Descending by airplane to Nice Airport one of the first things you notice is the beautiful turquoise colour of the sea against the landscape – in fact, the colour lends to the name of this region, the Côte d’Azur (Azure Coast).
Not far from the airport is the end of the main waterfront road – the promenade des Anglais – which is dotted with Belle Époque hotels, beach restaurants and wide paths for strolling, rollerblading or cycling.
Nice once had a Belle Époque pier, la Jetée Promenade, that was constructed in 1882 and extended from the promenade des Anglais (opposite what is today the Ruhl Casino Barriere de Nice) and housed a casino, restaurant and arcades.
The Jetée Promenade was a dream of the Marquis d’Espouy of Saint Paul, after the Marquis visited the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London. Looking at vintage photos it reminds me of the Brighton Pier and West Pier in East Sussex, and similar to the West Pier the Jetée Promenade also fell victim to fire damage.
Sadly, the casino and jetty structure were demolished in 1944, during World War II, by German troops, and all the bronze, copper, brass, metal wiring components and anything of value was taken by them for scrap metal.
You can find black and white vintage postcards of la Jetée Promenade at flea markets and souvenir stores. There is an antique postcard market held in Nice on the 4th Saturday of each month, at Place du Palais de Justice. Look for postcard markings for Sauvaigo, Rostan & Munier, G. Lemaitre & Cie, and ‘Giletta Frères, Nice’ who were three brothers renown for their photographs and making tourist posters and postcards.
A local Riviera architect has created a 3D virtual model of la Jetée Promenade Casino, as it would have looked in 1891 against a view of today’s promenade. You can view his amazing replication work at casino-jetee-promenade-nice.blogspot.fr