Nice is the fifth most populous city in France and the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes département. The metropolitan area of Nice extends beyond the administrative city limits, with a population of about 1 million on an area of 721 km2 (278 sq mi). Located in the French Riviera, on the south east coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, at the foot of the Alps, Nice is the second-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast and the second-largest city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region after Marseille. Nice is about 13 kilometres (8 miles) from the principality of Monaco, and its airport is a gateway to the principality as well. The metropolitan area of Nice, defined by INSEE, is home to 888,784 inhabitants (fifth most populous in France) and its urban area totals 933,080 inhabitants, which makes it the sixth largest in France.
The area of today’s Nice contains Terra Amata, an archaeological site which displays evidence of a very early use of fire. Around 350 BC, Greeks of Marseille founded a permanent settlement and called it Nikaia, after Nike, the goddess of victory. Through the ages, the town has changed hands many times. Its strategic location and port significantly contributed to its maritime strength. For centuries it was a dominion of Savoy, and was then part of France between 1792 and 1815, when it was returned to Piedmont-Sardinia until its re-annexation by France in 1860.
Nice consists of two large bays. Villefranche-sur-Mer sits on an enclosed bay, while the main expanse of the city lies between the old port city and the Aeroport de Côte d’Azur, across a gently curving bay. The city rises from the flat beach into gentle rising hills, then is bounded by surrounding mountains that represent the Southern and nearly the Western extent of the Ligurian Alps range.
Nice has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate, enjoying mild winters with moderate rainfall. It is one of the warmest Mediterranean climates for its latitude. Summers are warm to hot, dry, and sunny. Rainfall is rare in this season, and a typical July month only records one or two days with measurable rainfall. The temperature is typically above 20 °C (68 °F) and frequently reaches 30 °C (86 °F). The climate data is recorded from the airport, located just metres from the sea. Summer temperatures, therefore, are often higher in the city. The average maximum temperature in the warmest months of July and August is about 27 °C (81 °F). The highest recorded temperature was 37.7 °C (99.9 °F) on 1 August 2006. Autumn generally starts sunny in September and becomes more cloudy and rainy towards October, while temperatures usually remain above 20 °C (68 °F) until November where days start to cool down to around 17 °C (63 °F).
Nice is the seat of the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie Nice Côte d’Azur. It manages the Nice – Côte d’Azur Airport and the Cannes – Mandelieu Airport, as well as the Port of Nice. Investors from France and abroad can benefit from the assistance of the Côte d’Azur Economic Development Agency Team Côte d’Azur.
Nice has one conference centre: the Palais des Congrès Acropolis. The city also has several business parks, including l’Arenas, Nice the Plain, Nice Méridia, Saint Isidore, and the Northern Forum.
In addition, the city features several shopping centres such as Nicetoile, Nice TNL, Nice Lingostière, Northern Forum, St-Isidore, the Trinity (around the Auchan hypermarket) and Cap3000 in Saint-Laurent-du-Var.
Sophia Antipolis is a technology park northwest of Antibes. Much of the park is within the commune of Valbonne. Established between 1970 and 1984, it primarily houses companies in the fields of computing, electronics, pharmacology and biotechnology. Several institutions of higher learning are also located here, along with the European headquarters of W3C.
The Nice metropolitan area had a GDP amounting to $47.7 billion, and $34,480 per capita, slightly lower than the French average.