Nice’s flagship urban park covers 12 hectares in the heart of the city, just a few minutes walk from Promenade des Anglais. Promenade du Paillon used to be a very congested and rather ugly thoroughfare where the old bus station and multi storey car park were situated. It was demolished in 2011 and a 3 year development project took place to turn it into the oasis of green open space, safe play areas and impressive water features that we enjoy today.
Originally there was a river of the same name that ran through this area; the more serpentine of the paved paths apparently follows where it used to flow. The river separated Old Nice from the more modern part of town but after a series of serious floods it was gradually filled in and built over, being used for markets and trade fairs until the bus station was built in the 1970’s.
The Promenade begins in Place Massena with the Miroir d’Eau (mirror of water), a 3000m² paved section dotted with water jets; sometimes they puff out a gentle cooling mist that is pure relief on a hot day, sometimes they shoot fountains of water high into the air - they can switch at a moment’s notice, so walk amongst them at your own risk! They are a huge hit with children who love running in and out of the jets and shrieking with laughter every time they change.
Further down the Promenade is a children’s play area with fantastical weird wooden creatures that they can climb and swing on. The ground is cushioned and covered with fake grass, while a gated fence prevents them from straying into the road.
The last section of the Promenade is a long stretch of lawn lined with olive trees; this section is the most peaceful and where you’re most likely to find office workers enjoying a packed lunch or elderly locals reading the newspaper.
The Promenade has paved walkways weaving through it and plenty of benches along both sides. With over 1000 trees and 50,000 plants, it has been planned so that there are always some botanical varieties in bloom all year round. There are also a few shaded areas with wooden armchairs near to the public toilets and tourist information desk.
Entry to the Promenade du Paillon is completely free and opening hours are from 07:00-23:00 in summer and 07:00-21:00 in winter.
Cycling is not permitted in the park but a cycle path runs along the outside of it on Avenue Felix Faure and there are Véloblue stations at either end if you want to ride there and park up nearby.
- "This long park just off the Place Massena is a wonderful spot for kids. A huge and interesting playground, your standard equipment but with wonderful animal shapes etc and lets not forget the small water mist jets and the bigger ones further along.Very safe environment, all the kids were happily running about (some naked in the jets) without hovering parents keeping one eye out for potential danger. It was a very nice experience. We were there for hours and had a blast - bring a change of clothes for the little ones, they will get wet!" - Trip Advisor
- "A beautiful park like area with a fantastic ground level fountain display, garden areas with shady trees, seats and also sculptures. Pedestrian pathways run adjacent to either side of the magnificent water fountain display. About 100 jets of water shoot into the air with the height of the water jets fluctuating in sequence as the fountain works its way through its display cycle. The area is clean and tidy and very well maintained. A great area to spend some time taking a bit of a short break from the usual sight seeing or shopping! It appears to be a very popular area with the local population. Children will love spending some time in this area. The Promenade du Paillon is well worth visiting and it is an excellent location for taking some good photographs, especially of the water display." - Trip Advisor
- "This is an oasis in the city. We visited in September so temperatures were reducing but we found this a cool oasis to sit and rest. You could watch the water display for ages. The free drinking water taps are a brilliant extra & the toilet block is well worth the minimal charge. Take a seat look up at the buildings & at the mountains it is easy to see how Nice became the tourist hot spot it is" - Trip Advisor