With medieval ruins, a waterfall and a flower-filled garden, Colline du Chateau in Nice, France is a favorite, and a frequently visited site, not just by tourists but by locals who want to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Colline du Chateau can be found on a hill nestled between the Nice harbor and the old town. The hill upon which this park stands is called Castle Hill and has an elevation of around 92 meters. The park's position at the top of Castle Hill affords its visitors with great views of the city below. From here, you will see the Promenade des Anglais, the Baie des Anges and the Old Town (with its red roofs).
Although it is called a chateau, you will find no such structure in this plateau-like park. The imposing medieval stronghold that once stood here now lies in ruins, victim of many an attack, until it was finally destroyed. Yet, the place still retains this name, probably in memory of the medieval grandeur that once can be found here. This was the first section of Nice that was settled into. Yes, this where the original city of Nice was first constructed. It was also the original site of the Acropolis, a Greek city.
The Counts of Savoy maintained the castle, further fortifying it. Back then, the fortress was thought to be impregnable, but the French King Louis XIV disproved this in 1706, when he and his troops stormed and demolished the citadel. Now only a few sections of the wall can be seen.
Here, you can also find the remains of a church, the Cathedrale Santa Maria de l'Assompta. This is actually two churches that were built one on top of the other. The first one was built in the 11th century while the second harks back to the 5th century.
The park gardens feature an attractive set of flora – aloes, figs, pine trees and carobs. There is also an artificial waterfall and a playground. Here, children can also be allowed to run free, even as they enjoy the views and the refreshing breeze. In the evening, the mood turns romantic as the lighting turns the place into a dreamy haven for lovers.
Now, how does one get to the top of Colline du Chateau? Well, you can walk up the hill by taking the route at the old town – Montee du Chateau and Montee Monica Rondelly. It is a steep climb that will take around 370 steps. This is for hardier souls, but if you appreciate the exercise, a climb will do you some good.
If you don't think you are up to the challenge of climbing up the hill, you can also take the lift found in Rue des Ponchettes, at the foot of the Bellanda Tower. There is also a tourist train that makes the rounds and starts from the Promenade des Anglais. Also, you can take these two options if you have children with you, as you don't want them to be too tired with the climb to do some serious playing at the playgrounds.