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The Romans built their town high above the Greek settlement of Nikiai in the now fashionable suburb of Cimiez. Something of their era still survives amid the ruins of an Amphitheatre. Nearby are the Musée Matisse and a Franciscan Monastery with beautiful Gardens with an amazing view over the city make Cimiez well worth at least a half-day excursion from central Nice. Frequent buses make this easy.

Roman Cemelenum - Nice before the Niçois!

Cemenelenum, as the Romans called it, was the capital of the Alpes Maritimae. About 20,000 citizens lived here in the late 2nd century AD and it was wealthy enough to have an amphitheatre. It was near the route of the Via Julia Augusta, later to become the Aurelian Way.

Savage amusement

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Monastery Garden at Cimiez

Formal Garden with a sensational view

Musée Matisse

Art Museum in a Genoese folly!

Roman Amphitheatre at Cimiez

Les Arènes at Cimiez

Text © Paul Shawcross

Image by Paul Shawcross