See the film version of Nice with Haily Grenet

In Nice, cinema is an ongoing odyssey shot throughout the city, perpetuated through the initiatives of the upcoming generations. Haily Grenet, artistic director of the OVNi festival, has been promoting the filmed arts and moving images across the city since 2015. Come along as she shows us the best behind the scenes hotspots of yesterday's and today's movies.

DAY 1 - And Nice created the flame

While not the size of Hollywood studios, Niçois studios are nothing to sneeze at. For example, the century-old Victorine Studios have forged legends like Jean Vigo, Marcel Carné, René Clément and Roger Vadim.

From there (15 minutes on foot), another landmark of Nice can be found—the Promenade des Anglais and its pebble beach, walked by Isabelle Adjani wheeling her suitcase in 2002's La Repentie. This amazing setting has inspired directors like Jacques Demy, who borrowed its name for his cult film, La Baie des Anges. With these images in mind, Haily Grenet advises visitors to walk the Promenade des Anglais in early morning to soak in its tranquility and special light of the Côte d'Azur.

See and be seen

Saint-Tropez has Senequier, Nice has La Petite Maison (External link) . At lunchtime, Nicole Rubi's must-see establishment on rue Saint-François de Paule turns into a film canteen for passing actresses and actors, explains Haily Grenet. However, despite La Petite Maison's chic-yet-casual setting, regulars of Nice and well-known faces are all in the same boat, and eat from the same menu. On the table and in the plates, grape tomatoes, olive oil and Niçois specialties are the real stars. And, it's always a thrill to ask the person sitting next to you, who starred in the latest French box-office hit, to pass the salt.

Open-air film

With a your stomach full and your eyes starry, you're ready to enjoy the alleys of Old Nice. The melon-colored buildings and charming passageways are a life-size cinema setting, perfect for a digestive stroll. To complete your lunch on a sweet note, do like Jean-Paul Belmondo, Marie Laforêt and Sophie Marceau in Joyeuses Pâques, and visit the Auer confectionery and chocolate shop (External link) , selling treats in Florentine style since 1820.

Only a short walk away is the Saleya promenade market, located in one of the busiest squares in Old Nice. This market has lent its typically Mediterranean décor to the film Ronin, with Jean Reno as the champion driver in its memorable car chase scene.

Field of stars

At Negresco (External link) , one of the most famous hotels in the world, cinema has been a tradition since the beginning of the 20th century. More than 30 directors have set up their cameras in this Nice institution, from its halls to its rooms, which still continue to welcome stars from around the world. While having a cocktail in its 1913-era walnut paneled bar, dinner in its chic La Rotonde brasserie or its two-star Le Chantecler restaurant, you'll see Sophia Loren, François Truffaut, Catherine Deneuve and Alfred Hitchcock hanging along the walls of the famous institution at 37, Promenade des Anglais.

DAY 2 - In balance

Perched at the top of a rock, six meters above the sea, the Plongeoir de la Réserve (External link) always catches the eye of filmmakers looking for an unusual setting. In this atypical place (an integral part of the daily life of Nice residents since the end of the 19th century) Brice de Nice, a film just as quirky as the setting was shot, specifies Haily Grenet. After a stroll on the nearby Nice port, like Jean Dujardin has done, wait for the waves or dig into a shareable lunch from Chef Grégory Mélani's antipasti menu. And, of course, soak in that view!

Search the archives

Grenet (no stranger to dark rooms) notes that the mild temperatures in Nice encourage outdoor walks. But the Film Library, located on the Kennedy esplanade, makes it worth your while to abandon your sunny bench or beach for a few hours. In this temple of Nice cinema, the memory of the film arts is embodied on the big screen, often with commentary by the directors themselves. It is the perfect opportunity to review the classics or discover gems unknown to the general public.

Room with a view

To conclude this cinematic odyssey, visit the Windsor Hotel, located a few steps from the seafront. Since 2015, this 19th century building, owned by the same family for 70 years, welcomes the revival of images as part of the OVNi Galleries of the OVNi (Objectif Vidéo Nice) festival. In the artists' rooms, the public alternates between "dark rooms," where a surrounding video setup immerses viewers in a dark room, and "light rooms," where video and visual art meet, explains Haily Grenet. The rest of the year, you can soak up the artsy atmosphere of this charming hotel and its exotic garden.

Getting to Nice