Côte d’Azur

When Charles III Visited Nice

In 2018, the King of England Charles III – who was “only” the Prince of Wales at the time – was on an official visit to Nice. His presence in the capital of the Côte d’Azur, in particular at Villa Masséna and in the alleyways of the flower market on Cours Saleya, further strengthened the historic ties between Nice and the United Kingdom.

Villa Masséna

May 7th, 2018. The 32nd official visit of Prince Charles – today Charles III – began in Nice. As he descended from the plane, the son of Elizabeth II was welcomed by the sound of the British National Anthem, “God Save the Queen”. Accompanied by his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles headed to the prestigious Belle Epoque-style Villa Masséna. Erected in the late 19th century, Villa Masséna now harbours a museum dedicated to the history of the Côte d’Azur since its attachment to France. Charles posed for photographers in front of a painting depicting his ancestor, Queen Victoria. The tour continued in the garden, where the future King of England laid a wreath in honour of the victims of the Nice terrorist attack on July 14th, 2016.

Cours Saleya

A few hours later, the royal couple could be glimpsed on Cours Saleya, at the heart of the city’s historic quarter. Coveted by locals and tourists alike, this square provides the setting for Nice’s famous flower market. On its stalls, thousands of sweet-smelling blooms rub shoulders with colourful fruit and local delicacies. Tailed by a crowd of curiosity-seekers keen to take the selfie of a lifetime, Charles and Camilla roamed the market’s alleyways, taking time to discover and appreciate the specialities on offer. That day on Cours Saleya, the Prince of Wales even succumbed to the temptation of a slice of socca, a Nice culinary classic made with chickpea flower. Simply delicious!

Nice, a so-British city!

Charles and Camilla’s visit to Nice also served to rekindle the unbreakable ties that have bound the United Kingdom and Riviera since the late 19th century. At the time, Queen Victoria fell under the spell of the Côte d’Azur, where she resided several times in winter, between 1887 and 1899. Her visits actually prompted the construction of the Hôtel Regina, a vast Belle Epoque-style hotel erected on Cimiez hill. Facing the Regina lies the “Monument to Queen Victoria”: a white marble statue dedicated to the sovereign. Nice is also home to various other sites embodying this historic English presence, including the Anglican church on Rue de France and, especially, the world famed “Promenade des Anglais” seafront. It wears its name well!