The “Place Masséna” is the main square in Nice and one of the most visited tourist sites. It is at 2 min-walk from the famous “Promenade des Anglais” continued by the “Quai des Etats-Unis” and close to the lovely Old Town “Vieux-Nice”. From there you can reach all the main streets of the town too.
The square was within a close distance to the bridge which was the only connection between the old and the modern part of the city before the Paillon River was first covered in the beginning of the 19th Century. Another bigger part of this little “river” was covered later in the 70’s and just now it has been decided to “break” all these awful constructions and to realize a “green corridor”. The moods are always changing and “ faire et défaire c’est toujours travailler” :) the French way of “whether you do it or undo it, it all boils down to work :)
The buildings around the square are all red ochre in a typical Italian style.
When I was a child and until some years ago the square was the paradise for cars! No one wanted to spend some time there because of the noise, the pollution and the risks to be injured :) When the works of the tram were finished it became a lovely place for tourists again.
It is of rectangular shape in its north part, you can find there some shops, and semicircular in its south part. On the grown you can now find black and white paving stones forming a kind of checkerboard :)
36 pine trees were planted on the square, we have to wait for the shade :)
On the south part of the square was settled whan I was a kid the fountain of the sun. Five bronze statues represented characters of the greco-roman mythology. In the center was a big statue of marble of Apollo of more than seven meters high.This one went away in the 70’s as its nudity could hurt :) Then all the fountain was deleted because of bad waterproofness. It all came back in 2007 with the tram :) but not Apollo who has to wait until 2011 !
On the square you can also find now seven statues in white resin perched on masts, at about ten meters above ground level. These statues get clearer at night thanks to lighting effects which change gradually and alternately colour to represent the seven continents. I thought as everybody that it was buddas but I read it would be scribes :)