What is the new ‘Projet Diamant’ in Nice?

After the terrible disruption to traffic with the tramway project in west Nice, expect difficulties getting around the centre of Nice, near the station until 2019.

Nice’s colossally ambitious new urbanisation plan, “Projet Diamant”, aims to redesign the entire area around Nice’s main SNCF railway station. Pneumatic drills have now moved in and the first stones are to be laid by mid-October. But what’s it all about?

The initial plan behind this 80 million Euro project, as revealed by Christian Estrosi a year ago, is to connect tram and train, to breathe new life into the area as well as the adjoining town centre, and to connect Nice Nord to Nice Sud, currently separated by the railway bridge.

The contorted, curved glass building is described by architect Daniel Libeskind as “unique” and will house a huge Hilton Hotel, a 1000 square metre venue, lots of offices and commercial space, a sports centre, cafés and a vast restaurant with panoramic views.

The project has of course been received with mixed feelings, some locals describing the architecture as excessively ugly, grotesque and deformed, others claiming to be seduced by its innovative, pioneering and avant-garde design. Sooner or later, by the end of 2019 if all goes to plan, we should all be able to see for ourselves!