go to content go to search box go to global site navigation



Nice was founded around 350 BC by the Greek seafarers who had settled Marseille. They named the colony Nikaia, apparently to commemorate a nearby victory (nike in Greek). In 154 BC the Greeks were followed by the Romans, who settled further uphill around what is now Cimiez, where there are still Roman ruins.

By the 10th century, Nice was ruled by the counts of Provence but turned to Amadeus VII of the House of Savoy in 1388. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was occupied several times by the French, but didn’t definitively become part of France until 1860, when Napoleon III struck a deal (known as the treaty of Turin) with the House of Savoy.

During the Victorian period the English aristocracy and European royalty enjoyed Nice’s mild winter climate. Its relatively recent status as a French city, combined with its long-standing tradition of international visitors, gives Nice something of an Italian flair and an open, welcoming attitude towards travellers. Today it’s the second-most visited city in France after Paris.