.
The Best Western Plus Hotel Masséna Nice is included into this history : constructed in 1906, the hotel, originally known as the “Hôtel des Corses”, appealed aristocratic clients, with its splendid Belle Epoque façade. Having changed its name for Grand Hotel Masséna, it became the place to be, thanks in particular to its privileged services and its incomparable location.
Since 2016, the hotel has joined the Best Western affiliation, becoming the Best Western Plus Hotel Masséna Nice.
As a luxury hotel true to its original spirit, our hotel in the centre of Nice also knew how to modernise itself at the same time as its city.
Come and discover more about the historical city of Nice while staying in one of its mythical hotels, by booking right now your room at the Best Western Plus Hotel Masséna Nice !
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Photo credit : Nice Rendez-Vous