The real estate market of the city of Nice is made up of about 90% of apartments and about 10% of houses. Nice offers a rich array of architecture ranging from the Belle Epoque Palace, the Moorish Palace, the Haussmann building, the Nice Turin style building, residences from the 70s to the modern luxury residence with deep terraces or penthouses.
The arrival of the railway in 1864 and the French administrative development from 1860 (date of the annexation of the County of Nice to France) attracted tourists from all countries until the First World War.
The architects active in Nice between 1860 and 1930 were either foreign or local. Its cosmopolitan population makes Nice a unique case of urban planning and architecture in which different influences come together.
Among the foreign architects we mention Dettloff. His works are very diverse, ranging from the Moorish style (Villa Raphaël-Suvang) to the seaside villa as those of Biarritz and Deauville, or buildings such as the Victor Hugo Palace. Dettloff designed large villas and beautiful buildings as well as large palaces such as the Parc Imperial.
The architect Tersling represents the northern countries in the architecture of Nice. One of his masterpieces is the Villa Massena.
The first period of expansion of Nice (1860-1900) was dominated by Biasini inspired by the Italian Renaissance. Its main buildings are orders from winter visitors outside the region, or even foreigners: Belgians, English or Russians.
The next generation (1900-1914) was dominated by another personality from Nice, Charles Dalmas. He was responsible for several Palaces such as the Royal (1906), the Hermitage (1906), the Winter Palace (1901), the Grand Palais (1911), and the Palais de la Méditerranée in 1928.
Dalmas has been able to combine the southern tradition of flat roofs, friezes and stuccoes, blinds, with the most recent influences of Parisian and international neo-classicism.
The period between 1950 and 1970 was characterized by accelerated urbanization and corresponded to recent requirements with luxury buildings with deep terraces.
Several villas in Nice nowadays welcome the public and are transformed into a museum.
In Cimiez, the “Villa des Arènes”, formerly the “Palais Gubernatis”, now houses the Matisse Museum. Paul Matisse himself stayed there.
Villa Arson is now a museum of modern art. Villa Kotschoubey, designed by the architect Constantin Scala, has become the Nice Museum of Fine Arts.
The public library, Boulevard Dubouchage, was originally a villa, built in 1870.
“Le Palais de Marbre” on Avenue de Fabron, built in 1872-1874 by Sébastien-Marcel Biasini with an architecture ranging from neo-Gothic to neoclassical, has housed the municipal archives since 1960. The Fine Arts Museum, on Avenue des Baumettes, was built in 1878 by Constantin Scala. The museum is the result of an initiative by Napoleon III. Thanks to donations, it houses works from the 16th century to the middle of the 20th century.
The architectural style of the villas in Nice is varied. In the Musicians’ district we find villas from the Belle Epoque, including the villa “La Belle Epoque” located on Rue Cronstadt. Michel de Tarnowski, a sculptor, is the architect of this villa. The corners of his villas, called “Palaces” at the crossroads of the streets are very often surmounted by a dome. The Régina ‘Palace’ in Cimiez is a typical example of this architecture.
Many buildings and villas in Nice were built during the years 1880-1890. On Avenue Jean Médecin, the Crédit Lyonnais building in Palladian and classical style dates back to 1882. The Nice Opera House, located on rue Saint-François-de-Paule in the old town of Nice, was built in 1884. Its architecture reflects a mix of Second Empire style and Italian influence.