Attack on Nice′s famous Promenade | DW Travel | DW | 15.07.2016
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Attack on Nice's famous Promenade

After the Bastille Day fireworks, a truck raced into the crowd. More than 80 people were killed and many more injured. Background to the location of the attack, which is a popular tourist Destination.

The "Promenade des Anglais" is one of the most famous boulevards in Europe. 2016 was to be a year of celebration: the Promenade will be 250 years old. The city of Nice wants it to be put on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

In the middle of the 19th century the seven-kilometer (4.6 mile) seafront walkway "Promenade des Anglais" was created, which translates as "Walkway of the English." It owes its name to the earliest visitors to the resort.

Anyone who has been to Nice will know the Promenade des Anglais, which stretches from the airport all the way to the Quai des Etats-Unis, which is close to the port. Those who haven't driven along the city's main coast road will surely have spent time in one of the famous blue beach chairs or at least standing on the promenade admiring the bright white Belle Époque façade of the "Le Negresco" hotel.

Nizza Strand Promenade

Nice, French Riviera

History buffs will know another iconic place in the city, the Jetée Promenade Casino, which was destroyed in 1944 by German soldiers and is now an excavation site.

The 300-room hotel Le Méridien is on the former location of the luxury Hotel des Anglais, which received King Ludwig I of Bavaria among its first guests.

Where once the aristocracy of Europe and Russia used to stroll with bustles and bowler hats, these days has become a meeting place for thousands of tourists, joggers and inline skaters. For the local inhabitants, the up to ten meter wide Promenade des Anglais, very much a city landmark, has simply become known as the Promenade or, for short, La Prom.

Shaped by the English

Marc Chagall immortalized it, as did fellow artists Henri Matisse and Raoul Dufy. Chagall discovered the city and its still existing famous flower market in 1926. His lithographs can be currently seen as part of a Musée Chagall exhibit called: "Nice- sun and flowers. Marc Chagall and the Baie des Anges."

Strictly speaking, it dates back to the year 1776, when the first terrace along the seafront opened. The real history begins at the start of the 19th century with the "Chemin des Anglais," a stony two-meter broad walkway created by the English, who had taken to spending the winter months in Nice. They were often joined by Russians who also liked to escape the cold winter in the mild Mediterranean climate.

At some point there were so many English in the city that author Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870) observed that Nice was in principle an English town in which you might, occasionally, encounter an Frenchman.

Promenade des Anglais in Nice by night, Copyright: dpa

The popular seafront promenade is about seven kilometers long

In 1849, the "Chemin des Anglais" was extended to include the "Terrasses des Ponchettes" - an ingenious walkway that led over the flat roofs of the houses down to the beach.

Now the city plans to recreate this roof-top walkway, which once was a favorite promenade of European aristocracy. The nobility that used to stroll along it included England's Queen Victoria as well as King Ludwig I of Bavaria.

is/ch/sc (dpa)

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