La Crypte Archéologique de Nice


Useful Information

Location: Meeting point: Place Jacques Toja, off Place Garibaldi, Nice.
(43.700495, 7.278650)
Open: All year Wed, Sat–Sun 14, 15, 16.
Closed 01-JAN, 01-MAY, 01-NOV, 11-NOV, 25-DEC.
[2020]
Fee: Adults EUR 5, Children (7-17) free, Children (0-6) not allowed, Students (18-25) EUR 2.50, Disabled EUR 2.50, Seniors EUR 2.50.
[2020]
Classification:  
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: Ar=2,000m²
Guided tours: D=60 min.
Photography:  
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography:  
Address: La Crypte Archéologique de Nice, Place Jacques Toja, 06300 Nice, Tel: +33-492-004190.
Centre du Patrimoine, 75 quai Etats-Unis, Nice.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

14th cty castle erected.
1706 castle destroyed by Louis XIV.
2004 rediscovered during the work on a new tramline.
2012 opened to the public.

Description

The Crypte Archéologique de Nice (Archaeological Crypt of Nice) is a vast underground space. Actually it is not an underground structure like a cellar, it shows the base walls of the entrance to the castle of Nice. This castle was erected in the 14th century and destroyed by Louis XIV in 1706. At this time Nice and Provence have long been part of the Italian kingdom and Nice was ruled by the Piedmontese. Actually he destroyed the castle two times and finally retook the city and the surroundings from the Piedmontese The remaining lower part of the castle walls were buried in debris and finally new buildings were erected on top.

In 2004 the city planned to build a tramline, and during the works on Place Garibaldi the walls were discovered. They were excavated which blocked Place Garibaldi for years and delayed the construction of the tram. As a result, when the excavations were complete, the whole place was inaccessible. Fortunately they are much lower than the modern street level. The city decided to cover the excavation with a concrete roof which now forms the surface of tha square. It has massive concrete slabs and is stable enough not only for pedestrians but for cars and the new tram. The ceiling also protects the archaeological remains, which are not subject to weathering any more. The underground is accessible through a futuristic pitfall on nearby Place Jacques Toja, which opens hydraulically and reveals a steel staircase.

The underground excavations were named Crypte Archéologique de Nice and are now open to the public. Visitors walk on an elevated trail which was built on top of the historic walls. Tours are offered by the Centre du Patrimoine (Heritage Center). Wear comfortable walking shoes, the meeting point is on Place Jacques Toja. The tour shows the walls of the castle, the main portal, and the central Pairolière Tower. Beneath the walls it shows aqueducts and bridges.