Perhaps the most famous thoroughfare in France after the Champs Elysées, the Promenade des Anglais is one of the jewels of Nice.
Why ‘des Anglais’ in this quintessentially French resort? The Côte d’Azur or ‘Riviera‘ as the English called it, was really discovered by the English back in the late 18th century. Wealthy families started to come to the shores of the Bay of Angels for the winter.
Up till 1820 access to the beach was very difficult. However, a very bad winter in the north brought many desperate and hungry people to the south coast. The local English community put them to work constructing a footpath along the fore shore.
One of these residents, the Reverend Lewis Way, financed the project. At first they called this path the English Way or ‘Camin deis Anglés‘ in the local Nissart language after the sponsors of the project and, in particular, the eponymous Reverend.
After the annexation of Nice by France in 1860 the path was renamed the Promenade des Anglais. Gradually many important buildings were constructed along its length. The Belle Époque Hotel Negresco, the Musée Masséna and the Ruhl Casino can all be enjoyed during a brief walk along ‘le Prom’ as the Niçois call it.
The Promenade complete with its ‘chaises bleues‘ or blue chairs has become a popular place. Not only for visitors and locals out for a stroll, but also skateboarders, cyclists and skaters. The annual Carnival proceeds along part of the Promenade beside the Jardin Albert I.
Following the dreadful events on Bastille Day 2016, the authorities have carried out substantial improvements. To enhance the security of pedestrians they have installed barriers, high kerbs and trees to prevent any recurrence. Work will continue throughout 2017 while operatives also create separate walkways and cycle ways. Visitors should expect to encounter construction work especially towards the western end. This is normally carried out overnight to minimise disruption.