The Iconic History of Promenade des Anglais in Nice

The Promenade des Anglais is one of the the most well known and iconic places in France
The Promenade des Anglais is one of the the most well known and iconic places in France | © iggyshoot/Flickr
Alex Ledsom

The Promenade des Anglais in Nice is one of France’s best known and iconic seafronts. Here’s a brief history of this wonderful place and what to expect from a visit.
The Promenade stretches for seven kilometres, from the airport in the west of the city, to the castle headland in the east. It takes its name from the English people who paid for it to be built.

The Promenade des Anglais stretches round the entire Baie des Anges to the headland

Nice became a second home to many European aristocrats in the 18th century, who took up winter residence along the coast in Cannes and Nice. Many had grand houses built, like those which line the Boulevard de Cimiez, in the hills above Nice. The current Musée Masséna and Musée des Beaux Arts (both wonderful art museums) are former homes for rich aristocrats who wintered in the centre of Nice. As more and more people flocked to the town, grand hotels were built on the Boulevard de Cimiez, like the Grand Hotel, built in 1908. When Queen Victoria repeatedly began to holiday at the Excelsior Régina Palace, Nice’s reputation was cemented as the place to spend a season.

The Promenade des Anglais is made up of a selection of public and private beaches

The expats began the custom of walking up and down the beautiful coastline, taking in the scenery, and were keen to build a formal walkway. There was one particularly harsh winter in 1820, after two bad harvests, when lots of beggars came to the town looking for work, money and food. The Anglican church had built up a very large congregation at that point and believed that – instead of offering them handouts – they should be allowed to work for a living. They believed that handouts were bad for morale and that it was better to work for money. The Reverend Lewis Way, who was very senior in the church, was staying in Nice at the time on his way to Lebanon and paid for the construction of the route. It became known as the “Camin deis Anglés” in local dialect (the “English Way”) but was later rechristened La Promenade des Anglais in 1860. The town has since taken it under their wing and extended and developed it. It is now used for many cultural events, such as the Nice Carnival.

Locals call it “La Prom” and it’s where everyone comes to hang out. You can find everybody here – artists, skaters, buskers, ramblers, as well as everyone enjoying the beaches and restaurants. It can get very busy in the height of summer and the bars and restaurants can be packed to the brim. Make sure you book a table or a sun lounger if you’re heading to a private beach. There are non-stop service restaurants, as well as those that serve during lunch and dinner times. If you want something a little more intimate, take a picnic – although you might still have to sit among the crowds. Don’t be shy and grab a place among everyone else’s towels. Pickpockets are rife, though. If you don’t want to zealously watch your valuables then use a locker at a private beach.

Promenade des Anglais, Nice

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article