Boulevard of Nice - The Promenade des Anglais
Even though the name Promenade des Anglais is reminded immediately by those who have already been in Nice, this street is in good memory of all visitors of Nice, as the boulevard is simply the emblem of the city, even though normally, rather a cathedral or a castle are the city-emblems.
This world famous boulevard was already arranged in the year 1824 and permanently expanded. Not until the year 1931, the Promenade des Anglais got its look of today. Many other cities have tried to copy this Promenade des Anglais, but even in Cannes it was not possible to obtain a comparable boardwalk with the Croisette.
No matter at which point of the promenade one currently stands, there are always four points that somehow always are at one's sight: the most outstanding buildings are the Negresco Hotel and the Palais de la Méditerranée. At the eastern end, the castle mountain borders the promenade with its small waterfall; at the western end, the airport and a tourist information center form the end of the boulevard.
Important Traffic Road
Of course, the Promenade des Anglais is not only a boulevard but also an important arterial road of the city. Two wide roadways are separated from each other by a green central line with palms and bushes. Partly, up to 5 roadways go to the same direction. It is self evident that on such a road, the noise and malodour dominate. Every tourist wants to drive once through this road.
Of course, the Promenade des Anglais is also the road where vacationers of everywhere do present their cabriolets and posh cars. There, people like to start with full throttle at the traffic lights in order to get the respective attention. Among the French people, specially the Germans with their tuned cars are frowned upon and there are one or two nasty comments to hear by standing at the traffic lights.
By walking alongside the wide promenade, one of course motices a lot of traffic noise. Surprinsingly, one barely hears anything by laying some metres downwards on the beach.
Promenade for pedestrians and skaters
While in the background, cars and motorbikes are racing and expensive cars are presented, there is a real cozy atmosphere on the pedestrian zone of the Promenade des Anglais. Here, one can walk for some kilometres and sit on a bench for hours and watch the people loafing or having a bath.
Almost throughout the whole promenade there are chairs for the public use. During the visit of Nozza, it is a must to sit on one of such metal chairs for at least one hour and not doing anything but looking to the sea. The temptation to take a seat down to the beach is very strong; by this way, one rapidly gets the first contact to French people, namely the police...
The Promenade des Anglais is of a length of barely 5 kilometres. it takes a good hour to walk alongside the whole promenade. Lucky those who do not have to do this by foot but have some Inline-Skates. The Promenade des Anglais is the spot where the inline-skaters, skaters, skateboarders of Nice do meet. Of course, on the Promenade des Anglais there are also joggers, but the skaters clearly dominate. One does feel really great if one does not belong to the sunday walkers but to the circle of the local skaters.
At some spots, the pedestrian area of the Promenade des Anglais is more than 10 metres wide, but in the proximity to the airport there are only a few metres space for the pedestrians. The promenade is continuously well bituminised or paved, so that one can skate with velocity alongside the promenade. Of course, one has to be good in slalom by skating through the oldtown area...
The Promenade des Anglais is the most beautiful in the evenings when it is dark. Even at nights, the traffic on this street does not get less. But in the evenings, there is a dream atmosphere coming from the illuminated buildings at the background, the illuminated restaurants at the sea and of course from the sea itself. In the evenings, the real cracks are skating on the boulevard over some jumps and in slalom through some small huts. Those who can compete with will be approached...
Beaches at the Promenade
In traffic direction, the Promenade des Anglais lässt can be easily subdivided into four segments: the city side is surrounded by some big hotel buildings with numerous restaurants; then, the wide road comes with the green centre line. At the seaside, there is the wide pedestrian promenade and some metres deeper divided by a wall, there is the continuous beach.
In fact, there is a continuous beach at the boulevard that is only interrupted few times, for example at the spot where the Paillon flows into the sea. Meanwhile, there are nearly 20 bordered private beaches at the Promenade des Anglais. Most of the times, a restaurant with toilets is assigned to each of these private beaches. For a lot of money (more than als 10 euro per day) one can rent a deckchair with a parasol. Unfortunately, one has to pay straight away for one full day, it is not possible to rent by hours. This is the reason why most of the times, only older people are in those private beaches, while the youngster and those who remained young settle on the numerous public beaches.
The whole beach underneath the promenade consists on middle sized pebbles and appears to be less inviting at the first sight as for example a golden sand beach in Cannes. If one lays down on only a towel, one will feel the pebbles all over the body. Thus, it is better to use an additional mat. but the pebbles offer a decisive advantage: if it gets windy, no sand is blown to the face or to the towel. Yes, one even does not have to shake the towel after bathing.
In Nice, it is discussed since years whether the natural pebble beach should be rearranged to an artificial sand beach, in order to defy the rival Cannes. But until now, the faction that represents the opinion that the sea will take the artificially arranged sand back, is winning.
The seawater in the proximity of the beach in Nice is beautiful in a unique way: tiny, impalpable seaweeds provide the water with numerous colours, from deep blue up to a bright turquoise. The colour regions are partly bordered with some sharp edges - what a spectacle!
The public beaches in the proximity of the oldtown and westwards up to the Hotel Negresco are highly frequented in the summer. Those who prefer a tranquil place will better drive to the proximity of the airport. There is nothing nicer than skating with the inline-skates the promenade up to the airport and have there a refreshing bath.
Within the whole beach, there are every few hundred metres showers and sanitary facilities for free. numerous street sellers sell drinks and sweet pastries, they walk during the whole day across the beaches.
Most of the tourists live in the proximity of the oldtown of Nice so that the beaches of this area are much more crowded than in the area of the airport. The beaches of the west are not only more empty but one can also enjoy there a fascinating view to the mountains behind the city. The heap clowds at the mountains in the afternoon are nothing unusual. One first things that there will be a storm, but the heap clowd-effect can be seen almost every day.
Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz