The most well known Square in Nice, the Italianate Place Masséna dates from 1815. Named after the local hero of the Napoleonic Wars, Maréchal André Masséna, every visitor should admire this iconic landmark.
A vast square surrounded by arcaded red ochre buildings and a garden, Massena constitutes the real hub of the city. The Ligne d’Azur Tramway passes through the centre.
The rue Jean Médicin one of Nice’s main shopping streets, leads off the top of the Square. Moreover, only a short walk from the opposite side to Vieux Nice. Here the Carnival processions begin each February and then take loop around the Albert Ist Gardens.
Place Masséna underwent a facelift in 2007 with the inauguration of the tramway and is now largely pedestrianised. It flaunts the Seven Thinkers although, more recently (2011) and controversially, the naked Apollo statue which the League of Feminine Virtue had had banished from the Square in 1981!
Now re-instated in all its glory, the 7m/23ft, 6 tonne sculpture stands over the fountain on the south side of the square. No doubt the sculptor Alfred Auguste Janniot (1889-1969) would be pleased to know that one of his major works is now back in favour in such a prestigious venue!