Place Massena is the largest square in Vieux Nice, but, on top of that, most visitors of Nice agree that is also the most spectacular and the most representative of all in the historical district of the city.

The history of Place Massena goes back to the first half of the 19th century, when the local authorities were facing the urge to embellish and to extend the architectural landscape of Vieux Nice. However, it was not until recently that the square acquired its steady current look and layout, since from its construction until 2007 it underwent long periods of restoration and refurbishment.

Thus, the square is famed for having sheltered, on the top of its Fontaine du Soleil, a monumental statue of Apollo subsequently removed by reason of aesthetic and moral disruption (the statue being at present located at the entrance of the Charles Ehrmann Stadium). In fact, the fountain itself was repeatedly dismantled, displaced and even removed entirely from the square, until 2007 when it was again reinstalled. Fontaine du Soleil and the five bronzes dotting its edges are the only original ornamental elements which were preserved in time, displayed at present while overlooked by a high water jet.

The square also used to be the site where the former municipal casino was located. It too was built and then pulled down by reason of architectural and aesthetical incongruence with the rest of the square.

However, at present Place Massena is a must-see for all visitors of Nice, since it is one of the sites which concentrate the most stunning Neoclassical structures in the city, being bordered by buildings with impressive red facades. Furthermore, the square is just a short walking distance from attractions like Jardin Albert I, Opera de Nice and, a little further away, the Cathedral of Sainte Reparate. As a plus, visitors can simply hand around and relax while exploring the shopping opportunities or the restaurants in Place Massena.

Place Massena (Massena Square)
Place Masséna, Nisa, France
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