France's second most popular tourist destination after Paris, Nice is renowned for its balmy climate and spectacular setting between the Mediterranean coast and the mountains to the north. Located just 30km away from the Italian border, the city has changed hands several times down the years and was last annexed by France in 1860, though it retains a strong Italian architectural legacy.
A destination of choice for foreign, and especially English, visitors since the late 18th century, Nice has also served as inspiration to many world-renowned painters, including Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall, both of whom have museums dedicated to their work in the city. A commitment to the arts remains a priority, and Nice also boasts an opera house, a national theatre and a celebrated conservatory.
Stade de Nice
UEFA capacity: 35,000
Tenants: OGC Nice
Opened: September 2013
• Plans for a new venue were first mooted around the start of the century, but construction of the Stade de Nice, located in Saint-Isidore near the Var river, did not get under way until 2011.
• The ecofriendly arena threw open its doors for OGC Nice's 4-0 Ligue 1 win against Valenciennes FC on 22 September 2013. The crowds descended on the stadium over four hours before kick-off, with the four stands – Garibaldi, Ray, Ségurane and Sud – being officially inaugurated during a spectacular pyrotechnic display.
• Drawing over three times its own energy requirements from more than 4,000 solar panels, and with its own geothermal installation for heating, it uses rain water channelled from the stadium roof into four collection reservoirs for pitch watering.
• The sixth largest football stadium in France will also house the Musée National du Sport (National Sport Museum), which will move to the Côte d'Azur from Paris in 2014.
• The arena will likewise host rugby games, concerts and various other events with congress facilities also available to ensure 24/7 exploitation of the premises, located just 6km from France's fifth-biggest city's airport and within a 15-minute drive of the city centre.