In the early 20th century graphic designers made an art form of showcasing the region’s jewels. Now a current exhibition in Nice honours these artists

Chances are that when you think of the most iconic images of France, posters made by Jules Chéret, Alphonse Mucha or Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec spring to mind. Well beyond an everyday object that advertised products, services, or in this case an entire region, they have decorated interiors and continue to adorn the public space ever since they first became popular in the late 19th and early 20th century.

The Departmental Archives of the Alpes-Maritimes have a rich collection of such posters that promoted the mythical territory that is the French Riviera. Tasteful depictions of the area between land and sky, sea and mountains, tell the story of the region and give a glimpse in a time long gone by.

The current exhibition of select posters at the Lympia Cultural Space in Nice, titled “La Côte d’Azur s’affiche”, takes visitors on a magical journey to an irresistible part of the planet where the gentle climate only accentuates the beauty of the landscape. But there is also another facet to the region: it welcomes everyone, beyond class and other manmade borders, and everyone can have fun here in this land of culture and sports.

Alcide Théophile Robaudi Cannes, 1910

Charles Léonce Brossé - Meeting d'aviation Nice 1910

Reopened in 2017 after extensive renovation, the Lympia gallery is composed of two historic buildings: the former prison dating back to 1750, complete with its 280 m² roof terrace, and the Clock Tower, built in 1826, which overlooks the port of Nice. The space hosts well-designed exhibitions as diverse as the very successful 2021 show Tattoueurs, Tatoués or Michel Eisenlohr’s popular 2019 photo exhibition of historic sites across Syria.

Those who would like to know more about the techniques or the history of these images have the chance to participate in guided tours and ateliers (in French.) For details see the programme here.

Alfred Choubrac - Cannes l'Hiver Casino des Fleurs, 1891

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La Côte d‘Azur s’affiche – exhibition running through May 15, 2022

Espace Lympia
2 quai Entrecasteaux (located on the East side of the port)
06300 Nice

Phone +33 (0)4 89 04 53 10

Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm

Free admission. If in doubt about current sanitary measures please call the number above for up-to-date information.

another grey line

All images courtesy Département 06

Photo credits

Cannes, vers 1910
Robaudy, Cannes
Arch. dép. Alpes-Maritimes, 6 Fi 2333

Meeting d’aviation Nice, 1910
Robaudy, Cannes
Arch. dép. Alpes-Maritimes, 49 Fi 79

Cannes l’hiver – Casino des Fleurs, 1891
Lithographie F. Appel, Paris
Arch. dép. Alpes-Maritimes, 49 Fi 123

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