Nice, an extraordinary cinema set

17 May 2022

Natural scenery varying between sea and mountains and light in abundance, film studios, the city of Nice is a privileged shooting venue and this, since the beginning of the 20th century! Explore the city at your own pace and discover the places that have inspired the greatest directors of the 7th art!

It was in 1919 that the Studios de la Victorine appeared in Nice and offered filmmakers a perfect place to unfold their creativity. More than a century later, the Studios are still in operation… Films in the pantheon of the film industry have been made there, such as Marcel Carné’s “Les Enfants du Paradis” (1945), François Truffaut’s “La Nuit Américaine” (1973) and Lewis Teague’s “The Jewel of the Nile” (1985)! With nearly 2,000 films shot to date in its studios, Nice is still attractive and very active in terms of casting, logistics and filming!

“Nice is a city I know very well. This region should clearly be a French Hollywood. 10 months of sunshine, fantastic light, extraordinary scenery, there is no reason to miss it.”

Gilles Castera, production manager of the English serie “Riviera”

In addition to studio shoots, Nice offers many splendid natural settings that you will be able to recognise as you drive through the city. Thousands of films have been shot here… We offer you a small, non-exhaustive tour of some of the locations / films.

The beach of the “Bains Militaires”

“Brice de Nice” by James Huth with Jean Dujardin (2005)

Between Port Lympia and Cap de Nice, it is on this small pebble beach that the surfer-winner waited for THE wave (in vain). Enjoy the view and a walk along the coastal path, always breathtaking…

The Port of Nice

“Ronin” by F. Frankenheimer with Robert de Niro and Jean Reno (1998)

Robert de Niro and Jean Reno made a name for themselves in the action film “Ronin“, in 1998, by F. Frankenheimer. There was also “Sans mobile apparent (Without apparent motive)” by P. Labro in 1971…

From the Isle of Beauty square, in ochre-red Turin style, to the rows of small pointus (fishermen’s boats) facing the pleasure yachts, the Lympia basin of the port is protected by the Castle hill: to be visited also for its park and its view on the city.

Rauba Capeu

“In the name of my daughter” by André Téchiné with Catherine Deneuve and Guillaume Canet (2014)

The point, between the port and the Quai des Etats-Unis, is so called because the wind can be capricious and “steal the hats” of passers-by on certain days (in Nice, Rauba Capeu means “the hat thief”).

In 2013, André Téchiné set up his camera there to tell the story of one of the city’s unsolved mysteries: the Le Roux case.

In front of #ILoveNice, take one of the most sent selfies in France!

Become the hands of the sundial yourself! Position yourself in the middle of the sundial, on the spot provided for this purpose, and watch your own shadow tell the time! With 300 days of sunshine a year on the Côte d’Azur, there is no shortage of opportunities … The site offers a spectacular view of the entire Baie des Anges.

The Quai des États-Unis

“La Promesse de l’Aube” by Jules Dassin with Melina Mercouri (1970)

A classic in film libraries, this film tells the story of Romain Gary, the twice-acclaimed Goncourt Prize-winning writer who arrived in Nice as a teenager with his mother. The Quai des États-Unis, so named to pay tribute to the Americans’ entry into the war in 1917, borders the Ponchettes, the small flat-roofed houses that served as an elevated promenade in the old days. It offers several points of entry to Old Nice and the discovery of the Baroque.

The Promenade des Anglais

“Flic ou voyou” by Georges Lautner (1979)

Without doubt, the most used natural setting in Nice! The choice of films is so vast. Some iconic posters however: “La Repentie” by Laetitia Masson with Isabelle Adjani (2001), “Flic ou voyou” by G. Lautner with Jean-Paul Belmondo (1979), “The Transporter” by Louis Leterrier and Luc Besson (2002) … and of course, “La Baie des Anges” by Jacques Demy with Jeanne Moreau (1963)

When you walk along the mythical Promenade des Anglais, so many flashes come back in your memory, images seen in films or other series… You absolutely must stroll, let your eyes get lost in the sea with its marine and turquoise colours, on one side and towards the belle époque, art deco and other buildings, on the other, just separated by a curtain of palm trees. A stopover can be planned on a private beach, a roof top, on a terrace, simply to soak up the place.

The Place Masséna

“The Transporter 4” by Louis Leterrier and Luc Besson (2015)

This film features a chase that takes place on the Promenade des Anglais and ends in the gardens of the Place Masséna.

One of the emblematic squares of Nice, it is the heart of the city and has undergone a real metamorphosis with the arrival of the tramway. Jaume Plensa’s “Conversation” is one of the attractions of the coming evening. The figures in scribe pose light up randomly and evoke a dialogue between continents. On either side, the Promenade du Paillon, a 12-hectare green corridor (the Promenade du Paillon) that runs from the sea to the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art –MAMAC. Enjoy this park with its fountains, its water mirror and its misting area, a blessing in summer.

L’Opéra de Nice

“Magic in the Moonlight” by Woody Allen with Emma Stone and Colin Firth (2014)

The Nice Opera House was chosen by the director to embody the Berlin theatre in his romantic comedy. This building, whose plans were validated by Charles Garnier, is a very active place of creation with an orchestra and a ballet of great quality. Tours of the building can be booked at the Heritage Centre. Across the street, for those with a sweet tooth, the very old Auer chocolate factory has been offering candied fruit since the 19th century and was the official supplier to Queen Victoria.

“Nice is an incredible, cosmopolitan, beautiful city!”

Woody Allen

The narrow streets of Old Nice

“Les Compères” by Francis Weber with Gérard Depardieu, Pierre Richard and Anny Duperey (1983)

This film travels through this tangle of authentic alleys with different ochre tones. The Vieux-Nice is one of the musts of the discovery of Nice: its typical alleys with small shops, artist’s studios and restaurants.

The Flower Market and the Place de la Préfecture

“To catch a thief” by Alfred Hitchcock with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly (1955)

The Cours Saleya and its famous flower market (except on Mondays when the secondhand trade takes its place) is a must. It is the pulse of the old town. Bordered by the Chapel of the Misericorde, a jewel of baroque art, it faces the Palace of the Dukes of Savoy, today the Palace of the Prefecture. In Hitchcock’s film, the flower market is right next door, on the Boulevard Jean-Jaurès!

The Place du Pin

“Joyeuses Pâques” by Georges Lautner with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Sophie Marceau (1984)

This film pays tribute to this popular district, now considered the little Marais of Nice. With a pine tree in its centre, this square and its surroundings are home to many bars, restaurants and tea rooms where it is good to meet up for lunch and especially in the evening, for a moment with friends.

Place du Pin @OTM NCA / J.Kelagopian

The Castle Cemetery

“À propos de Nice” de Jean Vigo (1930)

This place is also so special with its monumental sculptures and its 20 “Prix de Rome de sculptures” artists. It is incredible for those who enter it. Several films have been shot there. The silent documentary film by Jean Vigo is available for free on Youtube.

The cemetery is composed of two distinct parts: the Catholic (Christian, today) part and the Jewish part, the only two religions accepted at the time of its creation in 1783. It is one of the most beautiful in Europe.

When the city of Nice paid tribute to Jean-Claude Belmondo

During the summer of 2021, photos by Nice photographer Charles Bébert, also a friend of the French actor, were exhibited in large format on the Place Pierre Gautier in Nice and at the Charles Nègre Museum of Photography.

This “Cinema” tour, limited to the heart of the city, offers another vision of Nice and undoubtedly the desire to see these films and many others differently…

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Head of the Press Department of the Nice Côte d'Azur CVB