A Former Administrative Division Of The Kingdom Of Sardinia, bounded N. and E. by Piedmont, S. E. by the Mediterranean, and W. and S. W. by the French departments of Basses-Alpes and Var. In 1860 the larger part of Nice was ceded by Italy to France. That part of it retained by Italy now forms the province of Porto Maurizio. The part ceded to France, together with a small portion of the department of Var, was united into a new department called Alpes-Maritimes.
A Seaport Town Of France, capital of the department of Alpes-Maritimes, on a narrow plain between the Alps and the Mediterranean, and on both sides of the mouth of the river Paillon or Paglione, 98 m. S. S. W. of Turin, in lat. 43° 42' N., lon. 70° 17' E.; pop. in 1872, 52,377. The port is small, but admits vessels drawing 15 ft. of water, and is protected by two moles, one of which is surmounted by a battery and a lighthouse. The oldest part of the town lies on the E. side of the river. It has narrow streets, but from its centre rises a hill 800 ft. high, the summit of which, formerly occupied by a castle, is now laid out in public pleasure grounds. Parts of the old town have been greatly improved of late years. The W. division is called the " quarter of the marble cross," from a monument commemorative of the reconciliation of Charles V. and Francis I. in 1538 through the intervention of Pope Paul III. It is inhabited chiefly by English, who have here a chapel and two cemeteries. The houses are neat and encompassed by gardens; and there are two public squares, one of which is surrounded by colonnades. The town contains a cathedral of the 17th century, a national college with a botanical garden attached to it, a public library, a zoological museum, a theatre, baths, hospitals, and convents.
There are manufactories of silk, cotton, paper, oil, tobacco, perfumery, soap, and leather, and a considerable trade in those articles and in wine and fruit. Nice is a free port, and there are steamers three times a week to Marseilles and Genoa. It is chiefly noted as a watering place and resort for English invalids, who frequent it in such numbers that they have produced a complete change in the aspect of that part of the town which they inhabit. As many as 5,000 or 6,000 British visitors are found here in the winter, besides a large number of Russians, Poles, French, Germans, and Americans. The climate is remarkably mild and salubrious, and the suburbs, which lie among the low hills a mile or two inland, are particularly delightful. The greatest drawback is a dry wind called the mistral, which at times blows from the Alps. But the temperature is regular; there are no sudden changes, and the atmosphere is clear and pure. The mean annual temperature, deduced from 15 years' observations, is 60½0, the extremes being in January and August, 27½° and 88½° respectively. The climate, however, is not considered favorable for persons afflicted with pulmonary complaints.
The language of Nice is a dialect of the Provencal called the Nizzard, which may be heard in its greatest purity in the neighboring rural districts. In the town French is generally spoken, and the vernacular is much corrupted. - Nice is built near the site of the ancient Ligurian town of Nicaea, founded by the Phocffians of Massilia; and even after both became subject to the Romans it continued to be dependent for municipal purposes upon its parent city. In the 12th century Nice was the capital of an independent county, and in 1388 it became a dependency of the house of Savoy. In 1543 it was captured by the French and the Turks under Khair ed-Din Barbarossa, who were however unable to reduce the citadel. It was taken by Catinat in 1691, and by the duke of Berwick in the service of Louis XIV. in 1706. It fell into the hands of the French in 1793, but was restored to Sardinia in 1814. Nice was ceded with Savoy to France by the treaty of March 24, 1860, subject to the consent of the inhabitants by ballot.
The vote, taken on April 15, resulted in a large majority in favor of annexation.
Nice, from the Promenade des Anglais.