Halal-friendly holidays in Nice
“Nissa la bella”, as the people of Nice call it, is a town that has always welcomed an abundance of tourists. Offering authentic splendour with a touch of prestige emanating from its long welcoming past, Nice is a unique city on the French Riviera. Its sensational history, including Italy and France, can be felt across the city through its cuisine, dialect and identity. Indeed, until 1860, Nice was called Nizza and was part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. This cultural crossing has generated a magnetic French and Italian identity. Its name derives from the Greek goddess, “Nike”, who embodies victory and speed. A true heritage found in its vibrant promenade, its dominating castle, its inviting hotels and its captivating cultural complex.
The history of Islam in Nice
During the years 729 to 973, Muslims attempted to take control of the French Riviera, including the city of Nice. The Muslims' military base in the Massif des Maures gave them a great advantage in expanding their territory of power in southern France. Nice was attacked in 859 and 880, when the situation of political stability was precarious in Provence. In 973, William the Conqueror, nicknamed "the liberator", managed to do what no Frenchman had yet succeeded: expel the Muslims.
King Francis I saw the importance of allying himself politically with Sultan Suleiman, as the Ottoman Empire was a world power in the 16th century. In the Christian and Western world, this alliance was considered sacrilege. However, in 1538 the Franco-Hapsburg truce of Nice was signed to allow Charles V to conquer Hungary, then occupied by the Ottomans. In exchange France gets Savoy, but Nice is not included. Five years later, after several rounds of political events, the resumption of the Franco-Ottoman alliance was marked by the Siege of Nice.
The corner of Rue Catherine Ségurane and Rue Droite
At the corner of Rue Catherine Ségurane and Rue Droite, in Nice, you can see a cannonball fired by the Ottoman fleet. The Siege of Nice gave rise to the legend of Catarina Segurana, an icon who defended the city of Nice against Franco-Ottoman forces. There are several stories told about this legend, each more sensational than the last. Saint Catherine's Day, which celebrates Catarina Segurana, is celebrated on November 25.
The fall of French colonialism encouraged a movement leading colonised peoples to emigrate to France. Nice is the second largest city on the French Riviera after Marseille, home to diverse communities from Italy, West and North Africa. In 2015, Internaute (a major French news site), determined that there are 17.2% immigrants in Nice, many of them of Muslim origin.
Top attractions in Nice
Promenade des Anglais - A metaphor for the warm and hospitable essence of Nice. In the early 19th century, it was common for well-off English people to escape the British cold by taking refuge in Nice during the winter months, including England's Queen Victoria and President Winston Churchill. The seven-kilometre-long promenade hugs the turquoise sea and thriving esplanade welcoming visitors with an abundance of seaside hotels.
Nice Carnival - In February, the largest carnival in France takes place on the Promenade des Anglais. An explosive spectacle of colours, art, costumes, flowers, figurines and thousands of spectators that make the event unmissable.
Old Nice - It is impossible to understand the complex character of Nice without visiting the historic district of Nissa la bella. Visit the Cours Saleya, cross the traditional market and pass by the Place du Palais de Justice and the Place de Rossetti to discover the remains of the Kingdom of Sardinia.
Château de Nice and the park of the Château hill - The Château and its park dominate the old town, offering a site of magnificent beauty. The incomparable views from the castle's belvedere overlook the bay of Nice, the port and the old town. In addition, you will also find a surprising waterfall, pleasant ambient air and a lush park.
Port of Nice - Also known as Port Lympia, the Genoese-style port reveals a history intertwined with Italian influences. The port demonstrates the long and important history of the maritime aspect of Nice. You can now book cruises, enjoy the beauty of the sea and mountains and eat in one of the cafes or restaurants.
Places of prayer and mosques in Nice
Nice Institute En-Nour - The institute appears modern from the outside and different from other traditional mosques. It offers varied services: separate prayer rooms for women and men, as well as educational and spiritual conferences.
Madeleine Mosque - This community mosque is clean, simple with separate spaces for men and women.
Al Baraka Mosque - A simple mosque with a prayer room only for men.
Is there halal food in Nice?
As in all cities in the south of France, the multiplicity of ethnicities offers you various halal options: fast foods, Indian, Pakistani, Lebanese, Moroccan and Mediterranean restaurants. The Italian history intertwined in Nice culture can be seen and tested in Nice dishes, such as Pissaladière which looks like pizza, Panisse - a snack which looks like fries but is made with chickpeas, or the Niçoise Salad - composed of green beans, hard-boiled eggs, tuna, tomatoes, onions and capers.
Being a coastal city, Nice also offers many fish and seafood dishes. Red mullet and sea bream are Mediterranean classics and Nice favourites.