Jewish Refugees on the French Riviera – Part I

Just after the Germans occupied Paris, and France was divided into an occupied and unoccupied zone, Nice became known as a center for Jewish refugees, and known for its relative ease to become established there.  The primary reason was economic.  All the cities on the Riviera were dependent on tourism, and with the war, tourism came to a halt.  Therefore, …

Off-the-beaten-path – Lunch in the Vineyards

Continuing our series of “Off the Beaten Path” experiences on the Côte d’Azur, we introduce you to Lunch in the vineyards of Bellet. (Previous experiences are found on our blog). One of our favorite experiences is to have lunch in a vineyard in the wine region of Nice, Bellet, cooked by the vignerons wife while sharing a discussion of wine, …

Off-the-beaten-path – Hospitalliers de Saint Jean de Jérusalem

Our first “Off-the-beaten-path” activity in the Nice region is a visit to the Domus of the Hospitaliers de St. Jean de Jerusalem. There are many religious institutions, convents and monasteries in Nice. In fact, prior to becoming a tourist destination in the 18th century, the bulk of the visitors came for religious reasons. They all have interesting stories to tell. …

Where Does “LA BAIE DES ANGES” Come From?

We know the sea around Nice is the Mediterranean and the area between the Monument aux Morts and Cap d’Antibes is called La Baie des Anges (Angels Bay), but where does this name come from? Some believe it has a relationship with the Cathedral in Nice where the “Angels” brought the bones of St. Reparate from Palestine to Nice in …

La Croix de Marbre (The Marble Cross)

La Croix de Marbre (The Marble Cross) – Is the name of the neighborhood where most foreigners (particularly the English) originally stayed during the 18th and 19th century during the winter. The name comes from the marble cross at 27, de la rue de France. It was originally made of wood, and was placed by the Récollets who lived in …

American GI’s in Nice

In 1945, more than 75,000 American GI’s (“Government Issue”) came to “ultraswank” Nice for Rest and Relaxation, filling the city’s 42 luxury hotels. According to Life Magazine (July 9, 1945), what they were most excited about were the girls, “American wacs, American nurses and friendly French girls.” Most of the French women did not know English, but it didn’t seem …

Italian Army in Nice

After Vichy, the Italian army arrived in Nice. It was November 11, 1942, and the Niçois were preparing for a celebration of Armistice day at Place Massena. The Italians around noon began to rain down from the air pamphlets and by the end of the day, the first Italian troops had arrived. Trucks sometimes painted with the Arms of Savoy, …

Pharmacie Mercier in Jewish history of Nice

This is the pharmacie Mercier on ave. Jean Médecin and rue Pastorelli. You probably have walked by it many times without ever thinking about its place in history. This pharmacy belonged to the grandfather of Michèle Mercier, the famous actress. René Mercier was the inventor of Mercier ointment and other renowned cosmetics made in Nice.When the Gestapo arrived suddenly in …

Gestapo in Nice

This is a photo of the buildings of 38 and 40 rue Victor Hugo in Nice. On 9 February, 1944, the Gestapo showed up at the apartment of Ludwig Baum and his 34-year-old daughter Greta. Ludwig indicated to Greta that she should try to escape, so she ran up the spiral staircase in their 5th floor apartment to the roof …

Partnership with Knight Frank

Via Nissa is the historic research partner of Knight Frank on the Côte d’Azur. Their latest publication has just been released. Our work is featured on pages 8-9.