Place Masséna (Massena Square) , Nice , Architecture, Monuments Provence Attractions

Place Masséna (Massena Square)
Address - Place Masséna
Type - Architecture, Monuments
In the center of Nice, between the Old Town of Nice and the main street - Avenue Jean-Médecin (leading to the station), a beautiful square, Place Masséna (Massena Square), can be found, not yielding to the squares of the capital by its magnitude. (Its age is about two centuries, it appeared in the period of Nice intensive development for the period from the years 1820 to 1830)).

Place Massena NiceInitially, the Place Masséna was smaller and bore the name of Charles-Albert (King of Sardinia, who ascended the throne in 1831). Its location, almost perfect, contributed to the development and in 1860 (historical for Nice, as at that time, the city became a part of France), the square obtained almost its modern forms. At the same time, it received its present name - in honor of Marshal Masséna, a native of Nice, who occupied the city in 1792. (The fact is that André Masséna was not only a great military leader, but also a patriot of France and of his native city).

The Place Masséna is «obliged» by its geometric shape, such as «elongated» ones, to the Paillon River, located directly on both banks, and descending the Alps, while crossing the city. (Previously, the river was repeatedly the cause of the devastating floods in Nice). However, the capricious Paillon is now hidden under the earth, as they decided to «enclose» it into the pipe, passing under the southern part of the square - it is not visible from above.

This square (Place Masséna) has always played the role of one of the main social centers of Nice. All year round, it is the venue for the various exhibitions. The animated city Carnival - the largest in France - is held here every year for two weeks in February. In winter, you can visit the outdoor ice rink and Christmas market. The numerous shops and cafes are located in square, and skateboarders "rush" to race with skaters constantly here during the daytime. In fact, the square represents a large pedestrian zone. (The only exception is the modern tramway, built through it). Cheap bicycle rental stations Velo Bleu (municipal public network) are also available on the Place Masséna.

One can go for a long walk here through the light and dark stone slabs, which resembles a chessboard – there is something to see! For example, there are translucent «sitting» men, which light up in different colors, depending on the moment, on 7 pillars 10 meters high. It is believed that these figures represent the seven continents of the Earth. (The author of this composition, entitled «Conversation in Nice», is the Catalan sculptor Jaume Plensa).

The Fontaine du Soleil, located on the southern part of the square, surrounded by the five bronze statues (sculpted by Alfred Janniot), representing all of the characters of Greek and Roman mythology: Earth, Mars, Venus, Mercury and Saturn, is also worth a look. There is a marble statue of Apollo in the center of fountain, seven meters high. It was displaced in the 1970s, officially because of its nakedness that could shock passers-by. (However, in 2011, the statue of Apollo made its return, taking its place on top of the fountain).

Map - Place Masséna (Massena Square)



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