Nice, the city of light on the Côte d’Azur, has a power of seduction that goes far beyond its spectacular scenery. It also attracts and enchants with its architecture, so representative of the Belle Époque. A period during which Nice underwent a metamorphosis. The city took off and became a winter resort for celebrities and aristocrats from all over the world. As a sign of their wealth and power, they began to build architectural masterpieces. These buildings bear witness to Nice’s prestigious past and still adorn its streets and boulevards as private residences.

The Belle Époque: when Nice became sovereign of the Côte d’Azur

It was in the middle of the 19th century, around 1850, that Nice and the Belle Epoque style are forever linked, giving rise to some exceptional buildings. A fishing village, Nice emancipated itself to become a winter resort where royalty and celebrities settled to enjoy the mild climate of the Côte d’Azur. They built palaces and villas in the Belle Epoque style, which was very fashionable at the time. This architectural style is characterised by eclecticism, using old architectural elements (Classical, Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, etc.) to create new and original buildings. The facades are extremely elaborate, with ornamentation and stucco to impress passers-by. Some of the finest examples of these buildings can be found in certain districts of Nice.

Belle Epoque buildings in the districts of Nice

On the Cimiez hill

Regina Palace

Formerly the hotel where Queen Victoria spent the last years of her life, this masterpiece of Belle Epoque architecture has been home to private residences since 1930. Its glass domes and canopies, intricate wrought iron work and stucco bas-reliefs have all contributed to its listing as a historic monument.

The Grand Palais

Designed by the Nice architect Charles Dalmas and built in 1912, this imposing building has 9 floors. Formerly a hotel, then a military hospital during the war, it now houses private apartments that retain all the charm and spaciousness of the Belle Epoque.

The Boulevard de Cimiez and its adjoining streets are full of the heritage of this splendid era, with many luxury hotels now converted into residences: the Majestic, the Riviera Palace, the Alhambra and the Winter Palace.

In the Carré d’or district

The Meyerbeer Palace

Since 1908, it has watched over the Boulevard Victor Hugo. An imposing apartment building with painted ceilings, it is listed as a “20th century heritage site”.

The Baréty Palace

This palace was built in 1898. Located on rue Maréchal Joffre, its austere façade is adorned with arched windows and topped with impressive ox heads.

Villa La Belle Époque

This majestic villa stands at the corner of rue Cronstadt and rue Maréchal Joffre. With its conservatory and stucco decorations, it has also been awarded the “20th century heritage” label.

In the Mont Boron district

Villa Beau site

Its belvedere overlooks the Baie des Anges and its turbulent history is the stuff of Riviera legend. Its initially blazing destiny has suffered many blows of fate. Listed as a historic monument but abandoned for many years, its colonnades and Corinthian capitals now seem to have found a new buyer capable of undertaking an ambitious restoration.

Villa Schmitz

Situated on Mont Gros, this private residence has a simple, elegant architecture inspired by Italian Renaissance villas. It stands out for the attention paid to every detail of its construction and the quality of its interiors.

In the Baumettes district

Château de la Tour des Baumettes

Overlooking the hill, the Château de la Tour is a small architectural madness, largely inspired by the neo-Gothic style and built on the ruins of an old watchtower. Once inhabited by a socialite soldier, the building and its gardens were converted into apartments in 1922.

The impetuous spirit of the Belle Époque is present in many of Nice’s districts, where the splendours of the past can be seen as if in an open-air museum. From princely palaces to luxury hotels, most of these buildings have now been converted into homes that combine history, luxury and timeless charm. Would you like to discover our selection of Belle Epoque properties in Nice? Please contact us for more information.