Nice’s newest (or oldest) attraction has recently opened to the public, but you’ll have to go underground to see it!
This is a real treasure that lays six meters below Nice’s Place Garibaldi and Boulevard Jean Jaurès; 2,000 m2 of extremely well preserved ruins, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich and tumultuous developments of the city’s history.
Open to the public since the 10th of October, Nice’s Archaeological Crypt was discovered during the works on the first tramway line between Pont Michel and Las Planas. After years of excavations, it has been listed as a Historic Monument for its medieval and modern fortifications and is considered by many as the city’s “richest heritage site”, the only other equivalent in France being the crypt under the Louvre in Paris.
Tours are conducted by a qualified guide, usually in groups of about fifteen. Visitors access the site through a trap door located at Porte Pairolière. Then, prepare to be amazed! From a wholly intact pillar of the old Pairolière castle that was built in the 14th century under the Counts of Provence, to sections of an aqueduct that conveyed water to the Sardinian Kings’ Palace, and from parts of medieval stone houses belonging to the Augustin family to a few remains of the bridge that led to Torino, the city reveals its hidden secrets.
Throughout there are several explanatory panels and touch screens informing the public as to the various types of masonry, with some parts of the site illuminated in different colors. There is definitely no need to be a history buff or an archaeological expert to appreciate this exceptional site!
Visits are organized on a daily basis at 10am, 11am, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm, with the exception of Tuesdays, when the crypt is closed. Reservation is mandatory. Tickets cost €5 (€2.50 for seniors, students and unemployed) and can only be bought from the Centre du Patrimoine, which is located at 75, Quai des États-Unis. Do note that these tickets are non-refundable and may not be exchanged.
La Crypte Archéologique
Place Jacques Toja
Centre du Patrimoine
75, quai des États-Unis
Tel: 04 92 00 41 90
All photographs © RIVIERA BUZZ