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The city's original site, the Castle Hill once boasted a reputedly impregnable citadel that was entirely dismantled by the soldiers of the French King Louis XIV in 1706. Truly a maze of greenery that has become popular for its cool undergrowth and surprising waterfall, this wonderful place for strolling offers a wonderful viewpoint over Baie des Anges, Old Nice and the Port.
A Beautiful Day At The Castle Hill
The main reason to visit the Castle Hill tour is for the stunning views. Great views of Nice Port (afternoon hours - when the sun shines from the west) and city and beach (Baie des Anges) in the morning or midday hours are incredible. Sunset is especially terrific for lovely sights of Port Lympia, east and down to the Castle Hill. Don't just look at the view in one direction. We recommend visiting the Castle Hill twice and getting views from both of its sides. Climb up the Castle Hill during the morning hours for getting wonderful views of the Nice city and its long beaches (the red rooftops of Nice old town joined by the glistening turquoise ocean) and sunrise overlooking the port. Looking west you can see beyond the airport towards Cannes and St Tropez. Visit, again, during the late afternoon hours to get admirable sights of the ports in the east and sunset over the city and its beaches. There are countless things to do at Castle Hill whenever you visit.
Despite its name, the last remnant of the 12th-century Château de Nice that once stood atop Castle Hill was torn down by Louis XIV in 1706. Today its last remnant is the Bellanda Tower (Tour Bellanda), now home to a naval museum (Musée Naval). Also on the hilltop is a cemetery as well as a scenic park with a man-made waterfall, ponds, a children's playground, and plenty of picnic areas. There are many things to do at Castle Hill for your visit.
Another good thing to do at Castle Hill is to party there. The Chateau closes at nightfall, but there is one weekend a year when you can go up to the majestic Chateau at night. The Fete de la Chateau is a free two-night party on the last Saturday and Sunday in June; it has a kind of a hippy vibe and is a bit of a musical hodgepodge, but it's worth it alone for the extraordinary moonlit views over Nice.
In the north-west part of the hill - there is the Jewish cemetery (Cimetière Israélite, Allée François Aragon). As well as visiting the remains and gazing at the views, while on Castle Hill, visit the beautiful monumental cemetery. It has three sections Catholic, Protestant and Jewish. Many of the monuments are very elaborate and beautiful. Worth a look just to fill you in on Nice's recent history. Garibaldi is buried in this cemetery.
Cascade Dijon (which is an artificial waterfall) also counts as one of the chief highlights of the park. The waterfall is worth seeing from above and below. The waterfall was built in 1885 in order to decorate the Castle Hill, but also in order to play the role of on-verses basins of the first modern water supply of Nice. Even today, the waterfall is fed by the waters of the Vésubie valley. Visit it during your Castle Hill tour.
Despite different destructions, the castle park retains traces of its monuments of the past. Many ruins have been found and revealed (cathedral, citadel). Archaeological digs are still active today in an attempt to reveal traces of the fortress (from the medieval to the Baroque period). There are Roman relics well exposed at the archeological site. It's a must thing to do at Castle Hill.
How to Get Tickets?
Things to do at Castle Hill can be enjoyed for free. There is no admission fee to visit it, just bring cash for your food and drink later if you need it.
How To Get Around?
To arrive on foot, take the steps at the eastern end of the Quai des États-Unis up the hill to Le Château. If you prefer not to walk, there is also an elevator on Quai des Etats-Unis close to the Hotel Suisse, this is free. It runs up the hill from spring through autumn. It will only take you as far as the car park, about three-quarters of the way up, but it's an easy climb the rest of the way. Pay a little extra and take a tourist train, which leaves from the Promenade Des Anglais. The 45-minute journey takes in all of the main sights in the park without stopping. Wheelchair access to Le Château is available via the elevator. Once at the top, you can follow the accessible trails around the park and to the viewpoints.
What Should I Wear?
To do the things to do at Castle Hill, wear comfortable shoes to explore Nice on foot—it's full of hills, cobblestone streets, and steps. Wear comfortable clothes as well and bring bottle of drinking water.
Best Time to Visit
The hilltop of Le Château can get busy, especially in peak season (July and August), and the most popular time is around lunchtime when locals bring a picnic to enjoy in the park. For the most impressive views, time your visit for sunrise or sunset, when the weather is cooler and there are thinner crowds.
Will I Need a Guide?
No, there is no need to hire a tour guide, Castle Hill is a free attraction and best explored by yourself.
How To Get There?
around it. There are some pretty spectacular views of the beach and bay from here. There is also an elevator in this tower. Walk toward the beach and the hill from the market square in Nice and you will see the tower with Ascenseur labeled on it. This is the elevator. It is free to use both up and down. The system is fully automated with signs not to touch buttons. This is a handy way to ride up and walk down if you don't fancy the stairs. Be aware once you are up on top there are still some stairs about to get to the various sights.
At the top of the hill are a few small cafés where you can purchase a drink or snack. For lunch, it's best to pack a picnic.