The Place Massena is a real colour splash! The fresh citrus shades offer a wonderful contrast to a sky that is for the most part clear and very blue – Nice is one of the top 5 sunniest places in France with 2690 hours of sun a year. It’s not hard to spend time in this beautiful square, sitting on a bench enjoying the vibe of this awesome city.
Place Massena Nice France
Place Massena is named after Andre Massena 1758 – 1817). He was a French military commander during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars and was one of the original eighteen Marshals of the Empire created by Napoleon, with the nickname l’Enfant chéri de la Victoire (“the Dear Child of Victory”). This square is the beating heart of Nice.
During the night, the seven statues in the square, which represent the continents and, communication between the different communities of society today, designed by the Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, are illuminated in different colours. It is like stepping into a fairy tale and you can’t fail to be enchanted by the light.
The fountain depicts a story from Greek mythology. In the center of the fountain is a 7m high statue of Apollo, the God of sun and light – most appropriate for this very sunny city. The fountain is a popular place to take pictures and to sit for a while to enjoy the views. The square is pedestrianised though a tramline runs across it.
It is only since 1860 that Nice has been a part of France. Previously, the city belonged to the principality of Savoy, then a territory of Italy. This heritage is reflected in the neoclassical buildings in Italian style with vibrant red facades and pastel green shutters on the windows to keep out the bright sun.
In the Rue Massena, just off the square, you will find many restaurants and shops. If you fancy a relaxing stroll or a sit in the park try the Promenade du Paillon with splendid water fountains.
Whether you’re here during the day or at night, this square is a true feast for the eyes.
By Darina Nykl who lives in Holland where she works in a hospital and is an author. She blogs about the stories she is writing which are mostly set in Amsterdam, Paris, Provence and the Cote d’Azur, places that inspire her: darinanykl.com