There’s no castle at the top, but the hill overlooking Nice offers views across the city and sea, historic ruins, and a quiet place to escape the heat in summer.
Castle Hill, known as “La Colline du Château”, separates the Old Town from the Port of Nice. Climb to the top for the best views of the city and the Bay of Angels. There’s no castle here anymore, but the hilltop has been turned into a park with a man-made waterfall, old ruins, a playground and several lookouts. A café is open during the high season.
Get active and climb to the top on foot. You’ll be rewarded with commanding vistas and places to rest along the way. A set of brick stairs can be reached from the end of the Promenade. There are 213 steps from here to an observation deck that sits on top of the Naval Museum. Bring comfortable shoes and a bottle of water. The view from the observation platform takes in the entire city, its beaches and the sparkling Mediterranean.
An elevator 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.
Paths and roadways make the hill and multi-tiered park relatively easy to explore, but bring a map – it’s easy to get lost. Make your way to the man-made waterfall, which is turned off after 5 p.m. The hill was the original site of the city, but the cathedral and medieval fortress were taken down in 1706. Some ruins remain. Signs tell some of the city’s history and indicate where the buildings once stood. There’s also a centuries-old cemetery on the hill. Wander inside to admire mausoleums and elaborate tombstones.
The park opens early every day and closes at varying times throughout the year – later in summer, earlier in winter. Opening hours are listed on the gate to the stairs and at the elevator. Admission is free.